It's been years since Paul Wall and Chamillionaire tore up the southern hip-hop circuit as a rap duo. But, finally in 2010, the pair have reunited for a full tour. Their first stop was a recent stop in Austin, Texas for the SXSW music fest, where Complex magazine was able to catch up with them for a chat.
Both Paul and Cham discussed openly how they split, due to creative differences, eventually became successful solo artists, and did a 360 to reunite for a tour.
In part of the interview, they discuss how their beef ended, and how they were able to work together again.
Complex: You guys finally stopped beefing and are on tour together. How did it happen?
Paul: It took a long time and us growing. You know, we started off as a group and a lot of times when you go your separates ways, a lot of people say, "Oh you can't do it without him" and so you wanna prove them wrong. I know for me, I wanted to prove everyone wrong and prove that I could make it on my own. And the fact that we both became successful individually, we just proved everybody wrong that said we needed each other. For us to be able to come back together and do this show together and do this tour together and make music together and to even be friends again, it's a big step for us 'cause we definitely had big differences.
Cham: We had been bumping into each other a lot. It's kinda been died down for a little bit now but we just kinda needed that stamp of approval. I think the tour kinda just solidifies it for other people. It's not like today we just stopped beefing, we stop beefing along time ago, but nobody believed us. But this is like a real big step. We on the same tour bus right now, that in itself is really big. I mean Paul walking around with his shirt off and I'm like, man, ain't nothing changed, huh? [Laughs] That's a big step. But for the most part, that's pretty cool. We've come back full circle.
Later, both admitted their jealousy over each other's success.
Complex: You guys broke up and then blew up individually. How did each of you feel when you heard the other one the radio with a big hit or watching the other have success?
Cham: Damn, that's an original question right there, man.
Paul: Well for me, I think, out of sight, out of mind. So for a while, it seemed like I had a couple of radio hits that were poppin' before his were, so he was more popular on the mixtapes when we went our separate ways. Then "Still Tippin'" came and "They Don't Know" and "Sittin' Sideways," so I kinda had a little bit more radio hits at first. So I'm thinkin', Man, I ain't even worried about Chamillion' 'cause I'm feelin' like I'm bigger than that. So when you hear that ["Ridin' Dirty"], all of a sudden it's put in my face that he got a song that's a hit too, and it's like just a lil bit of jealousy, especially for me. The main time was when we was at the MTV Awards and he won that award.
Cham: That boy givin' a real answer!
Paul: Yeah, you just find yourself gettin' caught up and jealous. I found myself gettin' caught up.
Cham: In the hype and people talkin'.
Paul: Yeah, it's jealousy 'cause I never won an award. I never won any award, ever, except for a Houston Press award, but other than that, I never won an award. So for him to win the big award for Album of the Year or whatever it was, man, it was a lil' bit of jealousy there. And it started off as a small seed and it just eats at you and eats at you. So it built up and I had a couple of my homeboys see me down and we realized, What do I have to be jealous of? I have my own success. I can't compare my success to his and vice versa 'cause we both had success. So just 'cause he won an award doesn't mean anything other than he won an award and I should be congratulating him 'cause the bigger he gets, the better it is for me because when people think of him, a lot of people think of me and vice versa. I just remember my homeboy got married in Cancun, so we went to Cancun and I remember my boy T Farris gave me this beat to this song I had called "Break ‘Em Off" and he said, "I want you to write to this song." And the verses just wouldn't come out 'cause I had this mental block. I went in the studio and I'm thinkin', Damn man, why I can't win an award? And it took a while for me to really just…it took a lot of praying, "God just why I can't let this go, man?"
Cham: And then "Break ‘Em Off" came.
Paul: Yeah, but this how it came though, man. I just kept thinking, Man, why I can't just cant let this go? Why I got something inside of me that I just can't let this beef go? And I talked to T Farris and he said "Why you can't just congratulate him? Why you gotta be jealous?" And I was like, He right. I didn't have his information at the time but I hit his manager at the time and said, "Hey man, please tell Chamillion congratulations and I'm happy for him."
Cham: I was actually thinkin' it was something behind that. I said, "Man, tell me what he said, what he really said."
Paul: As soon as I pushed send and sent it, man, it's like a monkey being lifted off your back. It was just a big weight off my heart and then in 30 minutes, "Break ‘Em Off," I wrote the whole song. It's just amazing to see that when you get over your own inner demons or jealousies you have, its amazing to see what can come of it.
Paul: That's my answer.
Cham: That's funny because as big as my song was, I never performed at an awards show. Ever. I remember seeing Paul, Slim Thug, Mike Jones and everybody and I was like, Man, them boys at award shows on stage. I think one time they had a car on stage with ‘em and I was like, Wow. It was like, that's a scary place to be when you sittin' there thinking about all this work you put in for a decade strong and in the streets underground, trying to get to a certain level and these boys just catapult outta here. I'm talking about "Still Tippin'" came out and like everything Paul was jumpin' on with like, freakin' Nelly! And you like, Aw, man! You had to hit me with the Nelly? Hit me with the Kanye West? Aww man, ain't no way now, we need to quit, it's over for us. But meanwhile, we in the public like, "Yeah man, we ‘bout to shut them down." And meanwhile, we over here shakin' like, Man, that boy just got on Rap City man, freestyling? But we just stayed focused. It just shows you how far you can come when you focus on your craft and just trying to get it. He said the same thing. And you just have to stay focused because a lot of things will break your confidence. But if you stay focused and want it bad enough you can achieve. I know that sounds like a PBS special, but it's true, straight up.
Paul: But you know what man? I think that's the competition aspect of it, where you wanna do better for yourself. The bigger I see him get, that just motivates me to get bigger too and it worked! And now we here back cool again.
Paul Wall and Chamillionaire are currently touring through late April for their "In Love With My Money" tour, as both gear up for their next solo projects.
Until them, be sure to head over to Complex.com to read their duo's full interview. It's a good read.