Stat Quo: The Eve of Success
On June 22nd, the music world will see the release of what could be the most anticipated debut rap album of all time. Statlanta is the first full length studio album to be released by Southern rapper Stat Quo - a.k.a. Statlanta, a.k.a. commercial actor Russell Quo… yeah you heard us right. He’s the same Stat Quo who was first signed to Aftermath/Shady records, the third artist after Dr. Dre and Eminem. Now, the lyrical intelligence and snappy vocal garnish that impressed Dre & Shady will finally shine in a full album. Since Statlanta’s original planned release in 2003, Stat Quo has been learning the game, eventually partnering with Sha Money XL, to release Statlanta on their own label, Dream Big Ventures. Its first single “Success,” has met with profuse affection from his fans. A talented singer with a lyrical flow that’s somewhere between Lil Wayne and Nas (yet unique enough to defy any direct comparison), whose voice is backed by the best beats in the business, it seems Stat Quo will finally stake a definitive claim to his own musical success. It was Hit Talk’s distinct honor to speak with Stat Quo about everything from working the game, to working hard especially if you love what you do, to giving poor ol’ Tiger Woods a well-deserved break. Best not miss this one!
HT: So, after several years you finally have a firm release date for Statlanta. After all this time, how does it feel to release your debut album?
Stat Quo: Oh you know, it just feels like completing a goal that I set forth years ago, and finally letting the world hear a complete project that I can say is a full album, not just a mix tape. I’m ready to go there and put it out and get the whole Statlanta chapter behind me.
Hit Talk: So all this time what maneuvers were you making, while Statlanta was still in the works? Why did you wait this long?
Stat Quo: Just different situations, you know I switched labels… that was one of the main things, and just learning more about the business.
HT: So you started out on Aftermath, and now you’re with Dream Big Ventures with Sha Money…
SQ: Yeah, me and Sha Money are doin’ a thing together. I have more control over my situation ’cause I’m one of the partners in the company. To be one of the decision-makers is a very important thing to me.
HT: What do you think it was about your style or performance that impressed Aftermath enough to want to sign you?
SQ: I just think I got a very unique and distinct sound, you know, I don’t sound like anybody else. And then at the same time, the wordplay, and the hip hop in it is crazy. So it was just like having somebody from the South that they can actually relate to, and that can kinda relate to the music that they create, and that’s why I think it was such a good marriage, musically.
HT: So they originally heard your music through your Underground Atlanta mixtapes. What kind work goes into making those?
SQ: It’s like a baby album, you know. Kinda like promoting a baby album, except in these cases, I was givin’ them out for free, you know ’cause my theory is when you’re introducing a new product to the marketplace, you can’t try to sell it all the time, you have to make people fans of what you’re doin’ before you sell it.
HT: It must take a lot of effort, were you juggling that with your degree?
SD: I did that actually once I graduated.
HT: Once you graduated, OK… Does part of you regret leaving the world of international business and law behind?
SQ: Nah, ’cause I completed it. I actually graduated, and finished the task. Had I not finished school, it might’ve been different. I was gonna actually go to law school, but I didn’t really get started, I just took my LSAT. I’m the kind of person that likes to complete tasks once I’ve started them. I’ve gotta finish my work.
HT: A lot of people know Kanye for abandoning his degree for rap. Do you think you might be a little further ahead, if you had put down the degree and gotten into the rap game sooner?
|SQ: Nah, because you know everybody’s circumstances are different. In my situation, I just wanted to always have that - in the event of something didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. [Then,] I could always say that I had my undergrad if I wanted to go get my masters or whatever. College is a personal decision. College is for some people and [not others]. It was for me, you know, it fit my personality and my character and who I was.|
HT: What are you working on currently? Statlanta must be all recorded.
SQ: Yeah, Statlanta’s pretty much done. Still working with Dre on The Detox, workin’ with Polo.
HT: And recently you were working with Dre and HP on Dre’s new laptop?
|SQ: They let me be a part of the commercial. That was definitely a beautiful thing, to make make my commercial acting debut, I thank Dre for that, that was a good look.
HT: Is that something you think you might do more of?
SQ: Definitely. I’m gonna switch my name, I think, to Russell Quo. Take the Stat out and put Russell in the front. I wanna be like the Russell Crowe of commercials. If there’s such a thing as winning an Oscar for being in the most commercials, I want to try to do that.
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HT: [Laughs] Are you going to have the same attitude as Russell Crowe?
SQ: Yea, it’s a little bit different. It’s gonna be like “Gladiator” meets “Mickey D’s” - commercial star.
HT: Okay, so it having been this long since you started Statlanta, are you worried some of the buzz has dissipated?
SQ: Keep it real wit’ you; I don’t care if it sells two copies. As long as the people who go out and purchase it are satisfied, I don’t really care. I’m not trying to break the sales mark; that’s not what I’m doin’ here, I just wanna make good music for people that I know are going to check for it.
HT: It must have been frustrating, though having to wait for that long - especially since, as you say, you’re someone who has to finish what you start.
SQ: Well, you know it’s like anything you do in life. You’re going to experience some bumps and bruises along the way. But what do you do? do you quit or do you keep on goin’ and pushin’ forward? Because in my situation I have a unique opportunity to go and do things that I love to create income for myself and for my family. That in itself is a beautiful thing, when I wake up in the morning, I get to do something that I love. I get to write music, I get to record music, I get to spend time in the studio, and that’s my job, you know. There’s some people that get up at 5 and 6 in the morning and they’re going to work on some conveyor belt, you know, making sure the “S” is on the Skittles or … the “M” is on the M&Ms, and they’re not happy about it. So I’m gonna go and do my job for them, and take it as seriously as I can ’cause I am satisfied and happy that I get to do something that I love.
HT: Stat, thanks for speaking with Hit Talk. By the way, we got a chance to check out your rant defending Tiger Woods…
SQ: … In America, we go too far, not just America, but we put these entertainers on such a pedestal, like they don’t do normal things and that they don’t make mistakes.
We’re trying to crucify somebody … where they have to go and apologize to the public. Fuck the public, you know what I’m sayin? Fuck ‘em. And yeah, OK, infidelity is wrong if that’s the agreement you all have when you’re married, but we don’t know what their situation is. We don’t know if she’s cool with that, but even if she isn’t, that’s their business. We got him on the fuckin’ press conference talking about he apologize. Well for what? He doesn’t need to apologize to my son, because ain’t my son’s role-model, I’m his role model, and that’s how it needs to be with all these families. We’re letting entertaners and fuckin people raise our kids and that’s what’s wrong with the world. You know, we need to raise our children, we need to be the examples. He needs to apologize to his kids, and that’s none of our business.
HT: Okay, well let’s say you become the Tiger Woods of rap… you are going to be a role model; it’s possible that you’ll find yourself in a similar situation with the media, how would you handle that?
SQ: I would tell ‘em all to suck my dick. And I wouldn’t give a fuck what nobody said, you got a problem with it then fuck y’all, I don’t care. I wouldn’t even buy into that shit. The only reason he didn’t do that is because he’s concerned about all his sponors, but … he was thinkin’ it; he wanted to say “Suck my dick.” Cause at the end of the day, guess what: he swings the golf club ridiculously. He is Golf. He’s the only reason people watch it. I haven’t watched golf since he fuckin’ left. Nobody watches that shit unless he’s in it. Even the people that play golf don’t watch golf unless he in it.
It’s the artists that make this shit entertaining. I don’t care what he does, and his personal life, who he’s fuckin’. Hell, grab that club and swing that shit, man, hit that white ball in the hole. Let me worry about my kid, you don’t have to worry about that, Tiger.