Depending on who you ask, the word 8 Ball can take on different meanings. Ask my uncle, and he’d tell you he’s going to sink it every time. Ask a drug dealer, and he’ll give you a price. But ask anyone that’s ever stepped inside the world of Hip-Hop and they’d tell you he’s a living legend. For all of us who live in that world everyday, it’s almost impossible to not follow the name, 8 Ball, with the name, MJG, but today, we’re going to try.
You’d think that after dropping eight group albums, and four solo albums, 8 Ball would take some time to rest. Think not. Having been in the rap game for over a decade, 8 Ball continues to be a potent force in every form of entertainment. He’s already dominated the Southern rap scene, so much so that the artists that are laying down the foundation for the next generation of Hip-Hop hopefuls are the same ones that credit 8 Ball as being their inspiration.
He’s just released is forth solo album on his own label, 8 Way Entertainment called Light Up the Bomb which also introduces the world to the next breed of Memphis rappers.
AllHipHop.com: What is your reaction to how Light Up the Bomb has been received by your fans?
8 Ball: It’s a beautiful reaction. We’re actually doing real good on iTunes and the spins is up real big right now, and we didn’t even do much for the radio, ya know what I mean? So, I’m lovin’ every minute of it.
AllHipHop.com: Your album features a lot of up and coming Memphis rappers. Since you’ve been in the game for so long, are you using this time to “pass the torch,” so to say?
8 Ball: Oh definitely, that’s what I’m on the road to do right now.
AllHipHop.com: One of the artists that you have featured on you album and who’s also signed to 8 Way Entertainment is Montana Trax, how did you hook up with him?
8 Ball: Well, Montana Trax is a producer, a lot of people don’t know that. He produced every track on the album except for one. The track called “Yo B***h” with Da Volunteers, MJG produced that, but all the other tracks Montana Trax produced them all.
AllHipHop.com: Was he the first artist signed to 8 Ways Entertainment?
8 Ball: Yep, I actually signed him and Devius at about the same time.
AllHipHop.com: You decided to put out Montana’s album before your own even though people weren’t familiar with the label. Do you think that if you would have waited to put his album out until after you dropped the response would have been different?
8 Ball: Well, [Montana’s album] was ready, ya know? Like, we got a lot of projects that’s ready already, and I just wanted to warm the streets up to what I was doing. Montana Trax’ The Boy Sumthin Great was like the warm up album for the streets to let ‘em know this is a percentage of what I’m comin’ with.
AllHipHop.com: One of the songs off Light up the Bomb is called “Battlefield” and it seems to paint a picture of the industry’s pros and cons, what would you say is the biggest con of being in this industry for you?
8 Ball: I think like me and MJ get typecast when it comes to doing features with people or making a song for a soundtrack or something like that. People always wanna put us on the pimp song or something slow, ya know what I mean? And I’m not objecting to that ‘cause that’s my roots, that’s what I come from, I’m the slow flow pro, can’t nobody slow flow like the Big Ball, ya know? But, at the same time, I think people typecast us, man, and when people wanna put us on their song, it’s the pimp song, or the slow song. We’re a lot more versatile than that.
AllHipHop.com: So, was there ever time when you turned down working with somebody because you didn’t want to do a certain type of song?
8 Ball: Uh, not really. I might object to a certain beat or track, but subject matter, I wouldn’t object to that ‘cause that’s what I do.
AllHipHop.com: It seems that in this industry the natural progression after achieving so much is to start your label, tell us about 8 Ways Entertainment.
8 Ball: Well, I’ve been in motion for some years now, ya know, ever since Space Age 4 Eva and my album, Almost Famous, I been doing my thing since then but things kinda took a turn for the worse when Jcor [Records] went fagoty on us, ya know? And after they did their ‘lil f****t s**t then I kinda had to start over with what I was doing. I think I just really got to where I wanna be this year. I chose to go with Navarre Distribution ‘cause I just wanted to start off slow. I’m right where I wanna be and I think it’ll elevate gradually and that’s what I wanna do, I don’t wanna take it too fast.
AllHipHop.com: So what are you ultimately trying to achieve with 8 Ways?
8 Ball: I just wanna make good music, man. I really just wanna take my label a step further. Good music is a different definition to people who love music, what’s good to you ain’t good to me. I wanna do more that Hip-Hop, I wanna do more than rap, I wanna do forever music. I mean, if it’s punk rock or R&B or some kinda band.
AllHipHop.com: I hear a lot of artist say that, but would you, 8 Ball, seriously consider signing a rock band?
8 Ball: People don’t know like back when I first started, there was a group out of Houston that I was gonna mess with called Halo and they ended up moving around and I lost contact with them, but I like all kinds of music.
AllHipHop.com: Word? What kind of group were they?
8 Ball: They were kinda like, uhh… kinda like a Korn.
AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] Korn?
8 Ball: The group, Korn.
AllHipHop.com: I know Korn, I just wasn’t expecting that comparison, I guess.
8 Ball: [Laughs] Yeah, they were like a Korn. I like all types of music, so I wanna pursue that even if I fail, I still wanna try it. Memphis has that. The world has that. I’ve seen that traveling, the world loves more than Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: Well I’ll definitely be looking out for that. Let’s talk about how you fit into Hip-Hop today. With so many young artists trying to set trends and break molds, do you ever feel pressure stay new and fresh to younger audiences?
8 Ball: I don’t really feel any pressure ‘cause that’s what we do. I think the pressure comes more from live performances ‘cause that’s changes a lot over the years.
AllHipHop.com: In what way?
8 Ball: I think just the bounce in the music, that’s changed. I think we have changed but stayed the same with each album that we have done.