Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
In the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” iconic rap mogul and entrepreneur Master P pays N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN a visit to give them the scoop on his illustrious career. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, P followed a stint as a collegiate athlete at the University of Houston by making the move to Richmond, California where he invested funds from a lawsuit settlement into a record store, No Limit Records. Taking a cue from Bay Area rap artists and record labels, P founded his own imprint also named No Limit Records, which became one of the biggest brands on the independent circuit. With a roster that included Mia X, TRU, and P himself, No Limit attracted the interest of major labels, with Priority Records securing their services after inking the label to a historic distribution deal. From there, the mogul would build his imprint into an empire with tens of millions of records sold and one of the most memorable runs in hip hop history. Regarded as one of rap’s greatest business minds and a respected trailblazer, P continues to influence the game with his philanthropic endeavors and advising some of the biggest acts of today.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT TV compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Master P episode of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. What Inspired His Hustle
Known as one of hip hop’s ultimate hustlers, P’s work ethic has never been questioned. He credits this determination and will to win to his humble beginnings growing up in the slums of New Orleans. “I grew up in the projects,” he says. “I lived with my grandparents, so they had twelve kids in the house, me and my brother made fourteen. So, it’s sixteen people in a three bedroom project and I’m like whatever I do, I gotta make some money that we all can eat. I couldn’t have no regular job, like, I never had a bed until I went to college. People don’t know, even though I came from the streets, I played basketball. Basketball got me to college. Came back home, hustled after I got hurt, did what I had to do and from there, I said, ‘I’ll never be broke again or go back to that type of life. I gotta get out and do something, I gotta hustle, I gotta grind.’ And when I got an opportunity, I said, ‘I don’t wanna live on the streets no more. I gotta do something legit.’”
2. On Turning Down A Million Dollars from Jimmy Iovine
Prior to inking his distribution deal with Priority Records, Master P caught the attention of Jimmy Iovine and Interscope Records, and offered him $1 million to sign with the label. However, the rapper/businessman/negotiator ultimately decided that it was best to decline the offer and hold out for a more lucrative deal. “I was in there with C [Murder],” P recalls. “[It was] me and C. C was like, ‘Take the million dollars,’ I said, ‘Nah, man, I’ma go get some lunch.’ I told Jimmy Iovine I’ma go get some lunch and come back. He said if you don’t come back, you’ll never get another deal in this town,’ so I left. Me and C on the plane ‘bout to fight. He mad cause he wanna take the money and let’s go take over the project. I’m like, ‘Bruh, if this white man offer me $1 million and he don’t know me, how much you think I’m worth? Ten, 20, 30, 40, 50 [million]? That’s when we got quiet and said let’s go on back to the project and do what we gotta do, and I started selling CDs out the trunk of my car.
3. On Filming I’m Bout It
In 1997, Master P released the film I’m Bout It; which starred Moon Jones, Anthony Boswell, Silkk the Shocker, Mack 10, C-Murder, Mia X, Mr. Serv-On and himself. When asked about what inspired him to jump into movies, P points to a lack of ownership and representation in the black community as two key reasons for taking on the challenge. “I watched a lot of movies that I felt like, even now, that we don’t own nothing,” he explains. “So, at the time, I made independent filmmaker of the year and Spike Lee was like, ‘Man, P, don’t make no real movies, he makes street movies.’ But, that’s all we knew, that’s what we come from. But, the thing about it is nobody from the street ever took it to say, ‘Let’s show the world how real it is in these streets instead of us killing each other up. Let’s come together.’ And my whole thing was, I wanna show my community, the hood where I come from. And then one day, I want to be able to be the person if I do, I’ll own movies and finance ‘em and we gonna get the bigger cut from it. And one day I wanna be able to be somebody where somebody can say, ‘Oh, that dude bought the projects, had something to do with helping the projects.’”
4. His Relationship With Nipsey Hussle
Prior to Nipsey Hussle’s death, the rapper voiced his respect and admiration for Master P on several occasions and, according to P, had sought the mogul out as an adviser on business. P remembers his dealings with Nip and speaks highly of the late legend’s character. “Nipsey is such a real dude, me and him probably recorded over seventeen songs together,” P reveals. “I went to his hood because he was a stand-up guy, they don’t make ‘em like that. I called a lot of artists, ‘I’m working on I Got The Hook-Up 2.’ You know [how] people [are], ‘Man, I’ma do it, I’ma get it, Nipsey [was] straight [like], ‘Big dog, what you need?’ Bam, song there, ready to go. I met Nipsey through Loc, a dude from Chicago years ago... Ever since we built that relationship, Nipsey always asked me, “Man, how you do this? How you do that? And I always [said], ‘Man, look, go, do it, let me show you. Let me give you the game.’”
5. On Signing Snoop Dogg To No Limit Records
Snoop Dogg’s departure from Death Row to join the No Limit camp in 1998 was a major move that shook the rap world and was evidence of Master P’s power in the culture. “I’m a man of God and I realized you don’t have to fear no man but God,” he responds when asked if Suge Knight’s reputation gave him any cause to pause from brokering the deal. “So, when we did that deal, people don’t know that Suge was in prison at the time. I went to go visit him in prison. He had some deals for Snoop on the table. You know me, I’m a country boy. I’m like, ‘How much money they gonna give you?’ He told me the number, I said, ‘Well, I’ma give you $300,000 more than whatever’s the deal you got on the table,’ and that’s what we did.”
6. Touring With 2Pac
Before realizing his goal of becoming a rap mogul, Master P crossed paths with 2Pac. “People don’t realize the story with Pac,” he explains. “I had the store, they’d come in my store and see me. They knew I was about having money, so they invited me first just to hang out. I’d go on the road. Back then, you don’t get the money til you do the show or finish the show or whatever, so we’d always go shopping. They knew I had bread, so I’d pay for everything, then after... they’d probably give me [it back]. So, they were like, ‘Man, we need to get P to come out on the road.’ So, that’s how it really started and it was like I didn’t really know I could rap, but I know I been through so much and I really live this. I’m on the streets and this is what I do. So, I’m like, ‘Man, I really live this.’ I’d be out there on the bus saying some of the stuff, even in my store. People would come in the store and be like, ‘What album that on?’ I’d be like, ‘I was just saying it.’ That’s how I really knew I could do it.”
7. His Beef With Pastor Troy
In 1999, Atlanta rapper Pastor Troy made waves with the single “No More Play in GA,” which took aim at Master P and the No Limit camp. When asked about the beef, P makes it clear that it was nothing ever personal on his part. “I don’t know Pastor Troy, I never met him,” the Calliope rep claims. “Greg Street called me for the radio and said, ‘Look P, blah blah blah wanna sit down and talk to you, and wave the white flag.’ I said, ‘I don’t know nothing about that, I don’t know nothing about the man. You make records, you gotta know what you’re dealing with.’ So he said, ‘What can we do about it?’ I said, ‘Just walk on the other side of the street [when] you see me.’ I’m not looking for you or nothing, that ain’t me, I’m a man of God. Two mountains may not meet, but two men will, you gotta know what you’re doing. And C [Murder] went to a concert he had and it went bad. I think C probably got the wrong dude, the dude he thought was him. I said, ‘C, it could’ve got real,’ and all the other dudes around him, Hot Boy or whoever, it was like, ‘What’s up with this dude?’ I said, ‘Man, that dude a rapper, let him be a rapper.’ I never beefed on records. I never rapped about nobody.”
8. On No Limit’s Rivalry With Cash Money
At the height of No Limit’s reign, Cash Money Records emerged on the scene after securing their own distribution deal with Universal Records, resulting in speculation that the two New Orleans-based crews would eventually clash. However, like Birdman, who spoke glowingly of P and No Limit during his own appearance on “Drink Champs,” P insists there was never any bad blood between the two factions. “Let me tell y’all something,” he explains. “We a couple blocks up from each other. Do you think if it was beef, it wouldn’t have been a war? Let’s be honest. I like them dudes, man. I was happy for them. Even though we just don’t get down together, we don’t get down, like, I don’t fake it with people. If I don’t know, I ain’t hang out with you, I don’t do that. Dude, you see, I showed them dudes love, everywhere I got out. ‘Shout out to Cash Money, man, for doing what they gotta do.’ I respect that, they come from my hood, I wanna see them win, I wanna see them eat. That’s what we saying, why can’t we be on every block like the Gucci and the Versace, and all that shit?”
9. Why His NBA Career Was Cut Short
One of the more impressive feats of The Ice Cream Man’s career was his stint in the NBA, where he suited up for the Charlotte Hornets and the Toronto Raptors in the midst of topping the charts. But, when asked about his experience in the league, he points to his musical content as the reason he was never able to fully make the leap pros. “It was good because the thing about it was what got me out the NBA, people don’t realize, was my music,” he reveals. “That’s why I tell people you never know how your past will come back on you. I went in the GM’s office. I knew when they was gonna let me go, he had the Ice Cream Man album sitting on his desk. That’s with [the] Charlotte [Hornets]. I’m up in Charlotte now, Bob Bass, the GM, he said, ‘Boy, you’re a hell of a player, but your music is pure filth. He said, ‘This is a bible-belt city.’”