As was previously reported, one of the most powerful duos in the history of Hip Hop, 8Ball & MJG, have left Bad Boy Records, home to their last two group projects, and signed on to record for a different Atlantic Records distributed label, T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records [click here to read]. Recently, DX spoke with one-half of the Memphis twosome, MJG, to try and get the lowdown on the group’s much talked about new deal, as well as the southern superstar’s long-overdue return to the market as a solo artist.
Notoriously tight-lipped during interviews, MJG chose to remain mum for the time being regarding details of he and partner-in-rhyme 8Ball’s union with the self-proclaimed "King of the South," commenting on the partnership only with a coded reference to the living legends new label home: “Let’s just put it like this here mayne, the next move that 8Ball & MJG make is gon’ be big. It’s gon’ be a grand thing. We gonna be hustlin’ hard, that’s all I got to say.”
For now, MJG would like fans to focus not on the group’s recent activities but on his first official solo project in a little over a decade, This Might Be The Day. Unlike 8Ball, who has released two additional solo albums and two collabo side projects since his official solo debut, 1998’s Lost, MJG is just now following up his first solo effort, 1997’s gold-selling No More Glory.
“I was more focused on the group albums,” MJG explained as to why there has been an 11-year gap between his solo offerings. “But I always did a lot of solo stuff in the lab. I’m more like a lab rat. I stay in the studio. But it just really felt like a good time to do [a solo project]. I really never like planned to do a solo and then do another solo and another one and another one, and just keep ‘em lined up. The meat [of what I do] is in the 8Ball & MJG [albums].”
Following the April release of Pimp Tight [click here to read], an underground warm up signaling MJG’s official re-entry into the market as a solo artist, the gruff-voiced lyricist is now banking on This Might Be The Day to not only resurrect his career outside of 8Ball & MJG recordings, but possibly his creatively-deficient genre as a whole.
“I’m just looking at it like this might be the day for something new, something different in Hip Hop,” he explained of the meaning behind the album’s title.
Produced entirely by MJG and his production team, Space Age Beats, This Might Be The Day is a more personal affair featuring only a few cameos (8Ball of course being one), and a surprisingly less aggressive tenor, like that of the album’s first single, “Shades.”
“It ain’t ‘cause I be high all the time, or ‘cause my eye fucked up or some shit [Laughs], I just like wearing them boys all the time,” said MJG of the ode to his signature locs.
“It’s a lot of stuff on [the album] that’s a more neutral, more lighter side of MJG,” he continued. “I got stuff on there that’s of course right in the realm of other stuff that we do [as a group] – the pimpin’ and gangsta stuff. But I got a couple of the more lighter side joints, more radio friendly.”
In addition to a slightly less get buck demeanor, one other curve-ball MJG is throwing at fans on his sophomore solo effort is one they might not initially recognize.
“I probably got a couple of spots on there where I’m singing on some tracks,” he noted. “You probably wouldn’t really know [that I’m singing on those tracks]. But I get down like that to. Like I said, I’ma studio head, so when I’m in the lab I get down all the way.”
Apparently one fan of MJG’s diverse musical range is super producer (and former Suave House affiliate) Jazze Pha [click to read].
“I’m fin to get ready to join Jazze Pha’s writing team, over there with him and [The] Dream,” MJG revealed. “So I’ma be ghostwriting a lot of R&B and Hip Hop, like concepts and hooks and stuff like that. I been knowing Jazze for a long time. So he know how I get down. I don’t really have a big history of ghostwriting for artists outside the label, but I’m fin to dive in though.”
With an already full plate for ’08, MJG is set to follow-up This Might Be The Day with a soundtrack to a film project he is currently working on but not surprisingly doesn’t wish to divulge the title of just yet.
“But let’s just say it’s gon’ be real pimpin’,” he said.
“That’ll be next up as far as my label,” he continued, “but as far as like the next official album, that’ll be the 8Ball & MJG album later on this year. We working on that right now. We got some big things in store for that.”
This Might Be The Day is due for release on July 15th via MJG Muzik.