and got Rakim. He went and got Busta. He went and got Curtis [50 Cent]. Eminem. They were all outside of [Los Angeles]; he just put his own blend on there and didn’t look back. With [9th Ward], I like his character, and his delivery is one of a kind. You’re gonna know him when you hear him. He’s not trying to be out here to be the richest or [claiming to have] sold the most dope. Understand, he did what he had to do in the streets. I can relate to him because I was the same dude. The music saved me. God blessed me with a talent, and God blessed him with a talent. It just takes somebody to give you a hand. When I started off, I was out here grinding. JD came to me and he signed me as a producer in the beginning. And then eventually, once I got out of my producer deal, I started my own company called Playmaker. Me and JD, over the years, developed a big-brother, little-brother type relationship so anywhere he goes, I’m good. We’re gonna keep everything rolling. How hands-on are you gonna be on the music side? Is his debut album gonna be all Nitti beats? It’s not gonna be like that. I’m here to sell records. I’m don’t wanna drown a project with all Nitti beats. I’ve been hearing a couple albums out with 10 beats from the same producer on there, and then niggas wonder why they ain’t selling no records. Tou got the same producer on your whole album, nigga. No wonder your album isn’t selling. People don’t wanna hear all that. When you look in your closet, you don’t want all Nikes. You want some Adidas over here, you might want some Pumas over there. With 9th Ward, I’m not doing the whole album. I’m overseeing the album, but I’m not gonna produce the whole album. You’re gonna know I had something to do with it. Have you had a chance to see where he’s from and meet his people? I met his mother; everybody. I’ve been down there [to New Orleans]. Don’t listen to nothing you hear on TV. It’s still messed up down there. It’s something you wouldn’t believe was still going on in 2008. How long ago was Katrina? It’s been three years and people down there still messed up. People down there still ain’t got nowhere to go. Their houses and stuff still messed up. It’s real down there. Do you think that’s played a part in you being able to make sure you got the best product out of him? That helps cause that’s motivation to see, he actually went through it. He was homeless. He went through that. By him to go through something like that, and still at the end of the day he was able to come out and express himself on a mic, I wanna hear that. I wanna hear what that does to a human mind. I’m not glad that the hurricane happened, but everything that’s meant to happen, it happens. With him, people are definitely gonna hear a solid album from a talented dude who loves music. That’s all that matters.
th Ward’s humbling image is sure to work in his advantage. Being able to make both party and gangsta music, and do it well, is a hard-to-find skill. He hopes to offer the world both sides of him in adequate doses on his yet-to-be-titled debut album. Do you think your rough exterior is going to resonate with fans? 9th Ward: Yeah. I think it will, but I’m more than that. I tell people the truth. I’ve worked at the mall before. Everything I’ve done, I rap about. I’ve popped bottles and been in the shelter, so I’ma I rap about that. I’m not gonna kill you on every song. If you rap about women and money, you really can’t go wrong, but if you rap about shooting and killing, it’s hard to win. Do you feel a pressure or responsibility to rap about Hurricane Katrina in your rhymes, or is that something you’d rather not talk about at length? Not all the time, but I need to talk about it. Wayne got a song called “Georgia Bush” that was good. It’s probably hard for some of those artists to rap about it because they weren’t really there and they could replace some of what they lost because they were financially straight. But, Juvy lost his whole projects. Me, I can’t take my son back and tell him that was my home. My son is a Katrina baby. What should we expect from your album? I think the album is classic. Niggas are checking for the album; they get psyched when they hear it. This is a Jay-Z, Kanye, 2Pac album. I know a lot of people say that, but you will see that this album goes in a completely different direction from the single “Add Me Up.” It’s gonna give you goose bumps. If I fuck up in the booth and I’m breaking down, I tell them to keep it. I want people to feel my pain. I really think this album should be the number one album in 2008. I call myself the Chris Paul of the game. Baby-face, nobody knows me so they’re underestimating me, but I’m ballin’. He should’ve been MVP, so I’ll be MVP instead. Was it hard for you to gain people’s trust in Atlanta? New Orleans natives kind of got the reputation of being grimy when you all started moving to other cities after Katrina. Nah, it was easy. Niggas felt sorry for us. Don’t get me wrong, we did bad stuff. But, they saw some good in me. I ain’t gonna lie, I used it to my advantage. I’d be telling folks, “C’mon, I’m a Katrina victim, man.” I used sympathy to my advantage. Not to take advantage, but for my advantage. But JD and Nitti, they get it. I recorded over 240 songs. I ain’t know no better. I thought that was my job. I tell folks that if I write 240 songs and can’t pick 17 hot ones, I need to quit. People say your voice and sound reminds them of classic New Orleans Hip Hop, or early Cash Money. Soulja Slim even. Would you say you’re trying to bring a certain sound back? I don’t try to bring back no sound, I just rap, I’m from New Orleans. I’m a little older [than most rappers] and I’ve been in New Orleans for a long time, so that why my sound is what it is. I’m just tired of popping folks’ CDs in and wasting my $12. I coulda bought a dimebag of fucking weed with that money. Some CDs I cant even get home from the store without being mad. //
OZONE MAG // 47