What’s it like in the studio with Ross?
W: You know how they say Jay-Z writes? That he mumbles to himself? Ross comes up with albums and marketing plans like that. We just be looking at this nigga like, “What is he doing?”
P: And he’ll be like, “Man, this a song.”
M: Next thing you know he’ll drop like two or three verses. When Ross is controlling that shit, it’s like you got a to-do list.
What was on your to-do list?
W: It’ll just be some songs that you gotta do. Maybe it’ll be like you gotta do some freestyles this week. Put something out. That was like the first two weeks, then we just got the hang of it like, “Oh, I’ma get my camera crew and go to these colleges.” I’ma do the Yeezy shit.
M: Coming from where we coming from you got this to do and we got a whole load of shit we gotta do ourselves. That’s what comes from being self made.
P: It’s a good workload to have. When you have a project of this magnitude, it motivates you to go harder on your own shit because you know you got your stuff following it up so you go harder. Then when your shit comes around you’re gonna give it 100% as well. You’re taking a situation and making it larger. And all of us are getting another chance. So you gotta make the best of it.
You guys all had your own buzz before the MMG situation. Are you sacrificing anything by working with Ross?
M: We taking it to the next level.
W: Nah, it’s a compilation. My album is 90% done. I’m droppin in the fourth quarter, November or December, something like that. But we not worried about all that. We trying to feed the streets this summer. We could have easily called up Cannon or Drama or Scream and put all these [songs out as a mixtape.] But then it wouldn’t have really done the songs justice. They’re bigger than that.
P: I think it’s actually worthy of purchase because of the quality of the music. I think it’s worthy of an iTunes. I think it’s worthy of a record store. I think it’s worthy of that download. I think we payed our dues enough to actually have something for purchase. To put a few coins in our pockets.
What is the goal for MMG?
M: Being rich forever.
P: Affecting the culture man.
W: You gotta understand, we grew up watching greatness. Meek watched his peers from Philly tour the world with the Roc-A-Fella movement.
M: I used to see them ride by on the way to Powerhouse like, “Damn, I wish I was in that car.”
W: And Pill saw Goodie Mob and OutKast come out of Atlanta.
P: I started out with OutKast and Killer Mike as a teenager. I would leave football practice and go to Stankonia Studios. I met Jay-Z, partied with Nelly, was with LL Cool J. So it’s like, “Damn, when am I gonna be that guy?”
At one point, it seemed like you were about to be that guy.
P: Yeah, I headlined the CMJ Festival and I got the cover of the New York Times art section. Then I went and destroyed SXSW. Got the cover of Creative Loafing, got the cover of XXL. All that shit. It was just me and my manager. I ain’t have no big crew. Everybody thought we had a machine going, but it was a two-man army. It was my grind and business savvy and him knowing what he’s doing. I was self made.
What went wrong?
P: Personal issues [with my former manager] that I won’t discuss slowed me down. People would be like, “I’ve been trying to get you to do a song with Maino,” and I’d be like, “How come my manager didn’t tell me this?” We basically disagreed on some things and it affected the business side of it so we couldn’t continue to march together. I had to do what I had to do to survive and he had to do what he had to do to survive. We just had personal issues that I cannot discuss. It wasn’t even the business. It’s because we were friends at first and when shit started to happen that kinda pushed shit aside. There’s always issues that come about when money starts being made. That’s what always separates some people whether they’re family or friends. But it was a hindrance to the actual height that I was trying to reach cause we had it going. Like I said, it kinda messed things up so I obviously made the right move. Sometimes people’s business ideas don’t match up because you’re from the streets and they aren’t.
Having Ross come up in the same way you did, does that make it easier to do business?
M: Yeah, it’s hard to be working around someone you don’t feel. You won’t even respect their opinion if you don’t feel him.
W: I came from quote-unquote “the most powerful conglomerate in hip-hop” [Interscope]. It’s not just Maybach Music, it’s Warner Bros. It’s a new building, with people like me. I don’t have to explain why I need dark-skinned women in my videos. Everybody knows the Wale saga: The guy that got close and something happened. It ain’t no more getting close. This time, we taking the whole shit.