Southern Hospitality: An Interview with 8ball and MJG

8ball and MJG have been ‘going in” on tracks since their 1993 debut, except of course, back then it was called Comin’ Out Hard. Today, they’re Southern rap royalty with eight albums as a group and a gang of records as soloists. It’s one reason, they’ll always have a deal on the winning team, whether its Bad Boy or TI’s Grand Hustle label.

The duo chop it up with HHLO about the new album’s features, different perspectives of hip hop and how they manage to stay together as a group.

Hip-Hop Lives: Ten Toes Down is the album, what direction are you guys going with this album?

8ball: A lot of from-the-heart stuff man, a lot of true to our lives because people haven’t heard from us. I mean, we keep the club deep but its a heart-felt album. We got a couple songs for the ladies too, we always have a few songs that’s for them. Then we got “I Don’t Give a Fuck” produced by David Banner and featuring Bun B. We got a song called “Fuck You Mean” with Souljaboy then we got a song called “Life Goes On” with Slim Thug.

HHLO: You feel like a lot of other artists aren’t putting the heart into it these days?

MJG: I think artists are just doing them. It’s their era. It’s always in between 18 years old and 25 that defines the era whether I like it or not. That’s just the way it is.

HHLO: So what do you do to speak to that generation?

8ball: We do us. We do 8ball and MJG. Then we let it be passed on like its been getting passed on.

MJG: We respect your era but we want to give you a dose of what we do too.

HHLO: Can you tell us about the Bun B feature?

8ball: It’s called “I Don’t Give A Fuck”, David Banner produced. It’s just ‘I don’t give a fuck’.

MJG: It’s a feel good song, the beat crunk. We really don’t give a fuck

HHLO: David Banner WOULD produce a song like that

8ball: Ahh man. You can go to Ustream and check out the BallnGshow. I got footage of Banner creating the song and acting a damn fool (laughs).

HHLO:  How was it recording with Souljaboy?

8Ball: Cool man, we weren’t really in the studio together but we went back and forth and got it done.

HHLO: You gave him any direction?

8Ball: Actually, he sent us a beat with a verse on it. Then we came up with our lyrics and when we sent back what we got, he rewrote his verse again to coincide better with what we was talking about. It came out tight.

HHLO: It’s cool seeing different generations working together like that. What do you think of all the hate younger artists from the South like him and Wacka Flocka are getting?

8Ball: What is true hip hop to somebody is really in the eye of the beholder. It’s an idea and everything like that. To a person who’s die hard New York 1990’s who wishes they can go back to that, its not hip hop to you. I mean, people anywhere, what you’re doing and what your people grasp is what’s considered real hip hop to you. Those kids who listen to Souljaboy, Lil Boosie, and Webbie, that’s real hip hop to them. When they walk outside, that’s what they’ve seen. It’s not what you and the people in your area are talking about but these people are real people to them. It’s different forms of hip hop now. It’s a world now.

HHLO: Well said. Let’s go back to talking about 8Ball &  MJG. A lot of great groups break up but you guys have been together for a long time. But you guys are comfortable doing solo projects and coming back together, what’s the secret to that?

MJG: Most of the time when groups do individual projects its usually one of the signs that they’re on they own now. For us, it never was that to begin with. A lot of people use the term ‘ya’ll back’ like we left the group or something. We never did leave, the group was never over to begin with.

8Ball: Yeah when they go off and do solo projects, their intention is to go solo and leave the group. When we do individual projects, they’re just individual projects. But it will always be Ball and G. You can’t stop that. It’s bigger than me and him now. We’ll always be here.

HHLO: You guys also have your own labels and companies. Tell us about those?

8Ball: My company is 8 Ways Entertainment, its an indie label. Really just trying to do some indie stuff man. I like being in control and doing what I like to do on my projects. It’s just an outlet for that.

HHLO: The project is coming out on Grand Hustle. How is it different from Bad Boy?

MJG: Basically, the difference is the vibe. We basically did what we wanted to over there as far as music. That was always us. But the big difference is the vibe. They’re all hustlers in their own right. It’s more of a rap label.

HHLO: Do you guys have twitters and websites for people to follow?

8Ball: My twitter is @GoldmouthElvis and MJ’s is @PimptypeMJG

HHLO: Anything you want to leave the fans with?

8Ball: Aw man, Ten Toes Down the album. Go get it, you’re gonna love it.

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