Next week Ice-T puts out his album and he’s 48. How much longer do you see yourself being that dude, when you’re like 50, 60?
I'm trying to learn from BB King. I'm going to be rapping when I’m 80, any niggas that says they won’t is a fucking liar. We can’t get out, we’re trapped. There’s no way out of this shit. So let me tell you this. If a nigga says, “Yo you shouldn’t rap at that age” and then niggas get a call saying “Here is some paper we need you to perform” and you’re 50 something years-old and there are 50 years-olds in that audience that love you to death, you mean to tell me you not going to get that paper? You a fucking liar. We in this music shit for life, you ain’t learn that shit from the niggas that came before us? From Marvin and Stevie? You in here for life. There’s no way out of this shit.
On one of the songs on Street’s Disciple “These Are Our Heroes” you talk partially about some African-American role models in the community, do you consider it selling out to marry a white woman?
No, absolutely not. Richard Pryor is one of my heroes and he was married to a few women and one of them white. Her name was Jennifer Lee, and I don’t know her but from hearing and reading and seeing television and books she’s my favorite wife that he had. So absolutely not, who you fall in love with is who you fall in love with. You know love is blind. It doesn’t matter how pro-black you are love is blind.
One of the people you obviously talked about looking up to a lot is Pac , I read an interview where Snoop Dogg was talking about that during the VMA’S you and Pac had had a meeting in Central Park, can you talk about that?
I saw Pac he was going to walk away from me and I said “Yo come here nigga.”
In Central Park?
No, at Bryant Park, MTV after party, MTV music awards.
Was that what was he referring to at the 96’ VMA’s?
I'm going to be rapping when I’m 80. We can’t get out, we’re trapped. If a ni**a says, “Yo you shouldn’t rap at that age” and then you get a call saying “Here is some paper we need you to perform” and you’re 50 something years-old and there are 50 years-olds in that audience that love you to death, you mean to tell me you not going to get that paper? You a liar.
Cause he said it was Central Park and you were up there with 30 dudes and you guys were just talking and he was telling you about how he was about to out the record and you were like, “Nah I don’t have a problem.” He said, ‘Ok, this record is about to come out and it’s talking about you, but if you don’t respond it’s going to be dead.’ Was that the incident you were talking about at Bryant Park?
Actually what he said was that he’ll change the lyrics. He’ll take out my name cause me and him were supposed to never have any beef, but he heard I was dissing him at a show, which I was because he was at his shows dissing me. He was rapping about me on the “If I Ruled The World” beat, going after me. So I was going after him at my shows and he heard it and he just assumed it was beef. So when we talked he was like, “Nigga let’s meet in Vegas.” But he died in Vegas and I was scheduled to fly there. But Jimmy told me he passed away, that he was shot and was in critical condition actually.
Okay so you guys talked in Bryant Park kinda deaded it and never got to really meet up again?
During his shows you said he was going over “If I Ruled The World,” during your shows were you going on his beats?
I was just going on some, “Fuck Pac, fuck Pac.” I can’t remember what I was saying it was so long ago, but it was “Pac said this to you” and I was like alright.
Certain people say that “If a dude wasn’t cool when he was alive he shouldn’t do songs” is that why you feel comfortable doing “Thug’s Mansion” and stuff , cause it was like, “Yo weren’t we cool?”
Honestly, I probably would have done it even if we didn’t meet, who cares what somebody says? We inspire each other. You listen to “Me And My Girlfriend” that was inspired from my song “I Gave You Power” and so on. I start talking about God and 44 and that nigga used to scream that shit at me “I wait for GOD with the 4 4,” that was the shit after that. I heard a lot of Gods in his lines and he inspired me in many ways. I got a God’s Son tattoo in honor of the nigga. God’s Son has meaning for me, but that tattoo shit he started it, every nigga in the rap game got tattoos cause of Tupac. Every nigga. Every last one period. Including B.I.G.
I know people that have heard this album I actually know a couple of people who are not as critical they’ve been. Like, “Illmatic was the shit” they have said “I have to give it up this new album is crazy.” Are you happy with how it’s came out?
Yeah this is what I live for, to do this shit. This shit is beyond paper. Paper is important, you have to get your money, but when I get into the studio the whole drive is beyond radio and charts. This is what I live for, for a few niggas to say, “Yo I’m bumping that shit right there,” that’s what it’s all about.
You feel like it compares to Illmatic?
Nah. Illmatic, I could never touch that. Shit is always going to reign supreme because, why would I want to...The same way this album will always reign supreme on its own level and shit like that. There’s no way I’d be able to top Hip Hop Is Dead. The excitement of this album has me so excited for the next one. And the next one. I’m going to let it go and I’m just waiting for a little bit more niggas to spit my name and I’m going in.
It’s possible that I’m so energetic after this that I’m not going to stop recording after that, once I’m in the zone I’m not stopping recording. The next one is going to be huge. This one here is beautiful. But the next one is going to be more beautiful.
You remember in a song when Biggie said, “It was all a dream I used to read Word Up magazine/Salt N’ Pepa and Heavy D everyday in the limousine?” He said in an interview that he really thought it was like that. The rap game is a different type of thing.
So you feel like it’s energized you so much, that in spirit of competition you might start going back at dudes?
Anything is possible. I know I’m being a role model and I’m being a rap leader right now and so what I do affects the community. There are still possibilities though, I can’t front. It’s still in me for the niggas that forgot. It’s in me, it’s just there aren’t any real niggas anymore. Nobody really to go at it with. I still will stoop down to these nigga's levels. It shouldn't be like that, I know I’m years beyond niggas.
Niggas are on their third album, fourth album, fourth year, rapping so they’re new and taking shots at main niggas. So I really give niggas passes because they want me to immortalize them when I say their name, but they are not worthy of it yet. So I might skip the rules and bend the rules a little bit just to spite somebody. I don’t know I’m trying to figure it out but right now, I’m chilling.
So there’s no one out right now that speaks your name that deserves a response?
I got a quote that says, “Oh you went platinum? Yeah that’s nice/Let me see you do the same shit twice/Three times four times then a couple of mo’ times/Pre-amateur night is show time.” They’re not there yet and people think if you have a record or a hot moment that you’re really there. You’re really no where near it. No where close to the audience and to that excitement that when your record is hot you really feel like you are, but when it cools down and you’re back at the studio and you have to re-create it and you have to realize you’re not even in one of my shoes yet. So no there’s absolutely nobody.
Are you excited right now? Is there anyone out there that has you excited right now?
I try to listen to what’s popping. I try to hear it as it comes. I was excited about Papoose now I’m waiting for the album, I’m excited about this nigga Aasim, I don’t know. I like Game, I like Kanye West and I like Chamillionaire and T.I. And of course, the legends, like Outkast, Scarface, and Jay. Other than that there are a few niggas I don’t know. I danced to Dipset, I like everything that’s going on I just don’t hear it that much. I like to zone out with it in the car and there’s not a lot of shit that I could ride to and zone out to. My ear’s open. Nigga's going to have to bump my shit at night, I want it at night. Smoke ‘till they eyes bleed and bump my shit.
It’s been over a year since the big thing when you came out with Jay for the concert. Over the course of last year, building with him and working with him, do you feel like you guys have built a genuine friendship?
Nigga is artist. I don’t think niggas are here to be friends or buddies or nothing like that. Niggas are artists, when niggas see each other niggas see each other. It goes for everybody. So my friends have been my friends and these nigga’s are my niggas, other than that were related through music.
So you wouldn't consider him a friend then?
That’s a serious question right there, that’s not a fair question.
It’s not to be unfair, people tell me, “Yo, after college you don’t make any real friends because all the people then are fake.”
You know what’s funny. You remember in a song when Biggie said, “It was all a dream I used to read Word Up magazine/Salt N’ Pepa and Heavy D everyday in the limousine?” He said in an interview that he really thought it was like that. The rap game is a different type of thing and I don’t really know how to describe it.
What do you mean when he said that in the song and that what he saw is a different thing?
You seem like you’re looking at it the way Biggie looked at it, the way I looked at it. Motherfuckers out here are trying to get their hustle on, their grind on. There’s a lot of snakes and a lot of bullshit, a lot of fuckery, so I don’t think anybody really trusts anybody like that. But other than that everybody’s cool. I’m really cool with Jay he’s a really cool motherfucker actually.