Jimmy ‘Henchman’ Rosemond: Real Talk
He's been known, revered and even feared within the hip-hop industry as Jimmy Henchman for over a decade. Now, he's still respected and feared, but as Jimmy Rosemond. That's right, the industry veteran and CEO of Czar Entertainment, has dropped the Henchman tag and is entering the next phase of his burgeoning business.
In a day and age in hip-hop where industry cats only talk tough, Rosemond just shows and proves ... and in relative silence. He was instrumental in making the Mike Tyson/Lennox Lewis fight happen. But, you didn't know that. See, Rosemond doesn't talk much. He just gets the job done.
Here, Rosemond speaks about his memorable trip to Haiti, the whole saga between his client Game and 50 Cent, supplying the Notorious B.I.G. with hustler stories and overall, being real with integrity in hip-hop.
BallerStatus.com: We have known you as Jimmy Henchman for years. Why drop the Henchman moniker now?
Jimmy Rosemond: I just think when I got the name Henchman, it was an urban name for me. When Puffy took on the name of Bad Boy, I was looking for something on the same plane that would show that urban side, so Henchman it was. Lately I have moved away from just being urban and have also crossed over into the pop world. Some people don't realize that this thing is almost like wrestling and it's entertainment and they made the name more literal than it is. Urban kids understand where the name came from, but when you go into the other side they're really taking this name literal. So, I really thought Henchman took me as far as I could go into my career. We look to further our self. My past is so urban that there's no way around it, but I didn't need the stigma around the name. It was time to shed the name and move into a more mainstream situation because I have more mainstream acts now.
BallerStatus.com: You recently took a trip to Haiti with Wyclef, where y'all were doing various charity work. How did that experience affect you?
Jimmy Rosemond: A lot of times when we don't know a certain thing, we don't want to take that first step. One thing I can say about Wyclef is he took that first step to Haiti to help his people and encouraged Haitian-American people living in America to join him in seeing what the problem in Haiti is. I was one of those recruits and being a Haitian-American I felt honored being there. It was an experience, brother, that I never felt before in my life. I kind of feel like how ever a Muslim must feel when he goes into Mecca or a Christian feels in Jerusalem. That was my pilgrimage. Going there was so overwhelming in emotions because you see people in all types of state of poverty. However, they weren't sad. They were joyful when they saw us. Words can't even explain the emotions I felt when I was there. We also saw some of the beautiful parts of Haiti. I don't think American people know Haiti is open to tourism and it's beautiful just like the other Caribbean islands. Once they have their stuff together politically, the economics can change and hopefully that brings on more tourism and people can see how beautiful Haiti is. That was the first country that gained their independence from slavery.
BallerStatus.com: You recently settled the dispute over "The Real 50 Cent" DVD with 50 Cent. Was that hard to do considering your ties with the Game? Did you have to speak with 50 directly to solve the issue?
Jimmy Rosemond: Yea, I did and every time we got on the phone, we had to set our differences aside because when it came down to Game, it wasn't about the lawsuit and when it came to the lawsuit, it wasn't about Game. We had to put those things aside and deal with the issues at hand and that's the making of true businessmen on his side and mine. We had good dialect with no screaming and yelling and that's what it's all about.
BallerStatus.com: It seems as though often in hip-hop, cats will turn to violence instead of meeting in person or chopping it up on the phone. Why is that the case?
Jimmy Rosemond: It's been a Black man's crisis since after slavery. Sometimes we get caught up in a situation where there's no chance of dialect. Sometimes you need people around you to remind you that there's an option for dialect instead of shooting. I think from the conference with Game after the shooting (Hot 97 in NYC)...for he and 50 to publicly get up there in that conference, even though they felt something inside, they knew there was something greater there than themselves. They weren't being selfish. Keeping it on verbal gymnastics on a mixtape is more healthy than going out shooting each other. That was a good step.
BallerStatus.com: When that shooting happened were you concerned about the media making it another East Coast/West Coast situation?
Jimmy Rosemond: It's hard for something like that to happen when Game has an East Coast manager. I'm a Brooklyn guy to the bone. I'm from Flatbush and there's no way I can give that up. I was very conscious that it didn't become that, though.
BallerStatus.com: Being a Brooklyn guy, how did you feel about being dubbed, "The Suge Knight of The East Coast" back then?
Jimmy Rosemond: I think they had it totally wrong. If a person can bring forth anybody that can say I gave them a bad contract or held someone out of a window...those are the things that make you that type of person. In fact, cats will tell you when they were in a bad situation they came to me with no strings attached.
BallerStatus.com: Well, do you think you're a feared guy in the industry?
Jimmy Rosemond: (laughs) I kind of believe that. I hear a whole bunch of different things. I really think I am, man and that's why I put people to the test. I think people put that out there about me because there's not enough men in the business with integrity. It's about who can swindle who, or beat who for publishing. That's not how I operate. I can say gladly that I have been in this business for 13, 14 years and I have an impressive record. I fight for my artists from beginning to the end.
BallerStatus.com: And you still do that to this day. You advise guys.
Jimmy Rosemond: Exactly.
BallerStatus.com: What kind of advice did you offer the Notorious B.I.G.?
Jimmy Rosemond: When Biggie was out, I was still straddling the fence in the music business and in the street. Those guys would come to me for advice and to see how we were doing things. Biggie had said in an interview that after his lifestyle changed, it was hard for him to rap about hustling. The only way he could do that at that point was to hang out with the hustlers. He was so talented and even Pac at taking a situation that wasn't theirs and making it their own. I think most good rappers could do that. They could take a situation that they're around, sh** that they see, some stories that they hear and then they make it their own. I didn't guide him in his career as much, but when he wanted to hear the hustler stories and knew the cats that I was around...we would give him these stories.
BallerStatus.com: When an MC comes out the box spitting gutter on his debut LP and his project does great, his lifestyle changes. On that second LP, do you think he should still rhyme gutter, even though he may be living in a mansion with an umbrella in his drink?
Jimmy Rosemond: [big laugh] Right. That's what got them there, but now, they have to bridge the two worlds and I think Jay-Z was the best to do that. He talked about his past and then the good life where the hustler can listen to it and the mainstream. I think he bridged it well. I think Biggie would have somehow been able to bridge that gap. It's having enough memory to bridge the two worlds because of course you're not on the corner doing those things.
BallerStatus.com: Speaking about Hov, it was heavily rumored that in fear of his lyrical prowess, people reached out to him before his "I Declare War Concert." Were you one of those people that reached out to him about The Game?
Jimmy Rosemond: Yea, absolutely. Hov and I are good friends; his whole camp and I. It's a Brooklyn kind of bond with us. For some reason, Game is that person that people want to see MCs go after. So, when they were talking on the radio that Hov is going to go after Game, I had to give him (Jay-Z) an O.G. call and say, "Hey, what's going on!?" Jay was like, "This sh** is nonsense." I didn't ask him what his plan was, but I had heard through the grapevine that him and Nas were going to go on stage together and I thought it was so genius and more positive.
BallerStatus.com: Can you give us a glimpse as to what the Game's next album is going to be like?
Jimmy Rosemond: Well, I think what you're going to see is how lyrical this guy is for a West Coast rapper. He's about to change the game of how West Coast rap is perceived. Now, we're moving into a realm where it ain't even about West Coast or East Coast. It's going to be about who's nice. I'm so happy to be a part of rap, when we're asking, "Who's the nicest?" Any healthy competition will bring the best out in rappers.