The Wire Tap: Julito McCullum

Diehard fans of The Wire were a little shocked when Namond Brice, son of Barksdale clan hitman Wee-Bey, took measures to step away from the drug game he was born into in Season 4.   With doe-eyed passiveness, Namond lied to his mother about pushing drugs to avoid her constant banter about living up to […]

Diehard fans of The


were a little shocked when Namond Brice, son of Barksdale clan hitman Wee-Bey,

took measures to step away from the drug game he was born into in Season 4.


With doe-eyed passiveness, Namond lied to his mother about

pushing drugs to avoid her constant banter about living up to his father’s

name, but eventually the truth came out. While his mother was overtaken with

bitter disappointment, it didn’t stop the teen from holding tight to his own

dream for a better future. In the end, Namond went to live with ex-police Major

Bunny Colvin.


Akin to his character Namond, actor Julito McCullum is soft

spoken and endearing, and he has a productive plan for his life.  Much like his castmate Jermaine Crawford

(Dukie), Julito is also a triple threat performer. As a dancer, actor and

songwriter/rapper with a new single, Julito is grinding every day to promote

his next big move.


We spoke with Julito this week about the nature of his

character’s decisions, and why Namond represents a rarely seen positive side of

The Wire’s story. We also touched on

the reality of ringtone rappers, longevity in the rap game and the importance

of youth in Hip-Hop. Thus far in the series we haven’t seen Namond

that much, but where we left off [in Season 4] was Namond pretty much retired

himself from the game so to speak. What are your personal thoughts about the

character Namond and why he maybe didn’t have the heart to follow in his

father’s footsteps?


Julito McCullum: I mean I don’t feel like Namond didn’t have

the heart. In the world it’s not that people don’t have the heart, [the thing

is] that’s not where they wanna be at the time or what they wanna do. Namond

made the right decision by doing what he had to do for his family and things

like that, but then again that was the wrong decision because of all the

negativity in the situation.


Namond is just like every other kid, there’s a lot of kids

out here going through that stage in their life where they have to be something

that they’re not. So it’s not necessarily that they don’t have the heart, it’s

just that they’re put in predicaments and situations to where they have to do

what they have to do. Realizing that Namond’s choice to go the

direction that he went is going to cause a divide between his friendships with

Michael and the other boys he grew up with, do you feel like that’s something

that’s in the back of his mind as he moves on with his life, or is he really

trying to put that in his past?


Julito McCullum: I feel like he’s trying to put it in his

past, because nobody really wants that to be on their mind all the time even

though it is. That was something big, that wasn’t something you can push to the

side like that. So yeah, he’s trying to put it to the side and move forward so

he can do what he gotta do, and that’s why he was going to school and putting

his effort into paying attention in class and doing what he had to do so he

didn’t have to look back on that. Are we gonna expect to see Namond have a run

in with his old friends at some point?


Julito McCullum: Nah, not really. What I love about the

Namond character is that they’re just showing you that there is a way out in

life. Even though there are the hardships and the hustlers and killers out

there, sometimes those hustlers and killers actually do change their lives

around and turn into doctors, lawyers and things like that.


I’m not gonna tell you what’s really going on, but they just

bring my character back just to show you where it left off when he was doing

good, something positive about The Wire.

Sometimes there’s definitely not a lot of positive situations in The Wire, so that’s one situation where

they show positive. Have you had to worry about any modicum of

being stereotyped [as an actor], or have you been able to branch out from that

and get different types of roles?


Julito McCullum: I’ve definitely been able to branch out,

because with Namond’s character it’s like he shows more than just being that

regular hood kid. He showed the seriousness, the drama – the real actor came

out in me. I’m very quick to be able to go out on different auditions and

different jobs. What exactly is coming up for you in the next

few months?


Julito McCullum: I’ve just been grinding, I have a lot of

scripts that’s been coming at me. I got a lot of big movie roles that’s up on

the table for me right now, and I got some big things happening. I can’t really

put them out there like that right now, so just look around. By summertime

you’re gonna be hearing about some great projects I’ll be in. We know that you’re working a single on the

music side of things. Tell us how you got involved with your music and who

you’re working with right now.


Julito McCullum: Well actually I’ve been writing all of my

life, even before acting. Acting just came along with me being in the

entertainment industry, but I’ve been writing all of my life so that was always

something I wanted to pursue no matter how long it took. I was just waiting for

the right time, but right now I feel definitely is the right time.


I got the right song, the song is called “The Wire” and what

it is, I’m not being my character in the story. I don’t really call it a song,

I call it a story, and what I’m doing is I use “The Wire” to be the character’s

name which is the hood. I’m just showing you how everything is going on in the

hood, how people that don’t know about it get to see what’s really going on in

the hood.


On the last verse what I do is show you a kid that started

out in “The Wire” and his come up until he reaches his peak and then his fall.

Sort of like what Jay-Z did with the whole American

Gangster album I did that with one verse using characters from The Wire itself in the situation. So

it’s definitely a great song and a great time to put that out, and it’s

definitely a classic hit. Do you already have some things set in motion

for doing a full length project?


Julito McCullum: Well, right now we’re just trying to get

the right situations together, I have a lot of people here with me. I don’t

have a deal or anything like that as of now, but we have the songs, the music

and the focus on what we wanna do and where we wanna go. We’re just waiting for

the right people to get behind us. Do you necessarily feel that a lot of rappers

in your age group are poising themselves for longevity, or do you feel like

this ringtone rapper thing has taken hold too much?


Julito McCullum: With that situation, they say people are

making ringtone music, but if you try to make different music in this game

nobody wants to hear it. I feel like Hurricane Chris and Soulja Boy are doing

what they’re supposed to do, which is making the hits for people right now.

That’s all people wanna hear, because if Soulja Boy would have came out with

something completely not Soulja Boy to please the world, he wouldn’t have done

it because nobody would have wanted to hear it. They wanted to hear him doing

the Superman because that’s him and that’s what’s hot right now.


Even though people say, “Oh, that’s ringtone music,” he

still got the number one song in the country. You feel me? He still got the

number one song in the country and his album sales were great for his first

time out – and it’s not even just him, for all the other people that’s out

right now being called ringtone rappers. If you guys are gonna talk about

ringtone rappers, just give people a chance to make good, real music. Do you feel that it’s important for someone

who’s 15-19 years old starting a rap career to go back and learn about the

artists that were pre-1990’s, or do you think that their frame of reference is

good enough for what they are doing?


Julito McCullum: There’s people right now in the game that

are doing what they have to do, and what I like about the game right now is

that they are looking back at what used to go on and they’re like “Alright,

let’s put it in a new era for them.” The [Jason Fox] “Aunt Jackie” situation,

that’s Fresh Prince right there. He just took that, flipped it and made it into

good music.


The people are definitely looking back at what used to go on

and they’re just putting it in their own form, which is great. Even though

we’ve always gotta look back at our pioneers and thank them for everything that

they’ve done, we do have to be our own pioneers at the same time. If we try to

do a Biggie song they’ll be like, “Oh he aint nothing but trying to be like



I don’t care what nobody says, 20 years from now they’re

gonna look at Soulja Boy and his whole movement and say “Yo, remember when that

came out?” because that’s everywhere. Everybody was doing Soulja Boy from every

star to the Caucasians, Mexicans and Chinese. If you’re on Youtube I know you

probably seen it, everybody is doing it. So I know years from now they’re going

to look back the same way we’re looking back. It’s probably not as big as what

the pioneers of Hip-Hop were doing but it’s definitely a landmark in Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is a young person’s thing. We have to

allow people that are 15-20 years old to come in and make a new wave.

Julito McCullum: Definitely, we have to take heed and accept change, because

that’s what Hip-Hop is about. It’s about changing, upgrading and being present

and also the future but like you said we can’t keep living on the future, we

need to change. Who do you like for the Super Bowl?


Julito McCullum: I’m going with the Giants. I want the Giants

and Patriots to do it, I would love to see that game. I’m going with the home

team. Just off of the strength that we won that [game against the Dallas

Cowboys] I know we’re going to the Super Bowl. There’s a lot of people out

there saying, “They can’t do it, it’s gonna be below zero.” The Giants are

gonna do it. Going into the next year, what do you want

people to look out for from you throughout acting and music?


Julito McCullum: Acting, I’m still gonna give you guys good

roles. I’m gonna start showing you my diversity in acting, that I can do jobs

outside of The Wire. I can show you

how I really can act. I’m not just some kid that they got off the street, and

they just saw he was a hood kid and put him in The Wire. As far as music I’m just gonna show you a different type

of music, good feeling music that any age can vibe to. A lot of people say I’m

an actor trying to rap. I’m gonna prove everybody wrong.