Glasses Malone: Million Dollar Baller

If New York Hip-Hop is dead, L.A. rap has decomposed. The Game not withstanding, most fans are likely to draw blanks if asked to name one of the new MCs to hail from the left coast. But as the year winds down—and new blood like Saigon and Papoose look to put New York back on […]

If New York Hip-Hop is dead, L.A. rap has decomposed. The Game not withstanding, most fans are likely to draw blanks if asked to name one of the new MCs to hail from the left coast. But as the year winds down—and new blood like Saigon and Papoose look to put New York back on top, an icon-in-the-wings by the name of Glasses Malone seeks the same by aligning himself with Mannie Fresh, Cool and Dre and slew of other super producers.

Also known simply as G. Malone, the Watts-native made a name for himself by pushing 30,000 units on the independent circuit. A bidding war ensued, and offers from Interscope, Black Wall Street—and even Jay-Z—were considered before he signed with Sony for $1.7 Million. Fittingly, some have labeled the one-time Crip “The West Coast Papoose.” Is he worthy of the title? Is he capable of becoming the biggest Crip in Hip-Hop since Snoop and Tha Dogg Pound? Should it matter? These are the questions. G has the answers. The multi-million dollar value of your record deal has been promoted fairly well in the media, and will continue to do so as your fame increases. With such exposure, do you ever feel like a marked man sometimes?

Glasses Malone: Little crazy n***as might feel different, but not me. It’s hard out here when you have n***as slinging who don’t got what you got, so I don’t even wear jewelry. I don’t like flashing on the homies; you might have them thinking you’re a dumb millionaire. When I’m in the hood, I keep it real simple. I might wear my big watch in one of them Hollywood clubs where other n***as are wearing big watches. How’s the album going?

Glasses Malone: It’s coming dumb fly, man. I’m working hard on every track. I really painted a perfect picture on every song and gave you me. I got all kinds of moods and tempos for the day. It’s challenging, but it’s fun. What kind of production can we expect to hear on it?

Glasses Malone: Everyday, I go to see n***as. I got Cool and Dre, some s**t with Mannie Fresh, DJ Toomp…Toomp is a beast. I’m finna to go finish some s**t with Just Blaze. It sounds like the label’s setting you to blow up big.

Glasses Malone: Absolutely. They’re setting me up to go hard because people are looking at me as a new face. Being that I didn’t come up [with an established act], I had to come up swinging right for it. [Sony’s] definitely working, they’re not playing around. Would you say that was the reason why you went with Sony? Would you say they would have supported you better than, say, a different label would have supported you at this point?

Glasses Malone: Besides that, it was a better deal and they really respected the fact that I wanted to do my own thing. A lot of labels were nervous because the West Coast ain’t really ever had a successful artist since the Dre regime began. [They never had] an artist hit without messing with Dre or getting beats from Dre. A lot of people were like, “You sure you don’t want to do the deal with Game?” or “Dre says good things about you, you sure you don’t want to get a beat from him on your first record?” I’m like, “No. I just want to do me.” Sony is just more supportive. They got a real bad rap on them and stuff, but if you sell 800,000 records on Sony, that’s like selling two or three million records on Interscope. You sell a punk-ass platinum plaque on Interscope, it’s like, whatever. What’s up with that animosity towards Interscope? I heard that you were linked with Black Wall Street at one point, and—I’m guessing—it didn’t work out the way you wanted. Is that right?

Glasses Malone: Nah. Interscope is my family. They’re the reason why I am the way I am today. That’s where I picked up a lot about the Game too. The only thing with Interscope is, if you’re not in Eminem, 50 or Dre’s lane, you’re kinda just there. Eventually, they’re gonna start breaking artists without all that stuff; I just didn’t want to be the first one to try.

The Black Wall Street deal was a little different. It just wasn’t financially set. It just wasn’t for me. It was for a real base-rate artist and it kind of had nothing going for itself. At that time, I had a seven-label bidding war so financially, it wasn’t even right. I got a family; I got a mom that got 20 years in prison. I’m trying to keep my little brother out of trouble…[With Game,] it was always blessings to do what I did. Do you see yourself collaborating with Game at some point?

Glasses Malone: I mean, eventually. We talk sometimes, like once a month. He done gave me advice since I went my own way. There ain’t no hate with dude. I think a lot of that s**t had to do with “Press and Pause.” People were just assuming [there was beef between us] and they weren’t trying to figure out what’s real. But what was with the “120 Bars” Freestyle? [ “But Glasses Malone is not signed to Black Wall Street/N***a don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype…And Don’t be Alarmed, this is not a diss/But using my logo Kinda got me P#####.” ]

Glasses Malone: If you listen to what he said in the rap, he said it like people was trying to f**k with me off of his name. The Black Wall Street logo that I put on my CD played a part to opening up a lot of doors. I can’t really get mad at “120 Bars” because it wasn’t a diss. Chuck’ll be going through s**t. I don’t know what the f**k he was thinking when he made that s**t. I don’t know what the f**k that was. It was just lashing out. That s**t ain’t nothing, man. How do you think he’ll do on his second album? Will he sell five million?

Glasses Malone: Nah. He’ll never top what he did last time. But he’ll still have a big first week. He can genuinely rap, but I don’t think he’ll sell as much as last time because the market’s different. It definitely is. As a new West Coast artist, how do you feel your role will be to fit into the niche of the national market?

Glasses Malone: New n***as is poppin. If a new n***a got a record to bump, the n***a is selling. Yeah, they ain’t selling no 50 Cent numbers, but new artists are coming out the box with a 100,000 [sales] because new stuff is in. That’s true. The deal you have is actually bigger than Papoose’s deal. In New York, he’s the $1.5 Million Dollar Man and here you are with a $1.7 Million Dollar deal. The nature of the game is definitely changing. Would you agree?

Glasses Malone: These ain’t even big deals like people imagine they are. That’s like only 170,000 records sold to recoup. That ain’t nothing. I mean, back then, they was giving motherf**kers $20 Million and $80 Million Dollar deals; you don’t hear people getting deals like that because iTunes and all that other s**t came out stop motherf**kers from selling records like they used to. But at the same time, these record labels aren’t dumb. They look at a n***a like Pap or a n***a like me—and I’ve been to New York, I seen how n***as love that n***a—but that’s how it is for me on the west. I’m the only n***a doing shows and getting 700 Bloods, 600 Crips and 400 [Latinos]. A lot of n***as want to get put on but don’t have the proper foundation, like Pap has with Kay Slay. I’m gonna put it like this: If you build your foundation on toothpicks, I don’t give a f**k how big your house is, you’re gonna collapse. These labels are lazy nowadays. The don’t want to develop artists no more. They don’t want to spend that money. If you ain’t buzzing from where you’re from, f**k it, there ain’t nothing they could do for you. Do you think being a Crip had something to do with creating that buzz where you were from?

Glasses Malone: I hope it had nothing to do with it, honestly. I mean, naturally being from L.A,, people are gonna affiliate you with being from a gang. But if all the gangbangers want to relate to me, naturally they’re going to feel how I fell. So, are you going to promote that in your album?

Glasses Malone: Of course not. No. I mean, everybody knows that I’m a Crip already; that goes without saying. I don’t gotta tell nobody anything. They know where I’m from with no questions asked. Let me play Devil’s Advocate. A lot of people tend to buy into the whole Crip thing—including, perhaps, your own promotion team. What would you say to that?

Glasses Malone: I don’t have to say I’m a Crip. People bought my record because it was a grown-man thing, not because it was a Crip thing. Just listen to my music. It’s always soulful. It’s always meaningful. It’s not a bunch of hoopla talking about gangbanging and s**t. I got some songs that talk about gangbanging because I did it, but at the same time, I really went into my heart and into soul to make a lot of these records. What’s on the horizon? Is there anything you’re working on now exactly?

Glasses Malone: I got an EP that’s coming out in December. I done retired the mixtape game. I’ll leave that to these other n***as. From now on, I’m going back to the Cube days of dropping EPs with six or seven songs of fire. My album is so thick and rich in content that it’s 85 percent done and it should be finished next month. It’s dropping February 20th and the next single is either going to be “Malone” or “Certified” with Akon on it.

I’m really not a rapper dog. I’m just a regular dude who just figured out that he could do it so he went and did it. It’s really just me being me. That’s what’s up. You a baseball fan? The World Series is going down soon.

Glasses Malone: I f**k with The Dodgers a little bit, but I’m about The Lakers and basketball. Baseball’s kinda boring. Rappers hate baseball, why is that?

G. Malone: [Laughs] Because [the] kinda person who would like baseball would like Opera and sh*t. But you know what? When they was hitting all them home runs and s**t, I was like, “Damn, these motherf**kers is crazy.”

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