Interview: Sound-Savvy Enters The 'Fast Life' With Paul Wall

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 1:52 PM

Paul Wall may be known for his involvement with the 'Chopped and Screwed' movement, an augmentation that slows music down, but when it comes to his life, it's anything but slow. Paul Wall spoke with Sound-Savvy and Suavv Magazine about The Fast Life, which doubles as the title for his new album and the story of his life - a life on the grind. The People's Champ talked candidly about his new album, his success in the jewelry industry with Grills, and his greatest achievements to date. So fasten your safety belts and join us on this ride into the fast life!

Sound-Savvy: Who’s Paul Wall listening to these days, who do you think is hot?
Paul Wall: I listen to a lot of underground music, mixtapes and unsigned artists. I like a lot of the artists that come from the Bay like Mob Figgaz, Andre Nickatena, and it’s another group I listen to out of Southern California called Strong Arm Steady, but other than that I listen to a lot of mixtapes. So whatever mixtapes is out, I like the new T.I. song with Yung LA, that’s tight.

SS: You’re known to the hip-hop community for your southern style, the choppin and screwin, and a lot of your raps, especially with the type of wordplay that you youse. But you also became a trendsetter by bringing Grills to the forefront. How is that going, are you still in the jewelry business?
PW: Yeah, me and my boy Johnny we just opened a new store up in Galleria Mall. It’s been doing real good for us. We still got our other store too but this new one we got, we just stepped it up a lil bit. It’s a lil more upscale, it’s in the upscale mall so we had to step it up. But also online we have our website: GrillsbyPaulWall.com and we’re doing real good with it man, sellin’ grills. We’re still sellin’ a lot of grills, a lot of people been buyin’ grills so it’s been great for us

SS: That’s wassup, so both of your stores are in Houston?
PW: Yeah Houston, Texas

SS: With making grills and being in the jewelry industry, there’s been a lot of controversy over the use of blood diamonds in recent years, what’s your take on that?
PW: Ah man, we went over to Sierra Leone, we did a documentary with VH1 and we went over there. It was a tremendous experience. As soon as we came back, me and Johnny, the first thing we did was we fired our diamond wholesaler. We couldn’t get proof from him that the diamonds weren’t blood diamonds. They didn’t abide by the Kimberley process. So we fired them and hired somebody as our new diamond wholesaler who did subscribe to the Kimberley process so we have proof that the diamonds we’re getting aren’t blood diamonds. But this thing, it’s an incredible thing; the hardships that people went through and they’re still going through to this day. Buyin that. I encourage any store out there, anybody who sells jewelry at all to make sure that wherever they’re getting their diamonds from, that they know for a fact that they’re abiding by the Kimberley process, that way they’ll know it’s not conflict diamonds.

SS: So you actually visited the mines in Sierra Leone?
PW: Yeah we went to the mines, it was crazy out there.

SS: Your last album was Get Money, Stay True, what have you been up to between then and now?
PW: Just been grindin’ workin’ in the studio non-stop. Me and T. Farris (?). Been on the road a couple times. Last summer I went on the road with Tech N9ne, and then I did a solo tour too just by myself. But man, just been grindin’ non-stop. That’s why I decided to call this album The Fast Life because my life has been movin’ so fast just in terms of my grind, my hustle. Man, I just gotta get it, that’s my mind frame.

SS: What’s different about this one from your other two albums?
PW: Well, the song selection is a little bit more indepth, I’m talkin’ bout different things that I haven’t really spoken on before. Other than that, we got a few different new prodcers, we tried a few different new collaborations so we just switched up a lil bit.

SS: So when you say more indepth, are you saying this is a more personal album?
PW: Yeah it’s definitely a little bit more personal. There’s a song on there about my mother, a song about one of my friends that died, things like that. But it’s the same old People’s Champ that people are used to as well, I didn’t go all the way left field.

SS: With you putting out a more personal album, it seems to be a trend starting in hip-hop. More rappers are stepping into this emo-rap kinda thing and the music is getting really personal and emotional like Kanye West, Joe Budden, their new albums. Do you feel that that’s the new trend in hip-hop where artists are getting more personal and more emotional with their lyrics?
PW: I think that we’re just trying to express how they feel in their music, I think it’s just – I don’t know maybe it is the trend at the moment. There’s always been artists who did that, like 2Pac has always been real personal like with Dear Mama or a lot of his songs were real personal, you could feel what he’s saying. There’s other artists like that as well. I just think – I don’t know. As far as myself, I’ve been put on so many albums for so long, and I’ve doin’ so many mixtapes that man it’s just time to change it up a little bit; start talking about something a little bit different

SS: Yeah, I can respect that. So in terms of producers and guests on the album, who did you work with?
PW: Travis Barker produced 3 songs on the album, Playa Skills, Amadeus, Beanz and Kornbread, Mr. Lee, they all produced tracks on the album. My boy Habit Perez, he produced something. So we got a real nice production list. On collaborations, Too Short is on there, Yung Joc, Gorilla Zoe, we got Akon, Pitbull, Baby Bash, we got a nice list of collaborations too.

SS: How was it workin’ with Travis Barker?
PW: Man, he’s so talented, motivation to make me wanna work harder. When you see his work ethic. But he’s so talented when it comes to doin’ stuff. His improve style is so crazy, the way he does his hip-hop tracks, man he’s just real talented. He’s very talented and on the come-up. People know him for being the drummer in Blink 182 and he’s done rock remixes to a couple songs, but his hip-hop production is off the chain! I think some of the people underestimate that from him, but once people start hearing his hip-hop styled production, he’s gonna be one of the go-to guys for tracks in hip-hop.

SS: That’s wassup! I definitely gotta hear that because I like some of the stuff he’s done with Blink 182, but I didn’t know he was getting into the hip-hop side of things.
PW: Yeah

SS: What’s the first single from Fast Life and is it out already?
PW: Yeah, we just shot the video too. It’s called Bizzy Body, it’s me and Webbie, produced by Mouse.

Now how was it workin’ with Webbie? He seems like he’d be a lot of fun up in the studio.
PW: Yeah man it was, we went on down to Baton Rouge and kicked it with him in the studio and we had a lot of fun. We had lots of fun shootin’ the video too

SS: And what’s the concept behind the video?
PW: Well the song is called Bizzy Body. A ‘bizzy body’ being a girl who’s a go-getter, lady in the streets, freak in the sheets. The concept of the video, it was directed by Boomtown and it was just me and Webbie rappin’ and all these nice lookin’ chicks catering to us so it was a lot of fun.

SS: So when is the album due out in stores?
PW: May 12

SS: And the video will be out soon?
PW: Yeah, probably this weekend.

SS: So what’s next for Paul Wall? Any other business ventures you’re pursuing?
PW: Other than that, I got a clothing line called Expensive Taste, the website for that is IGotExpensiveTaste.com. We’ve been doin’ real good with clothes too.

SS: So when you take a step back and look from the beginning of your career to now, out of all your accomplishments, what means the most to you?
PW: Well, I think being nominated for a Grammy with Grillz, that was the most significant achievement for me. It’s something I never thought I’d be able to do, nominated for a Grammy. It was a lot of fun doing the song with Jermaine Dupri and Nelly, performing it everywhere. It was more than a song too, it was a whole movement with grills, doin’ grills for any and everybody you can think of.

SS: Yeah cause you’ve designed grills for some pretty big people, right?
PW: Yeah fa sho! From Kanye West to Lil Jon, T.I., did one for Diddy, anybody you can think of. Anybody that wears grills in their mouth more than likely we did it for em.

SS: That’s wassup, I may have to come through and get one.
PW: Yeah, that’s a bet baby, that’s a bet!

SS: Well it’s been great talking to you, thanks for taking the time out to talk to Sound-Savvy and Suavv. We wish you the best with The Fast Life and it’s due out May 12, right?
PW: May 12, that’s right.

SS: Aight cool. Anything else you wanna say to your fans?
PW: That’s it man, keep supportin’ and pick up the album.

SS: Well you take it easy and have a good one.
PW: Aight bro.

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