2 Pistols Interview
|Next Project:||Death Before Dishonor|
|Twitter:||2 Pistols on Twitter|
|Website:||2 Pistols's Website|
Some artists think they’re entitled to success by creating a MySpace account and sending DJBooth a friend request. Wrong. Success is earned through hard work and years of independent struggle.
A beneficiary of both, rapper 2 Pistols used a homemade record label and a drive like none other to appeal to his local Tampa Bay, Florida market. In turn, he was offered a recording contract with Universal Republic and is gearing up to release his debut album, “Death Before Dishonor,” this May.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” 2P steps into the booth to talk about the image his stage name portrays, why it wasn’t a guest feature from T-Pain that made “She Got It” into a chart-rising hit and how following the ‘code of the streets’ landed him in jail.
Listen to the Interview
2 Pistols Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is the man behind the new smash single, “She Got It.” A resident of Tarpon Springs, Florida, and newly signed to Universal Republic, please welcome rapper, 2 Pistols. How you doin?
2 Pistols: I’m chillin’, man; young boss of the city. Ima hold you down, I got you, don’t worry about anything!
DJ Booth: Your stage name, 2 Pistols, I read is a reference to your astrological sign as a Gemini, and the twin personalities you have – is that correct?
2 Pistols: Yeah, that’s true.
DJ Booth: Okay, so how did “personalities” become “Pistols?”
2 Pistols: “Personalities” became “Pistols” in reference to each personality that I have, which is two, [are] loaded, loaded with all different kinds of backgrounds. I got the street mentality background and now I’m switchin’ over tryin’ to directly do business, and work in the music industry. It kinda got split up – the reference is 2 Pistols; I got branded that in the streets. Instead of callin’ me “Gemini,” or “2 Personalities,” it [was] “2 Pistols.”
DJ Booth: With all the negativity, though, that’s thrown towards hip hop due to the graphic violence that it sometimes portrays, are you wary of using a stage name like, “2 Pistols?”
2 Pistols: Not really. I really didn’t create the name, and the name wasn’t really created off of violence. I just wanted something that was basically fearless – when people think of something major, it’s pistols. That’s just the name that I got; I really don’t think I’m gonna get too much heat for the situation when it comes to my name. I mean, why would I represent – my music will speak for itself; it ain’t just based on violence or anything like that.
DJ Booth: I see what you’re saying. Only problem is, a lot of people in our community, they don’t wait for that explanation of how your name came about; they just automatically hear it and judge.
2 Pistols: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Society on a lot of points is like that: the first impression that you have of a person is based off their name, being that it’s what you go by. Some people will give you an opportunity to explain yourself, and some people totally feel one-sided, that way. And I kinda got branded that way, and I’m tryin’ to change that, so people can understand me as more than a name.
DJ Booth: Definitely. I’m a former radio DJ, and when I hear “2 Pistols,” I think back to when I would have introduced the record on the air, and I would hate to think that a mother would hear “The new song, “She Got It,” by 2 Pistols,” and then she turns off the radio without even having heard your material.
2 Pistols: But, see, would they want to turn off Guns and Roses? Mack 10?
DJ Booth: That’s a great point.
2 Pistols: They gotta give me an opportunity. Give me my fair shot. Until I totally do something wrong, you can’t really judge me as if you know, if you don’t really know me.
DJ Booth: Well, hopefully you won’t do anything wrong so we won’t have to do that.
2 Pistols: [laughter] No, not at all.
DJ Booth: While on the grind to establish a buzz around your music, you started a conglomerate of local talent in the Tampa area that’s known as the Blood Money Union. Now, the expression, “Blood Money,” usually refers to money that is made as a result of someone’s death. Now go ahead, connect the dots for me – explain how this works.
2 Pistols: Blood Money Union is BMU, and BMU is basically a clique of people that looks at each other as family. Bein’ where I’m from, you’d be like, “That’s my blood, right there, that’s my family.” It’s just another terminology for usin’ the word as family. So, Blood Money is, we are in this together, we put our money into this together. Right now, I put up the money in a sense, but the hustle and the grind was done between all of us. Blood Money Union is just the money that we split amongst family, that’s all.
DJ Booth: Well, that hard work definitely paid off, because you just inked a deal with Universal Republic, courtesy of your partnership with the production team, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. Was this all done based off the strength of “She Got It?” How did it work out?
2 Pistols: I got crazy, crazy street buzz prior to me doin’ the “She Got It” record, but I think that they’ve seen the “She Got It” record, and it was a no-brainer. Besides that, it [was] my hustlin’ other records. I came to them with three singles besides the “She Got It” record. So when they checked out my demo package, out of the four songs on my demo package, three of them are goin’ on my album. And there were two singles besides, “She Got It,” on my demo package! Even though “She Got It,” was poppin’ at the time, and that was the record that radio had received.
DJ Booth: Using your Florida connections, you hooked up with T-Pain and Tay Dizm for this single we’ve been talkin’ about, “She Got It.” Many of our readers have pointed out that without T-Pain on the chorus, the song would probably sound entirely different. So, is Teddy on the original version of the song, or was he brought on afterwards?
2 Pistols: Actually, it was a version that he was on prior to J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League doin’ the production, before I did my production deal. It was a prior existing version, but he was always on the record. And, people will tend to think that he made the record. Well, he didn’t make the record; I wrote the record, and he basically went to the studio and dropped what I wanted him to drop. It wasn’t created by him. I didn’t call him like, “Yo, I need you to write me a hook, and I got this beat, so jump on that, and then I’ll do the verses.” No, the song was wrote by me. He added his voice to it, cool, but I think it could’ve gone in any direction. I really wouldn’t say that he totally, one hundred percent, made the song – it could’ve went in any direction.
DJ Booth: The current trend in the industry seems to be that a popular feature, maybe Lil Wayne or T-Pain, catapults a single to super stardom. But along with that success, is a gift and a curse. Obviously, with the feature artist getting a lot of praise, maybe the main, headlining artist doesn’t get as much, but the single’s doin’ well. So, what is it more of in this sense – a gift, or a curse?
2 Pistols: I would say, right now, it’s a gift. I would say it’s going to turn out to be a gift, because when people recognize me – they hear what they want right now, but when I come with the second single it’s not about features or anything like that, so I’m gonna be able to stand alone. I needed somebody to co-sign me, for me to get the recognition, to get the attention, and the focus on me. When somebody nationwide co-signs you, “Oh yeah, this is the dude – check him out!” and then that gives them the opportunity to check me out, I’m sure that all of the listeners are gonna like all of the music, not just this one record. Gettin’ a R&B feature right now, in the rap game, I look at it as whoever got the cleanest pair of Jordans on. We say, whoever got the cleanest pair of J’s, whoever come out of these with the freshest fit, is the freshest R&B artist. Whether it is Akon, T-Pain, or J. Holiday, whoever – whoever comes in the cleanest with the R&B feature.
DJ Booth: In terms of cleanest, T-Pain certainly has those J’s, ‘cause he’s definitely rollin’ in the money right now. Let’s say you and I are walkin’ down the beach in Tampa, lookin’ for some hot ladies. You lean over and say, “Hey, Z – she got it.” So describe the features that this oh-so-fine female possesses.
2 Pistols: She’s gotta have long, beautiful hair – I won’t even say long hair, I mean, she can be sexy with short hair; you just know when you see the female. Can’t really explain it. Everybody knows, when you see that female, you know if she got it or not. I don’t wanna categorize whether it be a white chick or a black chick or a Spanish chick – you know, any female, period. Any race, any length of hair, any skin tone, if they got it, they got it – you know when they got it. Anybody see ‘em, they got it, you see what I mean?
DJ Booth: Okay, so you don’t have a particular type, you just know when you see it that she got it or she don’t.
2 Pistols: Yeah.
DJ Booth: New York rapper Maino used to be signed to Universal, currently with Atlantic, has wanted to release his debut album, “Death Before Dishonor,” for the past four years. Now, the title of your debut album, which is tentatively set to be released this May, also entitled, “Death Before Dishonor.” So with label politics, scheduled pushbacks, do you think your LP is gonna make it to the record shelves before his?
2 Pistols: I never heard of this dude. His situation is what his situation is, but honestly, yeah, I think my project will be out sometime in May. I don’t know about his project, I ain’t personally tryin’ to take the title of his project or anything like that. I don’t know nothing about him.
DJ Booth: Let’s delve a little bit more into this concept. Snitching is a big deal in hip hop, and the concept of dying before being disloyal is both impressive and conversation-worthy, but, behind closed doors, most people would probably rather live and tell the truth rather than sit in jail or end up six feet deep. So, what does the title “Death Before Dishonor,” really mean to you?
2 Pistols: It means death before dishonor – it means exactly what you just said. I don’t wanna turn on nobody. If we go into a situation with one another, I got caught up in something, and if it’s my situation it’s my situation, but you know goin’ into business, you gotta one hundred percent trust that person, [is] not gonna rat on you. If you were around somebody that’s gonna rat on you, you shouldn’t have been with that person to begin with. Sometimes you make a wrong decision and get involved with somebody who’s not going to be as loyal as you are. I’ve had that issue before, where I seem to be the loyal one – out of all of my situations that I could talk about; I’ve always been the one hundred percent loyal person. I’m not saying that I wanna die, or I’m not scared to die – I’ve got a little daughter, I wanna be around for her, to see her grow up, get married, probably have kids one day – it’s just representing exactly how far I will go, how loyal, how true I will be to the person that I’m with. Everybody who’s in my camp, the whole BMU, they know what it is with me – you don’t have to worry abut 2P turnin’ on your for anything. Anything I got, they got, and it’s vice versa. Stand in respect of the code of the streets – a lot of these young cats don’t.
DJ Booth: I know you served some jail time – was that a result of being loyal?
2 Pistols: Yeah. My jail time was a result of bein’ loyal. I stayed loyal, and the cat that I was in the situation with didn’t, and it just so happened that the situation turned how it did. I did my probation and house arrest, [and] some time, for not sayin’ nothin’, keepin’ my mouth shut and holding him down, when I thought he was holdin’ me down but he wasn’t. He said what he said about me, so obviously he got off clean.
DJ Booth: A bit of irony, but definitely impressed that the name of your album actually has something to do with what has gone on in your life. Many times, you hear an artist title their album something, and you ask them about it, and it has northing to do with either what they’ve experienced or what they plan to experience. I read your nickname is “Jimmy Jump,” correct?
2 Pistols: Mm-hm.
DJ Booth: In honor of the new movie, “Jumper,” if you could jump through time and end up anywhere in the world one minute from now, where would you want to jump to, and why?
2 Pistols: Jump in time?
DJ Booth: Jump in time, to anywhere in the world.
2 Pistols: I don’t know, let’s see… I really wouldn’t want to jump in time or go anywhere but where I’m at. I love the position that I’m in, I love where I’m at; I really wouldn’t want to change anything right now, skip anything, jump around, or go anywhere, to any other continent or anything right now. I’m good where I’m at right now.
DJ Booth: So 2 Pistols is comfortable, you’re going to stay where you’re at – I can respect that. Give everybody a website, so they can find out more about what you’ve got goin’ on, and, of course, the new album dropping this spring, “Death Before Dishonor.”
2 Pistols: They can check me out on my Myspace, of course, myspace.com/2pistols, or they could just go to 2pistols.com. I promise you, I am the best urban artist that Universal Republic has ever signed.
DJ Booth: All right, I like the bold claim. I appreciate your time, for joining me inside the DJ Booth, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck.
2 Pistols: You too, man; thanks a lot.