Stat Quo was discovered by Dr. Dre & Eminem in 2002. He would go on to become the only artist, apart from 50 Cent, to sign a deal with both Shady and Aftermath. Through ups and downs, in 2008 Stat decided to leave the labels and start afresh. Stat Quo will release his debut album Statlanta on July 13th! Gearing up for the release of his debut album I had a chance to talk with Stat…
ASOKA: We’ve known you for a while, but technically this is your debut album. Who were your biggest influences that made you want to be a rapper?
STAT QUO: Well being from Atlanta, of course Outkast. Ghetto Boys, Scarface, NWA, Jay-Z, Big, 2pac, Nas, 8Ball & MJG, UGK, all of them.
ASOKA: That’s a nice list, a lot of diversity in the styles.
SQ: Yeah, I feel like I combine all of them. They’ve all influenced me. When I hear people say that somebody sounds like someone else… I don’t think you should sound exactly like somebody else. But you just can’t help but be influenced by greatness because those great people were influenced by somebody else.
ASOKA: Totally agree, there’s a big difference between biting a style and being influenced by someone.
ASOKA: Statlanta has been through a couple different phases, how different is this Statlanta from the one you completed originally on Shady/Aftermath? Can you take us through the evolution of this album?
SQ: Yeah, when I first initially signed with Shady and Aftermath and started making the record, I was making it a certain kind of way. It was more like a southern hip hop album. The beats were heavily influenced by the southern sound, which was crunk music. Then I worked with Eminem and it kinda went through a transformation because it involved what he had going on into it. And then after working with Dre it went through another transformation because it had a lot of the west coast influence in it.
And unfortunately I never got the opportunity to put it out over there. So when I left that situation, I started making another album in order for me to go sign with another major. So I made a whole other record based on trying to… maybe impress an executive so that I might sign with them and then I turned around and did the situation with Sha-Money XL and said you know what I’m going to make it what I want it to be.
That’s pretty much the transformation and what it went through. Initially rap period, started out being something that I loved to do and then it became a job like I wanted to make some money out of it to where it is now because I don’t give a fuck if anybody buys it, you know… I just want to do me, so I don’t even care. It’s not even about what it sells, it’s just more so about me expressing myself.
And putting it out, and getting that monkey off my back to actually releasing it you know.
ASOKA: For sure, people have been looking forward to it for a long time. Are some of these songs on Statlanta based on the songs that you did during your Shady/Aftermath run?
SQ: Nah, never. You know what it’s all new material. And the material that I did with Dr. Dre and Eminem, it’s special. I never went back and changed it and manipulated it. It’s like a painting man, you know once you paint it. And that’s just something that Dre taught me, you know once you paint something on that canvas and it’s a great picture… You shouldn’t change it. You should let it be what it is, you know what I’m saying and that’s it.
ASOKA: What’s your favorite record?
SQ: Um…you know I like them all. I mean there’s not really a favorite record. I like them all, they all have their own unique thing about em depending on what kind of situation you’re in.
ASOKA: Depending on what you’re in the mood for.
SQ: Yeah, like whatever you’re in the mood for. I got a track on there called “What I Like.” It’s totally different from all of the other records. So when you hear it, it’s like what the fuck is this doing on here? But if you listen to the skit in the beginning of it, it’s kind of like a satire, it’s a funny song. It’s like a strip club type funny record but totally different from everything else. It’s like some south funny strip club shit, I was just having fun. When I made that record it wasn’t anything but just making music that I like…and I don’t care if nobody else like it, you know.
ASOKA: I think that’s when you get the best records, when it’s just about the music.
ASOKA: So Which producers did you work with on the album?
SQ: Boi 1da did a couple joints, Sha-Money did a couple, S1 the dude that did the “Power” joint for Kanye he’s on there. And then a lot of unknown cats. But you know like for me, like everybody wanna go get the big name producers. If a beat is hot, as an artist you should know what a hot beat sound like. And every time it’s not the “big name people” you can take a producer that’s not a big name, and you can listen to the beat and if you know that it’s missing a better snare or a better kick…as an artist you’re suppose to be able to hear that and change it into something.
You know back in the days man they use to make hip hop on 3 tracks. Now, you need 200 tracks just to make hip hop. They use to make hip hop records for a hundred dollars, now these cats spending millions of dollars to do hip hop albums.
ASOKA: Oh, wow.
SQ: It’s ridiculous man, that’s why they’re not making any money.
ASOKA: I think it’s cool that you’re giving new people chances too, because they might be unknown but then… people are going to know them now because they’re on a Stat Quo album.
SQ: When S1 did my joint, he hadn’t really done anything. But now that he did the Kanye “Power” joint, “Now it’s oh S1 is….you know.” Dude’s been hot, you know what I’m saying. But it takes an artist to be like…I don’t care what he’s done or hasn’t done…this is a dope ass beat. You feel me?
ASOKA: Definitely, it should be all about the music, not just names and credentials.
SQ: Exactly! Because how do we find the next Dr. Dre, how do we find the next Timbaland?
ASOKA: Eminem and Dr. Dre are arguably two of the biggest names in hiphop today. You’ve had the chance to learn from them first hand. What’s the most important thing you learned under Em and Dre as an artist?
SQ: I learn from Dr. Dre everyday. That dude is ridiculous. Em… taught me some really technical shit about rapping. If you listen to Em’s rhymes… He knows how to take words that normally wouldn’t rhyme together and make them rhyme. Now I can take words that normally don’t go together and pronounce them differently to make them rhyme. Eminem does a lot of that.
And another thing I took from him…Eminem will make a sentence…and he’ll make every word rhyme in the next bar from the previous sentence. That’s some technical shit that the listener probably won’t even hear…but he does shit like that. And that’s the kind of stuff I picked up from being around him.
ASOKA: That’s amazing.
SQ: Yeah, it’s just that little simple shit, like multis, when people hear him rap they don’t get that, they just hear the little corkyness in the rhyme or it’s funny or whatever.
ASOKA: Yeah and as a fellow artist…I can notice that too. The rhythm in his voice and it’s just off the hook.
SQ: Yeah, it’s incredible. But with Dre…dude has taught me so many things that we would be here all night if I were to explain to you the greatness of that dude. He’s a great person, all around. As a person, as a producer…he just taught me how to be a better person, a better human being. Shit about my life, shit about my health, you know man…It’s just bigger than music, my relationship with him. He is truly like a mentor, like a father that I never had, not to say that he’s old but really… like a big brother that I never had.
ASOKA: You’ve been working with Dr Dre on Detox, and were in the new HP commercial with him too. Do you have any cool or funny stories that happened in the studio that you want to share?
SQ: When I was on the set of the HP commercial, the guy from Flight of the Conchords, he was also in Yes Man or whatever. In the commercial, his hair dogg, looked so weird like…it just looked like a hairpiece. It looked like a toupee. And you know, Game was at the set too, we were all over there whispering about it. And I was like I’m just going to ask him about it like, “Yo dude, is that a toupee?” I couldn’t believe that I did that. I asked him and he just looked at me and said “No! It’s my hair.” (laughs) But whatever, that right there just ruined the relationship. From that point on it was fuck Stat. You know what I mean (laughs)
But his shit looked like a toupee though, I couldn’t hold it in! That shit was just sitting up on his head like…it was crazy! I still can’t believe I asked him that, then I tried to come back like, “Hey man, I loved you in Yes Man, you were the shit!” And he gave me this evil ass look.
ASOKA: So Statlanta is finally coming out, what’s next for Stat Quo?
SQ: Me and Boi 1da and doing an album together. Kind of like a Reflection Eternal. Boi 1da is a producer who does a lot of Drake’s beats. He did “Best I Ever Had” he did “Forever” a couple joints on my album. He did the Drake song “Over.”
ASOKA: That should be fresh, I think your styles compliment each others.
SQ: Yeah, we’re doing the whole album together. Just trying to figure out what we’re going to call our name, a Reflection Eternal kind of thing.
ASOKA: That’ll be sick man, looking forward it! Anything you want to say to your fans?
SQ: Go get the album!
ASOKA: July 13th! In stores everywhere!
ASOKA: Thanks man, I really appreciate you taking the time for this.
SQ: No problem, thank you brother.