On the heels of his debut album, Mike Jones stormed the hip-hop industry with a uniquely successful marketing plan. What did he do? He used his real name and said it so many times, you never forgot it. On top of that, he gave out his real cell phone number for fans to call him.
It's been a while since he was the new guy, and today, his popularity has shot through the roof, but guess what? That cell phone number, 281-330-8004, he heavily promoted his first time around, still works.
"The number is the same," Mike Jones told BallerStatus.com, while calling us on the other line to prove it. "You see my number on your caller ID. I still talk to my fans, but there is a lot of calls. I talk when I can."
So the number is the same, we got that. What has changed? Nothing, according to the platinum plus rapper. But what about his first single, "Mr. Jones?" It's definitely a different look. His explaination is simple. He wanted to come out the gate with something new, but maintains he's still the same guy.
"The first single is the only track that's really different," explains the rapper. "I wanted to do that because if I would've come out with one that they was used to, then you'd be asking me why I'm doing the same old, same old... you know? I switched it up, but I got a whole lot of the type of songs you heard of the last album."
So far "Mr. Jones" is the first official single and he's already leaked a street single called "Like What I Got," which he debuted at Saturday's (March 17) Dub Car Show in Los Angeles to an accepting crowd.
American Dream will feature production by Mannie Fresh and Amadeus, as well as guest appearances from a slew of heavy hitters including Letoya Luckett, Trey Songz, Lil Mo, Pimp C, Bun B, T-Pain, Devin The Dude, and Snoop Dogg.
In addition, fans purchasing the album will also get a free bonus in the form of a movie produced by Mike Jones with the same title as the album, which will take fans through the rapper's struggles coming up and answer questions about his career and come up being a gimmick.
"It comes with the album for free," said Mike Jones. "It basically shows how I went from nothing to something -- the American Dream. Where I got the 'who' from, the name, the number... was it a gimmick? Was it a marketing tool? When you watch it, you'll see it wasn't either; it was some game that I got from my grandmother."
As he's said in past interviews, he went by his stage name because of his grandmother's advice to be himself, and he's never forgotten her words even though she has since passed.
"[My grandmother passing] affects me a lot," admits the rapper. "That's why on all my albums, I put a grandma track on there. I had 'Grandma Part 1' on the first one; I got 'Grandma Part 2' on the second one. There's gonna be a 'Grandma Part 3' on the next one. There's always gonna be a picture of her on every album cover."
Hitting nearly two million on Who Is Mike Jones?, the rapper expects similar results on his follow-up, but either way, he maintains that he will not change no matter how many albums he sales.
"Nah, I'm just being me on this album. I'm still sticking to what I've always done," said Mike Jones.
The test will come on May 8, the date American Dream is slated for release.