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You don't believe in Harlem World?

Jae Millz: Part Two

[Part 2 of 2]


Here is the second part of the interview with Jae Millz...


 

[more:]
Prefix Magazine:
You're really young, but did you ever doubt that you weren't going to make it or think this wasn't for you?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
It's funny 'cause I used to always sit and think in my room, and you know how people think if it doesn't happen, at least they tried? I'm gonna try until the day I die, when I'm in a casket with my hands crossed. I'm gonna try 'til there's no more trying. You could say I'm in the game, a lot of deejays know me. It's kind of a shock for me to have all these people now. So, I'm not fading off no where, I'm not going nowhere no time soon. I used to sit and think, This has to happen.

I was never one of those people who sit and think, Well, maybe this ain't for me. I never thought I could outsmart the game, I just always knew I could outsmart some of the people in the game. Some people are on this song with this person and on this song with this person. So, why can't you sell any records on your own? Why can't you use that and run with it? I don't understand how someone can get in this industry and get some light and then fade to black? Once I'm good with these deejays and radio, it's a wrap. Y'all let me get good with the deejays, the radio, the magazines -- I ain't fading no where. As long as I got those connections, you're always going to see me or hear me, and that's what's most important.

PM:
What was it like when the big deejays like Kay Slay and Enuff starting playing you on the radio?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
When I first heard that Kay Slay and Enuff played my song on the radio, it was just like, Wow I'm on the radio. When they put me on their mixtapes, it was like, Wow, now I'm on the mixtapes. I'm getting a little light. When I was on Kay Slay's show and I'm at Hot97 rhyming on the radio, I thought, Damn, I remember when I was listening to niggas rhyming here and now I'm up here rhyming. Over the last year, I haven't really looked at the things I've been accomplishing until I stepped back: Damn, I did all of this within a year. We made this buzz and we got it going within a year. It's groundwork and it's grinding. A lot of times you get tired and start to think really ain't nothing going on. But it's groundwork and it's paying off.

PM:
Every rapper gets asked this: Who were your favorite rappers growing up? Or even now?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
I listen to everybody. It's the same thing now and growing up. I'm from Harlem, so I'm a little biased. I don't think Mase was the greatest ever, but to me, when I was growing up, he was my favorite, 'cause he wasn't talking all the fake tough-guy talk. He did it for the chicks; he was smooth, cool and fresh. He had the jewelry and dudes still rocked with him. And he was like, Even if you don't rock with me, so what? I'm still getting money. I'm doing me. He wasn't no fake tough guy, and when you met him, that was him. He was the same guy you saw on the couch or that you saw on TV. Smiling. He ain't afraid to smile. He from the 'hood and he made it. He happy and he was still nice and selling records.

He was a star. He was a regular dude from the 'hood who used to stand in front of the bodega, and now he's star. So for me, just seeing a person -- I used to live like four blocks away -- going from being a regular dude from the 'hood to doing a joint with 112 and then just blowing up. That did it for me, so he was one of my favorites. I always listen to Jay-Z since Reasonable Doubt. Nas since It Ain't Hard to Tell. Big L, God bless the dead. Big Pun, God bless the dead.

I listen to everyone. I remember when Kim and Fox first came out, when they was cool. I remember when Loxx was all over the Clue mixtapes. I came up in that era, when everyone was rockin' with everybody and there was a bunch of new people. It wasn't just the same rappers. I remember when Wu-Tang came out and then Rough Ryders and Roc-a-Fella, Bad Boy was crazy and the West Coast, then the South came in. It was just like everywhere. Even before all that, when it was Tribe Called Quest, De La, Brand Nubian, Black Moon.

PM:
For a while it seemed like rap was stagnant. Everyone seemed to be either a thug or just rhyming the same way everyone else was. And if you weren't fitting in, you wouldn't make it big. But lately things have changed. The Outkast record was unlike any hip-hop record. I think even Kanye West is going to come out with a record that's going to be unlike the typical hip-hop record. A lot of hip-hop fans that grew up with groups like Tribe and De La were getting tired of the same old stuff.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Don't get me wrong: Tribe was not my favorite group of all time, but I used to listen to them, along with a lot of groups, to know what was going on. I can separate EPMD from Black Sheep, Kane from Rakim. I used to listen to people and know they were from the same era but that they were not the same at all. I think that's how Redman and Method Man clicked. I remember when Redman was Redman and when Method Man had the toothbrush in his mouth in the "C.R.E.A.M." video. They were separate and opposite, but they were coming up at the same time and they just clicked with each other. Real recognized real, and they built that relationship and are cool to this day. Longevity. Some of these guys have been in the game for years. People don't even look at how long Puff been in this industry, Jay-Z, Nas, Dr. Dre. You know how long Dr. Dre been in this industry? Before Death Row, before NWA.

PM:
He's been in the game longer than you've on this earth.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Thank you. Sometimes you just got to sit back and make that choice, whether you just want to be a rapper or someone that's memorable. 'Cause you can be a rapper and be hot. To me Mase, did it, but at the end of the day, I don't think he's going to get the kind of respect that he could have. To the world, he may look like a one-hit wonder. Did good on one album and then it was a wrap. But when you look at it, he did a lot, but he just did it so quick that he may never get that respect. 'Cause people will wonder about the longevity. We understand he was heavy, including the mixtapes, but where is the longevity?

PM:
But one thing I really liked about him was how he left on his own terms. He was still selling a lot of records when he left.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Yeah, and he didn't have to leave. He didn't even promote his second album. The first night I met Tone and Nige, the first thing they asked me was who my favorite rapper was. I was like Mase. I wouldn't say he's the best, I would never say he's better than B.I.G. or Pac, but he's my favorite. That's my opinion. They was like, "Aight."

The next day Mase called my house. After that, we just got cool. Just from being a fan of somebody to being cool with them. I used to argue with people in school for Mase, 'cause everyone was bashing him back in the day, calling him soft. Nah man, you got to listen to the mixtapes. From arguing with people about how nice he was, it went from him arguing to people how nice I was. I use to hear stories about him arguing with people like, "Yo B, you not messin' with Millz. Millz is one of the hottest young niggas out." I was co-signing him, and then when I met him it like reversed. He was like co-signing me, and he would always see me and be like, "Millz, what's good? You a real Harlem dude, you real cool and you got to stay like that. They gonna love you." He used to always tell me that.

PM:
What about before things starting poppin' off in rap? What were you into?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Man, I used to be right in my house with my Genesis and Super Nintendo getting my video game on. Live, Madden, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Need for Space. Get all that on, listening to all the mixtapes while I'm playing the video games. I had about seven of my peoples in my room all over the bed, all over the chairs. "I got next." Everybody just playing games with the mixtapes playing. That go off, radios go on. We'd watch videos.

That's basically what my life consisted of. Get up and go to school, sitting through all the classes, acting like I'm doing the work when I'm really writing rhymes. There wasn't really a reason for me to go to school. My mother used to be like, "You're failing all the classes. What are you going to school for?" I write some of my best rhymes in school. I told my mother that. When I'm home I feel like I can't come up with nothing. At school I have so many different people around me. My Brooklyn people, my Queens people, my Bronx people, my Staten Island people, my Washington Heights people, my Harlem people. I got all these different people around me. The graffiti artists, the rappers, the break-dancers. So I have a bunch of shit to talk about. I used to go to school just to write rhymes sometimes.

PM:
You might have to go back to school -- to college.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
For real. I used to go to school just to write rhymes, but I didn't drop out of school. I got my diploma. When I was in art and design, I knew everybody, knew all the security guards. I wasn't gonna graduate, so I transferred myself out. I went to my guidance counselor one day and I transferred myself out of that school and went to another school. My mother was like, "Don't drop out. Just get your diploma and you can do what you want to do. Just make sure you bring your diploma in this house. All these days you went to school throughout your life are wasted if you drop out in the twelfth grade." So I got my diploma and that was it, man.

PM:
We talked hoops earlier. Are you a Knicks guy?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Oh, no. I'm straight New York, but I stopped messing with the Knicks with the New York-Houston finals. I couldn't get with how the Knicks played so well and then Game 7 turned into I don't know what. I used to get so mad 'cause I was a die-hard Knicks fan. I still want the Knicks to bring a championship home, but that's not my favorite team now. But I still want to see the Knicks win, that's my home team. I would be in school and I'm arguing and sticking up for the Knicks and then we get to the playoffs. It was always one person who messed it. Patrick Ewing missing a lay-up. Charles Smith can't get a lay-up. John Starks can't hit a three. It's always one person. They would play so good all through the year and then get to the playoffs and then crumble. I just couldn't keep seeing my boys go through this.

PM:
What about now? Who's your team?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
T-Mac is my boy, I gotta roll with T-Mac. When you see T-Mac play ... it's just like he makes the wackest niggas look like they the best niggas. And I'm convinced he could sit up there and put up forty points a night. He's an explosive player who's unselfish. He'd rather get his team involved, though. He just gangsta with it. I don't think a lot of people in the industry can rock with T-Mac. I think he's real serious with it. Shout to my man Stephon Marbury. Steph is real serious with it, too.

PM:
Is the album set to go?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Majority is done, but I'm still recording and every other day I'm just coming up with another song for the album. At the end of the day, we just gonna have a whole bunch of songs; it's just gonna be real crazy. But right now, you can basically say the album is done. But I'm still recording, and you never know what you're going to hear. So I don't want to put my foot in my mouth and say the album's done. I could do a song tonight that's better than every song on my album. So for right now, everything is crazy. The name of the album is Back to the Future. The first single is "No, No, No." It's my debut album. I'm real happy, real confident. Kind of nervous; don't know how the world is going to take it, but whatever I sell or don't sell, I'm just happy.

PM:
It's interesting 'cause you're real young and you're getting a good buzz. In high school, which type of kid were you? You've got all different types, from nerds to the jocks.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
I'll let you know right now: I wasn't nice in gym. I was the one in gym who always thought I could play ball. So I'd always pop a lot of shit and hit a jump shot here and there. But I was the jokester. I was the class clown. I was the one always going back and forth with the teacher, 'cause you're not just going to say whatever you want to me and just go to the chalkboard and continue with your lesson. We're gonna stop this lesson and make a big scene. I'm gonna put you on the spot and you're going to send me to the dean's office and you're going to call my mother and I'm going to ask her what she's cooking tonight. That's how it's gonna go. That was me in school.

I really didn't care, 'cause sometimes the teachers push you to the limit. They know your limit and when you're about to take it there, and they rather take it there before you and then step back. They'd rather say some smart shit and then act like it's nothing and act like you're not supposed to say nothing. In school I was just a cool dude -- playful and jokin'. When I say jokester, I don't mean like a fake nigga or a clown. I kept people laughing and never fronted on nobody. Never had no fight. Had a few disputes that almost reached that level, but I didn't get into fist fights over no craziness over no joking. That wasn't my style. I was just a Harlem dude going to school, I rhyme and rock with everybody, and everybody rock with me. Cool with everyone. Joke with the girls and barb with them. Come to school with the new Jordans on sometimes, 'cause I wanna be fresh. You know with the new clothes, you come into class late 'cause you want to make the appearance. You have the new Pelle on and you want to make an appearance, so you stand in the hallway a little longer then you're supposed to so everyone can see you. Keep the jacket on the whole lunch period.

PM:
Here's the last part of the interview. It's basically this or that. I'll give you two choices, you pick one. Porsche or Mercedes?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Mercedes.

PM:
Football or basketball?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Basketball.

PM:
McDonald's or Burger King?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Hmm

PM:
How about Wendy's?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Hmm ...

PM:
This one isn't supposed to be that hard.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
What? This one is crazy. McDonald's, Burger King or Wendy's? Wendy's got a hell of a dollar menu, and they got the Frosty.

PM:
And they got the burgers.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
We're sitting here arguing about burgers. The Crispy Chicken is good, too, though. I'm gonna have to go with Wendy's today.

PM:
Coke or Pepsi?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Same thing.

PM:
Lebron or Carmelo?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Oooooooh.

PM:
You gotta pick one.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
I mean Lebron is serious and Carmelo is serious, too.

PM:
They both got crazy game.

Jae Millz: Part 2:
I like Carmelo's game a little more. I'll argue for Lebron all day, but honestly I think Carmelo got more of a grown man game.

PM:
Nike or Adidas?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Nike.

PM:
Polo or Lacoste?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
Lacoste. I got a couple of gators in my closet.

PM:
Biggie or Pac?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
I tell people this all the time. Pac was incredible. To me, I'm from New York and from the 'hood, standing in front of the bodega and all of that. So to be honest, I couldn't relate to a lot of the shit Pac was talking about, 'cause I was just an average kid in the 'hood growing up. I wasn't even thinking on his level. When I heard B.I.G., I was a young nigga in the 'hood. Everything you hear you're seeing that, from arguing with moms, to the chick, your man got hit, you're having suicidal thoughts and thinking people are trying to kill you. It was regular shit, but the way he set the picture up for people, that did it for me.

I don't think B.I.G. is better than Pac or Pac is better than B.I.G. They was both incredible, but I related to B.I.G. a little more, probably because I had a New York state of mind. Pac was a little more political with it and dug a little deeper into the situation whereas B.I.G. touched about the average situations that niggas in the hood wasn't talking about. Pac was touching on situations that the world should have been paying attention to and B.I.G. was touching on things that niggas in the hood could relate to, 'cause everybody in the hood was going through that.

I was watching a DVD the other day and it had B.I.G. doing a performance and Pac and Puff were the hypemen. B.I.G., Pac and Puff on stage. Puff and Pac had drinks in their hand laughing. Damn, man. It went from that to these niggas took two coasts of the United States against each other. It's crazy. They had states and cities going against each other. People didn't even know these niggas. They had states behind them. That's how you can tell how powerful those two men were. It was bigger than music, bigger than rap, hip-hop. They had cities, states and coasts behind them. To this day, they still have people behind them. Somebody will chop your head off if you say B.I.G. is better than Pac or somebody will chop your head off if you say Pac is better than B.I.G. People in every 'hood. But they was incredible.

PM:
Last one. PS2 or X-Box?

Jae Millz: Part 2:
PS2 definitely. X-Box that controller is a little too big. Shit falls out of my hand. The PS2 is good 'cause they just added their little analog thing. I didn't respect how they took Dreamcast away -- that was really good.

Jae Millz - You don't believe in Harlem World? Slum Village Breaking bread with Elzhi
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