Questions written by Dnell
Referring to himself as the “hardest out, hungriest out,” “Rugger” Rell gained notoriety on the underground mixtape circuit, releasing favorites like Streets Wanna Know (2005) , New Gun In Town (2006) and also co-starred in Cam’ron’s controversial ‘hood flick, Killa Season.
Hell Rell was also prominently featured in the “Get ‘Em Daddy Remix” and “The Best Out” videos, both Dipset favorites.
Over the years, Hell Rell’s also appeared on many of Dipset’s releases, including: Diplomatic Immunity 1 and 2, DukeDaGod Presents: More Than Music 1 and 2, Dipset The Movement Moves On, Jim Jones’s Harlem: Diary of a Summer & Hustler’s P.O.M.E., Cam’ron’s Killa Season, also J.R. Writer’s History in the Making.
Dipset has sold over 3 million albums collectively. This Harlem-bred crew has been heralded by many as a modern-day Wu-tang Clan; in recent years, Dipset has become synonymous with street culture, leading the trends in rap music, hip hop slang and urban fashion.
Lets just set the record straight, Dipset has not disbanded?
Hellrell: Nah, Dipset has not disbanded.
So, Jimmy and Juelz being only making one appearance on the album, has nothing to do with the current Dipset situation?
Hellrell: Nah, those records were done prior to the current situation, so that has nothing to do with it. I recorded alota records for my album and picked the best ones that I felt belonged on the album.
How important is your album to New York hip hop? With the south being so dominant.
Hellrell: I feel the state of hip hop period, I mean I feel like I put out the hardest album of this year. I can’t blame records like aye baby or lean wit it rock wit it. Its the labels not believing in longevity of the artists. Niggas are signing one album deals and single deals. The labels are the ones responsible for what’s going on right now…..they promoting it like its real hip hop and it makes it hard for cats like me. But, I aint complaining…its the labels. Yall niggas get yall money but its the labels not believing in longetivity.
The hardest out, with Styles P…tell us about how that collabo came about?
Hellrell: Well, I dropped a freestyle called the hardest out and the media hyped it like I was taking a shot at Styles, which was not the case. So when I did the song on the album it was only right to reach out to him. So I sent over the track.. he was feelin’ it and we layed it down like that.
The collabo album with you and Cam, is that still in the future?
Hellrell: I hope so, I mean I’m just waiting for the homie Cam to see what he wanna do. I’m down with it. We recorded alota hot records and we have an albums worth of material.
Speaking of Cam, how is he doing? What’s his stance on what’s being said in the media?
Hellrell: You gota understand Cam is a street nigga, and he don’t like to be questioned and all that. The questions are plied up. The Jim Jones questions, the 50 cent stuff and….. he knows he gotta answer all these questions. I’m pretty sure he wants to come back and answer those questions when he’s ready to address them.
Then why not answer them in a musical format and address the issues? And get paid while doing so?
Hellrell: I say the same thing! But I can’t jump in that mans head. People don’t care about shit until it affects “them” and he gota answer those questions when he wants to. You gota understand… this Jim Jones thing is way bigger than what the fans see. The current issues or whatever, these niggas knew each other since 4 years old. So who am I to come to Cam and get in the middle of that? I can’t do that.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Hellrell: All the old school cats. Rob Base and Big Daddy Kane. I thought them niggas was super fly, and had so much swag. Kool G. Rap, like I aint just start listening to hip hop yesterday….I go back to Rakim, Jungle Brothers, all that old shit.
How was it being on freestyle battle on BET?
Hellrell: It sent me back to the streets, cause if you remember that battle I lost, but, if you look at, it was good in a way, cause, if I won, I’d probably got bigheaded went back to the hood thinking I was bigger than shit (laugh) and career would of went nowhere. So..
What’s one thing fans don’t know about Hell Rell?
Hellrell: I still wear mis-match socks (laughs) I’m still late on my bills, I mean everything good, I just be late,,,(laughs), I’ma street nigga.. I’m still hood, people think shit change just cause you got money. I been around money for years, but I want people to know I’m very approachable..I’m the same ‘ol G. You can always holla at me, when you see me.
You have a solid album start to finish, which is rare these days. Are artists getting lazy?
Hellrell: Hell yea, you know why? Cause there is no artist development anymore! Artist development is very important, cause it allows the artist to see who they wanna be…for example, when Snoop Dogg came to Death Row his name was Snooper Duper and he had a high top fade…he got with Dre and them and changed his name and grew artistically. Fabolous signed to Dj Clue in 1998 and he didn’t see the light of day until 2001 because he sounded too much like Mase…artist development is extemely important. You understand what I’m saying!
Why aren’t fans buying as many music cd’s as they used to? Are fans getting spoiled?
Hellrell: Its basically like, you must make commerical records. I did it backwards tho, like I was supposed to put out a ” Sexy lady” type record or a Cassidy “Hotel” record and come back to the hood, but I dropped knowing that my record sales wouldn’t be as high cause I didn’t focus on a commerical hit first. I got hit records, but I catered to those that catered to me… in jail I used to get letters and money from people in the street that didn’t even know me because they heard me spittin over the phone from jail on the Dipset album…..so, I had to cater to the have-nots, the drug dealers, the block niggas…the high school dropouts, ya know?, the scum of the earth! I gave them theme music. Shaft had his theme music behind him, so I gave the hustlers their theme music on this album…
Finally, what can fans we expect from Hell Rell and the Dipset movement in 2008?
Hellrell: I got a rim shop opening up soon. A restaurant I’m involved with, but basically I’m back in the studio working on more music, you can holla at me on myspace.com/hellrell Cop the album….For the Hell of it, in stores now.