8ball & MJg intervieweb by Concrete

Concrete: What are you guys currently working on?

8 Ball: Right now we are working on the next album with Bad Boy. The name of it is Pure American Pimpin'. We've got Big Boi from Outkast, T.I., Juvenile, Jazze Phae, Lil John, Avant, Floetry… and just a lot of gritty 8 Ball and MJG. We call this album Pure American Pimpin' because it's like back to basics for us.

Concrete: What's the difference, if any, now that you are with Bad Boy compared to when you guys were coming up?

MJG: It's really the same. There is a lot the same. It's different machine that we are working with now, but our formula and work habits and ethics are the same. We still use the same formula and patterns but we are always trying to sharpen it up a little more each year.

8 Ball: And being with Bad Boy also adds a a bigger appeal to us for some people. It definitely boosted our black star power being associated with a business man and an entertainer like Diddy. That's the difference right there. We are on a “major” right now.

Concrete: Who are y'all working with on the production for this next project?

8 Ball: We're really all over the place. We've got Sean Dre again. We did a song called “They Fightin” with Jazze Phae. MJG did one with me him and Twista. Plus Drum Majors did the one with Big Boi on it. Lil John did one. DJ Toomp did the one with T.I.P. on it. DJ Paul and Juicy J are on the album. They did a song that they're on with us. We're just all over the place with he album. Montana tracks also did some work on the album. We've got features with out artists Devius and Ammo. Devius is on 8 Ways Entertainment and Ammo is on MJG Music. Mac E is also on MJG Music and Montana produces for both of us. Currently, we've probably got five or six more songs that we want to do so it isn't all the way finished yet.

Concrete: Now that you are both stepping into roles as label heads, what are some of the plans in 2006 for each of the labels?

8 Ball: We definitely have Montana. He's got a sound of his own. It's Lil' John and Dre. He's still got soul but he has a sound of his own. A lot of the albums coming out will be [produced by him]. Like sixty seven percent will be his. That includes Devius on 8 Ways Entertainment. His album will be out next year. Ammo is on MJG Music and his album will be out next year. Mac E is coming soon too. I've got an 8 Ball Presents… album coming out in December or January. It's 8 Ball Presents The M Game. “M” like Memphis. It's just all of us. That's in the near future.

Concrete: The whole M Town “get crunk” and “get buck” style and sound is really exploding around the world these days. Do you fear that overexposure will play it out?

8 Ball: This is a two part answer because [MJG] has something to say and I have something.

MJG: It might kill the era, but that's really just an era created by hype anyway. We were doing this type of music before they were calling it the “get crunk era.” We really don't rely on what they call the era. We are just trying to make good music and basically, stick to the format. When we look at material, we don't sit down and try to make it fit with the “get crunk era.” It's not really something that we worry about. If cats are really crafting their stuff for that, they are the ones that will be worse off…

8 Ball: ... They're the ones that are going to be worried. It's those cats that are bragging because they've been rapping for two years and their career might not last more than two years. That's why some of the cats that are gimmick rappers from the South need to be worried. But 8 Ball and MJG [don't have to be worried]. Our first album came out in 1993. Three-6 Mafia's first album came out in 1995. In 2005 we have the number two single in the nation, right now. This is ten, almost fifteen years later, so we're not worried. We are going to do us. We've got a fan base of a million people that love what we do and as long as we keep it true to them, they're going to keep it true to us.

Concrete: There are a lot of people that have been rapping for two years that think that it's easy to jump on. Being two of the pioneers of the Southern rap foundation, what do you say to that mentality.

MJG: It ain't easy because you really have to last ten years to be able to think from the ten year mentality. You have to last ten first, and that's a struggle within itself. It's like when you get over the five year hump. It really puts you in a different state of mind. After another five year you're in a whole other state of mind. You learn something that you can only learn from experience to help you go another five years. It takes being in over ten years to survive to fifteen years. For most artists, whether it's in country or rock and roll, they don't last that long.

8 Ball: It's only a handful that last that long in the game, period. We are in the age where everything is in a hurry. We're in the fast food, drive thru, ipod, credit card age. That's what our kids are into. Our generation and the generation before us, we grew up on a lot of different kinds music like soul, R&B and blues. Things other than rap. There's a generation now that grew up on straight hip-hop. Young mammas that were our age were having kids that are between fourteen and eighteen years old that grew up listening to nothing but 8 Ball and MJG, The Geto Boys and N.W.A. You know what I'm sayin'?

Concrete: Bad Boy has always dealt with mostly East Coast artists. In the beginning, was there any problem for them understanding how to relate to you or market a Southern group?

8 Ball: The relationship is better now. I still don't think that we completely see eye to eye on a lot of things because we are from different cultures. It's definitely better though.

Concrete: Now that Southern rap music has gotten so large, do you think that people in other regions understand the difference in the cultures?

MJG: It's been helping a lot. I guess it takes number one hits out of different regions for people to understand the other regions better. The DJs and the stations have to help by breaking records from other regions. Everybody has got to work together but it's all still a pecking order.

8 Ball: We still have room to grow . After all of these years, the best place for us is still the South. We did the Cali and the New York and the overseas thing, but to this day the Southern region is the heart [of our fan base]. We could never go to New York or go to Cali and be cool.

Concrete: You moved to Houston about early on in your career. How did that play into your development as a group?

MJG: That's what helped boost our career. We knew that if we could get down there and fit in with those cats we would be good. They're kind of in their own little world down there. We didn't have anything to lose at the time so we just got down on that scene. We were able to get in there and fit in and gain that local love.

8 Ball: There is a very big independent scene there.

MJG: We came out on the chart number 99 in the top 100. It was there for a minute before it finally started lifting up. we wound up being in the top ten.

8 Ball: I think that just living down there, we reached such a bigger and a different audience. We had done all that we could do in Memphis and all of the surrounding areas of Memphis. At the time when we moved to Houston it was like new territory. We still went from Florida to Alabama. Chicago and Atlanta have always been two of our best cities. No matter where we were based out of, we have always flourished. It ain't always been lovely but it ain't always been bad either.

Concrete: Do you have anything else that you would like to say to our readers?

8 Ball: Pure American Pimpin' in stores July 18. Devius, 8 Ways Entertainment, Ammo and Mac E, MJG Music, 8 Ball Presents… The M Game in 2006.

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