We just got an email about Akon's birthday party in Atlanta this weekend - and while we couldn't make it down to celebrate with him, the invite served as a reminder that we had some stories from Edwin "Stats" Houghton's interview with Akon that didn't make it into the feature in F37, but were too strong to leave in the microcassete vaults. While our fave Senegalese crooner is blowing out candles, we're posting up his interview outtakes after the jump.
[Coming out of another question, Akon speaks on dealers...]
To me the drug game got to be the worst hustle ever invented. I ain't gonna lie, I probably did move few pounds of weed but if it hadn’t been for that I would have never ever touched drugs. You can’t trust the people you goin to bed with; as far as doing business it’s like its too much risk. First you got to drive and transport that shit from one place to the next, if you get caught you doing like a hundred thousand years...and once you do get there then you got to worry about the dude might want to stick you up and take the shit from you! And it ain’t really that much money in it. You gonna make pro’lly no more than four, five thousand dollars off one brick. You can’t sell it for more than $25,000 that’s waaay too much cause now you got cats that’ll sell it for 18 and it’s like: where your profit be comin in that?
Unless you’re at a level where you don’t have to touch it yourself.
You got to be Pablo Escobar to get to that point! I mean think about it, that shit don’t make no sense. So to me the drug game was always the worst hustle, I’d rob a bank before I do that. Think about it, I’m not gonna do 25 to life to rob a bank. But if you gonna do time I’d rather do federal time cause that’s more comfortable. You got cable, you got like telephones, you can get phone calls! Me, when I was hustling I was always doing’ the kinda crimes where you can get a lotta, lotta money for the least time done as possible. My run? I made sooo much money. I get caught in the car? Aight cool, they lock me up for joyriding. It’s a misdemeanor, so what?
So you got knocked while you were driving?
Oh, a couple times. Like my whole time I was hustling I got caught about five times driving. In Jersey they were already hip to the car shit so they would lock you up, put your car in a garage and take it to pieces, like search for every part where it’s supposed to be a VIN # and break it down. See, in Georgia they really wasn’t up to that, they just check the dash. If it match up when they run it through the DMV, they let you go. So I was here for good, doingg big! Niggas thought I was the fucking prince of Africa. They ask me, I be like ‘Yeah I’m a prince.’ (laughs) they believe it, they come to the crib, see the big house, two or three Lamborghinis, they be like ‘Goddamn he ain’t lyin!’ In actuality, all them shits was hot.
So how was it going from that lifestyle to being a starving artist trying to get a deal through Block Royal?
Yeah that’s family, right there. Block Royal is gonna be the next label - after I get Konvict moving toward where it need to go, I’m gonna jump Block Royal off next.
So how did you link up with Screw [Montanez of Block Royal, Akon’s former road manager]?
That’s my brother. Literally like, see Screw never came in ‘til all that ‘cause Screw was on the other side of the game. He pretty much was like my angel at the time when I was in Jersey doing this hustling stuff, he always looked after me. It’s funny cause when I stole my first, first car it was a stick and I didn’t know how to drive a stick! Aha! It was crazy, I was sittin’ at the light: Vvvvvvvv! I can’t take off ‘cause it was a hill. I had to call Screw to come show me how to do it. Screw came and got me out…two minutes later, 5-0 would’ve rolled past and noticed, like ‘What the hell is going on with this kid, let me check his credentials.’ He definitely saved me that day. That was like my older brother right there. It’s funny cause the whole time I was here getting money he was locked up. He was locked up for murder. It was self-defense, cats literally came to kill him, they really came to take him out, man. He got off after seven years, about a year after I did but we had lost contact when the music thing started moving for me. Then he got back in contact and I was like 'Oh, you out?' I was tryin to keep him out of trouble, I got him a job as my road manager and we was movin’ for a minute.
This is in Jersey?
I stayed in Atlanta, Devyne [Stephens] helped me get a deal cause he’s a big choreographer for like half of BET, to P Diddy, Mariah Carey…yeah, he’s huge cause he helped create all these artists. Hes the one that took it to Bernard Alexander, who took it to Kenny Burns, who was the VP of Roc a Fella. At the time their roster was pretty full, so Kenny burns took me to Steve Rifkind. Steve Rifkind heard me and we closed that deal like that week, y’know I’m sayin. If Devyne hadn’t put me under his wing it would have been a wrap for me, I wouldn’t have had a shot. But Screw passed after I got signed. He was with me a whole year as road manager. You know we was on our way to the Bahamas that morning to celebrate…and that night is when he got shot.
What it was, we was at Ringside, that’s our spot in Jersey; everybody from the block that’s our home, we wouldn’t never expect anything to happen there. We just happened to have Capone with us cause I was doingg some records for him and he was hangin out with us for pretty much the whole week. So we had a comedy night that night, had a couple comedians come thru, we invited Capone and a couple other friends we had and everybody else came, strangers - cause you know, you promoting a party, it’s a club - people come and pay to get in. We were all upstairs just chillin, hangin out. Everybody was jeweled up, you know, cause this is home! So you can walk around freely with no problem. It just so happened that as Capone was walking out, Screw was upstairs. I was already gone to the hotel cause I was tryin to get some rest, to fly out that morning. I was like 'Screw, well let’s go, man. We got to get up early.' 'Nah, I’m good I just want to sit back and make sure Capone’s straight before I leave.' But that’s the type of person he was though. So I knew we wasn’t gonna go yet, I knew he was going to stick around for a minute so I was like aight let me go and get some rest, he’ll just hold ‘em down, I’ll be back. So I went to the hotel. Capone just happened to be going downstairs to go to his car and as he was going, you know, some cats held him up for his jewelry. Screw was upstairs and just happened to look out the window and notice that dude had a gun to Capone’s chest. Screw ran downstairs to help him and when he got downstairs he went up to the dude with the gun and the whole time they’re lookin at him like ‘Who the fuck is this dude?’ He’s trying to get the chain you know, so he not paying attention that Screw is coming. So Screw ran up in front, actually ran in front of the gun and was like “Yo what are you doing?” Nigga was like 'What the fuck you think I’m doing!? Matter fact, run yo shit, too.' One a them type situations.
So when that happened...Screw was a soldier though, bottom line. Screw hit him, dude, like he knocked him out cold. But as dude was fallin his elbow hit. When his elbow hit the concrete the gun just went off, the bullet just happened to hit him. Dude was completely knocked out but when he fell he must have fell like this his shit was out and then it went off. Screw at the time didn’t realize he got shot so he jumped on dude and started kicking him. By this time everybody realized Screw’s outside fighting so the crowd ran outside and he just started feeling weak and fell to the floor. Niggas like 'What’s wrong with Screw, he tired or something?' Then when they flipped him over his whole shirt was bloodied up and that’s when they realized he got shot and called an ambulance and everything else. But by the time…he got to the hospital, but he never made it out. I got the call when I was just fallin asleep. Sessa, which is one of our friends, called me up and said 'Screw just got shot.' At the time I thought he was plaing - but I knew they wouldn’t play like that, I just didn’t want to believe he wasn’t playin. So I’m like 'OK, he got shot. He gonna be alright. Where’s he at, where they holding him at in the hospital?' I got up, took a taxi and went back to Jersey to go to the hospital. When I got there the emergency room was filled with people, just crying. I’m tryin to figure out ‘”Why y’all cryin, he gon be all right. That’s Screw. Doctor said they still operating, stop crying, If the doctor come tell us something else then you can start crying but right now, if they operating than they obviously good.” Than the doctor came and told him he ain’t make it.
Has any of that whole experience made it into your writing for this new record?
It’s a story on there for Screw. There’s definitely a song on there dedicated to him, but I don’t get into detail of how everything happened like that. I just pretty much got into detail of what kind of person he was - you know, the kinda person I remember him being. People that knew him will understand; they get it.