Mr. Serv-On Recalls The Phone Conversation That Broke Up No Limit Records

Mr. Serv-On claims Master P and No Limit Records gave artists the best contracts in Rap history. He reveals how a speaker-phone and an upset executive compromised an independent juggernaut.

In 1999, Mr. Serv-On's sophomore album, Da Next Level garned a #1 debut on the Rap/Hip Hop charts for reigning independent label No Limit Records. According to the New Orleans, Louisiana native who was with the label since the mid-1990s, that was the year No Limit sold 22 million units. Sadly, it was a year before the label suffered an artist exodus which was led by in-house production team Beats By The Pound. In an interview this week with the Underground Society online radio show, Mr. Serv-On explained the root of the artist departure—including his own—and how it greatly damaged No Limit's legacy.

"The thing that really messed it up was when Beats By The Pound and [Master P] got into the smallest thing," began Serv. "Man, and when I tell you why No Limit [Records] broke up—'cause he didn't get rid of people. He did a few interviews out there. That was just [because] his feelings were hurt, 'cause niggas walked off. He'd be like, 'I got rid of niggas.' In '99, when most of us walked off, we sold 22 million albums. You don't go and get rid of niggas that helped you sell 22 million."

According to Mr. Serv-On, Beats By The Pound—which included KLC, Craig B, Mo B. Dick and Odell—stirred the pot with a contract dispute. "This shows you how No Limit really broke up, and ended up levelin' off and fadin': Basically, P was doin' a huge business deal. Contracts came out; we didn't live by contracts, we lived by handshakes and word—blood in, blood out. Our contracts was better than any contracts, ever. I own my masters! We own everything. We got 50/50 [splits]. That's how real the nigga played us, and we owned our publishing. He was a real dude with it. What happened was, he had to get signed contracts to do this big business transaction with [No Limit Records' distributor at the time] Priority [Records]. When the contracts came, the producers were like, 'Man, I'ma get a lawyer.'" Lawyers had not previously been part of the agreements in the New Orleans-based street label.

Mr. Serv-On, who helped bring KLC and Craig B to the label before its mainstream success watched his friends bring in legal counsel. "We had people in our circle that weren't so-they-say 'street guys'—and they was with that bullshit. So one day [in a phone meeting], P was like, 'Man, they don't wanna sign [the contract], fuck 'em!' The [lawyer had Beats By The Pound] on speaker. And they heard it. P didn't really mean nothin' by it; he was just gettin' mad, like you would with your homie."

According to Serv, KLC felt particularly slighted, after producing hits such as "Bout It, Bout It," "Make 'Em Say Uhh!" and "Down 4 My Niggaz," all major hits on top-selling albums. Mr. Serv-On explained, "[KLC and Master P] was like [Dr.] Dre and Snoop [Dogg]. That kinda really fucked KL up, to hear that." Master P and KLC reportedly had several difficult verbal exchanges following the phone conversation. "P being stubborn, wouldn't apologize. KL was like, 'I'ma stand my ground.' So Beats By The Pound walked away. P waited so long to say, 'Man, Serv, go call Beats, let's work this out.' It was too late. They was gettin' deals." Beats By The Pound left the label, working under the name Medicine Men. In recent years, KLC has worked with the likes of Bun B, B.G., and former No Limit artists Curren$y and Mystikal.

Beats By The Pound's departure upset the roster at the label, which included Fiend, Mia X and Magic, in addition to Mr. Serv-On. "When they walked off, all the artists were like, 'P, we're not workin' with these other producers.' In turn, that got him mad and whatever." Having reportedly brought Beats By The Pound to No Limit, Serv admitted his difficult stake in the situation. "I got caught in the middle, 'cause I brought the two main producers—with the most hits—to No Limit. It was like, 'Man, get them back.'" Serv claims that he went from a pupil of Master P in the label and A&R'ing to grunt-work. "It went to, 'Aight Serv, what's going on? I'll holla at you on this, this and that.' I was working on my third album, which the world never got to hear—which was just crazy. I went to turn it in, and it was kinda funny." He deduced, "This shit ain't family no more...for me, that's what I came up with." In late 1999, following Da Next Level, Mr. Serv-On left No Limit. A year later, he released War Is Me, Pt. 1: Battle Decisions on the small independent label, Lifetime Entertainment. Interestingly enough, the album featured extensive production by Beats By The Pound's Craig B. Serv admits that while behind the scenes, his former label boss helped his career even after No Limit. "He helped me in the background—still got me deals and got me situations overseas with clothing stuff."

Still, it all comes back to that one phone conversation. "Everybody walked away...that big-ass conglomerate broke down because of two people that were just too stubborn to sit down and talk, over somethin' that wasn't even supposed to be heard: a 'fuck 'em.'"

Master P and son Romeo are currently revamping No Limit Forever Records, now based in Los Angeles, California. The roster is said to include Fat Trel and former Death Row Records hopeful Eastwood, in addition to Master P, Romeo and Silkk The Shocker.

Two years ago this month, Mr. Serv-On released Internet Platinum. The full interview is below:

Listen to internet radio with Murder Master Music Show on BlogTalkRadio

RELATED: Master P Defends "Wearing Dresses" Shot; Refutes Mannie Fresh's "Bout It" Claims

66 Comments

  • Bbitter

    Nolimit still best that ever did it still bumping them classics to this day

  • IGNORE ALL TROLLS

    IGNORE THE TROLLS BELOW VVVVVV

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  • luke

    master p alone took rap and hip-hop music to a whole new business level. late 90's he was the top grossing entertainer. not rapper. that included everybody from music, film, sports, and whatever entertainers out there. he blew the mind of all powerful music executives and expose a music business route that other rap labels were unaware of.

  • Anonymous

    Serv was a real nigga on that mic man.i know a flaw ass nigga when I see em and he was 100.listen to life insurance and da next level that nigga got cuts.tell me honestly if your just hatin or your a loser your damn self.street niggas know about them serv albums

  • zerocool6687

    The level of ignorance out here day after day is astonishing. No Limit has earned it's place in history. Yes it eventually saturated the market with crap however prior to signing the distribution deal with priority, No Limit showed the world how big you could get off of doing shit yourself. They were an independant label making as much off their music as major label companies. They were prominant in magazines like Source. Master P and his crew were doing something special in the early-mid ninties. Before heading back to N.O. they had a real west-coat feel to their music... it worked well. I know this article claims the downfall of No Limit was this particular phone call although I would say that the number of records they were releasing, Master P's consistent vocal input on everything, and the recycling of their own beats started to change the critical view of the label before KLC left. After it was a more of a fall rather than a slow decending. I have a love/hate relationship with No Limit. I was a teenager when I was working at the HMV while No Limit was an import (in Canada). I looked hard into the music and convinced my boss to let me bring these records in. I personally pitched them as I loved the older records and they sold well. It's a bit of nostalgia that retains my soft spot and the respect for their historic importance in this music. On the flipside, once with priority there was so much garbage coming out of the label that it made me start to hate everything they stood for. There is a line is "Seasons" by the Cunninlynguists that kind of sums it up best. Point is, simply calling them wack means you are fucking clueless. They had their moments and for a time were well deserving of the hype surrounding them. They became a victim of their own success and left a mixed legacy.

  • Anonymous

    man I love No Limit albums.. a lot of people grew up on that and it meant a lot. No internet troll can take that away from me

  • anon

    No Limit was the wackest label in hip hop history

  • GAME

    Game is the best rapper alive like He says on the city GAME BIGGIE (HOE) PROBABLY PAC NAS and EMINEM so all u lil wayne rick ross drake lovers eat a cock. Game is a fuckin g filthy rich and at his worst (the red album) is better than that carter 4, watch the throne, and tm103 and jeezy that nigga. red is the dopest rap album since Em's recovery. Red is stillclassic shit. all Games cds since 05, even if not better than the Documentary are better than theze other shit rappers albums doc advocate and lax are still the best rap albums to come out the years they dropped 06 and 09 and whoever disagrees is just a big fuckin hater he only features these wack fucks on his cd cause the record lable makes him Games mixtapes are killin these clown ass rappers albums Games mixtapes are real g lyrical shit and cali republic is the last of those features left from red. Game stay rich AND FUCK THESE DUMB ASS SUBURBAN NOT REALLY FROM THE HOOD ASS NIGGAZ WHO SAY A NIGGA WIT 25,000,000 is broke yall internet niggaz make me laugh. If game was a stripper in any of the years in the 2000s as much as game destroys niggaz and talks shit they would been had that shit on the summer jam screen, them bitch ass brick squad and 40 glocc and all them hoe ass niggaz still aint put the tape out of them knockin out a 6'5" nigga in a public mall. GAME is a G and u hoe ass niggaz just hate hate hate. When jesus really come back yall hoe ass niggaz gonna hate cause thats what yall do!!! That aint jesus fuck that nigga man!!!! To hell you go bitch game time!!!

  • Thought Dog

    All that money and Romeo still can't buy a shirt.

  • 1Hunnud

    Mr. Serv-On is ranked #1 of my all-time wackest rappers ever...hands down. It's evident that he's still riding P's dick and stroking his nut sack while blaming Beats By The Pound for ending his career that P financed in exchange for all the blow-jobs Mr. Suck I mean Serv-On gave him. LMAO

  • Mystikal

    @ Disaster P Fuck you! You the reason why i beat and rape women. YMCMB want release my album. Fuck im 44 years old and still broke! My therapist says i must chil but i get sometimes so agressive that i beat some women because i will not beat some men because im a pussy.

  • Disaster P

    Dear hiphop fans' I apologize for making so much garbage records. No Limit was indeed as wack as Cash Money records: no substance, no lyrics, no flows etc. Most of my homeboyz are broke or in jail but im still rich as fuck. Yours sincerely, Disaster P. No Limit Records

  • kill fags

    fuck all Anonymous faggots

    • Anonymous

      So whats your name???? I guess its not kill fags? So basically you say: fuck myself to. lol what a dumbass.

  • Anonymous

    lol irrelevant niggas. No Limit is the wackest label in rap history and i dont care how many records they sold. only idiots buy there records.

    • Anonymous

      @ WHO THE FUCK R U Is that you Master P? Why are you so concerned with sales? Fuck sales its about quality music. And no Limit never had quality music. I guess you are a 40 year old hiphopfan who is stuck in the 90's.

    • WHO THE FUCK R U

      DICK eaters like "Anonymous", "What", and "Del" R cancerous sons of slut bitches would sell their souls and booty holes just 4 the THOUGHTof fortune and fame. When has it ever been cool 2 celebrate another man's misfortune due 2 some FUCKery...and who would have pocketed those "millions", ASSHOLE?

    • Anonymous

      @ WHO R U? Im not a rapper so whats up with that dumb question

    • What

      That Label was wack indeed, and i also see them nigga was stupid, for letting one conversation, keep the from making millions of dollars more, that why only nigga that is rich now is Master P, all them other sucker are broke

    • Who the FUCK R U?

      Same goes 4 U, Del since yo BITCH ASS is co-signing!

    • WHO R U?

      Hey Anonymous IDIOT FAGGOT? How many IDIOTS bought YOUR record(s)?

  • Minky Santana

    the rock of girbaltar is now falling on you

  • IROC

    Very good article never knew that it was something that small that brought down No Limit they were trend setters in the game first clothing line label logo around the neck movies etc Mr Serv On was dope and still dope !

  • Anonymous

    I'll admit alot of their stuff was weak, but when they were on their game, shit was fire. I would take the top 25 no limit songs and out them up against and other clique (RuffRyders, Young Money, etc.)

    • Del

      Yeah uh no. 25 Death Row Tracks?? No way 25 Rocafella Tracks?? Doubtful I agree with ur Ruff Ryder/YMCMB tho.

  • BIGAZZCHICKEN

    THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEVANT IN 2000 BUT ITS CLEAR HE'S JUST TRYNA GET HIS 15 MINUTES, DIS YA BOI BIG AZZ CHICKEN IM GETTIN IT IN ONLINE I GET BREAD COMMENTING ON BLOGS ARE U WELL U NEED TO START CUZ BEING BROKE "AINT NOBOY GOT TIME FOR THAT" www racksnotax com

  • polo hova

    Y'all didn't even mention his best album Life Insurance that was a No Limit Classic by the time Next Level dropped No Limit was falling off. I'm from N.O. when I tell you they had a run unlike any crew in rap music I mean that. It was short but sweet.

  • sam snead

    they were at the end of the run anyways, first cash $ and ruff riders were taking their base and then aftermath blew up along with a short revival of NYC hip hop with rawkus records having some popular artists, then you had your drake of the time Ja Rule, Jay-z and Rocafella starting to making some noise, etc. It really was the end of their run, even cash money wasn't doing it so big from 00-03 though they had some hits in that time.

  • Free Mac

    Mac, Mystikal, Fiend, Mia X, Soulja Slim and Silk were some of the best lyricists to come out in the south. Alot of haters were jealous of No Limit's success and it took a sneaky speaker phone, from a dirty jewish lawyer, to get a monkey mad.

  • Mo B. Dick

    STAY TUNED 4 MY VERSION OF THAT "PHONE CONVERSATION". I WAS THERE. I CALLED THE MEETING. http://youtu.be/S-xxr3qjDoo http://youtu.be/O-LTTcCtkBg http://youtu.be/dnaOgCO3k7Q

  • Nick Newman

    P was a marketing genius because he had me buying damn near every No Limit album that would come out week to week. I look back and laugh because most of those cds were wack.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^You ain't lying. School these motherfuckers.

    • Anonymous

      Stop bullshitin'. Nick is right. P just sharpened his marketing skills to drop an album damn near every week back when no other label was doing that. A lot of they albums was trash. Ghetto Dope was they best album. B.G. was tearin' they ass up out there with the Chopper City albums and the All on U Vol 1 and 2. Cash Money straight took over in 99.

    • polo hova

      This dude probably loves Cash Money. No Limit shitted in them in terms of catalog of music. So many dope albums they dropped. A lot people not from the south probably heard the commercial records and have no clue.

    • WHO R U?

      What album did U put out (BITCH ass nigga)?

    • Ghetto Dope 101

      None of those albums were wack. You just didn't listen to any of those gritty reality based songs, outside of some of the radio singles. You probably some hater, who isn't from the south and never even purchased an album from that label.

  • Master P

    I still make niggaz say uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhh !!!

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome. Finally a breakdown of he breakdown. Being from LA it was so many rumors but this sums it up. Good work!

  • Anonymous

    great interview glad theres no bad blood between him and p

  • 011781

    No Limit, IMO, is the best label in the history of rap music. Every week, LIKE CLOCK WORK, they had a new album dropping. Every artist on the label had a solo tape. The whole team was eating. Unlike today where niggas is lucky to get an album out. Anyone ever seen a Mack Maine or Gudda Gudda tape? These days niggas gotta hope to make it on Datpiff for anyone to hear new music.

    • Anonymous

      SO WHY DIDN'T ANY OTHER LABELS (BESIDES THE ROC, BAD BOY, THA ROW AND RUFF RYDERS) SELL MILLIONS??!! YOU JUST ANOTHER HATER FROM OUTSIDE OF THE SOUTH.

    • Anonymous

      No Limit overexposed themselves though. Plus, it was pretty easy for them to sell millions when people were buying albums left and right. Today, people steal everything, so that's why you don't many of these underdog stories anymore.

  • Anonymous

    This old fool acting like he personally sold 22 million albums. He was a small part of their success. Very small. It was a nice run, but usually when things are going good then inevitably they will go bad.

  • Really?!!?

    Two years and week ago this month,"Internet Platinum" went real world wood.

  • Anonymous

    serv should go an get back with master p and help bring the label back how dope would it be to get master p silk mystikal and serv back together!

  • Anonymous

    ne1 ever think labels fell off becuz no ones buys records anymore? foloow at noles506

  • Anonymous

    How ridiculous. No Limit had started to fade out due to Cash Money though, so I don't think it really mattered that much. Mannie killed Beats By The Pound for dolo, although KLC had some dope shit on that Mystikal album after he left No Limit

    • Anonymous

      Don't sound like you know what you talking about. Only thing Mannie Fresh had was a consistent sound against the No Limit sound which started to be more than just the 5 members in Beats By The Pound. Mannie Fresh didn't have the energy to battle 5 fire producers like KLC, O'dell, Mo B., Craig B., and Carlos Stephens. As Serv-On said no one wanted to work with anybody but those producers. it's easier to break 40 people up as a family then to break up 7 people.

    • Anonymous

      GTOH wit dat bullshit. No Limit was over by 2000. The Hot Boy$ shit all over No Limit while they were having internal issues. Beats by the Pound wasn't that consistent, not like Mannie Fresh, who single handedly built Cash Money from the ground up production wise. Cash Money just had the better sound in the long run. That's why they still around dumbass

    • polo hova

      Are you retarded? Cash Money collection is wack compared to No Limits. Production and lyrically decimated them.

  • Chris

    No Limit was the sh*t back in the days...I grew up on that. Y'all should checkout thegrandreport, they usually have some good reads and videos on there

  • whodi

    I hated No Limit, but I miss them in this Drake ass era. Whoever took the time to make this story deserves a cake.

  • Sco

    I was such a fan of No Limit, and Beats By The Pound just had that sound, which was unprecedented in those years.....Good times mane...

  • J dirty

    Its amazing how huge lables and groups fall over stubborn bullshi.No Limit,G-Unit,Dipset,Roc-a-fella,Old school Shady records....

    • Anonymous

      ^^ add 50 cent to that list, but you're right. nothing for years until yelawolf and slaughterhouse who dropped wack albums and flopped

    • Anonymous

      What has Shady put out besides Obie, Em & D 12? They dropped more artists then they released. follow at noles506

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