Ain’t no money being
generated so the labels are taking on a lot of artists because of this at once that they don’t even have
enough staff members to take care of every artist, as an individual. Their attention is elsewhere, or only
with certain people.
SFBG: Your new single [“Say,” featuring Lauryn Hill] suggests you’ve had problems with the way critics have
received your recent work and even with the radio playing your records. How can someone of your status
be having trouble getting spins?
MM: You know what it is, man? A lot of people have come around acting like I’m the worst thing that ever
happened to hip-hop, as good as I am.
Hating is hating. I’ve been hated on, but just by the industry, not in the streets. They never liked my crew
[the Wu-Tang Clan] anyway. They think we ain’t together anymore and they try to pick at each and
every individual. Some motherfuckers they pick up. Other people they just shit on. I guess I’m just the
shittee right now, you know what I mean?
SFBG: Do you think it has to do with the age bias in hip-hop? The idea an MC is supposed to be 18 or 20?
MM: You know what I think it is? As our contracts go on, we have stipulations where, if we sell a certain
amount of albums, [the labels] have to raise our stock. A lot of times dudes just want to get out their
contracts so they can go independent and make more money by themselves. There’s a lot of factors that
play into it.
SFBG: Are you not getting enough label support?
MM: A label only does so much anyway. It’s your team inside your team that makes sure that you got a video.
Or that you got that single out there, or that your tour dates are put together correctly. The labels,
they basically just do product placement. They make sure that all your stuff is in the proper place where
it’s supposed to be at. They’re gonna make sure your posters are up. They’re going to make sure that
they’re giving out samples of other artists that are coming out also. [But i]t’s really up to us [the
artists] to make sure our music is going where it’s supposed to.
Right now there’s so many artists people can pick and choose from, don’t nobody like shit no more.
SFBG: Do you think you’re getting squeezed out of radio play as a result of corporate media
MM: Absolutely; this shit ain’t nothing new. It isn’t just happening to me. It’s been going on since dudes
have been doing this hip-hop music. They bleed you dry and then they push you the fuck out.
That’s why I always stress to the fans to take your power back. I always hear people talking about things
like, “Damn, what happened to these dudes? What happened to these guys? I always liked their shit.”
But the fans, not just the industry, tend to turn their backs on dudes. They get fed so much bullshit,
they be like, “Fuck it; I’m not dealing with that shit. I’m going to listen to this.”
SFBG: So what about your acting career? Do you feel like you’ve been overexposed as an actor or that
you’ve been spread too thin and are readjusting your focus?
MM: Fuck Hollywood, B.
SFBG: But I heard you say on the radio today you wanted to play a crackhead and get an Oscar....
MM: I do want to play a crackhead in a movie. I’m going to be a crackhead who dies of an overdose at the
end of the movie, and people cry, and I’m going to get me an Oscar. But fuck Hollywood; tell ‘em to come see
me. Tell ‘em to come to my door.
SFBG: Obviously, from what you said during the show and the lyrics on 4:21: The Day After you haven’t
renounced smoking marijuana, so could you discuss the concept behind “4:21”? Is it about the difficulties
of living the hard-partying lifestyle of the rap artist?
MM: It was just symbolic of a moment of clarity for me. I made a symbol for myself of a moment of
clarity. You know I’ve always been an avid 4:20 person. I like to get out there and smoke with the
best of them. But I picked “4:21” as like, the day after.