Paul Wall Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
As the self-proclaimed “peoples champ,” Grammy-nominated Houston emcee Paul Wall has been able to accomplish many things; from collaborating with some of today’s hottest artists to establishing his very own grill empire (not the George Foreman kind). Despite some ups and downs, his talent and business savvy often merge to land him on top. Since the 2005 debut of his first major label release The Peoples Champ, Paul has been keeping busy, and two follow-up albums later, he’s back at it again.
As he prepares to release his fourth major label project Heart of a Champion, we can certainly expect to hear the same Paul Wall who made his way into our speakers back in ’05. With some extensive production from long-time friend Travis Barker, though, Champion is also sure to have its surprises. If his latest Booth feature and single "I’m On Patron" is just a taste of the infectiousness sealed within Champion, we have absolutely no reason to question Paul’s intent to stay inside the hip-hop ring and throw a knockout punch.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Paul Wall takes a minute to step inside the Booth and chat with us about how he’s grown as a rapper, how he chooses who to collaborate with, and what sounds we can expect to hear on Heart of a Champion.
As you prepare for the release of Heart of a Champion, is there anything that you’re hoping to accomplish with this release that has thus far escaped you?
I think with every release my goal is to put out an album full of incredible music. Something that you listen to from start to finish without skipping any tracks. I feel like we've done that in the past, as well as with this new album, HEART OF A CHAMPION.
Have you always had the "heart of a champion," or is that something that you developed as you grew as both a man and artist?
I've always been a dedicated hard working individual that was a team player from day one. Despite all odds being stacked up against me, I've managed to make a career out of something I love to do. In the recession, I see way too many people give up so easily. They throw in the towel way too much. If you want something, sometimes you have to fight for it. Success is no different. I want to be successful at what I love to do, therefor I have to fight for it. So I've always given my all on everything I do. I try to spit every verse like its my last one. I have to admit that as I've gotten older I seem to take my career more seriously. When I first started off over 10 years ago, I never thought I would reach the level that I'm now at.
Travis Barker produced almost half of “Heart of a Champion.” Should we expect this project to maintain a rock edge?
That's what a lot of people are assuming, but his Hip-Hop production is AMAZING. You wouldn't even guess that the worlds most popular/talented drummer is producing these tracks. Since he plays the drums, I think he has a different perspective on production. He style is definitely very unique. But I really don't feel that there is a rock sound in the tracks he produced for my album. There is one song called "HEART OF A HUSTLER" that does have it, but the other six songs he produced don't.
The lead single off the album, “I’m on Patron,” was well-received by the DJBooth.net community. Has Patron reached out yet with a lifetime supply offer (since you kindly provided them with free musical promotion)?
I wish they had, but unfortunately no they haven't..... Dear Patron, send me some free sh*t!
Guest features on the project include Raekwon, Jim Jones and Yelawolf, just to name a few. Do you select collaborative partners based on who best complements your style, or rather who you think sounds 'hot' at the moment?
Honestly I work with whoever is down to work with me. I filmed a documentary about blood diamonds with Raekwon back in 2006, so our collaboration has been "in the works" for a while..... The same goes for Jim Jones. Yelawolf came by the studio to work on Travis Barker's solo album, and I just happened to be there recording also, so that was a blessing. I also have a song with Bun B and Kid Sister. Like I said though, I work with who ever is down to work with me
Having just wrapped up your tour with fellow Houston emcee Chamillionaire, sum up your experience on the road in one sentence or less.
Paul Wall & Chamillionaire IN LOVE WITH MY MONEY TOUR = the tour of the year. The biggest thing since Pimp C came home from prison.