protege to self-made street monster,Ice "Billion" Berg
has blazed his way through the rap industry since signing with the 305 Mayor's Dunk Ryder Records back in 2007.
That label has folded due to what Berg calls "bad business decisions" on the part of Trick's brother Charles Young Jr. But one smart move they made was to lock him into a contract that doesn't expire till next year in March.
Now with a deal on the table from Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group, Berg can buy his way out with cold hard cash and the promise of a percentage of future sales. Or he can keep building his name and wait it out.
Berg recently released a video blog explaining the situation, and we called him up for more details. Here's what he had to say.
Crossfade: First of all, how'd you get started in the rap game?
Ice "Billion" Berg: Well, I was doin' mixtapes and stuff, just giving 'em out at my high school, Norland High, for like two or three years before I got with Dunk Ryder Records. I'm from out the Norland, Carol City area. I had me a little buzz going there, and Trick put on a showcase, where he was trying people out for Dunk Ryder Records and I been dealing with him since then, since like '06 or early '07. Since I was about 15 or 16.
How'd you get started rapping?
I been rappin' and having a passion for music forever. My dad, Coach, who my manager now, wrote me some raps when I was little. And then I really got serious after middle school, the summer right before I got to high school. I was recording on a serious tip, not all the way professional, but I had about five or six songs recorded.
So you made it happen yourself.
Yeah, everything. I had a mini-fanbase before Trick. When MySpace was really poppin' and people who knew me and all. Trick and them, they ain't just deal with me from being a cute lil' kid. I had fans, and talent, and knowledge, and experience.
So then you had the Dunk Ryders behind you.
I signed to them for no money, just to rap with Trick. Just to be a fan,
and have that much love for an artist, I really give him the utmost respect to this day. He's
like an idol. I'm not the mad rapper back here saying, "Fuck Trick." At the end of the day,
I'm still a fan. I got respect. I'm
not dissing the same dude who was there to help me get from the level I was once at.
But he's still got you under contract, right? And you're trying to keep it moving?
I wanna get it clear, it's not all Trick's doin', but Trick's brother Charles Young Jr., they call him Chuck. His pops owns Diamonds. It's him and his brother. I wanna clear it up that Chuck and Trick is the two guys in cahoots. I signed for Trick, I ain't know Chuck, but he was the one handlin' his business.
What's the deal with the contract?
Well, the contract up next year March, and I been had two or three deals on the table. Rick Ross and MMG want to sign me and been real serious about signing me. Ross offered me the deal, so I was like, "Let me clean up the situation with Trick."
What kind of deal did Ross offer you?
Rick Ross, can't speak on that. It's a nice one, a good one. He just
popped up to one of my shows at G5 and he say, "I'm loving your grind, I
wanna deal with ya."
What did the Dunk Ryders want to release you?
At first, they wanted way too much. Then they came back with another number, still a pretty penny, tens of thousands. So I went out and came up with it, and they say they want 25 percent and points off my next three or four albums, and that's absurd when they didn't even help me on my last three or four mixtapes.
So now what?
Financially, I'm not hurting. I'm still booked for shows two or three times every week. I just feel it's time for me to grow and get that next level.
How old are you now?
Where are you doing these two or three shows a week?
All throughout the state, from Key West to the Panhandle and South Georgia. Last August, I did the Turks and Caicos for damn near 1,500 to 2,000 people. They all paid shows, no promo, and I'm still doing features and everything, and getting calls every day. I got a solid, loyal fanbase, throughout Florida especially. People know my shit like the back of they hand.And I got a new mixtape Strictly for the Streets 3 dropping Fourth of July.
So when the contract is up next year what happens?
The contract expires and it's done like nothing.
But if you wanna get out of it early, it's gonna cost you.
It was about to happen. I'm thinking I'm 'bout to make this move. When I signed with Trick, I ain't have no lawyer. I made a mistake as a shorty. Make sure you have a lawyer and your business right, don't just sign cause they some "real niggas." For them to turn around and do this to me... I'm upset.
To this day, I never seen a publishing check. I don't even know what one looks like. They sold a song I wrote to Khaled for his album ... No royalty check or publishing. I wrote three or four songs, I wrote "Fuck the Other Side," no check for that. I could go down the line, and I ain't complaining. I just want my freedom.
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Until then, I'm just grinding. I'm working with Trina. I got a mixtape comin' with Ace Hood, and one with Tom G out of Tampa. I spoke to both of them personally.