Life or Death
Interview conducted by: Todd Davis
Corey C-Murder Miller is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, by way of Richmond, California, and is best known for his string of highly popular solo CDs, released under his biological brother, Percy, a.k.a. Master Ps, late nineties powerhouse rap imprint, No Limit Records. More recently, and in light of his severe legal troubles stemming from the 2002 shooting death of a teenager during a club brawl, the 36 year old rhyme veteran has, sadly, been in the ultimate fight for his life. Currently out on appeal, but, nonetheless, still facing a 25 plus year prison sentence, the Calliope Projects resident emcee definitely has a whole hell of a lot to get off of his chest
Screamin 4 Vengeance -- Conceptually, what is this new project really all about?
C-Murder: Man, it represent all the hardships that Ive been going through in the past couple of years, Ya heard me? I had a few people turn their backs on me and stuff like that, and everything was taking a downward, down slope, bruh. My music is my release therapy, so Id say this the first time Ive ever been so personal on an album. I let it all be known, and let all the pain out and let all the happiness out. And now, you know, they get all angles and stuff, man, and Im getting my revenge on everything through my music, and thats what it is, Screamin for Vengeance.
This is your eighth solo studio album -- What was different this time around?
C-Murder: Well, you know, the only difference in this album from my previous releases is you getting a lot more content, a lot of more things Ive been through lately. And, Yall aint heard from me in awhile, so I got a lot more to talk about, Ya dig? And, I mean, it aint being changed in the wrong way, as far as a lot of Hip-Hop artists now feel like they gotta do whatever the media telling em to do and stuff, and Im not with that. So, what Im doing is Im not getting tainted by the outside media, and the people telling me, You know, it aint right to say this, it aint right to say that! Because, basically, its my entertainment, my form of entertainment -- Its how I (relate) to my fans, Ya heard me? And, I know one thing, my fans wanted that ol gully, gully raw Murder, and I asked em I said, What album Yall was feeling the most? And, the majority of em was saying the Life or Death , so I took it back to that, Ya heard me? And, thats what were about to do.
Now, you have been charged, and convicted, of second-degree murder, but have since been released on house arrest pending your appeal, correct? So, is there anything you can say at this time regarding the ongoing case?
C-Murder: Well, Ya know, um Everything is still, as far as the case, I cant speak on it, cause things are still going on with it. Its still moving, and its still in progress. So, Ive been told its a wrap on that, cant really speak on it, not at this time, Ya feel me?
Although legally things are still in motion, in a way though it seems as if you have been given a second chance at life -- Do you feel this way at all?
C-Murder: Yeah, definitely, I mean, naw, Im hungry, I want it. Im gonna get it back to where I had it. I got a lot that I want to express to my fans. I got a lot to prove, as far as my people and my fans, to where I wanna be. I set a lot of goals for myself. And, Im doing it on my own now, Ya dig? Im with Tru Records, a hundred percent. You know, I got this distribution deal with Asylum, so everything The light is at the end of the tunnel, its crucial. So, Im all the way focused with it, man, and Im doing a lot of things in the community, too. Because I saw the situations that I was in, and I want to help the lil dudes, and anybody that I can help, when I reach out to em, and be like, Look, some decisions you might make, you shouldnt make em because of look at this here, this could happen or this can happen. So, you know, Im on that kick now, bruh, but Im still the same me though. Im in the lab doing what I do, bruh.
With your brand new venture, Tru Records, are you currently in the midst of building its roster, with Screamin for Vengeance serving as the labels foundation?
C-Murder: Yeah, definitely, definitely -- With this new album, you know, I dropped a DVD called The Movement, and basically all the information that a lot of people want to know about me is in that DVD. As far as the type of music Im making, what Ive been going What I got going on right now and stuff like that. Whats up with my new artists; the Tru Records clique. My next album, after the Screamin for Vengeance, Im gonna drop a clique album called The Cutt Boyz. Thats me and the homeys. They talented dudes from the streets that Ive been dealing with, and they was loyal to me from day one and all the way through everything, Ya know?
The Cutt Boyz..?
C-Murder: Basically what that means, in the projects we got alleyways and stuff, and we call them cutts. Thats where a lot of people hang out and stuff like that, and thats how we came up with the name the Cutt Boyz, Ya feel me? From the C-P-3!
Tell me about your start-up organization, Help Me Help You?
C-Murder: Man, thats just about Me, I always did care about the lil ones, and care about different people thats in the city, that wasnt as fortunate as myself. I always start off with the lil ones because I aint have a daddy that was there for me, I was raised by my grandma and stuff like that, a broken home and things, and Im just letting em know that I made it out, so you could make it out too. Theres a lot of things you could be doing with your life. You dont have to think that its all over because you in a group home, or you in the projects, and you dont have a father, you dont have a mother. See what Im saying, I try to teach by example like that. You know, basically for different holidays and stuff like that, Ill be there talking to em and bring em some goodies. As long as they think somebody care about em, bruh, they can go a long way cause I know thats the way that I used to think when I was smaller. If one person come along and do something real nice for me, thatd keep me going, Ya heard me? So, another thing that we doing with that organization is I hooked up with some NFL players down here, with some NBA players and things. We rebuilding a gym down there thats in the Calliope. Since Hurricane Katrina hit, they done boarded off all the play areas for the kids thats out there. They just kinda like just getting in trouble, aint got nothing to do. Were gonna rebuild this big ol gym. Its like about a whole acre of property and stuff like that. We putting a gym, pool, basketball courts and stuff like that. Where they could go and recreationally have fun, and keep their minds off of their home situation, bruh.
As far as your, former, recording home, No Limit, all has been quiet on the music front, with the exception of, say, your brother, P, and nephew, Romeo. Plus, they have both denounced recording explicit lyrics in favor of squeaky clean raps -- What is your take on all of this?
C-Murder: Well, you know, its like this here For me, I think every man just come to a point in their life to where they just, like, want to go this way, want to go that way, and so I give em the benefit of the doubt on that. But, its a way you go about doing it, and so he doing his thing, Im doing my thing. I just For me, personally, for us to have so many different political people, and the media and stuff, jump on the bandwagon and say Point the finger at all us rappers, and be like, Cant say this! Better not say that! Were gonna march here, and march at the radio stations and these distributors, and tell em to release you and to not play your music! Thats wrong! For one thing, were making an honest living, and were paying taxes. We could be on the streets, but were not. And, its music. If you look at it, its entertainment. Just like you look at these horror movies with all this stuff going in it, all of that is Music is entertainment. So, Im like messed up about it, because theyre trying to blame all the shortcomings of the community on us, and it aint right. Its a way to go about things. You gotta be a man. You gotta have respect, and theyre not respecting us. So, were gonna stand tall, just like what Im doing. Im standing up, standing tall, and Im gonna do me. Im not gonna let em taint me, and taint my music. Thats my release therapy. When I get in that booth, Im gonna give it to my fans the way that I know they want it, and the way I want to do it, bruh -- Straight up!
Whats going on with No Limit anyway? What happened to all of its, now M.I.A., previous roster?
C-Murder: Oh, well see, thats the thing. See, when I touched down, Im so focused on Tru Records, and doing what I do, and I let No Limit do what they do, so I havent even been a part of the discussions of whats going on with them business-wise or nothing, Ya see what Im saying? But, I have been in contact with Mia X. She actually on my new album thats dropping in February. Shes still doing her thing. Shes been chillin, but I told her, You know I need you to come out of hiding and jump on this album! You got that talent, Ya heard me? She raw with it -- I cant wait for the fans to really get a taste of what she been up to, too, Ya know?
Why do you think that you have such a strong fan base, even despite all the trials and tribulations of your storied career?
C-Murder: I think a lot of people just really can relate to me. No matter how big I was or where I was, when they see me in the streets or whatever, like, Ive always been laid back, chillin. And, you would never tell if you met me that theres a lot of accomplishments that I have had, cause I always stay grounded and humble with it. And, I always been true to em. I aint never changed up. I aint never switched up. I aint never forced myself on em. They accepted me with open arms, and I just went like that. They just know when they hear C-Murder, they hear my music, they know its real. They know they can trust me, Ya feel me? That lil trust, that lil bond we got, and it aint going no-where. Thats just the way I am. Thats the way I was raised, and thats whats up, bruh. Im gonna hit you with that quality music.
What has been the biggest misconception about you as a person?
C-Murder: Thats the thing, they got this perception of me that the media and the public put out there on me -- They think Im just this chaotic lil dude with no kind of sense and stuff like that. They wrong, Ya know? Im highly educated. I was an honor roll student all the way through high school, Ya feel me? And, Im just a real cat, man. Im humble with it. Im approachable. They be like, Man, he aint approachable. I aint the same. I aint that man that they put me out to be, Ya feel me? And, the C-Murder name, they got their perception of that too. I get that from boasting on myself, like, Look, I murder the track in the booth, I murder the beats, and my name is Corey, and thats what it is.
What do you enjoy doing for fun?
C-Murder: Theyll find me chillin, man, having fun, crackin jokes. Theyll never think that, Ya heard me? Im with my little girls. I got three little girls, and I spend a lot of time with them, Ya heard me? Thats the first and foremost of my whole life, just making them happy, Ya feel me? You know, just playing basketball, I love to do that. I like to go jogging and stuff like that. I like to have little football games in the neighborhood, thats what Ive been doing. We have little cook-outs, and all the homeys from the neighborhood will come out and play football, and have some basketball games. So, just normal everyday stuff, thats what I do.
How has the music actually evolved since your whole inception into the business?
C-Murder: Well, you know, Im happy with Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop is on the rise. And, I think we got a lot of talent out there right now. I mean, lil cats coming up, they got real, real raw talent, and theres a lot more thats coming up cause I be out there. Just like my roster, they bout to hear from them, too -- The Tru Records clique. The only thing that we catching a downfall on really is the downloads, and the black market CDs and DVDs that theyre doing. They taking food off the table, and messing with the sales like that, but, you know, it is what it is. We gotta just keep moving on. But, Hip-Hop definitely on the rise, it aint dead, Ya know?
With, of course, your situation, and other artists such as; TI, Prodigy (of Mobb Deep fame), etcetera, and their recent run-ins with the law, do you feel that rappers are being unfairly targeted by the Hip-Hop police?
C-Murder: I feel like it really is out of hand -- Rappers, black rappers, males, we really getting the short end of the stick. I mean, the whole world kinda like point the finger at us whenever anything happen. We dont even have to be a part of it. We can just be around the situation, and even when we not around it they just make us out to be these crazy people thats demonizing society or something like that, Ya heard me? And, thats crazy because, I mean, we make an honest living, you know, we doing what we can do. We come from the streets, and we talk about the streets and things like that. That shouldnt make you feel like we dont have no intelligence, Ya know? We definitely get the rough end of the stick, bruh. I mean, I dont know how to change it. I mean, a lot of these dudes are doing some good things. Like, TI went and spoke to the Hip-Hop nation. David Banner and stuff like that, they really sit down there and they show their intelligence and represent for us, and thats what we got to keep doing until they change.
Looking ahead, what does your future hold?
C-Murder: Im gonna be on top of the world, bruh. Tru Records gonna be poppin off, Ya heard me? Tru Records gonna be running this show. I aint gonna have to do too much work. Im gonna be on an island somewhere, chillin. Tru Publishing gonna be doing their thing, and Im gonna be putting out a lot of other artists and different things like that. And, were gonna be doing a lot for the community. Im gonna have a lot of organizations and stuff poppin off and things like that, to where Ill have a chance to really get out and be a part of it. So, I just feel like Ill just be on top of the world, doing a lot with the clothing, the shoes, the books, and the music.
With your legal situation still pending, will you be able to go on the road and promote Screamin for Vengeance?
C-Murder: Yeah, definitely, man. Ill be in a city near you soon. Be looking for me in January or February. The album, go get it. Tell me what you think. Give me some feedback on it. Im back on the grind, so Yall about to see a lot of Tru Records -- Straight up!