Master P talks about his recent projects, collaborating with younger artists, and providing an early hit for Beyoncé.
Master P is back. The No Limit mogul took an extended hiatus, but his recent collaboration with Alley Boy and Fat Trel, Louie V Mob, as well as his solo mixtape "Al Capone" now find the legend re-energized. The rapper spoke to Complex about his recent mixtapes, working with younger artists and producers, his biggest regrets, as well as giving Beyoncé one of her first hits.
View some excerpts from the interview below.
Can you tell me about the process of recording Al Capone?
Music, for me—you go through a feeling. You go through that era when you get it. And I feel like that niche, that swag came back to me, where I could compete with this generation and time of music. A lot of people go by what they did in the past. When music comes to me, I want to deliver it. I feel like me listening, getting out and understanding the culture and where the music’s at right now, [the music] went right back to my time. I think that a lot of people are remaking my old songs and putting a lot of Master P in their records.
How did you meet the producers you used on Al Capone?
Deezle is from New Orleans. He’s been in California making music, and when we connected, it was just like getting back with your homeboy. He had that heat. Young Bugatti, this kid’s in the 11th grade but he's got grown people music. Being able to find the next new superstar on the production side, I feel I found a jewel, somebody [with whom] we could get it, together.
Do you draw inspiration from Fat Trel and Alley Boy, now that you’re working with them?
They definitely gave me my youth back. Being around them, and being in the zone that they’re in, they remind me of myself. These are two young cats who work hard. We use the studio like the gym. It’s not like we come in here to play, we come in here to work. We consider ourselves the Big Three. You have an OG and two young shooters that really understand the music business. I gave them the blueprint, and there’s not no regular artist around here, these are my partners.
How did you first come across Fat Boy and Alley Boy's music?
I discovered them late. It was already brewing out there on the streets and I just felt like they didn't have somebody to actually stamp them as artists. I feel like we’re all misfits. Either people are crazy to deal with you or they can’t see the true talent that you have. That’s what makes you a diamond in rough and I seen them as being diamonds in the rough. That same swagger, that same hungriness and grind to be successful. But they just need the right coach. I feel like Phil Jackson with two superstar players. Coming out to the streets, I think that there’s no bigger team than us. Now, with the stuff we’ve been through, the people we’ve lost, the family members and friends we lost, to be able to put that in your music? People could really feel it. The authentic-ness. They come from the ghetto and they want to change their [lives].
Looking back on your career, do you have a major regret? Is there one thing that you wished you’d done differently?
I wouldn’t say I’ll try to change my life for other people. I know I went through a growing process to where you feel like, “You know what? You going to do this, you’re not going to do this, you’re going to give this up.” But like they say in the Bible, sometimes you have to go with your God-given talent and you have to do what’s best for you. That’s one thing that I can look at in my life and say, "I got to do what’s best for me, and I can’t keep stopping my life for what other people think," because people are going to think what they are going to think, no matter what I do.
When you first hit the scene, No Limit did 75 million in sales and basically took over. Then it seemed like within a year or two, it disappeared. What do you think was the real cause of that coming to an end?
Everything has its time. Somebody else had their time before me. It was the Geto Boys and N.W.A. Some music is timeless, but as an artist, you have a certain amount of years. You've got to develop new production, and that’s why I have younger producers. You have to be able to think about the future, you can’t just think about now. In the hip-hop business, people only think of the now. If you look at a corporation, they’re already prepared for when this slows down: How am I going to have the next, best technology? And I don’t think music companies are doing that. They go with who’s the hottest artist in the game right now.
What other contemporary artists are you listening to now?
I’m listening to E-40, I’m listening to Chief Keef, I’m listening to T.I., I’m listening to Rick Ross, I’m listening to A$AP Rocky. There’s a lot of great records out there. I’m listening to Gucci Mane.
Whose career are you most proud have been a part of? You’ve worked with so many artists and were an A&R basically for so many artists over your career.
Beyoncé. I gave them one of their first hit records. I’m definitely proud of them. To watch where she's at, it’s amazing knowing that this was the same girl that was in my basement at my studio looking for records, and now she’s able to reach her dreams.