These southern rapping masterminds first hit the scene in 1993 and have been trail blazing the game ever since. With many critically acclaimed albums under their belt, 8Ball & MJG are slated to drop their newest project “Ten Toes Down” just in time for the summer. The street’s are already buzzing that this may be one of the best 8Ball & MJG albums ever and should not be over looked as a classic.
The album will come out on T.I.’s Grand Hustle label and E1 Music. The project is going to have a superstar line up of other artist and producers from the hip hop galaxy which is sure to put some bump in your trunk.
The legendary duo sits down to chop it up with Yo! Raps about music, touring, and keeping it fresh no matter what you do.
How excited are you guys about the new single “Bring It Back”?
8Ball: I mean it’s great at this stage in our career to still be getting a lot of love like that.
MJG: Yeah, we’re plenty excited about it. I feel the same way.
You guys are rapping vets so when you release a single now is it just an expected similarity, or are you ever surprised at the results?
MJG: Well, anything in this territory right now is rarely unfamiliar to us. As far as we have made it now you could never really plan this type of career. I mean you can only hope for it. A lot of things are still surprising to us now as they were at various points in our career. It’s really humbling at the same time. We just feel blessed and glad to do it.
So the album is “Ten Toes Down,” what made you guys decide to call it that?
8Ball: It’s just a testament to all that we’ve been doing. We were recording a lot but it didn’t really become the title of the album until we put all the other songs together. It’s about keeping your feet planted and your head to the stars.
How is this album bigger and better than your last project?
MGJ: Well, you know that we always focus on each one so I don’t think that one is better than the other, but it’s about making them all be better. It’s in the eyes of the beholder. It shows that in all these years we have grown and shows 8Ball & MJG now. The main thing about it is it will be familiar along side of the other things we’ve done. It’s about us being us. You already know what the title “Ten Toes Down” is about so we’re really giving them a dose of what we’ve always been doing. If this is your first time checking us out then you know it might not be the same songs, but we always have the same formula.
Who’s on the album?
8Ball: Well, we definitely have T. I. on a song called What They Do, we’ve got a song produced by David Banner. We did a song with Soulja Boy, and of course the single DJ Bring It Back, produced by Nitty Beats, featuring Young Dro.
I know you worked with fellow Memphis producer Drumma Boy. Of course he has talent, but do you ever also feel that it is your responsibility to continue to open the doors and help fellow musicians or artist from your area?
MGJ: I think that we have always opened the doors for artist everywhere because you never know who is listening or how that inspires them. Our motivation is really just to help whomever to try and get ahead. We love to do it and want to help others who love to do it, and would like to make a career out of it.
So you guys were signed to Grand Hustle a while back, did T.I.’s incarceration delay your album coming out or not?
8Ball: No the delay was that we’ve just been recording. I don’t think his incarceration affected that at all. We just wanted to take our time and be able to give people a quality album so we made sure that we had the type of product that we wanted.
Where you able to communicate with his at all during his lock up?
8Ball: Once real early during his lock up. When it first went down. MJG got to speak to him on the phone. We had some mutual people that were also down there with him so we communicated that way as well. Other than that the communication was kind of tight.
You guys have been recording for a while now, how do you manage to keep your sound so fresh and updated without sounding like old school hip hop?
MJG: Well, our motto has always been for a long time to shoot for the space age, so it keeps our music and our time lyrics timeless. The thing that we can do stays unlimited because of our space age frame of mind. With everything that we do, we try and think ahead as to what might be next. This way things always make sense now and for later on.
So as your fan base has grown from the core group who started with you to the kids just now experiencing you, how has reaching a new demographic influence your writing?
MJG: Ah man, it keeps it fresh and young. We tune in to the young guys and maybe don’t know all the words and things but still have an understanding. With the younger generation of music it keeps us up on rapping too so it’s all good. It all goes hand in hand. We stay in tuned to a lot of the other artist because they know that even though we may be older, we’re still in touch and can spit things from a wise perspective so everything is still cool. We spit like that “cool uncle” music.
I know you guys have also had successful solo albums, so how do you maintain your individual brands in connection to your group efforts?
8Ball: We really know that 8Ball & MJG is the foundation and we’re going to always view it as such. That’s what we started with and that’s what the people love. But we have those fans that also like to hear us on our solo projects so we also like to explore that. No matter what solo projects we do or whatever happens we will always be 8Ball & MJG. As long as we can do it and give it to them because they still want it, then the fans will make sure we do us.
Are there any big tour plans under weigh to support the new album?
8Ball: We are on promo right now; we’re running from city to city and doing radio to promote the new album. “Ten Toes Down” will be out May 4. We probably will do a tour around June to support the album.
I know you both have your own record labels with 8 Ways Entertainment and Space Age Entertainment. As record label CEOs have you guys encountered some of the same pitfalls from downloading or file sharing that have hurt the majors?
8Ball: Definitely. It hurts everybody no matter what level you may be from a bigger level to the smallest.
MJG: I just think that with all the file swapping, and downloading that we all just have to work together to fight piracy. All we can really do now is just move full speed ahead. It’s just like with the Jordan tennis shoes, when they kept coming out with all the fake Jordans out on the street. The only thing Jordan could do since he couldn’t beat them was join them. You know he had to start bringing out a new pair like once a week.
In addition to your record labels, are you diversifying into any other business ventures?
MGJ: I think we mainly just try to stay centered around the music. Mostly anything involving music.
Most people get in this game for the money, fame, women, cars, clothes, jewels, etc. You’ve already entered and mastered this field are you still in it for the same reason as when you started or does something new motivate you?
8Ball: Well, I personally have always loved the music. I got in to it for the love of the music. I loved hip hop music since we were kids. It’s a part of us, it’s in our blood, and souls. Not just hip hop but all kinds of music. You get into it for that but then you see the money that comes with it and you’re definitely going to do it for that reason as well. You have to love it for both reasons because the money and the artistic side are important. I love being able to speak to the people through the music. I have a lot of love for it all over the years. I love the music and the money.
MJG: That’s pretty much it. I love it the same way. We’ve been doing like half our life. I most definitely do it for the love first. When you do things for the money first, things can get harder and be more of a challenge. If it’s not your true interest, or love than you might only half step on it just to get the money. It’s nice to be able to do it for the love and then when the money comes to it makes it all beautiful.