Hip Hop fans of many ages, races and different generations more than likely remember how a small indie label called Cash Money Records burst onto the scene in the mid 90s, and the huge success that was primarily geared by the group Hot Boyz. But with all of the sheen and shine that YMCMB is getting these days, many of us may forget about the four-man group, and how an emcee named Turk helped to fuel the success of both the Hot Boyz and Cash Money.
Having just been released from an 8-year prison stint, Turk has hit the ground running and is staking a new claim in the Hip Hop game, with a new mixtape, Blame It on The System, dropping on February 22 and the new single “Rack Attack” already creating a buzz on YouTube. Turk talked to SoSoActive about his new music, his new magazine, YNT Incarcerated, and his thoughts on today’s music game.
How did it feel being back in the studio after so much time off?
It felt wonderful. Once I hit that booth it all came back to me. So far I have about 60 songs recorded, and I’ve only been home for 3 months. I got one mixtape coming out February Blame it On the System and working on three more. Pretty soon I’ll have about 4 mixtapes in rotation. It was overwhelming to come back and hit it off like that.
What are some of the biggest changes that you have noticed in the rap game after being gone for over eight years?
There’s a lot of watered-down rappers with no substance, and a lot of people are just bobbin’ to the beat, making tight choruses that’s sticky. But the substance has changed and everybody’s just doing what they do creatively. I just wanna bring that substance, that life story and that testimony back to the game in 2013. My hat goes off to anyone that’s doing something creative. But it’s time for a change right now.
What can we on expect from you on this new project Blame it On The System?
Of course, I did 8 years, 8 months and 16 days. When I say “Blame it On The System”, I mean blame it on the system as the reason I’m ballin’ right now, blame it on the system as the reason I’m doing good because it took me away all these years. Some people might say blame it on the system because they’re going through struggle. It can go any way. But my way is, blame it on the system for the good that’s happening in my life right now.
Are you listening to any new artists right now? If so, who are some of the new artists they?
When I first came home I was into 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, Gudda Gudda, my dog Mac Maine, Young Money I was dealing with, Nicki Minaj Drake and of course Lil Wayne, G.O.O.D. Music…I respect music and everybody that’s doing something and with a movement, of course I’m paying attention to it trying to learn stuff… I study music and I try to do more than just get a vibe off of it or bob my head to it. I study it to see what allows this person to make a hit.
Can you tell us a little more about your new magazine YNT Incarcerated?
Yeah, it’s a magazine that’s for the federal penitentiaries and we want to bring it down to the state and local levels. It’s basically a way to get the stories of the people that have been locked up. A lot of people that are doing these interviews and editing these books and magazines, they would want those stories. They can’t get them because there’s no way for them to get into the federal system without having to go through a hassle. But may way is an avenue to get those stories out. Those stories can turn into movies and movies might turn into something else. There’s a lot of stories that need to be told to the youth because these may be people that they’ve looked up to.
Can you also talk about your other projects like your book and your screenplay on your life and when fans can expect to get a taste of those?
They can expect that this year, 2013. 2013 is all about the YNT Empire and everything that we got. People are going to be inspired when they see the work ethic. I got “The Autobiography of Turk”, which is my autobiography I’m putting out. I just wanna teach the people and teach the youth that look up to rappers. I want to put my message out there by as many means possible whether it’s through music, books, movies, a clothing line, anything to get that message out there.
Do you think you will remain independent or can we expect to see Turk with a major label again soon?
When a major comes knocking, if they come knocking with the right paper, then we might have something to talk about. But in the mean time, God is opening up doors for me. I’m just being led by spirit. Whatever way he wants me to be, that’s what I’m going to be.
Are there any artists, new or established, that you would want to work on new music with?
Right now I’m doing a mixtape called The Louisiana Movement. So what I did when I came home, I reached out to artists like the Dee-1s, to the Webbies, to the Lil Foxxes, anybody that got a movement going on in Louisiana and told them, “Look, this is what we going to do.” And everybody delivered. It’s just something where our whole state came together and it was a movement. I’m looking forward to doing things with mainstream artists, but when you’re mainstream, sometimes you’re just so busy; you forget where you came from. But if the top dogs wanna roll with the movement, let’s get it. That’s where I stand on it.
What are some of your main goals as an entrepreneur and an artist now that you’re back in the music game?
As far as I’m concerned I am back in the game once I got free from prison. So I never left the game. I took a catnap. But now that I’m back a lot of people respect me as an OG. I just got to put out good music and keep myself surrounded by positive people and everything will take off from there. Right now we got a remix with Lil Wayne, B.G. and Juvenile that’s going to be on Blame it On The System. I got “Rack Attack” out. So I’m making all the right connections by the grace of God. Everything’s good now.
What advice do you have for youth that you see might be following a similar path as yours?
I’d tell then, straight up and down, whatever path you choose, know that there’s consequences and repercussions attached. If you choose the wrong path, wrong is going to come. Sometimes if you chose the right path, wrong might come but you might learn from it. Just make the right decisions. Be a leader and not a follower.