Jones: Grind To Be King
Why did you choose to sign with major label Warner Bros.?
Because right now -- from looking at their roster -- they don't
really have anybody that's on the hip-hop side. They really want
to break that market, and I felt by me signing, they would have
more faith and focus on Mike Jones.
Why did you choose to use your government name instead of creating
a rap name?
My grandmother, she told me to just be me. I told myself Mike
Jones is me, ya know what I'm saying? I started saying the who's
in every flow, cause when I would go to a DJ and ask them to check
out this song, they were like "Who Are You?" I'm like,
"Mike Jones." They be like, "Who?" They used
to be sarcastic about it. At first, I was going to give it up,
but my grandmother told me to keep going, so I kept mashing with
A lot of New York heads, and fans outside of Texas got introduced
to you on your single "Still Tippin'," what do you think
we need to know about you that we don't just yet?
Basically, I'm just a underground dude that got a buzz everywhere
else besides Texas. It just took me a little more time to get
to New York. People knew me on the underground level in New York
-- not a lot of people but some -- because I was on DJ Clue's
When Animals Attack. I just been staying on it. "Still Tippin'"
is the door opener, but when ya'll here the next single, and the
next songs after that, ya'll going to know who Mike Jones really
What is the whole Screw up sound about?
Where we're from, [Screw] is a big issue. People like to hear
[music] slowed up; some people like it regular, but they might
put the screwed version in and find out they like the screwed
version too. I think people wanna know what Screw is about. They've
been hearing a lot about it, and they wanna experience it.
How did you link up with DJ Michael Watts and Swisha House?
Basically, in 2001, it was basically me and my partner. We had
our company called Ice Age Entertainment, and my name started
blowing up really big in the streets. I started hitting strip
clubs up, and getting a nice buzz in the strip clubs. T-Farris
-- he is the Swisha house A&R -- came up to me and was like
your buzz is crazy. We hearing about you; we want you to come
down to Swisha house, so I got down with Swisha House. Everybody
left SwishaHouse, at the time it was just me and this guy named
Your single "Still Tippin'" features two artists, does
your album have a lot of collaborations.
Not really, everybody wants to know who Mike Jones is, so I really
just mainly kept it like that.
What producers did you work with on your major label debut, Who
is Mike Jones?
I worked with a lot of producers like Lil' Jon, Jazze Pha, and
Mannie Fresh. I'm gonna use some of them for [Who Is Mike Jones?],
and use a lot of them for the next album, cause I wanted to come
out the same way I came out on the underground. I wanted to use
a lot of Texas producers.
On "Still Tippin'", you say the line "Back then
they didn't want me, now I'm hot, they all on me" four times.
Is there a reason why?
That's the next single.
What, "Back then?"
That's the hook?
Yeah. The reason I say it 4 times is because I want people to
really know. Everywhere I go people love that verse. When you
hear me repeat stuff, that's the most important part, the moral
of the story. When you have a book and you read all through it,
and the moral of the book is this. If you listen to my verse,
if I repeat anything that's the moral of that.
What does that line mean to you?
(repeats the line) That's like... let's say you trying to holla
at a girl a year ago and she didn't want to holla at you, now
you pushing a Benz or you got your PHD, now she wants to holla
at you. Back then they didn't want me, now I'm hot they all on
me. That song is going to relate to more than just me, it relates
to a lot of people. Not only in the entertainment game, but in
the business game. People who graduating out of college, who's
getting their life straight, somebody who turned them down. Now
that person wants to come back and holla at them.
Your phone number is everywhere, in your videos, on your web-site.
I heard you say on "106 & Park" that you get close
to 20,000 calls per day. I called yesterday, and I got your voicemail,
do ever actually get to pick it up yourself?
Yeah, I pick it up 24/7. Believe me, when you call and I'm seeing
the phone ring I'm picking it up. I get 20,000 calls, its so much.
I'm unable to answer all the calls at the same time. I might be
doing an interview, and the phone goes to voicemail. Right after
I left "106 & Park," I ain't get a chance to sleep
to 2:30am; [Warner Bros.] had me going from here to there. Like
right now, I've been here since 10 a.m. doing one interview to
the next; it's been real busy, but I got my homey picking it up.
He's on the phone talking to them and handling it.
Yea, fans anybody across the globe. I have been having this number
for like 3 years, and I get close to over 20,000 plus a day.
How much does your phone bill come out to, with that volume of
I have unlimited outgoing and incoming, so I only pay one bill.
It's under 200 dollars so it's cool.
What are you bringing to the rap game?
I bring me. I'm bringin' something different to the rap game,
I make it where a lot of artists got to step their game up. They
got to start promoting themselves better, instead of depending
on the major labels, and go get it. This is me.
How would you describe your style, the way you rap?
I'm a game spitter; I'm not really a lyricist. I just basically
give people game and tell you how it go down. I tell you how it
happened for me. People always want to know how did I blow, I'm
telling you how I blew, and telling you how you can blow and still
keep your change. I'm that game spitter, that person that's gonna
give you the game to hold it down. I've gone through a lot of
stuff, and I'm telling you stuff so you won't have to go through
the stuff I went through.
I heard about the battle between you and Chamillionaire, how did
you meet him?
I never met him. Me and Paul [Wall], we been cool since back then.
[Chamillionaire] and Paul were a duo at one time. What happened
was that him and Paul would drop stuff, and me and Mag (Magnificent)
would drop stuff as a duo as well. Other than that, I just been
on my grind, everything has been cool since then. But I move on,
I don't be on all that. I said what I had to say, and now I'm
Any tracks going at him on the album?
There are no tracks going at nobody on the album. The focus is
on Mike Jones.
What's your relationship with other Texas rappers like Lil Flip,
the Geto Boys?
I'm cool with Geto Boys. I never really met Flip. I'm cool with
everybody else. Not saying I ain't cool with Flip, I never met
him. Slim Thug is partners, Paul [Wall] is cool. I never seen
Flip, maybe 'cause he be busy.
What rappers you listen to now, and who are your influences? What
rappers you think are hot right now?
The ones that are hot right now is 50 Cent, no doubt; I jam 50
cent. I like Nelly 'cause he proved that you don't have to have
all these big name producers to sell a lot of records.
Where do you see you're self in five years?
I got a song like that on my album, it's called "5 Years
From Now," it's crazy. I can't really tell you [the answer
to] that, I don't even know. When you hear the song you will see
what I'm saying, only lord knows.
Do you feel competition with Paul Wall and Slim Thug to be the
hottest rapper in Houston, since all three of you are dropping
albums around the same time?
Not really, 'cause the records sales are going to show. We are
all not in competition. We represent the same city. We just drop
albums and let the fans decide, and we have fun doing it.
Any final words for the readers?
Hit me up on my real cell phone number 281-330-8004. Check out
Who Is Mike Jones?. Be on the look out for Ice Age Entertainment,
I'm dropping Volume 2 after the album. It's going down, WhoIsMikeJones.com,
Who is Mike Jones
What it is about Houston right now that's making everybody pay
I think people ignored the whole screw game, the whole Houston
game, but they couldn't deny it. You keep hittin' them and keep
hittin' them, and it keeps getting better.
those who don't know, what does "Tippin' " mean?
" means cruising. You can catch me cruising up the block
or catch me tippin' up the block. "Fo' vogues" means
you got four rims — the spokes that you see sticking out
— and tires. So when he says, "I'm Tippin,' "
I'm cruising on four vogues, and they wrapped in a Volt tire.
The Volt tires were made in 1994 by Cadillac and those were the
most popular ones at the time.
we're getting our Houston education right now. At what point did
you make the conscious decision: "I want to get into the
rap game. I like the way I sound. I think this could work."
Jones: A lot of the people I was with, we was all doing the same
wrong things and most of them was getting caught up. My grandmother
used to always tell me, 'Boy, you better stop. I'm telling you,
you gonna end up like your friends'. And there was a lot of times
I didn't listen — but I woke up. I was like, "Man,
I gotta make this happen!" My grandma was sick: "I gotta
make something for her, I gotta provide for my mama, I gotta provide
for family." It was time to get up off my behind and do something
right instead of having my people worrying every night. I thank
the Lord that he got me out to use the money that I did make from
it to put into [Jones' label] Ice Age Entertainment. So I started
going to the studio when I started making songs. But when I went
to the DJs, the DJs were doing the "Who?" and being
sarcastic with us. So then, when I started hitting the strip clubs
and the strippers got on my team, I knew I had the chance to make
a lot of money and really put my city on the map.
Sway: So the
DJs, when you would take them one of your songs, they'd be like,
"Mike Jones? Who?"
man, it's your boy, Mike Jones. I got this new CD I want you to
check out. If you like it, let me know." "Who are you?"
"Mike Jones." "Who? Who is Mike Jones?"
Sway: So they
was playing you out.
now, I've used everything they done and threw it back in their
face. Who Is Mike Jones? — in stores now!
was the first song they started playing?
what I did — I went to a stripper, let's say her name was
Strawberry. I be like, "What's your favorite song to dance
to onstage?" And, she might say Ying Yang or whatever song
she feeling. And I be like, "A'ight, I got that instrumental.
I can write a song about you, your body, the tattoos you got on
you, and why dudes should come up to ya and tip you." Girls
have a three-song set, so instead of her getting up there playing
the regular music, she's playing an exclusive from Mike Jones.
So when the Ying Yang Twins' song come on, it's Mike Jones talking
about Strawberry — "A 5'8", body great/ Cute face,
nice shape/ Tattoo on her back," you know what I'm saying?
I'm rapping it so while people are tipping her, throwing money
at her, they looking at all the stuff I'm rapping about and then
they hear that "Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones!" And
it started getting real catchy. Then Swisha House came to me after
they seen how big I was.
been putting it down for years now.
Jones: I been
putting it down for years, but what's crazy is that in 2001, when
I did start rapping, my name took off quick because I came up
with nice strategies for the strippers. Like when I did a song
for Strawberry, all of a sudden Coco came to me, "Oh, you
got to do one for me!" Then Alize came in, and next thing
you know I had a whole fleet that I would do it for. Then the
strip club owners had me on their commercials: "Yeah, Mike
Jones is gonna be here live." And then when I get there,
nine or 10 girls would get up and dance to a Mike Jones song.
let's talk about Swisha House, because there's a lot of people
who aren't in the South and don't know who they are.
House is a well-based underground label. They was like a underground
Roc-A-Fella; they was already holding it down on the mixtapes.
They came to me in 2002 and I'm still with them. My grandmother
passed away right before my name started really taking off, so
on the album Who Is Mike Jones? I wrote a song called "Grandma"
and it tells everybody the whole story, why I said my name, why
I give my phone number out.
do you give your phone number out?
a lot of people was booking fake Mike Jones shows. Whoever was
booking the fake shows was getting like half of what I get every
show, so fans would pay like $25, $30 to go in there and it be
packed and Mike Jones don't show, and then they like, "I
ain't messin' with Jones no more, he a no-show." It really
started putting a bad strain on my name, so I got on the mixtape
and started giving out my phone number. All of a sudden, the hating
let me ask you this. You give out your own personal cell-phone
number? And that number is 281-330-8004?
I got the phone on me right now. I get calls from Iraq, Cancun.
I get calls from everywhere on that phone. Everything on me is
original. A lot of people think that I wear the same shirt —
I got almost a thousand of these shirts. Every day, I put on the
same shirt 'cause I'm a hustler and I want you to know it.