It’s hard for someone with a street image to crossover, and it’s even harder to do it with your first album. However, Plies did just that with his debut when “Shawty” and “Hypnotized” hit the airwaves last year. His success caught a few off guard including himself and Atlantic Records. To capitalize on his success today rather than tomorrow, Plies is prepping his second album and a TV show. Prepared for the criticism that accompanies fame, Plies also was willing to talk about “bust it babies,” shock jocks, and how street an image plays a part in his life.
When his T-Pain assisted hit climbed the charts people were ready to call him a one-hit wonder. But Plies’ second single, featuring Akon, commanded just as much attention as his first smash. The “out of nowhere effect” took place and album sales moved past gold. A gold selling album for a debut artist made Atlantic demand Plies’ second project just six months after his first record hit the shelves. Most people would feel pressured by that, but Plies calls it a blessing.
Not only has he dropped a two-part single, Plies has started a bidding war for his TV show also called “Bust It Baby.” Views on YouTube gained so much interest from networks, they’re salivating over the show, which Plies wants to shot documentary/reality show style. He plans to take advantage of his female following and bringing us into his world with it. Just being a rapper draws red flags from hip-hop critics, moreover a TV show will bring even more heat to the culture. While most would panic, Plies just understands it.
Ballerstatus.com tracked Plies down and got him on the phone in order to get the exclusive on his upcoming work. His southern drawl didn’t sound like someone caught in the hype either. Plies simply broke down the pros and cons of fame with much ease. It was just another day for him to talk music, money, and politics.
BallerStatus.com: Let’s start with the new album. What was your motivation with this one?
Plies: I just wanted to do something different and turn the game around. I dropped “Bust It Baby Pt. 2” featuring Ne-Yo. The first part to “Bust It Baby” had only me on it. I wanted the first look for the album to be me. When everyone heard the second one featuring Ne-Yo, it was a no-brainer for the single. Everyone expects it to be one of the biggest records of 2008 and I feel real good about it.
BallerStatus.com: What made you choose Ne-Yo for the single considering your last collaborations had people with more “street images?
Plies: I don’t allow myself to get caught up in the images people have. [Ne-Yo] has produced so many hits, it just felt right to do the song with him. I think that “street image” is overrated anyway. It was a challenge for me trying to bring him into my world and see if I could come up with a big record and I think we did that.
BallerStatus.com: What made the label push up your album so fast?
Plies: I was just blessed. My first album is certified gold and we moved over 3 million ringtones. I think it’s a testament to the people around me to get an album put out just six months after my debut album. It also says a lot about my fans that follow me. We just want to stay relevant and I’m actually working on a third project that can be put out around the Christmas season. The light only shines on you so long.
BallerStatus.com: Your first project had singles that hit Top 40 even though your image caters to the streets. Was it a surprise to you that your records took so fast?
Plies: To be real with you, outside of my brother and his vision, all of this is a surprise to me. I never allow myself to get outside the situation. I understand the nice clothes and things I can afford to wear, but its somebody else that’s responsible for that. The consumers are responsible for that and the lifestyles these rappers have. It’s important for me to understand why I’m in the situation I’m in. I don’t take it lightly. I love having the streets and the commercial success I’ve had. I enjoy the goons and the ladies loving what I do.
BallerStatus.com: Speaking of the ladies, where did the concept of the “Bust It Baby TV” show come from?
Plies: Actually it was another blessing of mine. I had a good financial lane and I was able to fund that project. I just want the chance to get the most out of my female following. (YouTube showing the casting call) worked itself out because now I have a semi-bidding war going on with a few companies.
BallerStatus.com: What kind placement did you have in mind for the show — cable or one of the major networks?
Plies: It’s not really a personal favorite I have in mind. I just want the best possible situation for the most successful experience. The financial situation just has to be right.
BallerStatus.com: From what was shown on YouTube, the casting calls had the girls looking pretty wild. But you also said it was going to be a documentary styled show. What does your vision of the show entail?
Plies: I really want to bring my core following to the forefront. I know I have a diverse following and wanted to show that. Having a TV show allows me to take the gloves off and get as uncut as possible. I won’t allow myself to have every episode showing me trying to be sexually involved with someone. I plan to give you the unscripted version of a reality show.
BallerStatus.com: With that said, how far would you allow something to go with a female on the show?
Plies: I think anytime you get involved with a reality show, it’s always going to be something that’s unexpected. I would like to keep it at that and let the people know that the show is something you want to tune into.
BallerStatus.com: Given the nature of the show, people are already calling your show another “Flavor of Love.” That show has received a lot of backlash about black culture and how women are depicted on TV. As a double-edged sword, you’re a popular rapper as well. This opens the window of discussion for people like Bill O’Reily, Larry King, and even Oprah. Are you prepared to deal with that criticism?
Plies: I think the sad situation about that is you have to become successful for people to care about you. I hear people on TV talking about who’s having a baby, who’s going to jail for drugs. I understand that part of being successful. It has its pros and its cons. Society is based off of judgment, but I know I’m blessed. 99% of this world is unhappy. It’s not many people who are happy with what they are. It’s just something I have to deal with since I’m successful. I got to take the bad if I’m willing to take the good.
BallerStatus.com: I brought up Bill O’Reily and Oprah because they’ve seemed to be the main crusaders against hip-hop at times. Is going on either show a priority for you to take up for yourself or the culture as well?
Plies: It’s no right or wrong answer. I’m not a person that loves drama like that. I understand that people are going to have their personal opinions not only about me, but other people as well. Shock jocks talking about famous people is crazy to me. From the shock jock perspective, you have to talk about people who are relevant in the world in order for people to listen to you. I know deep down inside that has to hurt. I just don’t allow myself to get caught up in that. I know that this is corporate money and I’m just trying to hustle this game like I hustled life.