For the generation who grew up bumping "Ice Cream Man" and watching I'm Bout It, it can still be jarring to see what Master P has transformed into over the last decade. Simply put, the man also known as Percy Miller has grown up, embracing fatherhood and moving past his so-called "gangster rap" past. His post-millennial music hasn't found much success, but P has expanded his brand to include children's entertainment, books, Dancing With The Stars and even a post as the Youth Ambassador for the NAACP.
Earlier this year, P announced his plans to launch his own TV station called Better Black TV, and while the network is still in planning stages, P's first proper show No Excuses is premiering this Monday (October 26) on VH1. The pilot follows a former gangbanger named Torrie who can't seem to get a straight job to support his kids. Enter P. Miller, who convinces Torrie to stop making excuses and shows him how to get his life together. We recently spoke with P for the latest installment of "YouTubin' With The Stars"—read on to hear his commentary on No Excuses, his daughter's new music video, his classic Converse sneaker commercial, and more...
Interview By Brendan Frederick
VIDEO: A Scene From VH1's No Excuses (2009)
P SAYS: "This will change the way people think about VH1—it's a positive show. This is who I evolved into...I realized that I could have more to offer to people than just hip-hop. My goal is to replace [BET founder] Bob Johnson, and that's why I started Better Black TV, so people can realize that if you educate yourself and you get your mind right, you can be whatever. I mean, now that Obama is the first African American president, you can be a president if you want to!"
"In 2010, Better Black TV will be up and running. It's just a lot that you have to go through, getting all these different certifications, federal approvals, and it takes time. It's not something that can happen overnight. And while I'm in that process right now, I'm saying, let me take some of my shows like No Excuses and take it to other networks so people can see that this is the type of quality shows we're making. And this is what you would see eventually on Better Black TV. You'll see entertainment and education together—that's what it's about with me."
VIDEO: Master P x Converse Sneaker Commercial (1999)
P SAYS: "That was a great commercial. I was the first rapper to have a tennis shoe deal, and that opened up doors for so many other rappers and entertainers. My whole thing is thinking outside the box and doing things that other people aren't doing. I mean, that's what thinking big is about. As hip-hop artists, entrepreneurs, business people, we really gotta think outside the box, because we don't realize that we've set a lot of trends, we've been broke a lot of stereotypes that the world has gotta look at what we're doing and take it serious."
Complex: If a sneaker collector wanted to get his hands on a pair of the original MP Converse shoes, where could they find them?
P SAYS: "You can go to Converse and you could also go to P.Millerclothing.com and you could get some." [Ed. Note: that website does not exist. We think maybe he meant PMillerDesigns.com, but they also do not have any MP Sneakers. The hunt continues!]
VIDEO: Cymphonique (a.k.a. Master P's daughter) "Lil' Miss Swagger" (2009)
P SAYS: "She could be the next Beyoncé, the next Mariah Carey, as long as she works on her talent and keeps going. Now she's on Disney's The Next Best Thing, which is about the 5 top talented kids in America—it's like American Idol for Disney. I think she could have a promising career, the same as Romeo. But what I'm stressing with her is education. I want you to get your education first. I look at a lot of these talented kids, they end up getting in all this trouble because they never really got a real education behind them, they only been in it for the money. I'm just so proud that she has talent and if she had an education to go with it, she can be as big as Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus in the next couple of years."
VIDEO: Master P "Gutta Time" (Directed By Alex LeMay) (2007)
P SAYS: "To be honest with you, on this video we worked with a director who wanted to showcase how we stereotype people. Like how every African-American male is a gangbanger, or every white person is a Ku Klux Klan. That was the director, that's what he wanted to do and he was showcasing that. Through your eyes you might see somebody, but what if they not like that? What if they good people? That's where that whole concept came from and I thought it was great. I think that we gotta stop looking at people and judging them by how they look. And not really getting to know people and not giving a person a chance. We not living in the days when the older generation was living in where they look like that. Times have changed. You know, every girl is not a hoochie mama. So that's where that whole concept came from, from that director."
VIDEO: West Coast Bad Boyz f/ King George, Master P, Ray Luv, Dangerous Dame, Lil Ric, JT The Bigga Figga, Mac Spoon, Rappin' 4-Tay, The Delinquents, Toby T, The Perk, Erase E & Keylo "Peace 2 Da Streets" (1994)
P SAYS: "Crime was up in the Bay and we was losing a lot of young people. We all got together and said, You know what, we gotta put some peace in the streets. Even when I was on the streets, I was into trying to do something to help make a difference. I think that's what people gotta realize. If we stop pointing the finger, and do our part, we can make it better. Even if it's at our own level. That was a movement. At the time, that was a movement. We brought a lot of people together from a whole bunch of different cultures and everybody showed that we all have the same Love. I directed the video and shot it in Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland and Vallejo."