Black Rob Talks Illness, Not ‘Stressing’ Diddy + New Album
Released from prison in May 2010, after serving four years of a seven-year sentence for grand larceny, former Bad Boy rapper Black Rob returned with some harsh words for his former boss Diddy, who never found time to visit him while he was imprisoned, but took a much-publicized trip to visit Lil Wayne.
Rob has since curbed his anger at Diddy, and signed a deal with indie hip-hop powerhouse Duck Down Records to release his fourth album, 'Game Tested, Streets Approved,' due July 26, with production from 'Whoa' producer Buckwild. Though it's been 11 years since Rob put out that smash hit with Buck, the 43-year-old MC has come back swinging, and in an exclusive interview with the BoomBox discusses his current relationship with Diddy and accused murderer G-Dep, plans to release two albums this year and a successful battle with drugs and illness.
How are things different for you with this release, 'Game Tested, Streets Approved'?
I did [the album] all myself, that's what's different. It's a beautiful thing. Independent, man, let's get money! None of that major label s--- where they try to take all the credit for your work. I'm glad to be where I'm at right now. I prefer it. Now that I understand it, I prefer it.
What was going on with you on your previous album release dates?
I was on some street s---, man! I didn't fully grasp the fact that I was Black Rob yet.
That means I was still doing s--- like I was a regular motherf---er. Standing on the corner, rolling blunts, robbin' n----s. You gotta break outta that s--- sometimes, man, and when you get an opportunity like me, you can't f--- it up with the bulls---. It took me a little time to recognize that. Some people take longer than others to understand certain s---.
Do you regret the opportunities that you may not have taken advantage of at Bad Boy?
Of course. Bad Boy, that was a good situation for me. I appreciate the learning experience, the knowledge I got from it, 'cause now I'm carrying that knowledge over to Duck Down. I'm doin' the s--- I like to do over there. I don't regret nothin' man, I just regret not doing certain s--- for my family. That's the only s--- I regret. Only suckas regret s---, man! I'm a grown man, I know what I'm doing. I knew what I was doing when I signed my name on that dotted line. I ain't cryin', n----, I ain't no disgruntled employee! For what? Everybody got jerked in the game when they first got here. Never let a n---- tell you he didn't. It's a part of the game. I'm good now, though. I'm ready to roll, I'm ready to get this money, man.
You brought G-Dep to Diddy. What happened there? Was he your artist?
He wasn't my artist. He wasn't signed to my situation, but he was my man, and I was lookin' out for them dudes, puttin' them in a position so they can get some money and take care of his family. I was under the assumption that he was gonna sign with my s---. We woulda made more money. He wouldn't be askin' nobody for lawyers fees and all that other s---. I probably wouldn't a did all that time [for grand larceny]. If my money was up where it was supposed to be at, then I woulda got a lawyer, I'd have did two years instead of four.
The week you get out of prison, Diddy goes to visit Lil Wayne in Rikers. How did you feel about that?
I take that family s--- serious, man. You say you're my family, then that's what it is. We look out for eachother, we take care of eachother. When you go against that situation right there, then I don't got no love for you, man. F--- you, man. When I see you, I might pop off on you. I'm a different breed of cat, man. I grew up with family, I grew up with n----s that love me. So when I'm around dudes that say they love me, then I take it like that.
Have you seen Diddy since then?
Yeah, I spoke with Puff. As far as I'm concerned, everything is A-G [all good] man, I'm not even stressing it. I just wanna get my money. I just wanna do what I do, and let my music speak for itself. That's all!
Do you have a lot more material besides the album?
Oh man, I got a whole bunch of music. I mean, if God's willing, we gonna try to drop two albums this year.
I noticed there aren't many features on this album...
It's always me man; it's me against the world. If you're not immediate family, or you ain't got no money? Come on man, n----s ain't comin' out supportin' nobody. I don't need no features. If I put Jay-Z on my album, does that mean that Jay-Z's fans gonna buy that album? Nah, hell no, they gonna f---in' get the dub from they mans and 'em. F--- all that, we know what games these people play. If you want some good music in your life, some New York s---, I mean come on B, I always been reppin' this New York s--- hardbody. I ain't gonna stop man, this is where I'm from, you feel me? I really don't care no more, I just wanna make my music. That's the competition.
What about the single 'Celebration,' on your new album. It's a bit of a departure for you.
I had to switch my style up a little, man. Just to come with something positive is saying something about who I am right now, today. 'Cause if you hear my records, you hear all that grimey fighting music. I had to go away from that, because people expected me to come with that, and it's not even that type of ballgame now. I mean, dudes is poppin' s---, that's never gonna change. So don't get mad when I pop s---! I remember one day I ran into the n---- Run from Run-DMC. He say, 'Yo, why you always startin' trouble?' Startin' trouble how? 'Cause I'm poppin' s---. Now listen to me. Every rapper that you know, the best rappers in the world always pop s---. Am I right or wrong? What rapper do you know that don't pop s---? 'I'll punch you in the face, I'll kick you in the ass.' Yeah! That's what it is. I'm poppin' a lotta s---, because everybody else poppin' s---. Kanye West pops s--- too! Tellin' n----s they dirty bums, and all that other s---. If we all pop s---, don't get mad, congratulate that n----, man!
Let's keep it tall. There's no rapper that has done what BR has done in this game. I've always came out the penitentiary and shined. How many people you know that came out the penitentiary every time and then went and shined? It don't happen. And I'm not even on a major anymore. I have diehard fans.
I know in the past you had health and drug problems. Are you still suffering from nephrotic syndrome?
I take my medication and I keep it moving man. I'm trying to keep my body as clean as possible. All the bulls--- toxins and shit out here, I'm getting away from all that. I don't really do drugs and s--- like that no more. I just f--- around with a little bit of weed here and there. There's nothing else heavy like pills and coke. I don't f--- with that no more, I'm done. My nephrotic syndrome [an illness in which the kidneys are damaged, causing them to leak large amounts of protein from the blood into the urine] is good. I'm talking to you right now. I've been performing, I've been the illest show, and these n----s been out here!
Have you spoken with G-Dep at all, do you know how he's doing?
Of course! He's doin' alright. He's gettin' his mind right, man. They should be sentencing him soon. Dep gonna come back and Dep gonna do what Dep do. And I'm telling you, he's not gonna be nice. Kid feel like somebody owe him something now. He put a lotta work in, so dudes should be reaching out to that kid man, anybody that know him, need to reach out to him, man. His name is Trevell Coleman man, he's on Rikers Island.
Listen to Black Rob's 'Game Tested, Streets Approved' album in full at AOL's Listening Party here.