This emcee is one who is brand new to the eyes and ears of the hip hop world but is definitely renowned in the streets of L.A. and the entire West Coast. Hot Dollar, originally born in Mississippi, has been accepted by the West Coast rap scene and has dominated the mixtape world single handedly. Hot has recently dropped a hot single called “Streets On Lock” which is getting major spins and MySpace plays and is catching the ears of some of the most powerful names in Hip Hop today.
We talk with Hot Dollar as he brings us up to speed on what’s going on with hip hop over in L.A. and his blazing single, shares with us his experiences with Jermaine Dupri and Guerilla Black and gives us his assessment on the Kanye West and 50 Cent controversy.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: How does it feel to be the fresh new face out of Cali?
Hot Dollar: It’s truly a blessing. The last new faces that came out of L.A., came from Compton; Guerilla Black and The Game. I’m trying to be the third one. You know what I mean? The third new face to drop something new. Not just for me, but it’s a lot of other artists and I feel like the stronger the artists are on the West the stronger I’ll be. You know? It feels good, it definitely does.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Yeah! Your single “Streets On Lock” is in heavy rotation right now. What inspired you to come up with this record?
Hot Dollar: The version that you’re hearing right now had a Pac sample on it and I was just listening to the Pac sample and it just kind of took me from there, like from everything that you hear on the record. We had to take that sample out due to some sample clearance issues. But at the end of the day, when I do that record in the club I definitely keep that Pac sample running.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: You gotta keep it West Coast with the Pac sample!
Hot Dollar: Yeah. L.A. cats don’t be fuckin with nobody if you fuckin with Pac, unless it’s legit. That’s another thing that made me happy that people accepted it and people accepted me.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: So what is your opinion on the current state of West Coast hip hop?
Hot Dollar: I think right now I think that there are a lot of artists that are doing their thing and trying to brand hip hop as the new place to look at. Like niggaz been up on L.A. and been up on what’s going on in L.A. and the whole different look of it. Like cats right now, we ain’t rockin the white tee shirts and khakis… we’re stylish more or less now. And I think the world abroad doesn’t know that because they don’t see that coming from the West Coast it’s just khakis and tee shirts and I feel like that’s not real. That’s not the reality. It’s like a Superman outfit or something because the cats in the streets ain’t wearing it.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: That’s real talk right there. So you were signed by Jermaine Dupri as his first artist at Island/Def Jam. How did that deal go down?
Hot Dollar: Initially, I was doing records in L.A. and I had the big record, “Streets On Lock” which was on the radio here. He had came to L.A. and he heard it and was like, “Whoa!” It kind of took him by surprise hearing a West Coast artist rap like that over a track. From that point on he had told one of his peoples, “Keep an eye on him, see what he’s got going on.” They ran my B.D.S., ran my MySpace plays, ran the street cred. You know? Cats in the streets really mess with me. It just made him say, “Yo! I gotta get this kid.” At the same time I had a label that was bidding on me trying to get me into a situation. They just came in and outbid them and said fuck what they got going on let’s do it. So I sat down with him and got some insight on what he was really trying to do with my project and I just felt like it was the best place to go.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Working with Jermaine Dupri, what is one of the most important things you’ve learned from him?
Hot Dollar: To really just take the album as an album and not just songs. He has a good ear for not just hit records but for albums and he knows how to put together a classic album. And I think that was what he was trying to do with me, so I think that’s his goal. I think that is something that we will accomplish because the records that he likes is crazy, crazy records.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: A lot of people don’t know this but you’re brothers with Guerilla Black?
Hot Dollar: Yeah.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Will we be hearing any joints featuring the two of you soon?
Hot Dollar: Yeah, fa’sho! I mean that’s my brother. Definitely, we’re going to always keep rockin it out. You know, he’s been cutting a lot of slack and just getting through all the B.S. you know. He wasn’t marketed right with his label, you know. It’s a lot of B.S. but now I think we really got it together and we’re really moving on a whole other page. Like it’s bigger than just one artist, we got Dollar Figure. Dollar Figure is a big movement on the West right now and I think that’s our main thing. Just making sure the West is on top.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Okay. So when should we be expecting an album from Hot Dollar?
Hot Dollar: We should that album probably at the top of next year. Right now, I got some crazy, crazy music but at the end of the day I don’t want to come in the fourth quarter where it’s a slaughter… a slaughterhouse.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Aw, yeah… (laughs!)
Hot Dollar: And then 50 season going on. You know what I mean? Nobody… even Kanye don’t even want to stand in between that. He’s strong enough to stand next to him but… it’s 50 season.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: It’s funny that you mentioned that man, with all the talk going on in the HipHopClub Forums, I mean… you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to because I know you heard the rumors man, who do you think is going to outsell who?
Hot Dollar: (laughs!) I mean, I’m big fans of both of the artists but I mean just off of the people who support the artists, I gotta say 50 Cent hands down. Like, that dude got people following him. Everybody likes the good guys but everybody is there with the bad guys. It’s a reality.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: So do you think that 50 Cent will really retire if Kanye West outsells him?
Hot Dollar: Hell naw! He just dissed the shit out of Kanye. (laughs!)
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Why do you think people should embrace Hot Dollar?
Hot Dollar: Because I’m the realest to run it. I’m doing me, at the same time I feel like the records that I’m putting out are unmarked, it ain’t like other artists. I got my own reign, I ain’t copying off nobody, I’m not biting nobody, I’m not trying to emulate nobody or be like nobody and my music is crazy hot! So I think as a person, the things that I rap about are the things that I do. And I’m a cool dude, laid back. I’m not a person who tries to “ra ra” and act like I am what I’m not. Like, I am who I am and it is what it is. My music speaks for me. And if you meet me as a person, I’m a humble, laid back dude but if you cross me I will break a hole in your ass.
St. Louis Ben Grimm: (laughs) Is there anything else that you would like the HipHopClub readers to know about you?
Hot Dollar: Like I said Hot Dollar stands for the last dollar, the last person. I definitely want people to reach out to me and deal with me on a personal level. You can hit me on MySpace, myspace.com/hotdollar and I just really want to build a one-on-one with a lot of fans. So when people go and buy my album they can identify with who’s album they’re buying and who’s that person for real behind the music. You know?
St. Louis Ben Grimm: Thank you for the interview and good luck in everything that you do and I hope to see you on top within the year.
Hot Dollar: Thank you man, I appreciate it dawg. I appreciate it.
–By Marrio (St. Louis Ben Grimm)Gardner