Long before Young Money came into the picture, The Hot Boys were the biggest draw on Cash Money Records. An obvious counterpunch to the boy band craze which took over the late ’90s, Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne and Turk were the solja rag donning, white tee sporting, foul mouth antagonists to every thing mainstream America believed they understood a “boy band” to be. Hit the jump to view the full story.
The Hot Boys – along with everyone associated with Cash Money – would go on to spawn timeless classics, both solo and group-wise. Like most other set ups in life, however, good fortunes eventually came to an end. For Turk in particular, rough legal troubles matriculated into an eight year prison bid which saw his former label mates all go on to achieve varying levels of success and pitfalls during his absence.
Fast forward nearly a decade, Turk is a free man once more ready to pick up where his career and life left off. The New Orleans Saint chopped it up with me via telephone last night and we discussed a variety of topics ranging from creativity in prison, future music, which MC’s held him down while he was away and even a hilarious story about he and Lil Wayne being stuck on a New York City elevator during the recording process for Guerrilla Warfare. Which, if I may add, helped provide inspiration for one of their better records.
Without further ado, dive in…
JT: I know you’re on this crazy media run right now, so I appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Turk: Ahh man, anytime. I do it for the people, ya heard me? I’ll stop everything for them.
JT: Just out of respect, I know you did eight years and know you’re trying to put that behind you, so I’m not even going to bring that up.
Turk: (laughs) You must’ve been keeping up with me. Everybody always asking me about it. I don’t even wanna talk about that. We on to the next one, ya heard me?
JT: You can’t change anything in the past anyway.
Turk: For damn sure. You can’t change that. But it is in the book though, my autobiography (The AutoThugography of Turk). I talk about everything in there, so just go get the book man. You gonna get all the questions answered that you had, ya heard me?
JT: Speaking of the time you did, what has it been like balancing your personal life and getting your feet wet back in the business again?
Turk: You know, I’m focused. That’s the advantage of when you doing time. You can multi-task. You can do more than one thing at one time. It’s kinda been easy. It’s kinda been cool. It’s kinda been astonishing. I just appreciate the love, man. You know what I’m talking about? From both sides, man. The family and the industry.
JT: So when you were locked up, was there anybody that kept in touch with you on a consistent basis?
Turk: Yeah, man. Definitely. My dog, B.G. Free B.G. He kept it 10x 100. You know we don’t keep it 100 no more, we keep it 1000. Lil Wayne reached out to me. T.I. reached out. Rocko, Waka [Flocka], Trae Tha Truth, Paul Wall. A whole flock of people, man. If I’m forgetting anybody, they know who they was. I appreciate all the love. But for real, I had love from my fans most importantly, you know what I’m saying? They kept me alive while I was gone. And you know my woman she was there, ain’t miss a beat. So it was kinda like I was on a lil’ vacation. It wasn’t hard, but I was missing my son, missing my family and missing doing what I was doing. Other than that, it was all good, ya heard me?
JT: A good woman is a rarity.
Turk: Yeah, man. Hell yeah. They rare. That shit a diamond in the rough, you know what I’m talking about? It get tough, but we gon’ stick it out. We did it through them bars and through that glass. So shit, this ain’t nothing out here. We good.
JT: Something that kind of hit me the other day when I heard you were getting out was like ‘Damn, B.G. just went in and Turk’s getting out. We haven’t see all of y’all together [The Hot Boys] in over a decade.’ How disheartening was it to realize while you were coming out, B.G. was going in? Not even just to record music, but just to all be in the same room with each other again.
Turk: Man, you know I thought that’s the way it was gonna be. And I still believe that it will cause you know where there’s a will there’s a way. God just does things in mysterious ways. Sometimes, He allow certain things to happen. I still ain’t counting it out for all of us getting back together. At least for one show, you know? If we could do one show, you know what I’m saying? The fans deserve that. We owe that to them because we impacted a whole lot of people’s lives during that time, this time and the people that you hear right now. I bet you nine times outta 10 they’ll say that they was a Hot Boys fan and we inspired them.
It’s like the people that came before us, like N.W.A. They inspired us. All the people that was before us, Scarface, the Geto Boys, the people like that there. The people who I pay homage to. Just to be able to see all of us together, I know it would be love. You know what I’m talking about?
JT: I know you said you’ve got the book coming out, some new music coming out. One thing I wanted to ask was this. Tupac once said in an interview from prison being locked up killed his creativity. He wrote a screenplay, but hardly wrote any songs. It seems as if creativity wasn’t a problem for you. Did you ever find yourself struggling with the creative process?
Turk: Yeah, you know that’s why I was able to do other things like do the book. When I couldn’t write no music, ok, I got a life story. Everything still coincide with each other, you know what I’m saying? So it was just like ‘I’m just gonna work on this project.’ When I couldn’t do the book, I was working on a screenplay (“Reckless”). When I couldn’t do the screenplay, I was designing my t-shirt line. When I wasn’t designing my t-shirts, I was back to the music. When I was working on my music, it was back to my case. So you know, I was always doing something that was pertaining to my life.
That’s what made it better. That’s what made it cool. That’s what just made it good for me to get it in with no hesitation or no problems because I was always switching it up. I was also paying attention to what was going on outside with the mp3 players we had, the e-mail, being able to get visits every week. My fiancé came out every week breaking them doors down. I just stayed busy. My girl, she rap, too. So I get inspired by her.
While I was gone, she had her movement. The “Made Woman” shit. She been messing with people I was in the game with, doing stuff with the producers. I always stayed with my ear to the street of what was going on. It wasn’t that hard for me.
JT: What advice did you give her on the ins-and-outs of the music business?
Turk: I just tell her to keep it business, never personal. Don’t make no decisions based off your emotions because you know a female can get emotional. It’s a hard business. You just gotta keep on top of your business or you’ll get lost in it because I got lost in it by wearing my emotions on my shoulders. I just learned how to keep it business. Keep the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted, ya heard me?
JT: You’re working on new music, but you also have some new artists you’re working with as well. What’s the insight on them?
Turk: My artist that I have is Emani. She represent for them made women. The women that get it on they own. They really don’t need no man, but it’s always good to have that love. They show that love side, but they’re go-getters, too. They go get it. They made. And that’s what she represents. And me as an artist and CEO, we just making money. Loyalty before royalty. That’s the movement.
JT: You were apart of some huge records, whether it be with The Hot Boys or on your own. That music was commercially successful, but it had a specific sound to it. In 2012, that sound has changed a little bit. Do you think that formula is still successful or even possible given today’s climate?
Turk: I think the only that changed is the music. If you got some truth that’s in your lyrics, it’s no certain way how you’re supposed to deliver it. You just gotta deliver in a way to make a person feel it. The way a person feels your lyrics is to just keep it all the way 1000. That’s my plan and what I see myself doing. I’m not a trapper. I’m a headbussa.
I ain’t gonna get on all these tracks and be trapping because that ain’t what I do. I’m gonna bring my flavor to the table and I’m going to feature with your favorite rapper and we gonna make something new. You gon’ have to love it.
JT: New Orleans has always been one of the most storied musical capitals in the world. And it’s one of the most historic cities in on the map as far as Hip-Hop is concerned. It’s also a city which has had its fair share of bumps in the road like Cash Money’s breakup, Soulja Slim’s passing and even Boosie’s incarceration (even though he’s from Baton Rouge). How much bigger do you think Louisiana Hip-Hop could’ve been had it not been for those bumps in the road?
Turk: It’s still room for New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole to do their thing. It’s all about that unity though. One unit. One goal. One team. That’s how we win. We’ve got to come together because you can’t do it on your own. That’s something that I learned just being incarcerated. Even being incarcerated, in order to get anything done, say you want get some kind of law changed. You can’t write no grievance or you can’t write no cop-out by yourself. It’s gonna take more than one person to get that change done.
So in order for anything to grow, it’s gonna take more than just me. It’s gonna take more than just Baby. It’s gonna take everybody to get on one accord and move as one unit and more towards one goal. And that’s to get this money, stay focused and don’t hate on each other. Lift a nigga up and don’t look down on him unless you picking him up.
JT: What do you see the future being with the members of Cash Money when you were there? Like Baby, Wayne, and Slim. And do you still keep in touch with Mannie Fresh?
Turk: Yeah, man. Mannie just called me like 20 minutes ago. I just got of the phone with him and we about to get in the studio together. He on the road right now doing some shows. I talked to Baby yesterday. He called me and we chopped it up for awhile. I haven’t talked to Slim since I been home. I haven’t talked to Lil Wayne yet. I believe they overseas or something like that, but I ain’t been home nothing but 11 days.
It’s all about getting everybody back together whether we do a song or show. Like I said man, it’s for the fans. They need that and they need to see that. And we need to hold it down for B.G. I support that all the way 10x 100. If it happen, it happen. I’m all for it. As of now, I know it ain’t no bad blood between me with nobody. It ain’t nothing but love. I got Baby’s name tatted on my chest. The stuff that people be hearing, we was all younger and things be happening. But now we grown up and I’m Young N’ Thuggin. But I’m grown up, so I’m Mr. now. We gonna sit at the round table and we gonna get it in. It’s thuggin’ with me, ya heard me?
JT: The next couple of questions come from a sheer fan standpoint. Unless it’s hit the Internet and I had no clue about it, Untamed Guerrilla. That never came out, correct?
Turk: Nahh, man. You know when you incarcerated people have your masters and things. They drop stuff and you don’t know where it come from. It was kinda like that. A lot of music was being dropped from me that was old when I was recording with Kenoe. Me and Kenoe did a few things back then. Other than that though, I’m on my grown man. I’m on some other shit now. When they hear the new Turk, they’ll know I ain’t just go do no time. I went and got mine, ya heard me?
JT: Speaking of new music, the new tape is called Blame It On The System, right?
Turk: Blame It On The System. Me and Drumma Boy, ya heard me? I don’t call it a mixtape no more though. I call it a duct tape cause we kidnapping the game.
JT: I’m not sure how many songs you’ve go recorded for that, but is there one song in particular you’re excited for everyone to hear?
Turk: Man, hell yeah. Right now, I got this song called “Zip It.” It’s gonna be a street banger and club anthem. Commercial crossover. It’s gonna be so big, but it’s something so real and something that needs to be told. I ain’t telling them to “stop snitching.” I’m telling them to “zip it.”
(raps) “Y’all niggas better zip it/Better zip yo’ mouth/Show you what this street shit bout/Say you wanna talk/Better say goodbye to ya house/Murder everything running out/Y’all niggas better zip it…”
I’m just letting y’all niggas know, man.
JT: One last question, and feel free to talk as long as you want. Do you have any little known stories from the recording days of, say, Guerrilla Warfare when you and B.G. and all those guys were running together?
Turk: Yeah, hell yeah. I got a funny story. We was recording Guerrilla Warfare I believe in New York and we was stuck on an elevator. Me, Lil Wayne and B.G., we was the children of the group. Me and Wayne was always playing games and shit. This particular time we was all on the elevator. We were used to somebody playing games, but this time the elevator ended up getting stuck. So we thinking one of us playing games and playing pranks, but the elevator was stuck for real!
So we on that mothafucka and we started yelling, “HELLLPPPPPPP!! SOMEBODY HELLLLPPPP!!” And man that’s where that “Help” song came from that B.G. did.
(raps) “Somebody hellllpppp/Them Hot Boys, they on fire/Somebody hellllpppp”
That song was about us being stuck on the elevator, ya heard me? For real (laughs). We was stuck on the elevator, but see we was hollering help for real. We was scared! So you know once we got free from being stuck, we was like that’s the song, man! We was in the studio talking and said that needed to be a song and shit. That’s how we was able to come up with a whole lot of songs. We was just around there playing.
Like “Where she get that ass from? She get it from her mama!” We was on that Cash Money/Ruff Ryders tour and a female walk in and niggas would be like, “Where she get that ass from?” And they be like, “She get it from her mama.” And we be like, “That’s a song!” That’s just the chemistry we had at Cash Money. We just fed off each other.
It was just that love. And that’s how I plan on branding my label. I’m looking for artists to be apart of this YNT (Young N’ Thuggin’) thing. It’s gonna be like the Wu-Tang, just young niggas taking over. So far I’ve got two artists right now, but I can’t speak on it because of the paperwork isn’t finished. But man they real hard and we gonna put it down and make it pop. We just gonna bring it around the world. This Young N’ Thuggin, all or nothing. 10x 100, ya heard me?
Y’all can get at me on Twitter, @TurkMrYNT. Y’all can get me on Instagram at Turk_Emani. Y’all already know what it is man. Let’s make it happen.