Stat Quo Interview
|Label:||Big Dream Ventures|
|Next Project:||Statlanta (Nov '07)|
|Twitter:||Stat Quo on Twitter|
|Website:||Stat Quo's Website|
It’s easy to stereotype a record label. Shady Records, for almost ten years now, has been viewed as the home to a Midwest artist and East Coast artist whose collective—most popular—sound has come from a West Coast beatsmith. Could that be the reason Atlanta native, and Shady Records artist, Stat Quo has had such a hard time getting his debut released? With his project in the bag for several years, plus Eminem and Dre on board, the patiently waiting MC looks to release Statlanta before the calendar flips to a new year. In an exclusive interview with The DJBooth, Stat discusses with DJ “Z” why it appears his album has been “pushed back” several times, if he’d be better off at another label and what entrepreneurial endeavor he has up his sleeve.
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Stat Quo 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 an aftermath representative whose album is highly anticipated, but his name is not Dr. Dre. So by process of elimination, please welcome my main man, Stat Quo. How you doin’?
Stat Quo: What’s up, Z?
DJ Booth: I appreciate you taking the time. How’s everything today?
Stat Quo: Aw, man, another day another dollar. Runnin’ around here tryin’ to get it.
DJ Booth: Stat, your album has been pushed back more times than an overzealous fan in the front row of a concert. I’ve been told tentatively late October early November. What is the good word? Tell me the good word.
Stat Quo: Let me tell you, with the different release dates that I’ve had, it’s been basically me out here sayin’ it’s comin’, me doin’ that, so there’s never a situation where the label [and I] were all on one page. Now we’re here on one page, so let’s go.
DJ Booth: Couldn’t agree more. The new single is “G.R.I.T.S.,” which stands for “Girls Raised in the South.” Being signed to a major record label, you’ve had the chance to tour everywhere, and see women of all shapes and sizes. What is it about down South girls that make them your favorite?
Stat Quo: You know, it’s just like home cookin’ – you go eat at other places or whatever, but you always wanna go home, ‘cause the food – there’s just something about that home cooking. I think women from all over the world have that in them, that same characteristic. I’m just touchin’ on the girls raised in the South on the cut, but I just think that whole homely feel that you feel from that Southern woman that you get, I think you could get from all the different women, and I’m just touchin’ on that, you know? I love all women.
DJ Booth: I was just gonna say, previously when we’ve spoken, you mentioned how you do love all women, so you don’t want any girls who are not from the South to think, “Hey, why isn’t Stat showin’ me some love?”
Stat Quo: Yeah, ‘cause they definitely can get it too!
DJ Booth: Definitely. [laughter] Stat, in a line from one of your new songs, “We Higher,” you spit, “Should I shoot another man just to get popular?/ It ain’t enough from signin’ to Eminem and the Doctor.” Have your labels failed to properly promote you as an artist?
Stat Quo: I just think we all haven’t been on the same page as far as what we doin’ and how we pushin’ it. So much is happening with hip hop – it’s like “shock hop,” the public wants to be shocked, and I just want to make great music. I want it to be about the songs, and I don’t want it to be about all the other things that come along with it that some people choose to do. I just want it to be about the music, and so, my label, we haven’t been on the same page on how we gonna do things, and I think now we gettin’ it – we finally gettin’ there okay, where we can argue it together, and learn. I would never publically throw my people under the bus, I just wouldn’t never do that. But I definitely would say that if I had it my way, things would be a little different. But at the end of the day, it’s just a team effort. You gotta work as a team to make the thing right.
DJ Booth: While you’ve patiently waited for this day to come, in which your album sees daylight, has there ever been a moment of clarity where you somehow doubted yourself and your career choice?
Stat Quo: I never doubted in me and my ability as an MC. What frustrated me a lot was that I would hear people say stuff like, “People from the South can’t rap,” and all that buffoonery, and, “The South is destroying hip hop.” And I know what kind of album I’ve constructed, and the type of music that I made, and the things that I’m saying,– even on that song, “We Get High,” that I put out – people aren’t making records about current event, or about what’s goin’ on. And if they try to do it, it doesn’t sound hot. I just wanted people to be able to hear my music and hear what I was doin’, so they could truly understand that –There’s a lot of stuff you might not like outta here, but this guy right here is something else. You know, he special.
DJ Booth: Tryin’ to be both socially conscious and marketable is never an easy combination. I think you definitely have the tools to do that…
Stat Quo: It’s all about the music. My album is just a gumbo of so many things, different aspects of my personality. I have that in my personality to be that nut that you wanna call it. That’s a part of me. At the same time, for me not to speak about what’s happenin’ in our world, it’s just, I wouldn’t be doin’ people any justice. I did a freestyle over Common’s, “The People,” and I just was touchin’ on some stuff that was frustrating to me, like just how everybody wanted – they say they want some new stuff in hip hop, they want change, but then when you do something new and you try to give them something different –the people, they scream they want change, but don’t support it. They’ll download it, and then give it props, but they won’t actually go to the store and support it.
DJ Booth: Agreed. It’s very hypocritical.
Stat Quo: Yeah, but the people that are cool with the way stuff is, they go out and support what they like. If you want something new, you gotta go out here and show the powers that be that their new stuff is viable in the marketplace and can make money, ‘cause if you don’t do that, then nothing’s gonna change – it’s all about the people.
DJ Booth: Speaking on behalf of “the people,” you said that the artist is making music on behalf of himself and his fans, but I think the fans may be thinking, because of the way that the industry has gone the past few years, that it’s the executives and people in suits who are really making the decisions, and no matter what you do as an artist, it’s still; not gonna come across that way that way to the fans.
Stat Quo: Naw, not really, because, I’m not throwin’ myself in this category, ‘cause I don’t want to be categorized, but I don’t think a lot of people try to throw Kanye in the conscious boat, and he sells a lot of records. Common came out and sold a lot of records – you know, he sold 150 (thousand) his first week. It’s bein’ done, I just want those people that are runnin’ around here sayin, “Want somethin’ new, want somethin’ new, want somethin’ new,” and somebody does something different, or, “Why doesn’t it sound like this?” Well dogg, what do you really want at the end of the day?
DJ Booth: I don’t think people know…
Stat Quo: Yeah, that’s true. I’m gonna give ‘em, and show ‘em what they want. ‘Cause I know what they want, and I have it.
DJ Booth: It just needs to be put out there, and that’s the end of it right there.
Stat Quo: That is the end of it – the end-all, be-all!
DJ Booth: Stat, being a “Southern” artist, and signed to Shady/Aftermath, do you think that maybe people expected something different from you? Because you really are the Southern artist on that label.
Stat Quo: I think bein’ over here is definitely helpin’ me, because I work with the best – 6o me, in my opinion, no one’s better than these people that I deal with over here, all the way around. Rap music is rap music, and we’re tryin’ to say, “It sound like this, it sound like that,” but at the end of the day: kick, drum, snare, high hat, sample, you know what I mean? No one’s better than where I’m at – you don’t get no better than this.
DJ Booth: I couldn’t agree more. Master P’s son Lil Romeo recently purchased Rap Snacks, the potato chip brand. Now, if I remember correctly from our last interview, you were one of the chip product endorsers, am I correct?
Stat Quo: Yeah, I gotta holla at Romeo about that - “Rome, what up dog? Let’s get it! Let’s get money, baby!”
DJ Booth: You’re still doin’ the potato chips – have you considered a move to maybe a candy bar or a popcorn company, also?
Stat Quo: Man, you know what? I’m in the works of gettin’ this shoe thing together. I got these shoes I’m doin’.
DJ Booth: What are they called?
Stat Quo: I dunno, I don’t even want to throw that out there yet; it’s too early for that.
DJ Booth: What are they gonna look like?
Stat Quo: Incredible!
DJ Booth: [laughter] One word, that’s it.
Stat Quo: It’s a high-end sneaker. I wear the Pradas, the Guccis, the Louies, the Christian Diors, you know, tennis shoes or whatever. The problem with those sometimes is they don’t look athletic.
DJ Booth: More dressy.
Stat Quo: They look more dressy…
DJ Booth: So you’re gonna go with more of a laid-back feel?
Stat Quo: More athletic, but high-end, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: Okay. There’s certainly a market for that. Stat, your label is Grown Man Music. A lot of the newer, more successful industry hits are music geared mainly toward the younger generation and their obsession with digital downloading and ring tone sales. Is this industry, right now, lacking of grown man music?
Stat Quo: I’m not gonna say that. I think [its] the kids, man. You gotta understand, children – it happened when I was a kid. The cats that were older than me, they didn’t understand my music. They thought it was trash. I’m always like, “What are you listenin’ to, boy?” You know – still the same thing, just a generation gap. And hip hop is growin’ up, so the older cats that have been in the game are just lookin’ at these young dudes like, “What are you doin’? What is it?” I mean, Busta Rhymes was tellin’ me, when we was comin’ up doin’ our thing in hip hop, all the older heads were tellin’ us we don’t have no respect for it, we’re just messin’ it up. You spendin’ all this time, you lookin’ at new artists, like, you know, “Man, y’all messin’ it up.” But it’s not that, it’s just times are changin’, man.
DJ Booth: So acceptance is down the line?
Stat Quo: Yeah, it’ll be here.
DJ Booth: Well, the most important thing that will be here, hopefully, is your album, “Statlanta,” in stores or online very soon for people to purchase. Give everybody a website, or a Myspace address, so they can find out more about Stat Quo, and your impending, highly-anticipated arrival…
DJ Booth: You got six websites; we gotta get one album in the stores. I think that’s a fair trade-off, right?
Stat Quo: Man, let’s get it – isn’t that crazy?
DJ Booth: Hey, Stat, I appreciate your time, I wish you nothing but the best of luck, and I cannot wait to hear this album when it’s available.
Stat Quo: Thank you, man. God bless you, brother.