Lil Boosie’s trial for first-degree murder begins on April 30th. He is facing a mandatory life sentence if found guilty.
If the Baton Rouge reality rapper’s case goes anything like his Louisiana brethren C-Murder’s has in recent years, fans may be faced with the permanent loss of another powerful voice in Southern Hip Hop to either the careless disregard for human life that it takes to pull that trigger or the unethical, unspoken code of conduct many believe some members of our criminal justice system have secretly swore to uphold.
New Orleans native Vyshonn King Miller, p/k/a Silkk The Shocker, is taking to task the latter in his forthcoming self-produced documentary examining the alleged railroading of his big brother C-Murder, Conviction By Name.
The documentary is only part of Silkk’s 2012 itinerary, as the baby-faced baby brother of Master P is also in the midst of a musical revival, having scrapped his stutter-step delivery that drew the ire of No Limit Records critics during the label’s late ‘90s commercial peak for his new offerings like the lead single, “Get Stupid” to his upcoming comeback album, Game Changer.
On Thursday (March 29th), the still shockingly youthful looking 36-year-old gave what some may find to be a shockingly mature interview to HipHopDX about his revived career and his steadfast conviction that his brother should have never been convicted of shooting a 16-year-old, Steve Thomas, during an argument in a nightclub 10 years ago. Older and wiser, the COO of the recently re-launched No Limit label (now known as No Limit Forever, which is being co-operated by Silkk’s nephew, Romeo Miller) also took a quick moment during his discussion with DX to revisit some No Limit past, including the beef between the label that has sold more than 75 million records and their onetime crosstown rival (and how the friction between those two label’s leaders prevented Silkk from even being able to shake hands with Lil Wayne). The aspiring director (who is currently constructing a script for Hot Boyz 2) also shared his thoughts on former fellow No Limit soldier Mystikal joining the Cash Money army. But the crux of his conversation was attempting to sway the skeptical as to why anyone should believe C-Murder is, according to Silkk, “a poster child for the innocent.”
HipHopDX: I wanna start off with a question I’ve been wanting to know the answer to for 14 years. Were you personally offended at all when Mystikal spit on your #1 smash single “It Ain’t My Fault,” “I might not be nothing to you, but I’m the shit on this label”? Because as much as that was a slick middle-finger to critics who didn’t think No Limit had spitters, it also struck me as a kind of knock on the rest of the label’s lineup, like Mystikal was saying that there were no other No Limit soldiers anywhere near his level.
Silkk The Shocker: [Laughs] It’s funny ‘cause I thought about it like that. But then if you feel like you are, then you are. So I didn’t never trip on it. I thought it was like a big-up to the company, but then a lot of people said [what you’re saying]. But I didn’t never get caught up into it. So it never really was a bother to me.
DX: Now you know there’s an automatic follow-up, I gotta get your thoughts on Mystikal signing to Cash Money. What was your reaction when you first heard the news?
Silkk The Shocker: I just think, man, at the end of the day do what’s best for you. And do what’s best for your career, do what’s best for your life. And if he thought that was it, then that’s it. The decision is about yourself. And actually, I think Cash Money [Records] is doing they thing.
I wish [Mystikal] well, because he is a cool guy and I got a lot of respect and love for him. I know he made the best decision for himself and so I don’t have no problem with it.
DX: I was personally shocked that Mystikal would ever do business with Birdman, especially after the beef between Cash Money and No Limit back in the day. Speaking of, how serious was that friction between P and Baby back then? Because when I spoke to Mannie Fresh last fall he revealed that “the two heads of those labels was the people that was beefin’. The artists were never beefin’.”
Silkk The Shocker: Yeah. I never thought it was a problem. I’m on [Master] P’s side and he never explained [how his beef with Birdman started]. I’m sure he maybe had like a few words about [Birdman] … but they grew up together, so I don’t know how that [relationship between them] was. But as far as the artists on the labels amongst each other, I don’t think it ever was a problem.
I liked what Cash Money was doing. I always thought everybody was talented. I think people got caught up into the fact that we’re from the same city. But I gave everybody props and respect. If any brother is getting they money and making it happen, then that’s what it is.
I would say I’m guilty of it as well somewhat though, because [during the time that] all the stuff was going on I actually had a chance to say “What’s up” to the homie Lil Wayne and we both was kinda like – nobody wanted to say “What’s up.” But me and him had no problems, because I know that he got love for us and we got love for they team. I’d be lying to you if I tell you I don’t play they music. And I think it’d be the same way too if they tell you they never played a No Limit song.
So, at the end of the day we just gotta be men and everybody get they money and make stuff happen. That’s the page I’m on, everything else doesn’t exist to me. That’s how I live my life.
DX: Well let’s switch gears here to a difficult subject but one I know you wanna talk about: the documentary that you’re about to release on your brother, C-Murder. Did you actually go into Angola to film him?
Silkk The Shocker: No, but we got some footage on him [where] he’s in Angola. But everything else is all like evidence.
I’m not a person who talks about this much because I know that people will say, “Well that’s his brother, of course he thinks he’s innocent.” But I don’t think that way, because I personally think that if you guilty you just gotta go do the time. And when my brother [Kevin Miller was shot and killed] I felt like give the person who killed my brother a thousand years. And if my brother was guilty, give him a thousand years.
But, what I realized is the same thing as Trayvon [Martin]. Stuff gets brushed under the rug so easily. And New Orleans [Police are] bad for this, man. So I know that C is a poster child for the innocent.
People are rallying behind him because they’re locking up young Black men on a plea bargain. Like, if I catch you I’m gonna make this crime stick to you because you don’t have enough money to fight with the system. Then they tell you I’ma give you 100 years but I’ll give you 10 years if you plea bargain. As a man I’ma be like, “If I’ma lose and get the 100, I might as well plea out and get the 10.”
So, what I’m saying to you about my brother is this right here: forget about he’s my brother for a second, what they are doing to him is just wrong. And the fact of the matter is that they could do it to you or me. I pick you up, I put a whole bunch of witnesses that don’t exist, I get a judge that doesn’t like me, I get 12 white jurors that hate the name C-Murder, and that’s the problem that we have. Forget he’s my brother for a second, I’m fighting more for [this] to be stopped in our community. And that’s why I think [fighting for justice in] the Trayvon case is a must because they are just sweeping stuff up under the rug.
And it’s not a Black or White thing, but I’m speaking for the Black side of it right now because I’m watching young dudes, 15 years old, getting 30, 40, 50 years and they are literally innocent. And that’s what my brother’s situation is.
Yeah, his name is C-Murder and all that, but the average person doesn’t know how they did him. How they railroaded him. And I just wanna put the facts out there to where it helps the next person down the line. That’s what it’s really about, man.
DX: Well you know I gotta play devil’s advocate here … I think a lot of unbiased observers were willing to believe your brother might be innocent of that murder until that surveillance footage surfaced via AllHipHop.com a few years ago of C opening fire into a nightclub entryway during a previous incident. How do you contextualize that against what you’re saying, when there’s actual video footage of him doing something that reckless and dangerous?
Silkk The Shocker: And I would tell you this: I’d say you’re right on point with that. And what I would also tell you is that the guy who did that is a different guy from the case that he’s on now. C took the time on that case. He talked to all of us and was like, “Man, I’m sick of getting in trouble. I got my three daughters. I’m trying to do the right thing.” He didn’t even fight that. He said, “You know what? As a man, give me what you wanna give me for this. I understand that. Five years later I’m a different dude with three kids and I wanna do the right thing.”
But those are two different cases. And you can’t try a person on a different case because of what they did in the past. I get the fact that people say, “Well if he could do that [he could conceivably kill somebody].” But the guy who did that in the club, I’m not cool with that guy there. But I so got love for the new guy that I know who didn’t do this second case. And that dude right there could change society because people look up to him.
He’s getting his degree, he’s doing everything right, he’s raising his daughter, he’s doing everything he was supposed to do as a man. He’s just getting better. And I’m fighting for that guy there.
If he did it, he would just have to be a changed man in jail. That’s how I feel about it. Like, if you killed somebody you just gotta do the time. But the fact of the matter is that he’s a good dude and he deserves to be home because he took his time for what he did do. I said to him, “Man, you did that, so guess what? You gotta make that happen.” And he did it. He did it on his own. But then, okay, after he manned up and took the plea on the first one, he was like, “I don’t wanna live this life no more, Silkk.”
He was going into that second trial while he was on that [personal] transition. And he wasn’t even worried about it. He was like, “I’ma get home, take care of my kids.” But they railroaded him – three or four times. If you gotta do all that stuff to convict a person, based on the fact of his past life or his name or whatever, that’s not fair to none of us. It can’t work like that. That’s not how the system’s supposed to work.
DX: You talk about what’s gonna happen “when C get home” on “Fast Livin’,” so let’s use that to segue to a much less heavy topic: your musical revival. You’re about to drop your first full-length in almost eight years.
Silkk The Shocker: Oh, eight years?
DX: Yeah, it’s been almost eight years since [Based on a True Story]. So the obvious question is why the comeback and why now in 2012?
Silkk The Shocker: Man! You just slapped me there. I thought it was maybe five or six years. The thing about it is though that I feel so good. I feel like it’s ’99 or something.
I thank God that he kept me in a good frame of mind, good shape. But I had to do [this comeback] when the time was right. I did it on my time. Like, I had a couple of songs that I was gonna put out but I stepped back because I was honestly so happy with what I was doing with my business game. But then I got called for a soundtrack, and it was a lot of money so I was like, “Alright, I’ll do one [song].” And I did it, and it was like the best thing that I’ve ever done. And so I just kept going.
The timing ended up being perfect because I was still doing spot shows in cities and everybody was like, “When you coming out with something new?” The fanbase was still there. And I feel like the Rap world ain’t so far along where I’m a fish out of water. I feel like my music steps right in to what’s going on right now. And this time around there’s no pressure. If I sell a million, if I sell one record, it’s whatever.
DX: It’s just weird to hear the guy who was on the label that put out an album a week talk about not rushing things. [Laughs]
Silkk The Shocker: [Laughs] You’re correct on that. And I appreciate those moments, but I also know that we didn’t take advantage of the stuff that we could have done.
And I tell people all of the time, we made a lot of money, did a lot of things, did everything you could possibly do, but at some point I wasn’t happy. Like, you gotta succeed and be able to enjoy your life too. But I was on the road for like 320 days out of the year. I would be at home for like 30 days a year. You do that for [several] years straight and you can’t enjoy it.
So I took the time off because, like I tell young people all the time, you can get the money but it doesn’t matter how much money you get if you don’t know how to keep recreating it. And I was just getting money. I didn’t know what it was for. I didn’t know what to do with it. I was just getting it. And so, I had to put myself through financial classes. I put myself through directing school. Like, I started taking time to do what I really wanted to do. I’ve directed a few movies. Stuff like that is really my passion. But now, because I feel like I’m so good at making music, I just feel like what the heck, let me get back out there.
But your point is well taken. Real talk, we did that, and we was good for that, but I wouldn’t do it now because I wanna enjoy the music more.