Houston, We Have A Problem

14 years ago view-show 655,380

By: Serge

       In 1989, Houston TX, was invaded by a rap trio named the Geto Boys. The group consisted of Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. They quickly gained recognition from their socially charged lyrics and vivid tales of street life. The head lyricist of the collective, Scarface, was then inaugurated "The King Of The South", and would go on to become one of the biggest rappers the industry would ever see.


      By helping to put their city on the map, The Geto Boys sparked a whole new generation of rappers that would make Houston a force to be reckoned with.  26 year old Wesley Eric Weston Jr.  AKA Lil Flip, is one of those well known forces. Being a key player in the game since 1996, he first was discovered by the late DJ Screw. Flip kept the underground scene captivated with his unique freestyling ability, that also earned him a record of 150-0.


      With more than ten years experience  under his belt, over 3.5 million albums sold, and a freestyle record that can’t be matched; this native of the Cloverland section of Houston tries his luck again with his fourth album, "I Need Mine." Flip’s trademark has always been the releasing of double disc CD’s, instead of one, and he’s spared no expense this time around either. After ending his stint at Sony Records, and squashing beef with other Southern rappers can the "Freestyle King" still be successful? That’s exactly what we intend on finding out.     


CrackSpace.com: What made you still want to release "I Need Mine" commercially after it was leaked on the internet?


Lil Flip: Because I went back in the studio and did a brand new album. They only leaked 19 songs, and I took 10 songs off. So now there’s 36 songs on the new album.


CrackSpace.com: Oh, so it’s another double album?


Lil Flip: Yeah it is, and they only leaked the first CD.


CrackSpace.com: Was there any particular reason you left Sony to sign with Asylum?


Lil Flip: Well I got a million reasons, but I’m going to give you three. The first one was the whole "Game Over" situation, I didn’t like how that situation went down. I didn’t want to do that record, and we ended up getting a lawsuit. Another reason is that they don’t really listen. Like I’m not just a rapper, I direct a lot of my own videos, like the "Game Over" video and the "Sunshine" video. They’d rather spend 150,000.00 on one video, instead of shooting multiple videos; when I can make the video look like we’re spending more, because I have access to all the sh*t we need. That’s like working backwards. Why spend 150,000.00 on one video, and when the single dies down, you shoot another video? When it takes two weeks to edit, another two weeks to get on BET and MTV, which is a two month process. Why not make two at once, and make it right? So that way, when it dies down, we can keep it moving. But it was a whole bunch of sh*t man, I got a million reasons. That’s why I’m putting out a book, it’s called "Life Before, And Life After Sony."      


CrackSpace.com: Did you have a tough time reaching out to all the artists you wanted featured on the remix to "3, 2, 1 Go!"?


Lil Flip: There were a few rappers that I wasn’t able to get the clearance for, but I’m still sitting on the track because I know a lot of people want to hear it.


CrackSpace.com: So you’re not going to release it yet because, you’re still missing some artists that you wanted?


Lil Flip: Well I have other material too. Like I got two remixes to "Sunshine" that people haven’t heard and a few remixes to "Game Over." I have a lot of remixes, and I’m doing spontaneous sh*t that no one else is doing.


CrackSpace.com: All your previous albums have done well in the past, did you feel any pressure in making this album?


Lil Flip: I wouldn’t say pressure, but it’s kind of fucked up that the record sales are down right now. But before any of that even happened, I was still in the streets meeting and greeting my fans. I wouldn’t hesitate to give my fans the shirt off my back, the fans really appreciate what I do. So I make sure when they spend their $16.00 I give them 36 songs. So their getting eight months of music instead of two months.   


CrackSpace.com: What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?


Lil Flip: I say most people think I only rap about jewelry, like the flossy stuff. The things that the artists like, doesn’t necessarily be the same things that the program directors, DJ’s, and labels like, know what I’m saying. So just because you might hear the single on the radio and I’m talking about jewelry, don’t think that what the whole album is about.  


CrackSpace.com: Do you think it’s important for an artist to still be heavy on the mixtape circuit even though they’re signed to a deal already?


Lil Flip: If you’re a mixtape artist. Nowadays everybody is trying to do them, and if you don’t come from that era, then you can’t respect the aspect of it. I got a mixtape I’m doing called "All Eyez On Flip", and what I did was go back in and remake my favorite 2 Pac songs. After that, I’m doing one with all my favorite Biggie songs from "Ready To Die", and rename mine "Ready To Fly." I’m fixin’ to raise the bar on that sh*t. Cause when I do mixtapes on other people’s beats, I give them away. My new mixtapes are all done on original beats, and I put them in stores. So that’s how I stay on top of that sh*t.


CrackSpace.com: What do you say to the people that think Southern MC’s aren’t as lyrical as the MC’s from up North?


Lil Flip: Well what it’s because you have two kinds of rappers. You got the ones who use a whole lot of punch lines and metaphors, and then you have the ones who use conversational flows, like their talking to you. For example, when I rap it’s like I’m talking to you, and telling you a story; the same with Jay-Z. When Nas raps, he’s coming with big words and metaphors, he’s really RAPPING. So you have to kind of rappers, either their talking to you, or you’ll have the ones that are super lyrical with words. My whole thing is, I’m more of a story teller, know what I’m saying. I like to paint a picture, where you can actually see what I’m saying. So when I’m saying it, you can close your eyes and picture it: [goes into his verse from "Like A Pimp"] "by the time I hit the floor/I see hoes by the door/n***as dressed in suits/trickin’ all their dough." That’s just how it is, when I walk through the club. N***as is in the strip club, spending their money; and I’m looking at these n***as like their f***king stupid. So I try to tell stories, like Scarface, he was a story teller.       


CrackSpace.com: Why do you think Houston is getting so much attention right now?


Lil Flip: I think it’s about changing, and people want to see new sh*t. I think mothaf**kas just want to see some fresh sh*t. People just want to dance now, they don’t want to hear about dope deals and killing anymore. I guess they’re all dope and killed out [laughing]. They just want to dance.


CrackSpace.com: How have you managed to stay relevant in an industry known for short term memory?


Lil Flip: Just staying in touch with the fans man. Before I got a deal, I was out there grinding man, like talking to kids at hospitals and stuff like that. So I always try to stay close with my fans, through mixtapes and putting videos on YouTube.com everyday. Like my underground videos, make these other n***as underground videos look like they shot it with a camera phone.


CrackSpace.com: [laughing]. 


CrackSpace.com: Have you ever felt the need to try and reinvent yourself?


Lil Flip: Yeah that’s when I went from  " The Leprechaun" to "The Freestyle King" to "The Number One Block Boy" and now I’m going by "Flip Gates." I’m going to use that for a little while longer, then switch to "The Briefcase Man." When I go to my little business meetings, I got this briefcase I take with me and it’s filled with cigars, money, and my rhymes. So yeah I got to keep reinventing myself, like I’m making beats now, and I’m using more live instruments. I’m playing the drums and things like that, we’re just switching it up man. I’m one of the few rappers that put bridges in their rap songs.                 


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