Thursday, March 25, 2010

8Ball & MJG: Still Comin’ Out Hard (Interview) 8Ball & MJG are on for an exclusive interview.
What’s going on?

Both: We’re doing alright. Everything is good on our end. It’s been a while since the fans heard from you. The Grand Hustle signing was announced a while ago. After that, you stayed in the shadows a little bit. What have you been up to since the signing was announced?

8Ball: It’s kind of been the same old thing. We’ve been in the studio and doing a couple of shows here and there. We really just took time out to do the things we wanted to and properly work on the new album. Why Grand Hustle? When it came down to it, why was that the selection you made?

Both: Why not?

MJG: It’s a good situation. We’ve known Tip [T.I.] for a little bit and a lot of them cats over there came up off our stuff. It was just a good choice at the time. Big Du [Duprano] is our manager over at Push Management, him and Jason Geter [CEO of Grand Hustle] have a good relationship and they discussed the deal for a while. It just seemed like a good thing for the time. Shortly afterwards, T.I. got locked up. Did that affect your situation at all?

8Ball: Not really. Grand Hustle has been business as usual. It probably affected him the most out of anybody. As far as affecting us, I don’t think it affected us. “Ten Toes Down” is the name of the album and it’s coming April 6th. Are there any plans to drop a mixtape before the album?

MJG: Yeah. It’s on the way. I’ll just say that. It’s being hosted by DJ MLK & DJ Scream and it’s on the way. It’s called “Still Comin out Hard.” Is there a certain date for it at all?

MJG: It should be coming soon. We don’t have a date but MLK & Scream are setting everything up. So that’s coming soon. The title of the album is “Ten Toes Down” as mentioned. I want the two of you to explain that.

8Ball: It’s just fitting. Anybody from any hood in America, you’ve heard somebody say their ten toes down. Ten toes down just means we have our feet on the ground and head in the sky. That’s really the definition of everything. We’re just ten toes down about what we do and we’re real about what we do. That’s basically what it means. Ok. Did you guys do anything differently on this album that you haven’t done previously?

MJG: Most of it was pretty much using the same 8Ball & MJG format. We just did our deal. We probably have a couple of features on the album with people that we’ve never worked with before. Will get into that. The first single and video released is “Ten Toes Down.” Talk to us about why you choose that to be the first track to roll out. It does represent some of that classic 8Ball & MJG rugged sound.

8Ball: Yeah and that’s basically one of the reasons why we choose this song. It definitely represents our sound. It kind of represents how we feel right now too about us and everything in general. We thought it would be a great representation of 8Ball & MJG music and everything 8Ball & MJG do. As mentioned, it’s definitely rugged. Some fans felt some of the songs on your two Bad Boy Records releases weren’t as rugged as they could be. Was that a goal to re introduce that on this album?

MJG: I wouldn’t actually say rugged, but some of this production is a little more fitting with 8Ball & MJG because we had a lot of production done by Memphis producers [on this album]. So you took it back home and worked with some Memphis producers on this album. You’ve obviously worked with so many different people from different states and countries over your long careers; do you feel Memphis producers give you the best sound for 8Ball & MJG?

8Ball: I definitely think a Memphis producer like Drumma Boy in general because that’s who we’re talking about, a cat like Drumma Boy is already good at what he does and he really knows 8Ball & MJG and the Memphis sound which is in him. He just knows it. We definitely got together with him and just pulled out some definite 8Ball & MJG classics. On this album, we broke it down to certain people to do a lot of stuff to get that raw 8Ball & MJG sound. It’s our sound and not anybody else’s sound. No doubt. Speaking of 8Ball & MJG classics, at the end of the “Ten Toes Down” video, there is a snippet video of your classic record “Lay it down.” That was really cool but also a bit random to fans. Why was that done?

MJG: We felt it was fitting with the video. At that point, a fight had just broken out. We always felt “Lay it down” was one of those fight songs in the club. It was only fitting to put that song right there to fit along with the fight scene and to make people reminisce back to “Lay it down.”

8Ball: And also to give all the new fans, cats who probably don’t know about that part of 8Ball & MJG, we wanted to show them where it all came from. I like that. You mentioned the situation over with Duprano at Push Management and knowing T.I. which brought forth the Grand Hustle deal, so tell us how E1 ended up becoming the distributor for the album.

8Ball: We really were just honestly trying to keep it at a certain level. That’s really the best move for us to make as far as where we’re at right now with 8Ball & MJG. That’s the best move for us as far as distribution. E1 made the most sense for us. MJG, you mentioned earlier working with some people on this album that you never did before. Name off some of the guest appearances on the project.

MJG: We have a song with Bun B of UGK; it’s a track produced by David Banner called “I don’t give a Fuck.” We have a song called “Smokin, & Chokin” produced by Nitti Beats and that’s featuring Snoop Dogg. We got a track called “We Come From” featuring David Banner rapping. We have a remix of “Ten Toes Down” with Lil Boosie on it.

8Ball: That’s out in the mixtape world right now. You can go get that right now. DJ Smallz and a lot of other cats [are using it on their mixtapes]. Don’t forget Young Dro on “DJ Bring it Back”, the single.

MJG: Yeah, we got Young Drizzle AKA Young Dro on the single “DJ Bring it Back.”

8Ball: And T.I. is of course on the album. That’s the most of it. The album isn’t really over flooded with guest appearances. Soulja Boy also. That’s about it though. So Snoop Dogg, Bun B, T.I., David Banner, Soulja Boy, and Lil Boosie.

8Ball: Lil Boosie isn’t on the album. “Ten Toes Down” the remix with Lil Boosie isn’t included on the album. That’s just for the mixtapes. T.I. & Soulja Boy are also on the album, correct. I know you mentioned Drumma Boy and Memphis producers. You have a couple beats on the album from Drumma Boy. Who else produced on the record?

8Ball: Drumma Boy, Nitti, Nard & B and that boy Mo B. Dick did a classic. We have a cat named Raz of the Grand Hustle click. Young Swizzo from Memphis did one. That’s really about it because Drumma Boy did like five beats on the album. He went and got us a couple of them that got us some real classic 8Ball & MJG songs. “Bring it back” is the second single featuring Young Dro. It was just added to radio recently and it’s getting a lot of spins already. That’s the official second single. Is the video coming for that?

MJG: Yeah. And that’s the official first single because we consider “Ten Toes Down” the street single. “DJ Bring it Back” is the official single for the album. That’s what we’re giving to the world and let them tell us what they think about it. Breaking away from the album a bit, 8Ball & MJG have a lot of group albums but also do solo’s as well. Are there any more solo albums coming?

8Ball: Definitely from me. What you got MJG?

MJG: Honestly, most definitely. But music wise, I don’t want to say I’m just focused and have a solo for sure or when or whatever. I’m pretty sure one thing is certain; there will be more 8Ball & MJG projects. As far as being a part of music period, I think I’m just more focused on at least being a part of the music end of the industry period would be satisfying enough for me than to just not be a part of the music industry at all. Out of curiosity, there are a lot of legendary groups besides yourselves. Who is your favorite group not named 8Ball & MJG?

8Ball: Besides 8Ball & MJG? Is that what you said? Yep.

8Ball & MJG: (Laughs). From the south or just period? If you have a different answer, we can do both. Do it how you like.

8Ball: Hip-Hop or just music? Let’s keep it Hip-Hop on this one.

8Ball: (Laughs) my favorite group, there is a couple of them. I would have to include names like Geto Boys, UGK, NWA [and so on]. I’m sure Outkast is in there somewhere.

8Ball: Yeah. I’ve always loved Outkast but as far as them being one of my favorite groups, I love them but they never really been one of my favorite groups. I love everything they do and they have great records and great concepts, but as a favorite group? I wouldn’t say that. OK. Back to &Ball & MJG for now. What’s your favorite album from you two that you listen too? From the whole discography?

MJG: I wouldn’t just say because of listening but I would say “Coming out Hard” because of the overall time and what was going on at the time. It’s also about how innocent the time was. The debut always is special.

8Ball: Yeah that first album – there is always something about that real first album. Like MJG said, that album was like a movie of our lives at that time. To bring back those memories goes with everything about us at that time. Speaking of that time all the way up to now, there has been a whole lot done. What would you guys say is the biggest mistake, and also the best move during your careers?

8Ball: In my opinion, I would say the best move and biggest mistake are one in the same – and that was the whole Suave House era. That was probably the best thing ever done for us but we made some big mistakes during that time that affected us later. I would say that our Suave House era is responsible for both of those. That’s dope. A couple of years back, you guys opened up your own label situations. Do you still have that? Is Mac E, Devious & The Volunteers still signed?

8Ball: I still have 8 Ways Entertainment and The Volunteers is just Rock Dillon now – The Volunteers is no more a group. And I still have Devious but that’s about it.

MJG: I got my own company called Space Age Entertainment. Right now I’m just really working on and what I’m trying to get to is doing production and crossing groups and concepts of music for other popular artists in the future. That’s a good look. I have to ask you 8Ball, people are hounding me to ask you about Yo Gotti and what that situation is like right now.

8Ball: Well in my mind, there is no Yo Gotti situation. Everybody is making a pinch out of a grain of salt. You know what I mean? It’s a grain of salt. Whatever people are talking about is nothing. Whoever is talking about it, it’s nothing. That’s really the gist of it – it’s nothing. People are taking things and kind of blowing it out of proportion. As far as a Yo Gotti thing, there is no Yo Gotti thing. I don’t know exactly what you’re even talking about. Can you break it down and be more specific? As far as there being a Yo Gotti thing, there is no Yo Gotti thing. To be more specific, I saw a quote about him saying something at a performance about the King of Memphis or something along those lines. I can find the quote right now.

8Ball: Yeah I know you do. Don’t act like you have to look for it; you know that shit right there (laughs). Nah, I don’t have it in front of me. I can probably find it. I ain’t that type of journalist to lie to you. Someone had showed me a quote. I never said or heard the performance but I saw the quote. As far as me breaking it down to you, that’s what it was.

8Ball: What was the quote? He said something about the king of Memphis at a club performance and you were performing that night as well.

8Ball: That was like a year ago? That was before T.I. went to jail? What else has happened since then? To keep it going, what else happened? If it’s nothing it’s nothing. I just wanted to clear it up.

8Ball: There is no Yo Gotti situation. In my mind, there is no Yo Gotti situation. That’s just the people keeping shit up. That shit happened over a year ago – December 2008. And overall, what’s next up for 8Ball & MJG?

MJG: The album “Ten Toes Down” April 6th. We’re just trying to do bigger and better things and keep it going and demonstrate the title – stay ten toes down and stay firmly rooted. No doubt. I really appreciate your time. You’re on and we hope everybody checks out the “Ten Toes Down” album April 6th. It’s sure to be another classic from the 8Ball & MJG catalog. Do you have any last words before I let you go?

8Ball: Hit me up on Twitter at MJG what’s yours?

MJG: Is that all?

8Ball: Make sure y’all go get the mixtape when it drops “Still Comin out Hard.” That’s it right about now. We appreciate the interview.

– INTERVIEW BY: Justin Melo