By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
If you're from the hood and you're going to continue to try and live that life and thug it out, you're going to be in situations like that, like the Un and Jay-Z situation that came about, you know what I'm saying? But it's up to Jay-Z to say, "Man, you know what? It's ain't worth me going here to get into this fight with Un. I just have to be a better businessman about it. If Un bootlegged my music, I've gotta find a way to go around it."
Definitely, in the hip-hop community, we're going to be in nightclubs where those kinds of things are going to happen. It's up to you not to get caught up in it. That's how I look at it. I try to avoid anybody putting me in a predicament where they'll send me to the penitentiary. I try my best to stay out of those situations. I'm in the record business, you know? That's what I try to conduct -- business at all times. I try to think about different things before I make a decision on how I'm a react.
But how do you stay out of certain situations? Say, for example, you're walking through a club and some guy comes up and wants to test you on some, you know, "I'm in that mood" kind of thing. How do you avoid those kinds of situations?
You really can't avoid it because it's going to come. I look at it like this. If I don't let no one put their hands on me, man, then we're all right. I know how to walk away. Talk, all that ain't going to bother me. As long as you don't put your hands on me, man, then we're all right. But I couldn't tell you, if they put their hands on me, how I'm going to handle the situation. I'm telling you the truth, you know? But words, I'm not going to let words ... I've been blessed, man. I'm not going to let what nobody say hurt me or make me want to lose everything I've worked hard for. That's the truth. As long as they don't put their hands on me, I can deal with it. And I won't put my hands on nobody.
Do you feel that record labels have a responsibility to mentor their artists?
It's not just record labels; it takes managers, it takes lawyers, and it takes a team of people to help artists understand that. Like, tell them what to do with your money. Don't make these mistakes.
But how are you going to tell an artist not to hang with his homeboys? You really can't tell him that, you know what I'm saying? You hope that nothing happens where they'll lose everything or get into a situation that they'll regret, or regret going out to the nightclub, and my friends got into some problems that night. So you just try your best to keep talking to them and surround them around positive people that help them understand that you don't have to thug it out all the time. That's the best way I can look at it. A record company can sit them down with managers, lawyers, accountants, and everybody, and sit down on top of 'em and guide them in the right direction.
Look, 50 Cent's got bodyguards all around him so he can stay away from it, because he's bodyguard up! Ain't nobody can get to him and touch him. But in other artists' situations, they might be in a nightclub where they can get into those kinds of situations. So that's the best I can tell them, man. I try my best to ... I won't say preach to them, but I do preach to them and let them know.
Do you feel like Trina's content is too explicit for young people?
I would say that Trina's not good for people thirteen and under. It's like an R-rated movie for thirteen and older, and it's up to the parents to make that decision as to what music they'll let they kids listen to. I wouldn't buy her album for my seven-year-old daughter; I wouldn't buy no album for her like that. But when you give it to these teenage girls that's in high school, around that age, yeah, that's when certain experiences start taking effect.
Going into images, with Trick being a thug and Trina, well, being Trina, do you see any residual effects from that, such as how people perceive Southern hip-hop as oversexed and thugged-out?
We're in the thuggin' era of music with 50 Cent and Trick Daddy. There's thuggin' going on all around the country, so it ain't really just a Southern type of thuggin'. Trick just gave his side of thuggin' from a down South point of view. 50 Cent give his thuggin' point of view from an up North point of view.
Trina and Lil' Kim is basically saying the same thing. But Kim telling you how the ladies do it up North and Trina give it to you on how the ladies do it down South, know what I'm saying? Now you got Jacki-O saying, "Nookie real good." She can talk about her nookie because Trina opened the door for these kinds of opportunities....