Los Angeles, CA – Lying on the table in front of Master P is a gigantic, diamond and gold ice cream cone-shaped birthday cake. The Colonel is sitting in the engineering booth inside his Los Angeles studio. On one wall, a giant silhouette of No Limit’s iconic logo. On another, a massive mural of every No Limit Forever release with “75 million Records Sold” landscaped across the bottom. A little later, AceB47, MoeRoy and Lambo of the raucous No Limit Boys will join Da Last Don in “the gym” (their metaphor for the studio) turn the energy all the way up, rocking through pop-up tour favorites, “Party Favors” and “Middle Finga,” as well as an unreleased track which will debut on HipHopDX on Monday (May 2) called “Projects.” The hook simply goes “I asked that bitch where I’ma fuck her at / That bitch told me ‘In the Projects.” All attempts to remove the infectiousness after first listen are futile. Just like the rest of NLB’s early offerings, the track goes.
P’s in a good mood. Not only is it the day before his birthday, but he’s celebrating the near-conclusion of negotiations for his upcoming biopic, King Of The South: The Ice Cream Man, the topic of today’s conversation. “The big thing is, 2017, the movie, King Of The South: Ice Cream Man, Master P biopic is coming to theaters,” he tells HipHopDX in this exclusive conversation. “I can’t tell ya’ll right now because we’re still signing the deal right now, but it’s about to be real… Queen Latifah and a lot of great actors and actresses are gonna be in this movie. I’m celebrating this birthday with that. We’re popping the champagne. You see everything’s big at No Limit.”
King Of The South will cover the life of Percy Miller from age 5 to just after 1996’s Ice Cream Man snatches a platinum plaque. The inspiration he received from J. Prince; the lowball offer received from Jimmy Iovine; the opportunity to acquire Cash Money Records are all slated to be included. Expect this to be big.
King Of The South: Ice Cream Man
HipHopDX: Where are we currently?
Master P: Right now, you’re at the No Limit Boys hideout. No Limit Records. Today is my birthday. Ya’ll see the cake. I know ya’ll thought it was a microphone. It’s a real ice cream cone, 24 karat with the diamonds on it ready to eat. You really can eat this. These are gold and diamonds that you really can eat. Happy birthday to my fans. You know I come from the streets. I remember at one time I didn’t think that I would live to be 19 [years-old] because I was living real wild and fast on the streets. The Man blessed me. I’m still here. To be able to be here and celebrating this birthday with my fans after 20 years after the Ice Cream Man album—platinum album—I couldn’t have done it without my fans. So I’m celebrating my birthday with my fans.
DX: It seems like you’ve been rejuvenated in 2016.
Master P: I stay in the gym, getting on my hustle, stay in the studio. You see that chandelier in the back? That’s my gym. Lebron James stay in the basketball gym. That’s what we call the gym: The studio. I stay in there doing my thing. My team, the No Limit Boys—BlaqNMild on the music, J. Slugg—incredible producers. I haven’t heard a person like BlaqNMild that can make all kinds of music. Then you add JSlugg with that New Orleans flavor with it. Then you bring MoeRoy, AceB47, Lambo, it’s just crazy right now. It’s gonna be a crazy year. It’s a good time to be with No Limit because we’re on our grind.
DX: You’ve mentioned before the resurgence of No Limit Films and I Got The Hook Up 2.
Master P: The big thing is, 2017, the movie, King Of The South: Ice Cream Man, Master P biopic is coming to theaters. I can’t tell ya’ll right now because we’re still signing the deal right now, but it’s about to be real. I seen Straight Outta Compton. I felt like that movie was a real movie. The story of my life, to be able to put it into theaters so that people can be able to learn from where we come from, it’s a rags-to-riches love story. Queen Latifah and a lot of great actors and actresses are gonna be in this movie. I’m celebrating this birthday with that. We’re popping the champagne. You see everything’s big at No Limit. I couldn’t have did it without my fans. This is a celebration of something bigger than me. To be able to be here and write my biopic and make sure it’s done right, taking the people that was a part of my life and them telling their story during a roundtable so that it’s gonna be a real movie that everybody can see, it’s already documented. You’ll be able to see it up close and personal. The young people from this generation, the older people from back then will be able to see a real love story, a rags-to-riches story about growing up in the Calliope Projects in New Orleans—the murder capital of the world—it was a bad time. For me to surpass 20 years and celebrate the Ice Cream Man album—a platinum album—to be able to celebrate my birthday at the same time and now the King Of The South movie. Big things for No Limit. I told y’all we only get better with time.
DX: Who would you want to play you in the movie?
Master P: You know what? I’m gonna have somebody new play me because I want people to feel what I was going through. I was living in poverty. I didn’t have nothing. I lost a lot of my friends. Ace uncles was in my life. Both of them dead now. I’m showing what we went through to make it out the Calliope Projects. We didn’t cry at funerals. We celebrated that. You’re gonna see where I got my name from, where I got the No Limit tank from. You’re gonna see my life. I was the king of the kindergarten class at that time. To be King Of The South and take over for my era and my time; to have nobody bigger than me; to learn the game from Lil J at Rap-a-Lot and taking that game to another level with No Limit and learning the game from the Bay Area and taking that hustle game and mixing it up—the world gonna see that if you dream and you come from nothing, you still can make it. I was a kid that came from the projects and is still here now.
DX: You’ve talked about the time when you received a $1 million deal from Interscope and some of the details that surrounded that offer. Is this film going to capture that moment and moments like them?
Master P: This film is gonna be very detailed. Me turning down that $1 million from Jimmy Iovine, that’s why I’m here right now. At that time I only had $500 in my pocket. If I had took that $1 million, I wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be here running my own company, running my own business, putting out music whenever I wanted to and be able to put out 10 to 20 records at one time in a year. Priority Records told me I couldn’t do that, that nobody could put out 10 to 20 records at one time. I said, “Yeah, I can because I own the company.” The deal I did was me 85% and them 15%, so I feel like that deal changed the game to where artists can eat right now in this music industry.
DX: It’s been documented that you were worth $350 million at least at one time. How much do you think Priority made off of the deal?
Master P: I think Priority made a lot of money. I helped them get a lot of deals. I don’t think they made more money than me. I think maybe that was crazy for somebody to come to a company and make more money than the company. That’s the game changer that’s in this movie that I think fans are gonna see. People of this generation of music are gonna see how I took over a company with my brand. I think I probably had more people working over at that company for me than they had at one time.
DX: You just mentioned Queen Latifah. Is she a part of the movie or is she going to be in the movie?
Master P: Queen Latifah’s gonna be in the movie. She’s gonna be playing my mom. It’s a good role and I’m grateful and humbled to have someone like Queen Latifah playing an important role because it meant a lot. With me and my family—the women in my life, I loved them dearly—my mom, my grandmother. My grandfather and my dad were big influences on my life because they were strong men that was tough on me. You’re gonna see it in the movie.
I almost died—I can’t tell ya’ll exactly how it happened because I want ya’ll to watch the movie—but I got shocked in the bottom of my feet and it came out my hand at maybe six years-old. They told me I wasn’t gonna make it. I was already out of here—counted out. So the music industry and this stuff right here, this is like child’s play, boys camp, because I’ve been through so much and I wasn’t supposed to be here. I think that God had something bigger for me. He wanted me to live and wanted me to do what I’m able to do right now. Hopefully I can motivate the next generation with my movie and show that even though you live in poverty, you can make it if you work hard. A lot of people don’t want to work. They want to be successful but they don’t want to put in the time to run a company and be the boss and run a company. You have to educate yourself. I took basketball and it took me out of the projects. It took me to college. We’re not ignorant. We’re not dumb. We’re not gonna try to portray that type of role.
I’m educated. That’s what helped me to run my business: going to school and having an education. Once you get money, what are you gonna do if you have no education? Some of us don’t think about that. We only think of “How are we gonna get this money?” What you gonna do after you get the money, because a lot of crooks come. I’ve been through it but my education, I was able to see [what’s happening]. Like the deal with Jimmy Iovine, I read the contract and it said seven years. I couldn’t use my name. At that time, I was looking at the Michael Jordan deal. Michael Jordan is a billionaire now, but I feel he should’ve been a billionaire 20 years ago, but he signed his name over to Nike. Maybe he got 5% or 3% or something like that. That’s how I looked at that deal with Jimmy Iovine at the time and said, “This is like a Michael Jordan ‘name’ deal. I won’t be able to use my name no more.” The million dollars wasn’t worth it. I said I’d go sell music out the trunk of my car. I hit every hood, every project. Big shout out to MJ now. I know he’s big and he’s making billions of dollars but at the time [he wasn’t]. I think education and reading and knowing what $1 million is worth because 10 years from now, that might only be worth $10,000. I grew up in a project with 18 people. In a three bedroom project, I lived with my grandmother and all her kids. $1 million is nothing once you make it. It’s a lot of money once you’re living in poverty, but once you make it, there are so many people to help and take care of that you’re gonna start realizing that $1 million is nothing. I always thought that if this man don’t know me and he wants to give me $1 million, I must be worth $20 to $40 million. He doesn’t know what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go to the projects and do something crazy, might get killed, go to jail and he’s gonna give me $1 million with no insurance or nothing. It was crazy to me.
DX: What time period will the film be based on?
Master P: This movie’s gonna start from me being five years old on up to 20-something when the Ice Cream Man album comes out. That’s why I celebrated with the Ice Cream Man project, because that’s when the movie’s gonna end, right after the Ice Cream Man album. Me and my brother [Kevin] are real close. You’re gonna really get a chance to see who my brother was. My brother only lived to be 19 [years-old]. I thought that I was gonna die at 19. Somebody that I loved dearly and deeply—I grew up in the same room with him. To lose someone at that young age, it definitely rips a lot out of somebody. It makes you think differently because whoever’s left gotta go on and do something. I wanted to do something for my mom. I didn’t want her to go through that type of tragedy no more. I decided to change my life and get into the music industry.
DX: Your life has enough material to do two or three of these.
Master P: I want to do this one first. Once I do this right, definitely some trilogies like The Godfather three, four, five or something like that. Straight Outta Compton was done right. It was done like a real movie. Because of the deal that we have in place now, this movie’s gonna be real because it’s about how many theaters you are in, how much marketing money. It’s not just getting a movie because there are a lot of people coming out with biopics but they don’t have a lot of marketing money for the movie. Nobody’s gonna know about the movie. Nobody’s gonna take the movie seriously. It took me a little time to make sure I had my business right. Besides Straight Outta Compton, I liked the James Brown biopic. With me, what’s gonna be different about my movie is that you’re gonna get to know Master P at five years-old. With N.W.A, they went straight into them being in the music business. I want people to know how I came out of this poverty. I had no way out. So when people talk about music sometimes, they say, “This music is violent.” They got a lot of movies that are violent and nobody talks about it. Nobody talks about Al Pacino. He just entertaining. So why can’t our music be entertaining? We’ve actually seen this stuff. We rap about what we’ve been through and what we’ve seen. I want people to know that this could have been a five year-old kid that could’ve been dead or in prison once he made 12 or 13-years-old.
I had to make changes in my life. Even having a son at a young age, Romeo, it made me change my life because I’m riding in a car bumping Ice-T’s “Colors.” I got Romeo sitting on my side and I got two pistols. I’m like, “I’m a nightmare walking / A psychopath talking.” I’m thinking that I’ve seen so many of my friends die early. I need to do something else with my life. I want to live. I want to see this kid grow up. So I decided to change my life. It might be something that you that’ll make you change your life. My son made me change my life. A lot of people look at things negative. Maybe they have a kid at a young age. You don’t know what God might have in store for you. I made the best of it. Instead of being bitter about it, “Oh, I’m too young to do this,” I just made the best out of it.
Cash Money, Silkk The Shocker & C-Murder
Master P: This movie’s gonna be about me, but they’re my brothers so they’re definitely going to be in the movie. This is gonna be from my perspective. You know all the stuff we went through. You’re gonna see it. I think it’s going to be funny seeing us as kids and what we had to go through. We’ve been through some crazy stuff. With the man up above, we’re still able to be here and see it. I feel blessed.
DX: Who’s writing the film?
Master P: I had some writers, but it’s a biopic. It’s basically everything we’ve been through. I had some people put it together but I wrote the film.
DX: You give a lot of respect and credit to J. Prince. Is that relationship touched upon in the film?
Master P: You’re definitely gonna see that in the movie. For people that don’t know, I went to the University Of Houston. The first time I seen J. Prince was in a club. I asked him, “Man, what you do?” And he told me he sells music. I said, “What you mean ‘sell music’?” [He said], “I got a record company.” I said, “What you mean you got a record company?” He said, “Yeah. I own it. I’m the boss.” I tripped out to see a young black man owning his own record company. I said if I ever get in the music business, that’s what I’m going to be. I’m not just gonna be a rapper. I’m not just gonna be talented. I’m gonna run the business and own it, too. You’re definitely going to see that in the movie.
DX: New Orleans is huge in Hip Hop now. At the time, you put N.O. on the map. Not long after that you had Cash Money and the cast of characters they brought out of the city. Are we going to see interactions with any other artists out of New Orleans?
Master P: Back in the days, Cash Money, Birdman would come at me and try to sell me what they had. It just didn’t work at the time. You’re gonna see in the movie our relationship growing up back then, that I could’ve bought Cash Money back in the day. They was from another side of New Orleans. I’m from another side so it never really worked because of the violence, because of what my hood and what we were going through. I could’ve bought Cash Money back in the day. Everybody. I could’ve brought every artist they had.
DX: Do you ever regret that?
Master P: No because it wouldn’t have worked. That’s what I tell people all the time: Be thankful. God had a different way. I could’ve signed India Arie back in the day. I could’ve signed a lot of artists but it wouldn’t have worked because we had a different brand and a different system. The way it worked for them, it was supposed to go like that. I don’t regret none of that. Sometimes people are like, “Man, P, why didn’t you do this?” Look at the history. These guys sold a lot of records. They built an amazing company. That’s the way it’s supposed to go.
DX: Is there anything else you want people to know?
Master P: The movie is not gonna be a shoot-em-up movie. It’s going to be a rags-to-riches story. It’s going to be a love story. It’s going to be somebody making it out of poverty. That’s what I want the world to see. I’m not going to dwell on a lot of the negative things that we’ve been through. You’re gonna see some of it but it’s not gonna be a shoot-em-up, bang-bang movie. I want people to go in there with their families; to be inspired when they leave the movie theater. I remember the scene [in Straight Outta Compton] when Ice Cube came in and broke up the table in Priority Records. We was with the same company. By me going to college, I was able to use my brain. I told the same guy [at Priority] because they didn’t pay me at first. I said I’m gonna send my people up there. They’re all scared because they already know that this guy comes from the streets. They don’t really know me. I don’t talk that much. I said I’m gonna have my people come up there in the morning and they’re gonna get me straight about my money. They got scared. So when my people came, it was a lawyer and an accountant. They were like, “Man, I’m so happy ya’ll came.” I ended up getting a check for $10 million the next day. Sometimes you gotta use your mind and not your muscle all the time.