Who knows what Stat Quo’s music career might look like had he never cut his hair? The Atlanta, Georgian is one of only two artists ever signed to Dr. Dre and Eminem’s vaulted Shady/Aftermath imprint (along with 50 Cent), yet the only one who never released an album under the multi-diamond umbrella. His reputation was never as zany as any of the Shady artists, nor as gangster as anyone on G-Unit. He didn’t rhyme about pills. He hadn’t been shot. For Shady/Aftermath circa 2000s, image dominated and rappers without an easily marketable identity sat the sidelines.

“For instance when Eminem came in he had brown hair,” Stat Quo says in this exclusive conversation with HipHopDX. He continues:

“They finished [The Slim Shady LP], he went home and Dre said he had blonde hair the next time he saw him. Dre was like “He’s out of here, we done.” That little transformation turned him into Eminem. It was Marshall when he met him but he lost a shit load of weight and got that blonde hair and now he’s Eminem. So for me, Stat Quo, they signed me when I had a bunch of hair. I cut my shit off and then I looked like I look like now—like I work in the music industry. Whereas with the hair and shit, it’s an image thing. There’s little different things like that that I wish I would have known.”

There are a number of compelling what-ifs in The Story Of Stat Quo. He details firing his manager-slash-mother (who was integral in landing pivotal opportunities with Jermaine Dupri and Mark Pitts) for booking a show in a barn then describes how he had difficulty distinguishing between friendships and business while globetrotting with the globes most popular rappers. What if he hadn't fired his mom? What if 50 Cent never took back "Outta Control" and given it to Mobb Deep? Could that have been Stat's monster break through track? From excitement in the way he talks about his version, he certainly believes so. What if the Aftermath-half of his contract agreed with the Shady-half and Statlanta was released at the peak of the imprint's commercial dominance? What would this interview cover then?    

What-if games are played everyday. The lessons learned are what push through the next check point. Stat Quo's taken all of the knowledge gained after years of working side-by-side with Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Scarface, Sha Money XL, Jermaine Dupri, Mark Pitts, Game, TDE, Kendrick Lamar—et al, et al, et al—and crafted his own set of #NewRules. In 2011, he partnered with Game on BlazeTrak.com—management and consulting firm with an artist-first approach. He mentors rising stars on the intricacies of the music industry, sharing every tidbit picked up after traveling, as he describes, "a road to success littered with carcasses and dead bodies," and delivers it all in this interview. There's also some funny anecdotes about accidentally dissing Foxy Brown, suggestions for Slaughterhouse, and G-Unit's corny tank tops. Call this convo "Free Game From Stat Quo."   

Stat Quo Details Friendship With Dr. Dre, Experience At Shady/Aftermath