Master P Talks Rap Feuds, Parenting Nine Kids, New Film, Tupac, MLK
One of the greatest minds to emerge from the 1990s hip hop pantheon, Percy “Master P” Miller transcended a childhood of poverty in New Orleans’ Calliope Projects, to sell one hundred million records as the first rap artist to own his own record label and masters. He became a beacon of generational wealth, divested business interests, and ownership in an industry once notorious for exploiting its artists. From music, movies and real estate, to the food and automotive industries, his portfolio continues to grow.
Master P’s example and mentorship has guided artists from Snoop Dogg, Lil’ Wayne, and 2 Chainz, to his eldest son, rapper, actor and entrepreneur, Romeo Miller. Master P understood the power of ownership long before Instagram and the age of celebrity branding. Romeo Miller credits his father’s example as the driving force in his own life. He tells me, “Growing up watching one of the best and most powerful businessmen to ever do it guided me to be the man I am today. And according to Romeo, his father’s lessons went well beyond material success. “The biggest lesson I learned from him was to simply be a good person. Owning a business and brand doesn’t matter if you aren’t giving back.”
Master P’s latest project is the upcoming film, #Unknown, premiering on Amazon Prime, October 1st. The following are excerpts from the latest episode of the Allison Interviews podcast with host and entertainment profiler, Allison Kugel, interviewing Master P. The full podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
On his bucket list and owning a Black superhero franchise:
“Being able to put together a superhero movie that is owned by us, and not by Hollywood. When you look at Black Panther, that movie made more than a billion dollars, but it wasn’t owned by us. It looked like us. I want to change that narrative. That is a real bucket list item of mine.”
“When [Black Panther] was over, we went back home, and nobody really benefited. Chadwick Boseman, his salary was $500,000, and he ended up making maybe two or three million dollars from a billion-dollar movie. Robert Downey Jr. makes $70 million when he does Iron Man, and [Black Panther] was way bigger. I’m just saying, to be able to put money back into our culture and into our community off of our own work, I think that is a game changer.”
On opening for Tupac Shakur early in his music career:
“It was crazy, because everyone was there to see Tupac. They didn’t care about me (laugh). I was happy to have just one person [in the crowd] jump up. One guy was just going crazy for me in the audience. And being on the road with Tupac, I said, “I’m going to turn that one fan into millions.” To then be able to sell 100 million records is just incredible. Knowing that if you believe in something… and you don’t have to be the best, because I wasn’t the best at first. I had to get into the studio and work hard. I was living on the West Coast, and I had this Southern slur in how I talked, so I had to become better. They say the best way to do that is to stay in the gym, which was the studio. I wasn’t afraid to outwork everybody. I outworked those guys. While Tupac and all those guys were partying, playing, and just having fun on the road, I was in the studio working. I said, “While they sleep, I’m going to be working.”
On the feud between Kanye West and Drake:
“I don’t think people realize they have all of these fans that might even be crazy and take things into their own hands. We have to watch what we do. There’s a lot of selfish people out in the world, and there are a lot of snakes in this world. I think when you are at this level and you are making this type of money, even with some of these young artists that were losing their lives in hip hop, which is sad, we have to be thankful and take this as a blessing and grow. I think it’s the people around them. You have to have people giving you better advice, and you have to hold yourself accountable. I’ve always had self-accountability. And start thinking about what you say or what you do, and how it effects and hurts other people, and how you wouldn’t want that to be happening to you and your family. [There’s] a lot of self-hate. I would rather sit in the sewer and eat cheese with rats than sit at a nice restaurant and drink champagne and eat lobster and steak with a snake, and I think that’s what a lot of us are doing. When you get to that level of the game like some of these artists, why lose what you have? Once you get killed or go to jail there’s no turning back.”
On traveling back in time to save Martin Luther King Jr. from assassination:
“I would go back in time and change the Martin Luther King Jr. shooting. I feel he left too soon. I feel like that guy was on to something incredible. I have so much respect for him, and sometimes I imagine what would have happened if somebody had told him not to go to that hotel. He didn’t have that much security with him, and it just didn’t seem right. I feel like we just had so much more to learn from him. This guy was nonviolent, and he wanted to bring people together: blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos… I’ve never seen a person like that. I’m not saying he was perfect, because nobody is perfect, but it’s what he stood for when he brought people together. It’s the reason why we are able to have our freedom today and be able to work with each other, and not be judged by color. I think that is what I would want to be a part of. He was a dreamer, so being able to have somebody dream like that is incredible.”
On fathering his nine kids:
“Altogether, I have nine [kids]. I don’t drink or smoke so (laugh)… You have to deal with [each kid] as their own individual. Some kids you have to scream at, some kids you have to talk to softly, and some kids, you have to take them to the side and nourish them. I think basketball prepared me to be a father. When you are on the court with certain people, it’s all these different personalities and it’s the same way with raising kids. Some kids want a lot of your attention, and some kids want to go off and do their own thing, so you have to know that and be prepared to sacrifice. My life is not about me anymore. I’ll do anything for them, and I think a lot of parents are not prepared for that. They still want to go off and live their best life, but if you have kids, you don’t get a chance to do that anymore.”
On following in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s footsteps:
“I want to go beyond what you think you would see me doing in a movie. I’m even thinking about, like how Arnold Schwarzenegger played his role in Kindergarten Cop. I want to do a movie like that, set in an elementary school, playing a teacher or a principal. It’s fun to be able to portray other people and to bring a character to life.”
About Journalist and Podcast Host Allison Kugel
Allison Kugel is a veteran entertainment journalist with more than three hundred long form celebrity and newsmaker interviews published and syndicated, worldwide. She is author of the memoir, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record, and host of the new podcast, Allison Interviews, where listeners can tune in to hear the full conversations behind Allison’s print interviews. To learn more, listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Follow on Instagram @theallisonkugel and at AllisonInterviews.com.