Houston rapper Paul Wall releases Get Money, Stay True via Swishahouse/Asylum Records today (April 3), the follow-up to his successful major label debut The People's Champ. And with his new album, he opens up talks of a Paul Wall-Chamillionaire reunion.
In addition to appearances from Jermaine Dupri, Trina, Juelz Santana, Freeway, and Paul's new group Expensive Taste, the album got an additional boost from Texas rap legend Lil' Keke, who is featured on Paul Wall's single "Break 'Em Off."
Judging by Paul Wall's disposition as of late, looks like we might see another H-Town MC hitting his next disc.
"I was so proud of that boy [Chamillionaire] that he won the Grammy, I ran up and gave him a big ol' hug, man," he told SOHH. When asked if he'd be willing to work with Chamillionaire, his one-time collaborator, he replied: "I'm down. I just want to get these record labels on board that believe in the project. I'm sure a lot of labels would love to do it because of the potential of the hype, but if we get a record label that believes in it, I'm not opposed to it."
As for Get Money, Stay True, Paul dug deep into his own passion.
"Me and my boy T. Farris went in the lab... he asked me 'What made you fall in love with rap music?' Wit' me it was Lil' Keke. I was a huge fan of Lil' Keke. Just coincidentally, we were blessed to have him on the team, he signed up with Swishahouse, with TF Records right around the same time I was promoting my album, doing my thing. Working on the album with him was just a blessing to me, it inspired me. Over time the music just got better and better, the next thing you know I had like 30 or 40 songs and we just chose the best 14 songs on the album and put 'em together and there you have Get Money, Stay True," Paul told SOHH.
In addition to his continued success in the music business, Paul Wall continues to get money selling grills via his website grillsbypaulwall.com, and alongside partner Johnny Dang.
Dang and Paul both recently appeared on the VH1 Rock Docs special "Bling'd: Blood, Diamonds and Hip-Hop" which took them, along with Tego Calderon and Raekwon to Sierra Leone, where thousands were killed and enslaved in the pursuit of the wealth brought by the countries diamonds.
"Diamonds and jewelry is something I've been a fan of my whole life, just as a symbol of success. I loved the opportunity, but at the same time I felt a lot of compassion in my heart. I felt a lot of sorrow seeing people in this day and age living the way they living, without the opportunity to make a better life for themselves," Paul said. "We're trying to raise awareness by releasing the documentary at film festivals. Sierra Leone was where they exported all the slaves from. Seeing where they still have the shackles on the walls where the slaves were deported from was a haunting experience. It was a hell of an experience seeing the diamond mines, seeing the poor working conditions. Just as a jeweler, it lit a light bulb in my head; we have a responsibility to do our research to make sure we're buying diamonds that the miners weren't enslaved to mine. If you buy diamonds, you have a responsibility to ask questions and make sure you buy them from someone legitimate," Paul said.
Since marrying wife Crystal in October of 2005, and having their son William "Fat Pat," Paul has been further motivated by his family. The couple plans to celebrate their son's first birthday on April 18, which coincides with Paul's upcoming tour with Expensive Taste (which includes former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and Skinhead Rob of The Transplants). His wife also appears on one of Paul's favorite songs on Get Money, Stay True, "On The Grind," which also features Freeway.
Quite the family man, Paul admits he struggled growing up and is now writing book about his troubled past.
"It's very emotional. I had a hell of a rough life growing up. I talk about all that in the book and you'll get to see it when it comes out. I think there are a lot of things people don't know about me and they'll get to experience it when it comes out," Paul said.
The Swishahouse star briefly touched on how his mother, a civil rights worker, influenced him. "She marched with a lot of people for a lot of great causes. Those values are something she instilled in my life growing up. At the end of the day, my job is to be a musician, but my responsibility as a human being and a Christian is to try to help out and make better lives for other people around the world. Since I'm successful at what I do, I have that responsibility."
Get Money, Stay True hits shelves today.