juelz-1_phixrOne of the worst things that can happen to a fan is the break up of their favorite group.

With such a fickle industry, music followers tend to latch onto an act that they really feel comfortable with, and ride them all the way to the bank—that is unless the bank is no longer open for business of course.

That right there happens to be the dilemma of one of Hip-Hop’s most famed groups, the Diplomats.

Taking the world by storm during the early half of the 2000’s, the infrastructure of the Harlem-based MC’s is now in need of major repairs.

With Jim Jones [Click to read album review] lending an olive branch to Cam’ron, only for it to be broken in half, the other well-recognized face of Dip Set, Juelz Santana is ready to head back out into circulation after a forced hiatus caused him to lose three years of his career.

After getting his contract bought out for $2 million dollars by Def Jam courtesy of Cam’ron, the 27-year-old MC born LaRon James has one thing on his agenda, and that’s returning back the game he’s been missing.

While his third album, Born To Lose, Built To Win is still in the works, he sets forth on another movement of his, which happens to be the Skull Gang.

So how did one of Hip-Hop’s most charismatic artists cope with his time lost? The answer to that and many more questions lie ahead, all you have to do is keep up…

iHipHop.com: So tell me how the Skull Gang came to be?

Juelz Santana: I think God put us together, it wasn’t like I reached out, and I was trying to find members to put down with a crew… It was just that certain people were around me already, and certain people were brought to me, and it just felt right… So I just feel like God put us together, and that’s the truth…

iHipHop.com:  You talked about how certain people were brought to you; was that the case with Deniro and Richmond Rabb with them being from North Carolina and Virginia respectively?

Juelz Santana: My man [Richmond] Rabb, he’s like my brother… He went to college with my older brother, Twin… I knew [Richmond] Rabb for about 12 years now… He played basketball, but at the same time he played basketball, and he was also in the streets… He played basketball with my brother, but I was his connect in the streets…

So him and me had a relationship, and he was always into music, so he started rapping… Then he came to me this one time with a set of songs, but you know how it’s like when someone that’s been around your whole life starts rapping, you’re like, “Oh, you got some sh*t now?”

That’s how it was for a little minute, but he was always going hard, and he just started reminding me of me so much and his talent progressed so much… But at the end of the day, he was here already… So that’s how everything just came about, you know what I’m saying?

l_9c8e3590c994495f80cb881473dcdf0ciHipHop.com: With the Skull Gang basically being your brainchild, was it difficult switching hats from a boss to artist?

Juelz Santana: Nah, because I was always a boss, you know what I’m saying? Cam was the boss of the Diplomats, but that’s the one thing we always were…

We were all bosses in our own right, even if Cam and I were still doing the same thing like it was yesterday… You know how the mob got different families?

iHipHop.com: Yeah, yeah…

Juelz Santana: It maybe one crime family, but it’s like: “Okay, you’re the boss of this family, you’re the boss of that family, and you’re the boss of this family.” So that’s how I look at it, Skull Gang is just an extended family, and I’m the one controlling that… Ya dig?

iHipHop.com: I can dig that… So what can people expect to hear from Skull Gang?

Juelz Santana: Definitely something different… I wasn’t trying to recreate what the Diplomats did, and I don’t feel like that can be recreated… God just put these people in my path, and that’s why I have a Southern artist, and that’s different already, and I have an R&B artist…

You haven’t heard a lot of groups that have a Southern artist, and an R&B artist, and I got a n*gga from Harlem and another one from Queens, you dig what I saying? So just that element of it alone is unique, and the music is different, and everybody is talented…

You’re going to get quality music at the end of the day, and it’s real… We don’t hold back anything, and you already know how I give it up… So I’m not going to surround myself with the bullsh*t…

iHipHop.com: Are there any outside features on the Skull Gang joint, or did you keep it within the family?

Juelz Santana: The only outside feature is [Lil] Wayne… He did a song, and it’s more of like an R&B record actually, and the record is CRAZY! But that’s pretty much the only outside artist we have on there…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of [Lil] Wayne, can people still expect the I Can’t Feel My Face album with you two any time soon?

Juelz Santana: Yeah, we’re still doing that… We’re just waiting for the politics to go through… There’s a lot of politics involved in that, and that’s all that is…

juelz-2iHipHop.com: You never left the mixtape circuit, but as for this album, it’s the first commercial album you put out since What The Game’s Been Missing! back in ’05…

Juelz Santana: That was because of this little business situation I had with Cam, and that stagnated me for about three years… For one, my album was big, so it lasted about a year, but I was ready to put one out after a year or year and a half… But then I was trying to get out of my deal, but it was stagnating me…

Then I was trying to do the [Lil] Wayne project along with other stuff to keep me still relevant… Then I got out of that situation seven months ago, and that’s when I dropped the Skull Gang… A lot of people are saying things like, “Well, Cam let him out of the deal, and he still hasn’t dropped an album, so maybe Cam was right.”

It wasn’t that, it’s just that I haven’t been out for so long, so I was just building the groundwork, you know what I’m saying? I didn’t want to just come out with a single, and come out with an album… I want to give the people a lot more, and be able to perform more than just my one single and all my old songs…

I want to put out a sh*tload of music, and that’s my plan for the next couple of months before I do drop my album, which will probably be in September… The title of it is Born To Lose, Built To Win, and I’m scheduled for my next mixtape to come out next month and it’s called the Regan Era, and I’m just getting warmed up for that…

iHipHop.com: With that being said, did you have any jitters putting this project out since you haven’t been out in a while?

Juelz Santana: Just to let the world know: We’re not looking at this to have any big sales… A lot of people still don’t know who Skull Gang is, so I know a lot of people would just be buying the album because of me… Or some people would rather wait until my album comes out…

This is just for the people to get to know who we are; you dig what I’m saying? So with this album we’re not looking for any big sales, and that’s why it’s on KOCH Records, and not with a major label… This is just a platform for people to get to know my artists, and we understand that…

So we’re not really pressed about any record sales when it comes to this album, we’re looking at this like it’s a bigger version of a mixtape… But of course when Born To Lose, Built To Win comes out, we’re going to be looking for that big sha-bang… It’s astronomical, and my solo album is going to be WOW!!

iHipHop.com: Can you touch on Born To Lose, Built To Win a little bit, or do you want to keep it under wraps?

Juelz Santana: I reached out to a couple of people, and I have The-Dream on the album just on some different sh*t… Of course I got [Lil] Wayne on the album, and I worked with [DJ] Toomp this time around… There are a couple more people that I’m reaching out to, but I don’t want to say it yet, I’ll reveal that later when it’s really time to help promote the album…

iHipHop.com: I just wanted to go back and touch on how you were basically left in limbo for three years… How did you maintain your sanity throughout that time watching other artists come out, while you were on the shelf?

Juelz Santana: It was a little frustrating, because I couldn’t do a lot of the things I wanted to do as far as getting on records, clearing myself, and setting up for my album that I wanted to put out at the time… But I still found ways to keep myself relevant, and I was still working…

As much as the people missed me, I feel like my anticipation is still there, and the people still want to hear a “Juelz Santana” album… I’m one of those artists who have the presence and that swag… I was always built for the music, I don’t get on cameras and pop sh*t and base it on a whole lot of hype and talk, I was built off my music…

N*ggas know what it is when it comes to some street sh*t, and I’ll see n*ggas when I see n*ggas, man… All those WWE wrestling-ass n*ggas man…

julez-3iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… I’m sure you’re aware of the video where Cam talks about not being interested in doing another Diplomats album… Even though he shut the door on that, are you opened to doing projects with other Dip Set members besides Cam?

Juelz Santana:
I’m still opened to doing Diplomat projects with Cam… At the end of the day, deep down in inside, Cam can’t say anything… That’s why the only thing he can do is stress the fact and say things like, “We all made money, and I gave Juelz his shot.”

Okay, that’s cool… That’s like saying Un [Rivera] gave you your shot, Mase gave you your shot, and you wound up dissing Mase; right? Mase gave you your shot, then he sh*tted on n*ggas, so you dissed him…

I’m not even taking it that far, trying to diss n*ggas, but at the end of the day don’t try to fool the people and make them think they’re stupid…

You know I’m not stupid… I commend Cam for opening that door for me, but he knows I put them bricks in that building and I earned my stripes… That’s like you saying, “Okay, I’m going to put you down with my gang.” Then I’m out there everyday cutting and stabbing n*ggas, you dig what I’m saying?

iHipHop.com: Yeah, I dig what you’re getting at…

Juelz Santana: That’s what it was when it came to that, and I always respected the fact that he put me on… Yes he did put me on, and nobody is taking that away… That’s just like The LOXDiddy put them on, but then he f*cked them at the end of the day when it came to business…

That’s what I mean when I say he never answered that question… Read between the lines, look at what Puffy did to The LOX, and that’s same sh*t with Cam and n*ggas like Mase… It’s the same thing; you dig what I’m saying?

At the end of the day, you put a n*gga on, but once that n*gga earned what they earned you have to start giving that n*gga more credit than when they were just starting out; and that’s all I was asking for—my respect now…

But other than that, I wish him the best, and he’s still my brother, and if I see him its love and it is what it is… It’s just that we’re not doing business right now, and that’s pretty much it, you dig what I’m saying?