Paul Wall: A New Ice Opinion

T o many, Paul Wall is all smiles. After all, the Houston star struck monumental success rhyming about his diamond-covered grill, so why not show it? Another reason to smile: Swishahouse’s top priority welcomed a son into the world early in ’06. Now, Mr. Wall is preparing for an easy transition into his next major […]

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o many, Paul Wall is all smiles. After all, the Houston star struck monumental success rhyming about his diamond-covered grill, so why not show it? Another reason to smile: Swishahouse’s top priority welcomed a son into the world early in ’06. Now, Mr. Wall is preparing for an easy transition into his next major label album, Get Money Stay True. After getting money throughout the last year and a half, Paul Wall stays true to his New York audience in performing to a packed Hammerstein Ballroom to close out AllHipHop Week.

Still, do not mistake Paul’s smiles for weakness or ignorance. The Platinum-selling artist recently traveled to Sierra Leone to see the origins of the ice he’s helped keep so popular. A different side of the usually-jovial persona surfaces when Paul Wall reflects on that social situation. Nonetheless, it’s not hard to pull the conversation back into lighthearted territory. Paul beams when his beloved Houston Astros are brought up. Read if their honorary pitcher was able to get “Rocket” Roger Clemens to chuck the deuce. You show up everywhere these days. Keeping yourself busy is always good, but how do you keep going?

Paul Wall: To be honest, Hip-Hop has been my passion since I was a kid. Now that I’ve got the opportunity to showcase my talent to the world, I take full and complete advantage of it. God’s blessed me so much; God’s brought me so far, and it’d be a shame to fall off and fade to black. Hopefully I’ll be able to have a long and successful career. That’s my number one goal right now: longevity. My focus is to stay consistent with what got me to where I’m at. [Rule Number] One: My hard back-against-the wall work ethic. [Rule Number] Two: Staying musically consistent – my fans want to hear me speak the ghetto proverbs and parables about cars, jewelry, and hustling. Some critics however want me to speak on other things, but my music reflects my lifestyle, and I’m not a politician. And [Rule Number] Three: Staying humble and showing love.

Man, to be honest, I feel like as long as I follow these three guidelines, I’ve got complete faith that God is gonna bless me to be right where he wants me to be. I know I’m kinda rambling, so to directly answer your question, I keep going because this is my passion. You were in Sierra Leone recently filming a documentary about the diamond trade. How was the trip and the overall experience?

Paul Wall: It was a phenomenal experience. Words can’t explain what life is like for those people there. It’s an atrocity to see people living that way in 2006. Our main goal with the documentary is to bring awareness to the suffering of the people. Their civil war just ended four or five years ago, but the causes of the war are still as present today as they were in 1991 when the 20 Year War started. If something doesn’t change soon, another war is inevitable. God bless Sierra Leone! What did you discover about the diamond trade when you got there?

Paul Wall: The people there had never seen a finished diamond. All they had ever seen were the raw uncut diamonds. When my boy [“TV Johnny”] showed them his grill, they had no clue what it was. There’s no order over there, it’s like a scattered flock with no shepherd. It was an inspirational experience. I’m extremely blessed. It’s a beautiful country over there with a whole lot of potential. The diamond trade there is all screwed up. They get paid two dollars for finding a diamond. When we went to the mine owned by a corporation, we saw the same type of thing: a big company making millions and the people of the country getting the absolute bare minimum. Being a jeweler yourself, how did the trip change your outlook on the jewelry profession?

Paul Wall: Naw, it’s a dirty game and it’s always been. The thing is, they mine the diamonds there then sell them off to India to get cut and polished. That’s where a lot of the money is. We are trying to set up a system where they cut and polish the diamonds there in Sierra Leone, then sell them directly off to Belgium, England, and the USA. Hopefully something will shake for them. How can the average American put a conscious effort to help the communities being exploited for diamonds?

Paul Wall: I mean the main goal is public awareness right now. But it’s sad to see a country such as Sierra Leone so bountiful with resources become literally the poorest country in the world. Sierra Leone has so much more to offer then just diamonds. The sad thing is that the people there are exploiting themselves. The people that own the majority of the mines are Sierra Leonians. You’re busy mining a few diamonds of your own for your next album Get Money Stay True. How is that progressing?

Paul Wall: It’s been a lot of fun for me. I’ve been busy in the lab with T. Farris and Lil’ Keke. We’ve been grinding hard and just having fun making good music. We’ve been in the studio with Mr. Lee, and also Travis Barker. We’ve got some good music so far. I’m excited to see where we go from here, as we are finishing up the album. Success can put more pressure on people like we all saw with Dave Chappelle. After the success of The People’s Champ, did you feel more pressure on yourself when you were in the studio this time?

Paul Wall: Naw, we just maintain what we’ve been doing. We try to have fun with it.

It’s a blessing to be here in this position. I mean at the end of the day, it’s a job. We go to work. And like I said man, we just have fun with it. No matter how much success you have, I’ve never seen you say no to doing anything to help. How do you manage to “get money and stay true”?

Paul Wall: Man, me and T Farris talk about this all the time. We still remember how

it was eight or nine years ago. That’s how. We don’t wanna have to go back to

the struggle we endured to get here. We’re just so grateful to be here,

man, it’s a blessing for real. Along with your album the next Swishahouse release The Day All Hell Broke Loose Volume 3 is on its way. Was this an opportunity for all of Swishahouse to revisit the days before all the success?

Paul Wall: It’s basically a compilation of the Swishahouse artists like you said.

It gives us an opportunity to just all put our heads together and make

some killer callabos. Man, Lil’ Keke is on there doing his thing so

serious. Your son must be growing fast. How’s he doing?

Paul Wall: He’s three months [old] now. I love taking him out with me, to the Astros games and stuff. Man, I’m loving this dad thing. It’s real. The perks of being a celebrity baby. What kinds of other goodies has your son gotten besides the car seat?

Paul Wall: My boy Juvenile sent him some Gucci shoes, and my boy Mark Hoppus sent

him a bunch of Childish Clothing, from My

homegirl Rocsi sent him a lifetime supply of Jordans. How has it been balancing spending time with your family and being on the road and in the studio?

Paul Wall: I love it. I bring them with me to the studio, pretty much wherever I

go. They’re sharing in the complete experience with me and it’s been

great. You got to throw the opening pitch at a Houston Astros game recently. That must have been crazy…

Paul: Wall: It was definitely something I’ll never forget. I’ve been a long time Astros fan for 20 something years now. I’ve been going to games since I was a little kid sitting in he one dollar seats up high at the Astrodome. Now I’m in the owner’s box yelling at the umpires. Man, throwing the pitch was serious. Did you convince Roger Clemens to get a grill?

Paul Wall: [Laughs] Naw, not yet. Probably in the off season.