Interview With Bullet – Part 2 – 2005
Tags: United States
Long time readers of AG will remember his first interview a few years back. Then we did a double shot a bit later on. Now in part two of this 2005 interview we talk about his affiliation with Sick Lake Records, the Eastside Muzik catalog and his deal with Japan. He also gives a breakdown of each solo album he released.
You told me that you were regrouping, does this mean that you will be retaining the original roster of your label or will there be a few deletions, additions?
Technically Eastside Muzik Inc no longer exists as a label. I am not interested in running a label anymore. I have partnered with another independent label in Salt Lake (Sick Lake Records).
How did this partnership happen with Sick Lake Records? Are you going to be co-running this with a roster of artists or are you the artist on the label?
Originally when I linked up with them I just wanted to be an artist for the obvious reasons of being tired of running a label. In the end it’s just not realistic so I am assisting with the expansion and distribution aspect of Sick Lake Records while also being an artist on the label. All of my albums now say Sick Lake Records & Eastside Muzik Inc. For now we are trying to build Sick Lake up before I do an actual Bullet release on the label. In all of our releases we are doing cross promotion between the 2 labels and beginning to make appearances on albums. They just finished building a Pro Tools studio in Salt Lake City, which now gives us the ability to record in 3 different places on Pro Tools. In Seattle with Yuns, in Portland at Walter Midi studios and now out in Salt Lake with Sick Lake Records. The next step for Sick Lake is press, advertising and distribution, which in some aspects has already begun.
So basically Eastside Muzik is now a distribution company more than anything but you will still find the Eastside logo on all of my releases as well as the Bullet presents albums in my catalog. I’m currently working with Urbanlife Music (City Hall) with my catalog in the United States and am working with several companies for international markets.
So is the City Hall deal strictly for your Eastside Muzik catalog? Is this separate to the work you will be doing with Sick Lake Records?
As of now, our Urbanlife Music/City Hall exclusive is solely for Bullet & Bullet presents which falls under Eastside Muzik. As for Sick Lake and some of the other Eastside artists like Yuns, J-Trey and On One I have already been distributing their albums overseas myself through Eastside Muzik. Once the awareness builds and the advertising begins all of the titles will be run through one distributor, which may or may not have anything to do with City Hall. Right now we have an option that could be a lot bigger, we just need to see how everything unfolds in the next month or so.
As for the roster, I have a new series I am doing called Bullet Presents: which originally started with North Coast Rain, then Juice. Now the list of projects will become extensive this year backed by an international advertising campaign. I’ve changed the focus more to myself, and now we control all of the Manufacturing and Distribution of the albums, which is a better situation for the future of what I am doing. Our focus is more global and less regional due to a continuously growing fan base internationally. Now I’m going to put my name behind some of these key projects I have and give them a boost, which helps the artists and helps me. I guess Eastside is still a label, it just changed its name to Bullet Presents and once everything is pressed and nationally distributed we will have a catalog of more than 20 titles all of which will be under Bullet in your favorite stores rap section.
Are the artists who jumped ship aware of your plans?
I believe some have an idea or have heard this or that but nobody will understand what I am doing until they can walk in a store and see 20 albums filed under Bullet backed with an advertising campaign. Sometimes words are just words, but when you add a visual to go with it the impact is so much more.
Where do you think you are most likely to grow as an artist internationally? Which countries are more likely to embrace the NW Rap sound? You told me that you did a deal in Japan, how did that come about?
Right now, I can see markets like Germany, Australia, France and England starting to open up. I can honestly say I think my international sales this year may end up matching what I do in the United States. It all started with an associate of mine who has been counting big money from Japan for the past few years. They plugged me after we started talking about Japan. See I’ve already been selling in Japan for over a year but in the last 3 or 4 months it’s grown tremendously. I’ve already moved close to 3,000 units to Japan this year alone, which is already more than I did last year in Japan.
As you start getting back into the driving seat and talking to media what has the general response been to your comeback?
Honestly I don’t really know. I’m excited working with new people and building new relationships. I have 3 major things going on right now and since I am still not talking about them too much, I don’t know what there would be to say. Everything has to be done at the right time, and because of everything I did last year I really wasn’t gone too long.
I can understand that one would embrace mistakes but is there one mistake you would not like to repeat again?
Yes, I don’t want to be involved or take part in anything that will not benefit my family or my music. I am not in the streets, I’m not hustling and I’m not lying to get what I want. I don’t want to sit up and waste my time talking about people or fighting with people. I’m done acknowledging any of this stuff. I have too much work to do.
What do you miss the most about the ‘old days’?
I don’t really miss anything, I’m too busy enjoying who I am today.
You just bought a house as you mentioned earlier, is this from proceeds from your work in the music industry or is this from another job?
As I mentioned I don’t hustle and I have never really been into the job thing. Right now I’m struggling a little bit but yes my music is paying for the house. I wish I was living great and never had to worry about money but life isn’t perfect. In time though hopefully that financial security will be there.
Tell me about Bullet Present’s Juice, is that a new release of yours?
No the Bullet Presents Juice album was released in early 2004 right after When The Rain Falls. It’s another project I was working on at the end of 2003. It’s done well for a first album thus far but it is one of the albums that will continue to sell more records. This album is the one project I had that got neglected when I was on the road but Juice kept taking everybody out of the picture so he had to do it by him self. They were rookie mistakes but he was a rookie artist and unfortunately these, kind of things happen. You learn from them and move on. We have both done that and now I am in control of the album and plan on making sure it does another 1000 this year.
What kind of reaction are you expecting from the “local NW” hip-hop community?
I’m not in this for Northwest rap world of producers, artists or labels. I’m in this because I love music, and I enjoy making music for the fans. I am really trying to sell records on a global scale, not just in the Northwest.
Since you going to be taking this on a global scale now, what kind of collaborations can we expect to see happen?
Honestly probably none. I’ll be on Bullet Presents albums, my own albums, North Coast Rain series, and Sick Lake Records. That is who you can expect to hear on my albums as well. I will make appearances on only a few albums, if any. If it is somebody I have had an on going relationship with then its possible if not it won’t happen. Its not about the money, its about what I’m trying to do with my name and controlling where it goes. I’ve really done the collaborations I wanted to do but if people like Sade or Carl Thomas become an option I’m sure I’ll make it happen.
Will we be hearing more of the ‘old’ Bullet who came through with bangers like “Small Town Living, Big City Game”? Or do you think your style has changed?
As a fan before music, I never understood why artists would come out with a super hot record and blow up, and then there music changed. I like this question and hope I can answer it in a way people can get a better understanding of what happens. To really break it down I will define how I see each album I made.
Can I Go? (1997-98) The album as a whole doesn’t reflect much happiness. It is a reflection of my life before music. At this point in my life the only goal or dream I made came true was this album.
We Gets Perved (1999-00) My anti-women album. This album is another reflection of my life before and during rap. I was consumed by running over women and hustling women. I really wish I had never documented such a negative part of my life on record like this. Unfortunately this is who I was at this time.
Smalltown Livin’(2000-01) This album has a mixture of subjects. After several years I returned to selling drugs, I still hustled women, but during this album the most important person in my life had died. As an artist I was getting better with each song, and wanted to try new things even though my life still mirrored my past albums. This album as a whole and what I experienced during this album changed me as an artist and as person.
North Coast Rain (2003) After my grandma died I had this huge desire to change, especially my life. In making this choice, I assembled this compilation to show everybody that change. It wasn’t an album of street tales or womanizing. Instead it was more of a have fun or real life type of album. This was my conscience effort to make an album everybody could relate to, especially women. In doing so it built a transition period between my old and past music.
Dedication & Desire (2002-04) All though the album didn’t come out, When The Rain Falls did. It was only 7 songs out of about 30 recorded for the 2cd dedication and deesdire. To select them, I picked the most universal and commercial songs and added “All I Know” as the one street track. As for the songs I didn’t put out, I actually did on the re releases. The more depressing songs went on Can I Go?, the anti women songs went on We Getz Perved, and a few commercial songs went on Smalltown Livin as I tried to commercialize the 3rd album a little more. There are still about 17 that I didn’t put out but I will soon.
The point is that this is an eight-year period of my life, as my life changed so did my music. My life today is nothing like what it was in the past. I’m not selling drugs, or hustling women. I am artist and a businessmen as well as a father. My music today reflects who I am now.
How would you define your audience? What kind of people are going to the music store and buying your cds?
Obviously I can’t see each and every person who buys my music but I know from being on the road last year that women are the difference between the past and present. They are now a growing part of my fan base, as are the international markets of Japan and Europe.
In the last couple of years what would you say is the major thing that has changed with regards to the music industry?
I think with 50 cent and G-Unit you have more of a commercialized street rap hitting radio and being universally accepted. I honestly don’t think it will last. In the 80’s and 90’s society was trying to figure out how to solve violent crime and gangs. They came back with tougher laws. Now there is a lot less tolerance in today’s society. Shootouts at rap concerts, or outside radio and TV stations continue to be a problem for the rap music industry. Our society is now older the average person in the United States regardless of race is 36 years old. How many 36 years old adults, men or women do you think want to accept millionaire artists out here shooting people or being responsible for shooting people. In professional sports steroids is being pursued, as it should be. Now professional athletes will have to set a better example on our young people and the communities they represent. Hip-Hop is a business, we sell music, gimmicks and dreams to people all over the world. You would think that after losing so many great rap artists we would learn something but maybe we haven’t. One bad thing, can change everything. The government can control or alter anything it wants to the same as labels and radio stations can. If 50 cent gets banned from Clear Channel (A company that controls over 80% of all radio stations) 50 cent is done. It really is that simple. Steroids have been a problem for years, just as violence has been in rap music. Do people honestly think it will just go on forever without ever crippling rap music as a business?
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