People are struggling to make money in the music industry. Do you have a lot of investments outside of entertainment?
Absolutely. I make more money away from music than I do off of musicâ€”well, I was. Shit is terrible right now. Look at the economy in general. General Motors and Chrysler are looking for a bailout. It’s going to be a financial issue if they don’t succeed, though. If they don’t receive the assistance, they will go bankrupt in the next couple of years.
Isn’t it sort of like what happens to rappers when they don’t produce what the market wants?
That too. In this climate, it’s not just them. Every time you open the newspaper you see another business or establishment you thought was credible in trouble, like Circuit City filing for bankruptcy. The United States is the place to do business. So if it’s bad here, where do you go? We’re the feeding ground. All those Asian countriesâ€”Thailand, Taiwan, Chinaâ€”they’re manufacturing things to sell here. How long do [regular people] have to survive before we recover? We may lose our middle class. If you have $20,000 in stocks invested in different areas, a home that you actually want to live in and [a] car, that’s middle class. So those people, if you had stocks in GM like I had, [they are in trouble]. My [broker] from Goldman Sachs just got laid off. [If] the guy you got assisting you [with financial] decisions is having issues, then you really got to look into it, right?
Speaking of Main Street, there’s foreclosure crisis in your old neighborhood, South Jamaica, Queens.
Yeah, it’s got a [high foreclosure] rate because we are conditioned to want things that we don’t need. That’s as people, period. In general, as soon we can afford the $300,000 house, we’re selling it to get the $500,000 one.
I imagine you’ve had trouble convincing other rappers to be fiscally conservative?
If you try to convey that type of information to the average rapper, you ain’t going to do nothing but confuse them and make them angry with you.
So what’s your five-year plan?
I create a five-year plan and then I accomplish it in a year or so. Things happen at a real rapid pace for me. Recently, I did a film with Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone called Streets of Blood. I play a police officer. While I was shooting, I said I wanted to eventually start writing and producing films. So I created a film-production company. I just opened this office [in Hollywood]. Ideas that were part of my five-year plan happened this year. I thought it would take 10 years to get to the space I’m in now.