Shawty Lo – Interview w/ Ms Rivercity (Circa 2008)
This interview was conducted in the midst of the Lo/TI Bankhead Beef, it was also prior to OZONE’s falling out with Lo’s management.
With an army of street soldiers, originating in Bankhead and spreading throughout the South, Shawty L-O has become “da man” since his start with D4L. Days before shooting his “Foolish Remix” video, Shawty Lo revealed his thoughts on being a leader, being respected, and where he stands on recent comments made by T.I.
What the latest on your album Units in the City? How is everything going?
Everything’s good. We’re at one hundred thousand units right now. You know, everything going good. I’m gearing up for my third single “Foolish” off the album. I just shot the video and I did the remix with Rick Ross, Baby, Jim Jones, and DJ Khaled.
Over the years you put out several hit singles, plus a gold album with the group. Do you feel like you deserve to be respected as an artist at this point?
You ain’t gotta respect me as an artist, just respect me as a person because what I talk about and what I rap about is what I live. I can’t be nobody else. It’s been a struggle for me all my life. I’m originally from Bankhead. I don’t like to brag about it but I got the number one joint in the club and it feels good to be here. It feels good to be doing something positive. I turned a negative into a positive.
On that note, what exactly made you want to take on the role as an entertainer as opposed to the life you held previously? Was it a decision you made while you were incarcerated or what was the process behind that?
Well I always been a leader; I ain’t never been a follower. Basically, I guess when I was doing my thing in the street the illegal way, I was real successful at it but you know, in time I couldn’t do that no more ‘cause I was facing getting locked up and doing a lot of time. I just invested my money but I never knew I’d become a rapper. I went and got Fabo, Big Stuntman, Lil Mark, Brisky, and I formed the group D4L. And I was trying to be like Cash Money. I was trying to be like Baby or Puff Daddy. I made one song when I came home from prison called “Im Da Man,” and the streets would come up to me and be like “Shawty Lo that’s tight; we wanna hear from you. We know you really is for real; we know you from Bankhead for real.” Based off of that I kept recording, kept recording, then hooked up with DJs like T Rock, who pumped my music in the clubs. And in ‘06 DJ Scream did the mix CD and the rest is history.
Would you say you have more peace of mind now?
More peace of mind, no. Basically not. I’m a CEO and an artist now. Being a CEO it was kinda easy; I didn’t have to do so much. Now that I’m an artist too, it’s like working a real job. You be gone like probably the whole week. Don’t even have time for home, working twenty hours a day, stay performing, trying to stay hot and stay on top.
Speaking of staying on top, do you have any thoughts on the latest comments that T.I has made about you recently in regards to not knowing who you are and who’s really known for putting Bankhead on?
I ain’t gonna take nothing from T.I. He’s a good rapper; that’s what T.I. is, he’s is a real rapper. And I’ma give props to him. He did put Bankhead on the map. I ain’t gonna take that from him. But one thing about it, he is not from Bankhead. I just came in rap two years ago; he is not from Bankhead. He knows who I am. If he knows the rest of my group members, he gotta know me. He can go on the air and say what he wanna say. He knows exactly who I am. He kicked it with me at the radio station for Thanksgiving. H called me and we was on the air together and he said “I take my hat off to Shawty Lo” and this and that. But I guess he just wanna say what he want to say.
Have you come up with any new ideas for the next project or have you even gotten that far yet?
Nah, basically I’ve been doing a lot of features for artists and stuff. That’s basically it. I’ve got a couple of songs written for the new album but you know what I’m saying, I got a long way to go. Right now it’s a process and I don’t like to rush nothing; I just like to take my time and make good music.
How is your current label situation working out? Do you have a lot of freedom with your music?
I feel like I really don’t need the money from the majors ‘cause I did it first go round and it was kinda hectic. I like how they do it the independent way. I can listen to my sound. I just need a lil help from my label Asylum and I feel like I will make more money that way.
Back to your career, when people started booking you for appearances, did you have to get used to being in different cities all the time?
I didn’t get used to it. I didn’t know what I was gonna do when I was headed to do my show first show. I feel like I lucked up on my song “I’m Da Man,” and when they started talking about it, I didn’t know what I’ma do on stage. Basically I just did my thing, started working hard, and I got good at it. The cities show me so much love. Besides Atlanta, I like Vegas. As far as who’s showed me the most love, I’m growing on the East coast and the West coast now. The South showed me a lot of love, like the Carolinas, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Chicago, everybody supports me real good.
What’s been one of the craziest things a fan has done to get your attention?
Man, what don’t they do? The ladies do the craziest things, try to pull at me. I’m hands on with my fans. I love my fans. When I do my shows, they say I don’t just go on stage and leave like the other rappers do. I stay and give everybody love. They get to touch me and that’s what they love about me.
When will you be releasing some projects from your artists the Cosanostra Chain Gang?
They’re working on it now. Something should be out during the 4th quarter or the first of next year.
Is there anything else about you that you wanna let people know about or anything you wanna mention?
Nah basically that’s it. Is there any more questions?
You did mention you were about to do the video when are you supposed to be shooting that?
Next Thursday. My publicist just left, you wanna talk a little more about T.I. She didn’t really want me to speak on it but I wanna speak on it if you wanna speak on it.
We might as well. What were the events that led up to T.I.’s statements about you?
Basically, he just took shots at me. He feel like I’m sending shots out but you know, he says he put Bankhead on the map. One thing is, I’ll never say he didn’t put Bankhead on the map. He did. I used to be a fan of T.I. but he crossed me. But he ain’t from Bankhead for real. If y’all look at my DVD Shawty Lo: The Real Bankhead Story, or go buy my album and listen to it, and you’ll see. If you go to Club Crucial, you know where Club Crucial is, look who they reppin’. They reppin’ mine, in they club. If you come to Atlanta, T.I.’s not hot to me in Atlanta, serious. I’m the hottest in Atlanta.
So wouldn’t you think it takes a movement to put Bankhead on the map? ‘Cause I don’t know if one person can really do that on their own.
Thing is, I’m not worried about who put Bankhead on the map. I know I’m from Bankhead; he’s just claiming Bankhead. If you wanna tell ‘em like it is, we’ll bring a camera crew from one end of Bankhead to the other end. Y’all can ask anybody; they ain’t seen him. He come to the club he gotta bring ‘bout ten security [guards] with him. I come to the club, I’m with my goons. I don’t need no security when I’m at home. I might need security when I’m on the road, but when I’m in Atlanta, I don’t need no security. I’m on Bankhead right now. My studio right here. I’m at 2016, this my studio. I’m still on Bankhead; I ain’t went nowhere. He is not from Bankhead! All these years, he got them people fooled; he got everybody fooled. If he from the hood, if he from the projects, and he put out about 4 or 5 of albums, recall one DVD that he ever been in a hood or project. It always be in a house or something. He ain’t ever been in a hood. I’m from Bowen Homes. There are two projects on Bankhead. You got Bankhead Courts and Bowen Homes.
What are the people in Bankhead saying about the situation?
They saying the same thing. Just look at my DVD. Please get the Shawty Lo: The Real Bankhead Story.
Interview by Ms Rivercity for OZONE Mag