The last time HipHopDX spoke to Atlanta emcee Stat Quo, in August 2007 [click to read] he was shifting gears from promoting the Dr. Dre-produced “Here We Go,” the intended first single from his long-delayed Shady/Aftermath Records debut, Statlanta, to putting his push behind the then recently leaked “G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised In The South),” following Interscope’s lack of support for “Here We Go” at radio.
While openly frustrated after having to wait at that point three-and-a-half years for a firm release date for his debut long-player, Stat was still a loyal Shady/Aftermath artist who appeared to be on the verge of finally being able to bask in the glow of his time to shine nationwide. Unfortunately, that moment appeared to be just that, a moment, as after a year of trying to pry himself from his deal with Dre, Stat finalized his release from the label within the past couple months. DX recently spoke with the southern spitter to find out what happened that led to his departure from arguably the most important Hip Hop label of the last decade, and what his plans are now for future releases, as well as the music he recorded over the past five years with the aid of Dr. Dre and Eminem.
Before a planned project entirely produced by DJ Toomp makes its way to the people, as well as a new version of Statlanta, the newly independent artist’s first post-Aftermath project is The South Got Somthin’ To Say. Hitting the net tomorrow (October 23rd), the free mixtape, which features freestyles, as well as new material (including the soul sample driven “The Sun” [click to listen]), derives its title from Andre 3000’s prophetic declaration at the 1995 Source Awards.
“Regardless of what’s going on, considering how well Wayne has done, and ya know, you got T.I. [click to read] and Luda [click to read] and these guys are successful, but I feel like it’s still a bias [against southern artists],” Stat said to DX. “People still don’t wanna give artists that are coming from the southern region the credit and credibility [they’ve earned].”
The South Got Somthin’ To Say is just the first planned free offering to his fans to tide them over until a proper album release, with possibly a new label, can be arranged.
“People been waiting on an album from me for so long I wanna give them some music while I still try to work on the politics behind getting an album out,” said Stat. “I slowed down with doing mixtapes and putting music out…but not no more. I’m gonna put music out at least once a month. I’ma put a whole CD out – at least 13, 12 songs – once a month for the next year.”
Stat can easily crank out that planned CD-a-month, as he records daily in his home studio. But while clearly having modeled his work ethic after his former mentor, his plan to actually release his future recordings as they’re completed stands in stark contrast to his onetime guarantor’s approach to letting the world hear his creations.
“I’m not sittin’ on music no more, man,” Stat declared. “I been around Dr. Dre for so long, and as great as he is one thing I disagree with him about how he handles his business is that he sits on a lot of music. He makes incredible music and it just sits there. And it just gets old. And no one ever gets to hear it. Fuck that.”
“And he don’t even get to enjoy what he made,” Stat continued. “He go to the studio and make all this music, everyday, and never put anything out. I’m not living like that. No. I learned what not to do, and I learned what to do, by dealing with those guys. And that’s one thing that I’m not gonna do. I’m not gonna sit on this music ‘cause people need to hear it period.”
In addition to his own future recordings, Stat plans to release everything he recorded during his stint at Shady/Aftermath.
“All that shit coming out,” he revealed. “Everything that I done rapped on, everybody gonna hear it. You can quote me on that. Everything that I done rapped on, I don’t care who did the beat…Everything that my voice on that I’ve done over these years with them, everybody gonna hear it. I’m just waiting on the right time to put it out…I’m talking about 300, 400 Dre [tracks]. I’m talking about 100 Em beats I’m spittin’ on…”
But what about obvious legal entanglements that could be created by his decision to open up Dr. Dre’s long-rumored vault of unreleased material?
“I don’t give a fuck,” Stat replied. “Listen man, I’m college educated. If they say I can’t rap I’ll go get a job. If that don’t work, I can hit the street. I get money. I ain’t worried about no lawsuit. I ain’t necessarily saying I’m fin to put it in Best Buy and sell it. Nah. It ain’t even about no money for me…with that music. It’s about people need to hear that shit… The world gotta hear what the fuck I was doing with them, because that shit was amazing.”
“Dr. Dre got 40 Detoxes he done made, all killing everything that been came out,” he continued. “What’chu think Eminem do when he get up? He go make music that’s incredible! Probably one of the greatest rappers to fuckin’ live... I learned so much from that dude. But everybody don’t hear all that shit he do. Y’all only hear a portion of it.”
And the long unanswered question has been why hasn’t Dr. Dre released anything new in nearly nine years?
“When it [comes] down to [Dre] actually releasing an album or a project it’s like when Michael Jordan came back out of retirement,” explained Stat. “[He] didn’t give a fuck about his old legacy because he was like 'I’m Jordan anyway,' it don’t matter. Dre is like, ‘Damn, this shit might…’ This my opinion, [he was like] what I do [now] might deteriorate what I’ve done, so I don’t wanna fuck my name up. I gotta hold up. He’s very apprehensive when it comes to putting out music. That’s why he creates all this music and no one ever gets to hear it. I got tired of that. I got tired of going to the studio [in the] A.M. and staying in that bitch all night long making songs. And nobody hearing this shit. We just ridin’ in our cars to this great shit. I got sick of that.”
Stat explained in detail how that sickness, along with a slew of other offensive occurrences, led to his decision to leave his label home for the past five years on “Dear Summer Pt. 2” [click to listen]. In that breakdown Stat referenced an unreleased Eminem production entitled “Dance On It” saying, “What a song, Em, 50 and Dre, Stat Quo, Cashis, also featuring Jay…Z.” However, Stat clarified to DX that the Eminem and Jay-Z collaboration was in fact not “Dance On It,” but another song, one that may make its way to the buying public very soon.
“The song that featured Jay-Z is a song that Em’s putting on his album called ‘My Syllielable” – it’s like ‘my syllable,’ [only] he flipped it,” said Stat. “They probably have since taken Stat Quo off of that record now that I’m not affiliated with the label.”
“Dance On It,” Stat further clarified, was actually the song that ironically initiated the end of his working relationship with Eminem. Stat explained that Eminem had written the hook for the song, sent it to him, “And [then] he was like, ‘Man, it’s a smash.’ I thought it was a smash, but I was still reluctant about it. And then when I got [back] to L.A. I made ‘Here We Go.’”
Stat subsequently began leaning towards the Dr. Dre-produced “Here We Go” as his personal choice for the jumpoff joint for Statlanta and its planned summer ’07 release.
“But before he got [to L.A.] me and Em’s last conversation was ‘Dance On It’ was gonna be the [single],” said Stat. “So we had a meeting, it was me, Dre, Em, and Paul [Rosenberg of Shady Records]. So we sitting in there and we trying to figure out the [single]. And Em’s like, ‘Dance On It.’ And what made Em upset is because I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ But from Em’s standpoint, our last conversation was this was the song. But, I had made ‘Here We Go,’ and I thought [it should be the single].”
“And I made a joke,” Stat continued, “which I ain’t even gon’ get into that. But I had made a joke in that meeting that made Em upset. And from that point on, me and his relationship was strained. It was totally different. At that point for real [it was like] he had just said fuck it, I’m done. Even though [after my apology] it was [seemingly] all forgiven, [and] he had said it was all good, [but] it was never all good at that point.”
Following Eminem’s decision to remove himself from Stat’s project, a subsequent, and unexplained, decision made by Dr. Dre to not appear in Stat’s video for “Here We Go,” and the aforementioned lack of support for the single by parent label, Interscope, Stat began seeking his release from the label.
Now in hindsight Stat holds both Interscope’s greed and Dr. Dre’s unyielding personal critiques of his creations as partial culprits behind his inability to release an album during his five-year tenure with Shady/Aftermath.
“I’ma quote Jimmy Iovine,” Stat began. “It’s like the New England Patriots, imagine if they never played on Sunday and they just practiced all through the week. I was in the studio and Jimmy was there, and Jimmy said, ‘This like the greatest practice team of all time.’ ‘Cause ain’t shit came out.”
“But,” he continued. “You also got the heads of the label saying, ‘We want an Eminem album. We want a Dr. Dre album. We want another 50 Cent record. This is what we need for our stockholders. We need this money before the end of the fiscal year. They not concerned about a Stat Quo album. They’re not concerned about anybody that’s under the main people. They want the big bucks. They’d rather invest their money into a sure thing. That’s why when you look at Shady/Aftermath and look at the other artists they’re not coming out no time soon, until Em, Dre and 50 come [first].”
But contrary to any interpretation of the above comments, Stat made clear in his discussion with DX that he’s not a disgruntled former employee looking to enact revenge against his former employer by revealing some of the inner workings at the house that Dr. Dre built.
“I had stayed down,” Stat reminded. “I did everything [asked of me]. I rode when it was time to ride. And I appreciate everything that both of those guys has done for me. So me shittin’ on them publicly is not really an option for me. Musically – forget what you think about another person, anybody – [Dr. Dre’s] a genius, man. Eminem, these muthafuckas are geniuses, man. Like, musically what they do…you’re not gonna find a greater two. And for me to actually be a part of that situation and to learn from them was an honor. No it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but it was an honor. And y’all gonna see and hear the shit we did, ‘cause it’s incredible.”
The South Got Somthin’ To Say will be available for free tomorrow, October 23rd.