Block: The East Sida Chevy Rida

Russell “Block” Spencer is the definition of a hustler. He has his hands on many positions in today's Hip-Hop; CEO of Block Entertainment, President of Bad Boy South, 1/3 owner of Sho Nuff Records, and is the ear to the streets to two of the industry's most important executives Lyor Cohn and Kevin Liles. Block takes time with WordofSouth.com to give us updates on his movement.

WordofSouth: What's going on Block?

Block: Chillin' bruh.

WordofSouth: What is going on with Block ENT. right now?

Block: You know we working on the whole Block ENT movement and like you said we got the Yung Joc “Hustlenomics” coming out July 31st. I got Boyz N Da Hood and their new one is called “Back Up N Da Chevy” and they come out August 7th. I got a new member of Boyz N Da Hood that replaced Jeezy and he coming out September 25th, Gorilla Zoe “Welcome To The Zoo.” I'm doing a lot of work with independent artists work too. My whole movement consists of niggas really on the grind, so any niggas out there really doing their own thing independently, I got an independent company too coming out. That's basically gonna be like a Master P movement. Remember how when Master P was putting out niggas everything month?

WordofSouth: Yeah

Block: That's what I'm gonna do with independent cats that really got a hit single and a movement of their own and just need me to help them out. That's what I'm finna start doing too heavy. The first cat on there called Young Dirty, a young 21 year old cat that's really about his grind. Yeah, I'm doing a movie too man, me and Ice Cube called “Down By Law” and that's gon' come out through Paramount and it's about a gang that was in Atlanta during the mid 80's, so we gon' crank that up,

WordofSouth: How did you and Ice Cube hook up for a movie?

Block: I met Cube a couple of years ago, I've been knowing Cube for a minute and we had a relationship through my homeboy Tony Draper from when I was the President of Suave House back in the days. Tony hooked me up with Cube back in the day. When me and Cube started talking we started talking about some shit and he's also on Boyz N Da Hood album on a song called “Where The Choppers At.” We started politicking and Cube like the way I move so he wanted to do whatever it takes to help me out. I told him that's what I needed to do which was a movie. It really started with him directing a video for me, but I said “fuck the video” and he agreed to do the movie regardless.

WordofSouth: Is movies going to be something that you get more into in the future?

Block: Yeah man, you know I'm trying to do the whole entertainment thing man, everything. I'm trying to do a clothing line, movies, a reality show which is called “Welcome To My Block” and that's about me actually going to different hoods and different clubs finding acts, not just them coming to my studio and camping out in my studio. The cameras will follow me to the hoods. I went out to LA and I was in the middle of WATTS, going to the Southside of Chicago following me around and it ain't gonna be no play play, real shit, real hustling and grindin', niggas who really wanna get out the streets and pursue their dreams. That's what it's about; Block Entertainment is about empowering young niggas in the hoods because I was one of them. That's the way I'm gon' give back to niggas who really doing their thing and don't have outlets, I'm here for them.

WordofSouth: What's the deal with Yung Joc's new project?

Block: Joc in the studio right now doing “Hustlenomics” and the reason we named the album “Hustlenomics” is because everyone running around saying that Hip-Hop is dead and etc…so we went out and hustled up everybody man. We went and got Game and Jim Jones on a song together, Jazze Pha and Trick Daddy on a song together; he got 8Ball & MJG, Twista, Boyz N Da Hood, Mary J Blige, Monica, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross all on the album. He's actually hustling with the whole game of Hip-Hop man and that albums crazy.

WordofSouth: How did Gorilla Zoe become a member of Boyz N Da Hood?

Block: Zoe came through to the studio by another producer I had on Yung Joc album and the producer was working with Zoe. I met Zoe and he liked the movement that I had, so I started watching him a couple of months and I saw that he had a movement of his own and I saw his grind and that dude wasn't going to give up and I like them type niggas. I like them niggas that's gone do it with or without me or anybody else in the business and he was one of them cats that really showed me and that's what I like. I like a nigga that's got his own shit mane, I ain't no hater. A lot of these niggas treat niggas like they bitches, like they hoes, and handcuff they artists, but I ain't like that and I ain't never been that type of nigga because I always want people around me to have something. That what type of nigga Zoe is man, Zoe gon' get it with or without me, Joc is the same way, and those the type of niggas I like to fuck with. I kind of watched Zoe move and saw Zoe go to a lot of clubs drawing some shows and doing his thing. I was like fuck it, this nigga represents the streets, the rough part of the streets, and that's what I needed this time. The first time I had a hustler and this time I got a real grimy ass nigga whose gonna get it regardless.

WordofSouth: Now last year there was a lot of speculation about Lil' Wayne, T.I. and even Rick Ross being added to the group. Was that all rumors or truth?

Block: Wayne was actually gonna be in Boyz N Da Hood, Wayne, Rick Ross all them was gonna be in the group, but you know how the labels are, but they wouldn't clear Wayne to be in the group. The label and the distributing company didn't really want Wayne to be in the group because that's really all they had. Wayne being in Boyz N Da Hood would have been kind of crazy, but the labels wouldn't clear Wayne to be in the group. Rick Ross with Def Jam, they wouldn't clear them either even though he's my artist, he's partially my artists too.

WordofSouth: So in your opinion, what should fans expect from the new Boyz N Da Hood album?

Block: We kind of like picked up where we left it. We really represent the streets man; we really really live what we say. We rap about just some real thorough shit man, no play play, no studio gangstas, no living another nigga life, this is what we do and that's what they can expect.

WordofSouth: Now sales have been declining, from a CEO perspective what do you think should be done for album sales to increase?

Block: You got to do more shit to the packaging, like add a DVD, add a T-Shirt, and add different things like bonus tracks or hidden tracks. You got to get a way to get a person to go to the record store. It's an assessment now that if your record ain't hot they ain't getting it.

WordofSouth: What kind of CEO is Block? Are you one to be with your artists or one that lets them do their thing?

Block: I'm the type of that nigga that jump in with my niggas; I'm in the Chevy with my niggas. I may help create, take records to other levels because I've been in the game since 94, so I know how to make a record and know how keep the hood, but also know how to get the machine behind us and push to give us the money we need to really grind and hustle. I'm kind of the mediator between the artist and the label. When I get in man I grind with these cats.

WordofSouth: Last year paid off for you because you ended up getting a new deal for Block Entertainment. How did you end up getting that done?

Block: Actually when Lyor first came to Warner Music Group I was in negotiation of signing Boyz N Da Hood with Dr. Dre and Puff and Lyor came into play too with Warner Music Group taking over Warner Bros/Atlantic, and now Asylum. Lyor wanted to sign me back then, but I felt like it would take a good year or two to get going, just like I assumed it did, and that's about how long it took. Boyz N Da Hood needed to be out right then, so I couldn't sacrifice the buzz and the shit that I created, so I just told Lyor when he ready for me, I'd be waiting for me. When he got ready for me he gave me the $15 million deal you know him and Puff and that's the first deal, I'm about to re-up on my deal too. That was the first deal and that deals up in like six month, so I'm about to re-up. He gave me that paper and I delivered and that's how I became the head consultant for Warner Music Group. I'm over Warner Bros, Atlantic, and Asylum when it comes to consulting.

WordofSouth: What are your daily duties as a consultant?

Block: When Lyor (Cohn) or Kevin (Liles) do an album I consult them and let them know what the streets like and what the streets want and how far we should pump a record. I'm their ears and they eyes because they stuck in big buildings. What I will say about Lyor and them, they will come and get in the hood with ya know, they will walk the hoods with you, and they have been to my hoods a couple of times. It's kind of hard when you ain't in the shoulder pads, being in the box or on the sideline coaching, so sometimes you gotta throw them in the game and that's what I do ya know, I'm in the game and I know how it feels. They believe in me and my movement enough to be like that's what we gon' do. I'm the ears and the eyes to the streets because the streets are running the industry man.

WordofSouth: Speaking of the streets, you recently did a mixtape with DJ Drama. How did that come about this go round?

Block: Well, you know Drama, when Drama got out of jail he really wanted to make an impact and really wanted to make a CD that really really hit home, so he came to me. I had a nice title, “American Gangsta”, so he wanted me to be on the cover for the “Gangsta Grillz.” He came to me and said he wanted to do a real street edgy type tape and that's what I gave him,

WordofSouth: Being that you've known him for years, did you expect him to reach the status that he is at now?

Block: Yeah, because I saw dude grind, dude was grindin', he believed in himself and whenever you believe in yourself and when you put God first and believe in yourself there's nothing that's not possible. I saw him Grind and Drama really turned from nothing into something and it's kind of hard to not get what you
want when you believe in those things.

WordofSouth: Last time that I interviewed you we talked about your “Feed The Hungry Project.” When do you expect to release that?

Block: I'm a release that around Christmas time or around the first part of the year. I've went around these cities and I've met a lot of artists and they really have outlets. I want to take their record with big big big names and that's the whole Feed The Hungry movement, really helping niggas out, empowering them, and taking niggas to another level without being locked down to a label situation before learning the game. A lot of us we get into the game and we sacrifice us and our career and then we'll get paid off of someone else's career that we bring in. I think doing it this way; I think they can really gain an advantage by learning the game. The game ain't easy, but this what Feed The Hungry is all about, to prolong their career and learn the game.

WordofSouth: What would be the criteria or an independent artist to be placed on this compilation?

Block: When I come to your city, for example, when I come to Orlando, Miami, or South Carolina, one of the first places that I go to is the radio station because them DJ's should tell me who grindin', who dope, who in the club. I am looking for them niggas, hood niggas who really put the muscle in their hoods and the streets way before we get there. Don't just wait till we get there, find us, and then hand us a CD. You got to be on your block first and then on your city, so those the guys I want when I come to the city and people talk about you, you buzzing, and all that. Them the type of niggas that I need, creating your own buzz in the hood.

WordofSouth: Now earlier we spoke about clearing artists for projects, would you have any issues with clearing a major artist to work with an independent artist on this?

Block: My compilation album will be cool because most labels will clear us to do a song, they may trip on a single, but they will clear the artist getting on the record. It will be cool because I have relationships with a lot of the Presidents, so I'm cool on clearing a song or two, but clearing an artist for a whole album it will be kind of hard.

WordofSouth: What would be a reason for a label to not clear their artist for an album or even a group project?

Block: Because it takes away from what they're doing, it kind of holds back on moving their artists. For example if someone wants to be in a group they have to hold their solo career because you actually need at least three months to go around and promote what you're doing with your group. During the three months you could be creating shit for yourself, so it's kind of giving away to a solo project, and it does give away especially with an artist like Lil Wayne who is hot year round.

WordofSouth: Anything else to mention?

Block: I want to teach niggas, that's my whole movement man, teaching niggas about this game man.

Interview by: Leon Bailey

Support

Featured artist

Yung Joc

Atlanta native Yung Joc is a new comer to the game but has the persona of an established rapper...
Read more »