With people still awaiting Dr. Dre’s Detox and the label shrinking by the day, Aftermath survivor and latest escapee Bishop Lamont sheds some light on his experience in the house that Andre built and his run-ins with industry rule #4080 on the way to his latest project The Shawshank Redemption
So Bishop, what's going on with the new project Shawshank Redemption?
Where did that title come from?
It started out as a joke really. That's what I would compare my label stint at aftermath at times! I felt like an innocent man being punished for some shit I didn't do!
Lets talk about it. What makes you say that?
I was there for almost five years with no release date! That's a bid nigga! (Laughs) But at the same time like the movie, it made me smarter, stronger, and more resourceful! And it never could break me!
Speaking of which, you dropped some pretty strong hints in your first single “Hollow Eyes” about some of the things that went on behind the scenes at Afterrmath. Care to elaborate?
Cut throat fellow artists for one! You’re busy helping them, feeding them on your food budget, and recording budget! You cut a record, come back the next day and they done re-recorded your joint (stole your idea) but kept the hook and turn it into Dre like they did it! Two, no A&R! You’re booking your own studio time and reaching out to the producers yourself! But with no front end funding for securing records, how you gonna get shit done? And all the hits you do get first you never get paid for, so records like the Nottz joint Scarface did, or the Jake One track that ended up the Hot Rod/Mary J. Blige, are just a few! Oh yeah! And the “Conglomerate” record! But Bussa Buss is the big homie so it’s all good! And it was a great look for one of the illest, most amazing producers, that nigga focus!
So you’re saying, you’d record records and they'd be given to other artists with no credit for you? What Did Dr Dre has to say about all this? Couldn’t you go to him and fix things?
Ah! Remember I tell any more and I'll ruin the ending! But just cause you're a wonderful guy I'll say this. In the case of the Nottz record, Dre was ready to go in, but by then it was too late! We heard it on the radio!
But you weren’t without your own hits I'm sure. What stopped you from putting out your own records? "Making yourself hot" as they say?
I tried! Hence all the street albums! Three singles on the radio back to back! “Do It” and “Up And Down” produced by Scott Storch, “Feel On It” produced by Focus, and finally “Grow Up!” That was a number one record on Power! Came back from research one hundred percent but the label issued a cease and desist against the station! Even threatened to sue them! Hilarious! Who does that? Thank you to all the DJ's who supported the record still, against orders even! Bless you especially Mr. Chock!
Did Dre respond to you asking why his label would put out a cease and desist to an artist on his label?
Lmao! You don't quit do you sir? Yes and no! Without giving away the movie. We even went back in the studio to discuss how to make it all work! Obviously it didn't! And at that point you gotta pull the parachute some time, or you're gonna go splat! It was an eye opening experience! But I must say Dre tried the best he could to a certain degree! Again with out giving away the movie, he would always say to me at a dinner or some engagement, or the studio "You came into my life at a weird time, a hard time, but just be patient with me!” So I will always have love for him and we will remain family. But business is business as I soon learned the hardest way!
I believe in "live and let live." Karma can handle her own business! So I should handle mine! I'm just thankful to still have an opportunity to have a career finally! To still be relevant and have more fans now and notoriety, when I signed back in 2005! A true blessing! Remember all that while, I never got to grace any magazine covers, no major features, and I'm still here! It was like sitting in a cell and watching life go by! I use to see Ne-Yo in the studio with my boy Six John way before he got signed, out of here now popping! I saw Rick Ross while I was living in Miami before he took off I met Drake working on Detoxrecords. Luckily he didn't sign, and look at him go! (Laughs) I think you get my point!
I guess what makes this so crazy is that with all the behind the scenes insanity you’re alluding to, you were always in your interviews repping Aftermath and making it seem all good.
Well there's two points of Bishop Lamont when you look at the interviews. The fresh start happy, completely focused, didn't ever drink or smoke, green and young to the bull shit bishop! Then there's the drinking, hella-swole cause he was so angry and couldn't beat up the people doing this shit to him at the office, so all he could do was lift weights, Bishop. In the midst of beefs with niggas who he had helped get they deals, fed and clothed, or walked into a radio station for airplay! Stabbed in the back by damn near every one he put on! My grandmother died! The guilty will remain nameless, but they were playing with my checks! I take care of my whole family basically; my granny needed and deserved certain medical attention I couldn't provide for financially! And she died! I feel directly responsible even though I shouldn't! I remember holding her hand in that hospital and feeling like I had failed her! I've just barely come to terms with that and found peace as best I could! Lord have mercy! That was confession like a muthafucka right there!
So where are you now?
The full circle Bishop Lamont! The Andy at the end of Shawshank finally experiencing his dream! The no drinking, no drugs, MMA training, “Ram Dass” reading, Man vs. Food watching, retarded ass life loving nigga I was always meant to be! I have no regrets and I'm not angry or frustrated! I'm not running round beating niggas up outside clubs no more, or shaking down punk ass DJs for disrespecting! I'm working with the United Nations! Doing records with the Wailers proceeds going to the hungry all over the world! Real grown man shit! After school programs, prison outreach, and youth center projects! I'm doing and moving as God truly desired and intended for me to! Fuck these small minded, insecure, egotistical, make believe, godless, industry bitch ass niggas! U fighting over crumbs and destroying the art form, destroying the west coast, and holding up traffic! Hop yo fossilized old Asses in La Brea Tar-pits and let all these new artist in! That goes for the entire country! West coast, East coast! Where ever niggas got the runway backed up!