Eminem’s The Re-Up hit stores last week and of the artists that was featured most prominently was Stat Quo. The Atlanta MC has been signed to Shady / Aftermath for quite a while, but this is the first time a national audience has had the chance to sample his music. Stat is clearly next in line in the Shady / Aftermath lineup, which is why we sat down with him to talk about the time he’s taken to release his work, how he differs from other southern artists, and if we’ll ever hear Dr. Dre’s Detox album.
Adam Bernard: I did both your bio and The Game’s bio around the same time. The Game just released his second album, what have you been doing during that time?
Stat Quo: Well, Game had been on Aftermath for three years before me. He was signed way before 50.
AB: Wow, that’s some new information for a lot of people, myself included.
SQ: You know Em was signed the same amount of time before he came out. Busta Rhymes was signed the same amount of time. The only artist Dr. Dre has ever put out shorter than two years, it was a year and some change, it was 50 Cent. The only artist ever.
AB: And that was to capitalize on the fact that the street CDs were doing so well.
SQ: Yeah, but that’s the only artist in the history of Dr. Dre, since he’s had Aftermath, that’s he’s put out before three years. It totally takes them that long, it’s a process, man.
AB: So when you sign and it takes a minute it doesn’t worry you at all at that point.
SQ: Nah because I’m with the best. If I was forty years old and I had signed it would have concerned me but I signed and I’m still a young guy. And you see the guys, even though it took them a long time, when they came out you see what happened. So it takes time, greatness doesn’t come over night.
AB: I see no problem with that and actually prefer it because when someone’s given time to grow in a position they can only get better.
SQ: Yeah, you appreciate it and you really learn how to be not just a fuckin rapper but an entertainer. It’s not just about you getting out here and rappin on these songs, freestyling, but it’s about how you carry yourself on TV because whether mother fuckers want to admit it or not I say we’re role models where people do look at us in a different kind of light and some kids, they base their whole being and they way they are on how we are so we gotta really take that into account and I think a lotta times these labels they get these artists and they’ve got one dope song and they fuckin put an album out, but that artist ain’t really ready to put an album out. He doesn’t even know what it means to make an album, he knows what it means to make a song, but he doesn’t know what it means to make an album.
AB: You end up with a lot of one hit wonder situations.
SQ: Exactly, the shit is terrible.
AB: So what has the learning process been like for you from the time you signed up until now? What have you learned and who have you taken in the most knowledge from?
SQ: Dr. Dre, Eminem, as of late I’ve been working with Snoop. It’s dope. 50 Cent. I’ve got the best tutors in the game as far as what to do and what not to do, and you’ve got other guys, the younger guys, the Buck’s, the Lloyd Banks’, we got all these artists that I just get to talk to that have seen so much and I just can take little pieces of them and apply them to my career, so it’s a blessing.
AB: How is it being one of the few southern rappers on the label?
SQ: It’s dope, man, because a lot of aspects of my culture and my life, they’re not really familiar with it so it’s kinda like I can enlighten them on certain things and they can enlighten me on certain things about their shit.
AB: Southern rap almost gets put into a different category. Do you see them embracing southern rap or are you radically different from other southern rappers?
SQ: I’m different because I’m me, first of all, and them embracing me is embracing southern Hip-Hop because that’s what I am. I don’t consider myself to be like anything that has come before and if I was on some shit like that then I don’t feel like I would be deserving of a deal. I don’t think people are deserving of deals that sound like other mother fuckers.
AB: Thank you for saying that. So many people ask me “yo who do you think I sound like?” And I always reply that if I answer that question they’re screwed.
SQ: Yeah, it’s like a lot of people diss me and talk shit because they say I don’t like his voice, but you never hear someone say Stat sounds like somebody else and that’s the truth, I don’t sound like anybody else and that’s on purpose. I’m not for everybody, and I don’t try to make music for everybody, I make music for myself, God, my kid and keep it moving. If mother fuckers love it they love it, but I’m not gonna get out here and try to sound like MC such and such or Biggie or Pac or Jay-Z just to make mother fuckers satisfied, I’ma do me because that’s what Hip-Hop is about. When Jay and Pac and Biggie and Rakim and KRS-ONE and Eminem and Scarface, when they did their thing, they were doing them and people fell in love with them, so why can’t artists just be themselves and make mother fuckers fall in love with them? There’s not enough of that right now, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon because when they see somebody that’s successful at something they want to hop on and do that shit. Fuck that, do you, man. OK, you’re gonna get some scrutiny, mother fuckers is gonna talk shit to you, they’re gonna say “hey you don’t sound like you’re from Atlanta,” who gives a fuck, though? After a while they’re gonna hear you so much to where your sound is gonna become the new sound of Atlanta and I know I’ma do that. All that shit people say about me, that shit’s gonna turn around because I’m doing something new and different and that’s what mother fuckers want to hear at the end of the day because that’s what makes Hip-Hop Hip-Hop. When Hip-Hop came and took over and really started doin its shit it was because it was new, different, innovative. If everybody’s doing the same thing the culture’s gonna die just like all other genres of music that went down. Disco, everybody started making the same song over and over again, that’s why that shit played out, period.
AB: Yeah, there was no one with individuality at that point.
SQ: None. It becomes cookie cutter. I’m never gonna become a cookie cutter MC because I believe in Hip-Hop and I love it, period. Fuck being a cookie cutter MC.
AB: A cookie cutter doesn’t last long, people eat cookies.
SQ: Yeah, that shit is not gonna be here.
AB: The new project you’re involved with is The Re-Up, tell me a little bit about that.
SQ: Shit just leaked on the internet today. Re-Up leaks on the internet, hey yaaaaay! Boy this internet, that shit’s amazing. Anyway, it’s dope, it started out as a mix-tape and the music started coming out crazy. Em was at home and he’s just a thinker like that and he was like man this shit should be an album. Nobody disagreed because everybody likes money. It was like hey, let’s go, let’s do it.
AB: But it’s already been leaked to the internet?
SQ: Yeah, I got that call right before, but you know… it happens. Fuck it, it is what it is. I take it as a compliment when something leaks to the internet and people burn it and are playing it in the streets, it’s a compliment, they really like the music. Part of me feels fucked up because I know it’s taking away from the sales of it, but hey, it’s life.
AB: Who’d you work with for the tracks you’re on on the album?
SQ: Alchemist, Eminem, Dr. Dre and LT Moe, a producer that’s signed to GMM. Those are the solo songs. I have some other songs I’m on with other people.
AB: It sounds like you’re all over this album, so is this going to be the national coming out party for Stat Quo?
SQ: Let’s hope so, let’s hope for my child’s sake.
AB: How old is your child?
SQ: He’s nine months.
AB: Hey, you waited till you got the record contract first! That’s good!
SQ: Oh yeah, no doubt. And you know what, I think he’s a side of me that really let me know that I’m capable of loving something besides my momma and my grandma. He’s love. When I see him I see love.
AB: The last few MC’s I’ve spoken with have told me their kids are their main inspiration. Now, after The Re-Up is released, what will be next on your agenda?
SQ: Well I’ve finished recording my first record and it’s mixed down so I’m working with Dre on The Detox and I’m recording my new album.
AB: Will The Detox ever be released or will it just be talked about for the next ten years? It seems everyone works on it but we never hear anything from it.
SQ: I don’t know, I can’t answer that question, I’m not Dre. (laughs) But I know everybody worked on it. I feel you on that. He told me he’s gonna put it out but I’m sure he told other people that, too.
AB: I got this feeling he gets done with it and then decides he likes another track, tries to fit that on, then hates his original songs, scraps them all and decides to record everything again.
SQ: You gotta understand the position dude is in, too, mother fuckers is waitin on that shit. They’re anticipating that hist like no other shit so when you’re in that position to do that it has to be so incredible. He’s just trying to live up to his own standards. He’s trying to live up to some standards that he created. In some ways it’s a lose-lose situation, you can’t win in that situation. People been waiting seven years for this album, it’s kinda hard. The amount of pressure that’s on him to create this record is crazy, most people couldn’t even live with that but he’s such a great man and a great artist that it’s nothin. It’s Dre, you know what I’m sayin?
AB: On a scale of 1-10 the expectation is an 11.
SQ: So he has to sit there and scrutinize it because he knows that’s what people are going to do. They’re gonna study it, analyze it down to the very last compound.
AB: So are you prepared to be that crazy for your second release?
SQ: I’m prepared to be that crazy for my first one because it’s taking so long. When it takes long to do something it just builds anticipation in people.
AB: So you have the music, you have your son, what else is going on in your life right now that you’d like people to know about?
SQ: Nothin. I want my fuckin privacy. (laughs) I like the rap shit, I love it, but sometimes I just don’t want to be bothered. I love people, but you can’t even take a shit or a piss without somebody coming up to about somebody else. Damn dawg, I don’t know. There’s a time and a place. Like we’re doing an interview, ask me all you want, but don’t interview me while I’m shittin in the gym bathroom. C’mon man.
AB: Or when you’re sitting down and ordering dinner.
SQ: Yeah, you see me holdin my kid, feeding my kid in a restaurant, don’t come over there and fucking interview me while I’m doing that, give me a pound a keep it movin. You know what I’m sayin? But at the end of the day I understand because I know we’re artists and we have to be artists 24 hours a day. These people buy my record and I respect it and understand it but I just think there should be some kind of tact with this shit. If you see me having an argument with a chick that’s not the time to come over to me and ask me about my album, it’s not really a great time, can you please wait till we finish damn near killing each other right now?
AB: Finally, what message would you like to get across to the Hip-Hop community and your listeners?
SQ: If you don’t like me how about suck my dick.
AB: That could work in reverse, though, because if everyone likes you you’ll have no blowjobs for the rest of your life.
SQ: Yeah, that’s true. Well the girls is who I want literally to suck my dick. How about fuck you? If you don’t like me then fuck you.
AB: I will accept that.
SQ: We’ll take that. I’ll leave that alone. If you like me then let’s get it, man. Thank you for the love, I really need it and I appreciate it.
AB: And to the ladies, if they like you then you can say “fuck me.”
SQ: (laughs) That’s funny. Hey you’re pretty witty man. I see why you wrote up that bio!
AB: Thanks, it’s why I get paid the moderately barely bucks.
SQ: Hey man, it is what it is. Ain’t nothing goin on but the rent, whatever you gotta do to pay them bills.