Hot Dollar Interview
|Label:||Dolla Figga Ent.|
|Next Project:||My Dreams... A Day in the Life|
|Website:||Hot Dollar's Website|
After Jermaine Dupri left Virgin Records as the President of Urban Music he hooked up with Jay-Z and Def Jam. The label created Island Urban Music and named Dupri its President. Without wasting any time JD signed the label’s flagship artist and found himself an office with a view. That artist is West Coast rapper Hot Dollar and Dupri’s desk job sits on his shoulders. Signed to a multi-album deal, the Compton grown rapper has the streets buzzing with his aptly titled new single “Streetz On Lock.” During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Hot Dollar explains how to lock down just about anything (including the streets), why his brother Guerilla Black got a raw deal at Virgin Records and what a fan in Memphis did to show his love and admiration.
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Hot Dollar Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is the flagship artist of Island Records’ new Urban Music label. In fact, Jermaine Dupri signed him before he even got himself a desk. Please welcome a man who has the streets on lock – Hot Dollar, how you doin’?
Hot Dollar: Good, I’m good. How you doin’, baby?
DJ Booth: I’m doin’ great. Fresh off Summer Jam in New York, talk to me about how good life is for you right now.
Hot Dollar: You know, life is great; I’m blessed to be in the situation I’m in. I’m Island Urban Music Group’s first artist, under Jermaine Dupri. It’s a blessing, I’m just trying to make something big this year, give you guys the biggest that I possibly can, make the album of the year, and, lock the streets down.
DJ Booth: Born in Mississippi, you grew up in L.A. After age nine, you bounced around between some shelters, some detention centers throughout your youth; you’ve had quite the experiences growing up. Was there any point, Hot Dollar, when you thought, “Can this get any worse?”
Hot Dollar: To be honest with you, that’s something that I keep in my mind. I prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but, at the same time, I don’t even put that in my vocabulary. Things can get worse, or they can’t get no worse. Because, at the end of the day, I’m blessed to keep breathing. Yeah, I went through a lot in the streets, but, there’s so many other cats who done went through a lot in the streets. If you’re referring to my music, I’m a real street cat, I done lived in the streets, lived a real street life. I don’t really have nothing to prove as far as that; I just want people to love my music, love me as a man, love me as an artist, ‘cause that’s what I am now, you know?
DJ Booth: Definitely. As an artist, I’m sure you listen to a lot of different artists that helped shape who you are. While you were growing up, who helped to inspire you, and get you through tough times? Name some people.
Hot Dollar: Project Pat, Big Mike, 8-Ball and MJG, UGK, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Sugar Free, MC Eight, DJ Quik, Master P, C Murder, you know, all of they camp, Juvenile, Baby, Lil’ Wayne, Mannie Fresh. You know, those are some of the cats and some of the music that inspired me to be where I’m at right now.
DJ Booth: That’s a good crop of artists you just named. The debut album, you mentioned it briefly just before, it’s entitled, “My Dreams… A Day in the Life.” Hot Dollar, to this point, what dreams have you fulfilled, and what dreams do you still hope become a reality?
Hot Dollar: I’ve accomplished a lot, like, there’s a lot of artists in the game who never reached the stage and performed in front of an audience that came to see them. I’ve accomplished to have a record on the radio, to be able to be admired by artists; those are very big accomplishments for me: to be able to get a label imprint deal at a major label. It’s one of the biggest accomplishments. In this day and time, you know, they signing artists just to a single deal, so to get a label imprint, at a major label like Island, Urban Music Group, Def Jam. It’s like, phenomenal.
DJ Booth: To this point, what makes you believe – and this goes back to the single that you were specifying that’s on the radio right now – that you have the streets on lock?
Hot Dollar: Go anywhere in LA, and ask about Hot Dollar, that’s it.
DJ Booth: That’s it?
Hot Dollar: Best kind of an answer. [laughing] But at the end of the day, having the streets on lock, or, in general, meaning I got real cats who really believe in me, who really’ll stand for me, or really go to jail, and possibly die for me, or, you know, just ride for me, believe in me, support me. You can have the streets on lock, you on the radio, you got people who support you, you got the radio on lock. It translates to the streets, you know? It’s a wide range of ways to, you know, if you got your girl and she don’t wanna cheat, you got her on lock. You got you a good job and everybody there admires you, you got your job on lock, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Exactly. Well, you got LA on lock, I got Chicago on lock, between the two of us, we can help get the rest of the nation on lock, sound good?
Hot Dollar: Chi-town baby! You already know that’s what it is! You gotta love it. But I’m gonna tell you something for real: I was born in Cook County hospital.
DJ Booth: Okay! That’s right around my neighborhood, man.
Hot Dollar: And, I moved to Mississippi when I was two years old, and that’s really my hometown, Mississippi, ‘cause that’s all I know. I couldn’t tell you anything about being in Chicago, until I was a grown man. You can go in there and hear everybody say, “Joe! Whassup, Joe? Whassup, fool?” It’s like, “Whoa!”
DJ Booth: Well, just to give you an idea, old Cook County hospital is no more.
Hot Dollar: Wow.
DJ Booth: Yeah, they shut it down, brand new hospital was built, but that just goes to show you the history of the city. Talkin’ about a little history with you, out in LA doing big things, your brother is rapper Guerilla Black. Now, GB released his debut album on Virgin Records back in 2004, and since, he hasn’t had the same buzz. What’s going to happen, this time around with you and Island Music Urban label, so that we don’t see you disappear after this album?
Hot Dollar: Well, one thing, that wasn’t structured with him – if you got five fingers and you can only control one of your fingers, then you can’t control your destiny, you can’t control things around you. And that was kinda the situation that he was in, ‘cause he didn’t really have any power or any say-so, in the way he was marketed. Like, he never intended to be marketed as ‘Biggie’, ‘cause he know he’s not Biggie, but when you have somebody else who sees your vision, and they want to portray your image the way they feel because they’re spendin’ their dollars, it ain’t too much you can say when they done paid for your bills and took you out the hood. I think that, that was the large part of him, but for me as far as that goes, I control my situation, and that will not secure me to have another album or for the longevity of my career, only thing that’s gonna secure that is my hard work, and that’s what I’m here to do: work hard.
DJ Booth: Well, apart of working hard is participating in heavy promotion, and just last month you participated in quite the unique promotion: you gave away one thousand autographed dollar bills to students commuting on the New York subway system to and from school. What kind of buzz did that help create for you?
Hot Dollar: You know, more than a buzz, it created a reality check; some of those kids was going to school, and telling everybody in they class, “We just met this cool dude named Hot Dollar, on the train! He gave us all money!” And then, one of the kids went home, the dude knew somebody at the label and he was on the phone with him, and he was like, “Dad, this dude was on the train, and gave away dollars!” and he’s on the phone with the label and he like, “Yo, man, my son just walked in, talkin’ about the dude.” What a coincidence, its like, his son. How weird it coulda been, you know what I’m sayin’, for him to be on the phone talkin’ about it, and his son walk into the house, from the subway line, and tell him about about it.
DJ Booth: Shows you the wide range of influence that Hot Dollar can have…
Hot Dollar: I think I deal with every gender, every age group, because, you know, I have an old soul; I’m a young guy with an old soul.
DJ Booth: After Jermaine Dupri inked your deal; he also signed Harlem native Jason Fox, creator behind the song and dance, “Aunt Jackie.” So I wanna know, Hot Dollar, when you’re in the club, what is your signature dance move?
Hot Dollar: Put your hands on your pants.
DJ Booth: Okay and…
Hot Dollar: [laughter] If you ain’t got your glock, you know? That’s what it is.
DJ Booth: Hot Dollar, go ahead and give everybody a website, a Myspace address so they can find out more about your debut album, “My Dreams… A Day in the Life,” droppin’ this August the fourteenth.
Hot Dollar: My Myspace is http://www.myspace.com/hotdollar. I hope you will come there, I will respond back if you leave me a message or a comment, and I will post it. I just, I really want the grassroots following, the people who from the streets. Like, a lot of my family’s from Chicago, Joliet Illinois, I mean big ups to ya’ll who already know what it is. You know, I just want people to love me, look forward to my album. The album of the year, “My Dreams… A Day in the Life,” August 14, Hot Dollar, you already know!
DJ Booth: You mentioned you like the grassroots movement. Not a lot of artists actually go to their Myspace page and answer those messages and postings. To this point, since you’ve got on, what is the absolute craziest message – and I’m not talkin’ about spam, I’m talkin’ about the freaks – what’s the craziest message you’ve gotten from someone thus far?
Hot Dollar: A message with a dude who went and got a tattoo of my name on him.
DJ Booth: Wow…
Hot Dollar: He was talkin’ about, “I’d die for you, I’ll shoot anybody, I’ll do this, I’ll do that,” and I’m like, “What!?” And he lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Crazy!
DJ Booth: Wow, well you can guarantee he’s gonna go out on August fourteenth and pick up a copy of your album.
Hot Dollar: Yeah, he has a Hot Dollar tattoo, its crazy!
DJ Booth: Hot Dollar, I appreciate your time and I wish you nothing but the best of luck.
Hot Dollar: I appreciate it; I really do appreciate you takin’ your time out to even be interested in interviewing me.