You’re also involved in boxing. How did you get started with that?
Well first of all boxing was like my first love before hip-hop really.
You were a fighter?
No I wasn’t a fighter but I wanted to be. Well, yeah I was a fighter—not in the gym. But I used to fight all the time. I wanted to be a fighter in the gym, but there wasn’t a gym in the ward that we had access to. I was inspired by Don King. I used to watch him all the time as a kid—and I used to wonder about this man’s hair that stuck up straight like that. After learning how to read, I was able to read up on him a little bit and got more inspired by him.
I was inspired by Don King. I used to watch him all the time as a kid—and I used to wonder about this man’s hair that stuck up straight like that. After learning how to read, I was able to read up on him a little bit and got more inspired by him.
So I wanted to tap into the boxing world, you know, and I got distracted by the hip-hop thing, which was a good distraction for me. But eventually I was able to, after being attacked by the Feds and all them different people, I had to show them that I wasn’t one-dimensional, to the extent where I diversified my portfolio into the boxing arena. And while they was out here planting them traps and setting traps for me and trying to destroy me, I showed up on their TV in their living room, on HBO. [Laughs.]
What were you doing on HBO?
I was in the boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather and one of those guys I was managing. [Laughs.] So you know I had to diversify my portfolio, man, and just really let them know. Because with brothers from the street, they think it’s either by luck or by accident that these things happen.
But once you know that formula of success it can be applied to anything. All you gotta do is know the forumla. And that’s what I was able to do in the boxing world, take it over there and apply it and I became manager of the year the first year I got into managing.
What is similar about rap and boxing?
Well the overall business—not only the rappers and the boxers—but the overall business, it’s a lot of resemblance there. First of all when you’re dealing with a rapper and boxer, both of these guys is from my hood. You know what I’m saying? These are my people. I grew up with both of them. They’re not separated in no aspect other than the sacrifices they’re making with their talents and whatnot. And both of them had a lot to do with who I became.
I listened to these rappers, they was influential with certain things they said, then I had to fight some of these guys that’s boxing in the hood to be as tough as I am. So we all was there in the struggle together. So I have no problem communicating to my people that I knew all my life better than the others can. You know what I’m saying? And they had no problems communicating with me, because they knew where I came from. And with them knowing where I came from gives me an edge. They know where I started from the gutter mostly, trying to get to the utmost.
So Willie D used to do some boxing, right?
Yeah, he was boxing.
Any other MCs that could box?
I think all of them could box if they get in shape. A lot of them talk a good boxing game, but if they all put their mind to it and made the sacrifice, they would be able to do it—at least a few ass whoopings.
You mention different traps and tricks were thrown at you over the years. What are your reflections on watching Irv Gotti and all that he went through with the Murder Inc. case?
I talked to Irv Gotti all the way through his case because I was totally familiar with how the government, and the devil, want to destroy the brothers that make it. It’s just as real as me and you sitting here right now. They’ll take a little lie, and make it so big until you’ll be like, ‘Damn!’ [Laughs.]
My reflection was, I think I was the first one—you know what I’m saying—and my reflection was I’m glad they got a lot of support. Because a lot of people came together. And you know I didn’t have people coming together. Definitely a lot of people came together out there in New York, and I think that was major for all the brothers to come together and show up in court and let him know that I’m with him. I even flew out there.
Yeah I even flew out there. So, that’s the difference. Together we stand, and separate we fall, you know? And I talked to him all the way through because I was totally familiar with how the government, and the devil, want to destroy the brothers that make it.
It’s just as real as me and you sitting here right now. They want to do that, there’s no doubt about it. So with us knowing that, then it’s certain things we have to do. To not leave them different doors open for them to come in and tell that big lie. Cause they’ll take a little lie, and make it so big until you’ll be like, ‘Damn!’ [Laughs.]
So don’t even give them a reason to start.
You can’t do that. I tell everybody you can’t. A lot of people want to straddle the fence to the extent that they can have 99 percent of it right, and leave one percent where you—you know, straddling the fence, doing a bunch of other shit. And they’ll take that 1 percent and contaminate that whole 99, and destroy everything you built. So you gotta keep the shit clean.
And you have to have a made-up mind that “I am going to keep it that way and I’m going to separate it from all this extra shit that can contaminate it.” And you’ve got to do it, make the sacrifice. Don’t work for free though. Don’t do 99 percent and then let them come in. And that’s what they was trying to do to me, that’s what they was trying to do to the Inc.