Mike Jones Interview
|Next Project:||The American Dream|
|Website:||Mike Jones's Website|
When a 5th grader forgets their state capitol, but can perfectly recite Mike Jones cell phone number, what does it mean? Well, for starters, it means Mike Jones is a promotions machine. His tactics, used in conjunction with his Asylum/WB debut album “Who Is Mike Jones?” worked so well, his album went platinum. Despite the success of his debut, Mike has endured continued scrutiny from critics and Hip-Hop fans from regions outside of his hometown of Texas. Laughing all the way to the bank, Mike is moving on with his career and the release of his follow-up, The American Dream. During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Mike explains why he doesn’t let criticism bother his drive [and how he combats his haters,] what trends he started that the public can expect to see from other artists in the near future, and why he is sick of being asked about his past beef with fellow Houston rapper, Chamillionaire.
Listen to the Mike Jones Interview
Mike Jones Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What Up? It’s yo boy “Z” doin’ it real big, as always, on DJBooth.net and on the phone lines from Houston, Texas, reppin’ Ice Age Entertainment—It’s my man—Mike Jones. Mike, how ya’ doin’?
Mike Jones: What up homey? We keeping it on the grind out here.
DJ Booth: I know, I know! Mike, How are you? We last spoke before the release of your debut, and a lot’s changed for you…
Mike Jones: Oh yeah man, just..mo’ money mo’ problems.
DJ Booth: Mike, since the release of your debut album, “Who Is Mike Jones?,” you’ve said that everybody out there has doubted your abilities, labeling you a gimmick rapper [with your one-liners, and phone number dropping,] and that you’ll prove them all wrong. Now that you’re on the cusp of your new release, looking back on those comments, did you prove them wrong?
Mike Jones: Yeah, I proved them wrong, but they just went back to hating on me again. I think I’m gonna be settin’ the record strait for as long as I record music. I know the critics say things, but as long as people are buying my albums.
DJ Booth: Mike, what’s it going to take for you set that record straight and not have to do it a second, third, or fourth time?
Mike Jones: As long as my fans are behind me, I don’t really care [anymore.] You know what I’m saying? I’ll set the record straight for as long as I do music. If I do my thang on this second album, they’re going to come back and say, ‘Well he won’t do it on his third album,’ and so on. It’s an ongoing thing.
DJ Booth: All you have to do, like you say, is sell units, and the rest just goes with it.
Mike Jones: Ooooh yeah!
DJ Booth: The chosen title for your current album is very interesting, “The American Dream.” When defining the American dream, if one asks different people; they will garner different, more specific answers. So for Mike Jones, what is the American Dream? Is it the ability to live freely in a Democracy? Is it doing what you love to do? Is it making millions? What is the American dream, for Mike Jones?
Mike Jones: The American Dream [for Mike Jones] is to not only be able to do what you want do, and live how you want to live, but to be your own boss. To use my dream to help others achieve their dream. That’s my American Dream.
DJ Booth: On “Who Is Mike Jones,” I noticed you limited your features to fellow Texas artists. But on the “American Dream,” [I’ve seen some track listings,] you’ve expanded your collaborations. What was the thought process this time around on who you were going to get for this album?
Mike Jones: The last [album] a lot of females told me [my material] was male driven. I still got the album male driven, there is a whole lotta street songs, and I can’t change that. But now I added a lot of songs for the ladies. I have some R&B songs, which is why I have Letoya, Trey Songz, Lil’ Mo. I’m just tryin’ to this album well-rounded.
DJ Booth: The ladies are the ones going to the clubs, and buying the music, but the guys still need to be catered to. What exactly is the perfect percentage of how to divide up an album?
Mike Jones: True, that’s why I wanted to separate them, so that way they would know which one was for them. Once you hear the album, the streets should be satisfied and so should the ladies. Some of the guys like R&B songs though and likewise, the ladies like the street songs.
DJ Booth: Now “American Dream” is being released as both an album and accompanying movie, on DVD. What was more difficult to craft… your skill as a musician, or your skills as an up and coming actor?
Mike Jones: What took me a long time [to come back] was that I had to put the movie together, and get the business strait to be able to do the “American Dream” production.
DJ Booth: Now with the DVD and your new album [together], do you see a trend for 2007?
Mike Jones: Oh most definitely! Because when I did it on my undergound people started to copy it. So now if you see it out there, you will know it was me. Tell all the artists you interview, I was the first. Mike Jones is the first one!
DJ Booth: Last year you guest appeared on two episodes of one of my favorite shows “Prison Break,” during its season one. How come we didn’t see you helpin’ out C-Note and the rest of the cons on season two?
Mike Jones: I didn’t have the time; I had to choose between puttin’ together an album, or the TV thing. I had to go back to doing what helped me achieve [the opportunity to do] “Prison Break.” I had to go back to my craft.
DJ Booth: Are you still watching the show?
Mike Jones: No, I don’t have time. From the bus to performances, the studio, radio, interviews… it got hard to follow the show.
DJ Booth: You and fellow Houstonian Chamillionaire have had your fair share of issues, where do the two of you stand currently?
Mike Jones: We’ve been cool for two years now. A lot of people only know when you have a beef, but don’t know when you get along with someone. It’s surprising that lot of people don’t know when the peace has been made.
DJ Booth: So does that mean we can expect the two of you to have a song together on either of your new albums?
Mike Jones: Naw. My album is done, his album is done.
DJ Booth: Did you just not get the chance or did you not want to collaborate?
Mike Jones: We wanted to [record together] but just didn’t get the chance. We put a lot of petty stuff behind us, so it will happen.
DJ Booth: In today’s “USA Today” there’s a cover story about Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Action Summit album. Since image is everything in Hip-Hop, Culture, and Mass Media, how important is it for 2007 to develop more of a positive image and bring change?
Mike Jones: It’s very important. That’s why I called my album, “American Dream”. A selfish person only talks about what they have and what they are doing, real success is in helping others. The movie is about how I went from nothin’ to somethin’. I’m trying to give everybody a chance. That’s why I’m not chargin’ nothin’ for the movie. I’m givin’ them the movie for free. For a lot of people it’s easy for them to talk about themselves, but the real success is when you help people, to see positive motivation, to achieve the American Dream.
DJ Booth: Mike, if your American Dream has been achieved, what’s next for you?
Mike Jones: My dream is to help others, and continue to put out good music.
DJBooth: The best of luck in this endeavor. Go ahead and give your website so all of your fans and our readers can find out more about you and your new album.
Mike Jones: www.myspace.com/mikejones and www.whomikejones.com. The album and movie, The American Dream, are coming out on May 8th.
DJ Booth: Do it real big Mike.
Mike Jones: Thank you—I appreciate it.