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Paul Wall - Putting in Work
From Vibe Magazine
By Toshitaka Kondo

The fluorescent floodlights illuminating MTV's TRL green room are like candles in the sun next to the $25,000 worth of princess-cut diamonds shining in Paul Wall's mouth. Fresh off performing at N.Y.C.'s Club Exit the previous night, he'll be stopping by BET later and then meeting with Warner Music Group CEO Lyor Cohen. Ever since the influential, Texas-based rap powerhouse Swishahouse signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Asylum/Warner Music Group, life for the Houston rapper has been spinning out of control. "Ninety percent grind, 10 percent sleep. That's our motto," says the 25-yearold businessman born Paul Slayton. "I always knew that if I built my name up as an entity, that would be bigger than me just rappin'."

Wall got into the music game as a teenager on Houston's Northwest side doing street promotion for Cash Money, Def Jam, and No Limit. He studied mass communications at the University of Houston for three years, initially downplaying his MC aspirations. Wall nurtured relationships with Lil Jon and David Banner through his side hustle of making grills (gold and platinum teeth), and helped T.I. break into Texas by taking "24's" to all the DJs. "That's my partner," says the Rubber Band Man, whose latest album, Urban Legend, was screwed and chopped (the Texas technique of slowing beats and cutting vocals) by Wall. "He's got one of the illest work ethics I've ever seen."

Having built his buzz blazing mixtapes and dropping successful independent releases, Wall joined Swishahouse last year. His major label debut, The People's Champ, features Freeway, Lil Wayne, B.G., Bun B, and T.I. But Wall's hilarious similes and random references always seem to take center stage. Like label mate Mike Jones's smash, "Still Tippin'," Wall's first single, "Sittin' Sidewayz" — slang for leanin' back in the whip — will continue introducing Houston's unique vocabulary.

While momentarily pausing to exchange greetings with the lively VJ Amanda Diva, Wall appreciates how far he's come. "It's superlive being here, 'cause the impact that this has is huge," he says, his grill flashing. "And to hear people say good things about the music from Texas is all we've ever wanted." Considering he's in the house that made Justin and Britney stars, he can expect a lot more.

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