When it comes to Atlanta-born rapper Stat Quo, he is best described as anything BUT maintaining the status quo. Anticipating the May 4th release of his album, Statlanta, Stat sits down and tells us about what the album means to him and how long it’s been in the works. Watch out President Obama because if Stat Quo has it his way, he’s taking over the world. Our Stat Quo interview…
Parlé: First of all, lets start where we should naturally begin. Tell me about your childhood. Talk about being born and raised in Atlanta and how it’s created who you are.
Stat Quo: Oh man, you know the A-T-L, it’s my backbone musically. Growing up, it was just me and my mother. My father wasn’t really around and I was an only child so music was my escape from some of the harsh realities I had to deal with. In that environment of Atlanta, we’ve got all different types of music that came through there. It was around the time that Hip-Hop was just taking off and it just really shaped me. So, when you hear my style some people are like, ‘he doesn’t sound like he’s from Atlanta’, But, I do sound like I’m from Atlanta because we have so many outside influences as well as our own local talent that it just shaped me into who I am.
Parlé: Music formed who you were, but with that, who formed who you are. Who were your musical influences growing up and the people that inspired you musically?
Stat Quo: We had artists like Cee-Lo, A-Town Players, N.W.A., The Geto Boys, 8 Ball & MJG, Nas, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Jermaine Dupri and what he had going on. It was just well rounded when it came to Hip-Hop. Wu-Tang Clan, all that stuff went into making me who I am as an artist.
Parlé: Ok, so you’ve been rapping since you were eleven or twelve. Then you decided to go to college and study Econ and Business. Is that because you were worried at that point about putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak? What made you decide to choose Rap over school?
Stat Quo: Well I went to school because nobody in my family has done it and, you’re right, I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. To be honest with you, I wasn’t looking at Rap as a career – it was just something I was doing for fun. I graduated and I was going to go to Law School but I figured that, after meeting with Scarface – he’s somebody that I really looked up to musically – and he told me that I need to do this I said, “You know what? I’m gonna do this and I’m not going to go to Law School.” But I finished and got my undergrad and graduated.
Parlé: Shortly thereafter you were signed by Shady/Aftermath records. Talk to me about working with the big players in the game – like 50 Cent and Eminem – so early in your career. Did working hand-in-hand with these people make you improve your game and step up really quickly?
Stat Quo: Well, you’re forced to step up. It’s like putting an 11-year old playing with the 18-year old guys, the more experienced guys. He can’t do anything but get better because he’s playing with people that are more experienced that he is. Even though he might have raw talent, there’s just things they know that you don’t know yet. I was pretty much forced to get better and I was happy for that situation because it made me a much better artist and more well-rounded MC.
Parlé: Not too long ago, you split with Shady/Aftermath. What happened there and are you signed now? If so, tell me about your current record deal.
Stat Quo: I left Shady/Aftermath because the priority of the company was to put a Dre, Eminem, or 50 Cent album out and by the time it was my turn, that’s what the priority was. But, man, you gotta respect that because these guys have a proven track record and have made a substantial amount of money and it was just time for these artists to come out. It’s a business so that’s the case and it came time for me to move on. When I left I put out mixtapes for a while and Sha Money was starting to come in and wanted me to come along. We got together and I did my thing. I’m with Dream Big Ventures, and Statlanta comes out May 4th. As far as Dre, we still work together consistently. He’s got Detox coming and I told him I really wanted to be a part of that and he’s allowed me and given me the opportunity to still be around and put my two cents in every now and again on that. It’s a beautiful thing going on in my life right now, I can’t lie.
Parlé: It seems like a lot of that emotion comes from the fact that Statlanta has been waiting for so long to be put out. It seems like it’s been done for years and you’ve been waiting and waiting for this to burst on to the scene. So tell me about what Statlanta means to you and how you see it performing in the future.
Stat Quo: I feel like, when it comes to music, good things come to those who wait. I waited and now it’s my turn and I’m going to get to see the fruits of my labor right now. Just to have my music drop and have people enjoy what I’ve got going on and coming up to me in the streets and say, ‘Hey, that sh*t’s crazy!’ It’s a dope feeling man, I love it all.
Parlé: My next question is about your song “Success.” This song seems to tell a story of a love affair with success. You’re talking about success as if it’s a real thing – a real person. Tell me about what success means to you and when will you know that you’ve been successful?
Stat Quo: I mean, I am successful right now. My life is a success based on where I came from. The fact that I’m talking to you and that you want to talk to me; that lets me know that I’m a success. I came from nobody wanting to talk to me and now I’m doing interviews every day and I’m working with the best people in the industry.
Parlé: Along with that same question, do you feel like you’ve reached the top or is there still a mountain to climb in front of you?
Stat Quo: I don’t feel like I’ve reached the top, no. The people on top feel like they haven’t reached the top. Y’know, Dre feels like he hasn’t reached the top. For me to sit here and say I think I’ve reached the top – no way. I’ve still got far, far, far to go.
Parlé: So what can we expect from you in 2010 and beyond?
Stat Quo: Listen man, world domination. It’s like one of those cartoons. I’M GONNA RULE THE WORLD!! I just wanna take over the world man. I wake up in the morning trying to figure out ways that I can control it all. I wanna be Obama-ish with the Rap world. You can expect me to exert all my energy into trying to control everything.
Parlé: So we’ve got Statlanta dropping in May. Everyone’s looking forward to it, and I know you are more than anyone. What do you expect from this album itself? Do you have expectations or are you just going to go with the flow?
Stat Quo: I just want people to like it. I want people to rap to it and I want it to affect somebody’s life. If it does that, I’m cool. As long as I have people come up to me in the street and say, ‘Yo, that track such-and-such man, I was going through this with my girl, or my mom, or my dude and I was feeling that same emotion.’ That’s all I care about. Everything else doesn’t matter.
Parlé: Another question I like to ask artists, because it’s so relevant today, is about using the internet for a marketing tool. It’s a great, free tool for artists to use these days. So tell me about how you’ve used the internet to reach your fans.
Stat Quo: Man, it’s totally changed it. I think the internet is the reason why I got a record deal. It’s a situation where I can make something at my house in Atlanta and ten minutes later, once I put it on the web, somebody clear across the world could’ve heard it. You can’t beat that.
Parlé: Thanks for your time Stat, and good luck taking over the world!
Stat Quo: Alright brotha, thanks for letting me be in your magazine.
Written by Jacob Coughlan for Parlé Mag