When you’re running an independent label the struggle is real. Even for a certified legend like Spice 1. Never one to be daunted, he’s plugged ahead and found success with his Thug World Music Group. So much so that he started a spin-off division, Thug World South. To lead it he tapped Tennessee veteran Q Bosilini, who’s been developing quite a collection of talent.
When we chopped it up for The DGB Interview, we discussed a wide range of subjects with them. In part one we discuss Q’s relationship with Souljah Slim, the perils of being an independent in a game dominated by the majors, their respective careers, Spice’s relationship with Eazy E, and a lot more. Check out part 2 right here.
Can you detail some of your accomplishments as a businessman?
Q: As far as the business I didn’t really get into the business side of music until I linked up with Spice. He gave me my own division of Thug World, which is Thug World South. That’s been my main venture into the business side of it, but I’ve been doing music since I was thirteen.
When you first joined Spice’s label you said that you saw the staff not doing what they should have been doing. Can you give us some examples?
Q: Everything was left up to Spice. He was doing the label by himself basically. I saw that there was stuff that needed to be done, so I just did it. There were things he knew about the game that I didn’t. Then there was stuff I knew that he didn’t. So we just linked up and rolled with it.
Spice what did you see in Q that made you want to give him his own label?
Spice: I saw that he had the music ready, with the artwork. He had his videos together. He had it all together as far as what he wanted to present to a label. Just what he needed to present himself as an artist. A lot of artists don’t have that. They don’t have their own videos. They don’t have their shit together. He could record at will. He had his own team. He seemed pretty independent to me. As far as him handling his business, that was something I saw. I need someone like Q. Someone that can get things popping while my old ass is sitting up chilling. I’m dealing with kids at the house, picking them up from school, cooking. I’m a daddy gangster rap all-star.
Your labels aren’t just putting out your own music. You have a viable stable of artists. When I was listening to them I was impressed. Big Shark & Frost4Eva to name two, have some quality music. What should we be expecting from your two labels?
Spice: We also got Kay Nine, Mr. Blacc. My guy Flex 1, we got Slick Vic. We got a few acts, some R & B acts. We’re going to drop a Thug World compilation, we got the Thug World tour coming up. We’re just going to be thugging it out. We’re trying to get some of the industry professionals to hear them, get them out there. We’re working to get them some real money. It’s just Thug World. Ain’t nobody go to college for this shit. We’re just going to thug it out and make shit happen. When we see an opportunity we try to take advantage of it.
Q: Just trying to do a lot. C-Foerilla got a new single “Brains Out.” We’re dropping music from Frost4Eva & Big Shark. We’re just trying to keep it coming and stay consistent. I’m trying to put out a new mixtape the first of the year. Stay tuned for that.
What do you have coming out personally?
Spice: We got my Platinum O.G. out right now. If you ain’t got a hold of it yet you’re going to be mad at yourself. There’s a song on there with me with Pimp C and Too Short that you’ll keep rewinding. Another song with Q and Pimp C. There’s one with me and Kurupt. I got Devin the Dude. Almost all of The Outlaws are on it except the homegirl Storm. She’s going to be on the next album. She’ll also be on the vinyl edition of Platinum O.G. as well. Man, I even flipped Tupac’s voice up in there. I got a lot of heat going on. All the Thug Life cats are on there.
Q: Big Syke is on it.
Spice: Yeah Syke is on the album like four or five times. Even Hussein Fatal is on the album. Pimp C is on it twice. It’s something to listen too. It’s real history. If you’re sleeping on that, go ahead and wake up. Go check out Platinum O.G., the song “Say It Witcha Your Chest” is on there. We got the video for that. I also have the Forever 21 project. I’m working on that right now. That’s coming right behind Platinum O.G. to let the youngsters know how I get down now. Let them know it’s versatility in the O.G.’s. We don’t just do all the same spit. Just check them out, especially the Forever 21 project. Those two albums are like that.
Q you’ve worked with a lot of legends pre and post Thug World. Other than Spice who have you been most impressed with?
When you’re dealing with the business side of things do you ever feel out of place dealing with more “traditional” businesspeople?
Q: Nah, I’m kind of old school with it anyway. I was raised by the O.G.’s.
You’ve accomplished a lot, what are you most proud of?
Q: Signing with Spice 1. Like I told him when I got over here, I felt like I already knew him. I grew up listening to him. I told him all the time that his music helped me get through some shit. It really did. Sometimes I’d listen to his music and feel like I could take on the Incredible Hulk. When I was fucked up doing bad, he made me feel like I wasn’t the only one. Just signing with him it felt like I was signing with my big brother. That was the biggest for me. Even if I had a million dollars somewhere else, I would still feel that my biggest accomplishment was signing with Spice.
You’ve turned down some notable deals in the past. Do you feel like being loyal has ever hurt you?
Q: Yeah, but that’s probably something everybody that’s loyal has gone through. That’s a big word. A lot of folks don’t live by it. They just jump from ship to ship. They’re down with this clique one day. Then someone shakes a bone and they jump ship. We’ve done had this shit happen in the camp already. I could have gone with Goodie Mob, could have gone with Atlantic Records, but my partner was putting a lot of money behind me back in the day. I felt like we could have really taken off. We were really taking off when we were pushing the record with B.G. Then my partner got jammed up. He got ten years. Shit happens for a reason though. I feel like if that didn’t happen then I wouldn’t have ended up with Spice.
Is the song you made with B.G. what led you to meet Souljah Slim?
Q: Nah I had already done the song with B.G. We recorded it in Detroit. He had me throw it out at a lot of shows when I was working as his hype man. He just showed me a lot of love. He brought me down to New Orleans when he was shooting a video for “Keep It Gangsta.” Me and my partner DJ Jimmy, the one who was putting money behind me, we were in the video. We met Souljah Slim on the set of that video. We became friends. I almost signed to Slim. It was bittersweet since he ended up getting killed.
What was he like?
Q: Real down to earth. It was like meeting Spice. I thought he was just going to be a stone-cold ass gangster who you had to watch what you say around. When you get around them they’re just like anybody else. They like to joke and have a good time more than anything. That’s how Slim was, just real down to earth.
Spice what would you say are some of the struggles of running an independent label, particularly in the digital age?
Spice: It’s kind of crazy getting capital to compete with major labels in marketing and promotion. When you try to get airplay, get the video on B.E.T., or get your song in rotation, you’re competing with so much money. It’s impossible to do it. You have to work your way around shit. In this business, a lot of people floss and talk about money. Money isn’t as important as loyalty and respect. When it comes down to it, that’s what you need the most. Loyalty and respect. It’s not about who you know. It’s about who knows you. Who sees the potential in you to bring capital to the table. I come from the streets and I’m trying to make something happen. It’s not an option for me to fail. I got to do this shit. This is what I do. I didn’t go to college. I was always the bad boy in school. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I’m not the dullest either. So I take what I know and I try to break that chain. Competing with the majors is the most irritating thing as an independent label.
Being from the streets it must have been hard dealing with your first label Jive, assassinating your character. How did you handle that when you couldn’t deal with them in a manner you may have been more accustomed to?
Spice: I wanted more creative control than they were giving me. They wanted to do this video, and I wanted to do that video. They wanted to drop this for a single, and I wanted to drop that for a single. My artistry and creativity were telling me what to do. They couldn’t understand. If they had listened, shit would have kept rocking. Little shit started happening. Money started missing. So I ended up firing a few motherfuckers. Not dealing with some cats. It got really sloppy. After that, they didn’t want to push my shit at all. I didn’t know what was going on. I was just trying to stand up for myself. The money came up missing so I started talking shit. I wanted to get off the label. Maybe I said a few things I shouldn’t have said, burned a few bridges that shouldn’t have been burned. Sometimes you can’t just take shit laying down. You have to stand up for yourself and whatever you believe in. Let it be known that shit ain’t right, or that you know what’s going on. You can’t just sit back and be quiet sometimes.
Did you ever get the master copies of your songs back?
Spice: I got them back, but contractually I’m still under Universal and Sony for rereleases.
I always noticed strong elements of reggae in your music. Did you listen to it a lot?
Spice: All the time man. A lot of Black Uhuru, just a lot of reggae. That’s all I used to listen to. 13, 14 years old we were all Black Panthered out and shit out there in Oakland and The Bay. In Hayward that was all that we were listening to. Smoking weed we stole from our parents and shit.
You’ve stated that you used to practice your craft like an athlete by reading books. What books did you use to read?
Spice: I would read shit like encyclopedias. I would go to them and just look up words then find shit to rhyme with them. My favorite books were Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines. People don’t understand that there’s a lot of entertainment in gangsterism. Especially when you add consciousness to that shit. That’s Rudy Ray Moore & even Eazy E. Certain shit motherfuckers be saying in their songs. There’s a market for that shit. As far as what comedians say onstage to make you laugh, I put that shit in a rhyme. Say motherfucker 20 times and talk as much shit as you feel. Give them the truth, but say whatever the fuck you want to say. People like that shit. There’s always going to be a market for that.
Speaking of Eazy E, do you remember the first time he heard your music?
Spice: I was about 16 and we were in San Leandro. I had a show at the skating rink with The Dangerous Crew. I was still in high school. Back in the days, I was talking to Eazy and N.W.A., we had a show with them. I was talking all that shit, telling him I was going to be the one. I was telling Cube & Eazy, “I’m going to be the shit nigga!” Then I went out there and rocked shit. Since I had really impressed the crowd, I figured I had impressed them too. Fast forward and I’m a little older. I had 187 Proof out. It was working its way around California and Seattle. Too Short’s DJ had given my CD to Eazy’s group Hoes With Attitude. Eazy got a hold of it and it was all love after that. Every time we saw each I’d give the homie a hug, pat his back with my fist to check if he had his (bulletproof) vest on, and step back and give him a smile.
Did he usually have it on?
Hell yeah. I did too. We both had them on.
Make sure to look for part two of the interview coming soon. In the second part, Spice discusses N.O.R.E., Tupac, his memories of Bushwick Bill and more. Q Bosalini breaks down how to get out of a bad relationship, Thug World South and more…