What’s up Bullet? First things first: Introduce yourself to the world and put your hometown on the international map.
I was born Jason Anderson (Bullet), in Des Moines, Iowa USA. I moved, and grew up in Bellevue, Washington (Eastside Of Seattle), which is where I am from. I started rapping in 1997, and since then I have released more than 20 projects under my label Eastside Records/Eastside Muzik Inc. I’ve introduced the world to Rap and R&B artists like Shaolin, Todd G, Yuns, Khevlar, On One, Texas T, Juice, Kay Kay, Jazz, Arjay, and J-Trey. I have sold my albums in more than 10 different countries, with the USA, Japan and Germany being our best markets.
How long have you been rappin’ now – and can you still remember your first steps as an emcee and producer?
I’ve been doing this for about 8 years right now, and a lot has happened since it all began. In the beginning it was Bullet & Jazz working on my debut album Can I Go? (1998) At that time, we didn’t understand the small things like studio quality, production, image, press, publicity, advertising, radio promotions or distribution. These may be the small things but they are the most important things, this is what separates the new artists from the established ones, the ones that don’t sell records verses the ones that do. On the first album our goals were really small compared to what they are now. For me, it wasn’t about selling a lot of copies it was just releasing the album. During the making of the first album I never even thought about doing a second album, I was happy with having just 1 album.
How would you define your own style? What are the trademarks of your music?
I think my style fits under West Coast commercial Rap but it definitely has a touch of R&B with a Spanish twist. I like guitars Acoustic and Spanish, some hot beats (Da Playboy Foundation & Funk Daddy) and smooth back round vocals. My music is very melodic, in the past you could hear Arjay & Jazz a lot in my music, today you hear Dante Thomas, Tiffany Wilson and Jazz.
You released quiet a few albums within the last years – which one’s the best to you and why?
The best is hands down When The Rain Falls because its sold the most copies, in fact two times more than any of our other albums. Aside from sales I think it contains the best beats, singing, rapping, song concepts etc. Hands down it is the best, and before its over will be probably go Ghetto Gold (10,000 sold).
You’re the head of Eastside Muzik Inc, a record label, which has a gang of new rappers under contract. Could you give us a short overview over the current roster?
For years I played the role as CEO of Eastside Muzik Inc. Last year I changed what the label into a miniature distribution company. It allows me to make money from selling other peoples albums the same time I sell all of my own. The distribution is company is split into three different sections, first you have all of the Bullet and Bullet Presents albums, second you have Sick Lake Records and third you have everybody else. As of now, the current list of artists and labels include Bullet, Todd G, Yuns, J-Trey, Khevlar, On One, Texas T, Juice, Sick Lake Records, Ready Starr Music, and a few others. In the beginning of 2006 we are planning to launch a distribution site and add several new artists but for now that’s about it.
Don’t you think that such a quantity of releases might supplant the musical quality?
When you release a lot of albums quality can always become an issue if you don’t really know what your doing. I think what fans need to realize is that every album is not meant for every fan. There are a lot of artists around me, that doesn’t mean they make the same music I do. In fact the reason we have been releasing more albums is because each album caters to a specific audience. For example somebody who loves Sick Lake Clique or Todd G may not love Texas T or Juice. Some artists cater more to the Down South or West Coast scenes. J-Trey is mainstream, Yuns is more of a storyteller, and boasts a feel good vibe; Juice and Texas T are more Latin Based. The thing that people need to remember is that we aren’t the same artist; so don’t expect us to make the same music. We want people to buy the records that fit what they want to hear.
You’re new album “Global Network” has already been announced, what can we expect from this album?
King Cevil Presents The Global Network, it is a dope compilation. It is comparable to North Coast Rain but is less commercial and goes away from a Northwest sound. It has artists from all over the United States, and has less of an R&B. What King Cevil is building is a compilation series that will cater to the rap fans in a different way than I do with my North Coast Rain compilation series and that is what will make it big. The idea is something we created years ago based on the success of what I have already done with my compilations.
If I got things right you’re also the shareholder of Sick Lake Records Based in Salt Lake City / Utah. How did this connection come about?
I’ve been working with King Cevil for several years; we’ve always done big things together. It was natural for me to join Sick Lake Records after shutting down my own label because of our history. Now we are slowly joining our massive catalogs and working on expanding into new markets. For example this interview in Germany, and my interview last week in Canada and or my interview that I just finished in South Africa. It’s all apart of a bigger plan that has been in the works for a while now. I just did my first collaboration with a French artist and just started getting some sales in Australia. I’ve also got an interview that I’m about to do in Malaysia. Like the title of the record, it’s a “Global Network”.
What can you tell us about the Sick Lake Clique including entourage?
The Sick Lake Clique consists of King Cevil, Mista Locc, Lady Lavish, Mz. Malicious. That has been the group for several years but I can tell you that one of the members is no longer with the group and when they go back in the studio there will be 3 original members and the new member which will be me. The new album is already in the works and is called “The Final Four”.
Your company grows bigger and bigger, this might pose the question if you’ve already thought about restricting the growth…
Yes there are already numerous restrictions in place but the main one is that we are not taking any more artists in 2005, and will be adding 2 more in 2006 both of which have already been selected. So to sum it up we won’t be adding anybody to the roster for a long time and there will not be anymore old members of the Eastside roster joining back with our movement now. I grabbed a few people when I first put an end to the label and at the last moment I just worked out the rights for 3 Todd G projects this week, but aside from that I’m cool. That decision was made at the last minute due to a situation that Todd G is going through. We came up with a situation that would help us both and that is where it’s at now. The cool part about it is I got to help somebody that I consider a friend, but unlike the last situation similar to this Todd G came to the table with something that can help me too. In the end, I now own the rights to the original “Bail Money” album, the re release of “Bail Money” and his new album “The Track Coach”. The first thing I will do is repress the original Bail Money, then I will be making changes to the re-release. I will start by adding Bullet Presents and the Eastside Muzik Inc. logo. Then I will remove a few songs, add a few more songs and remove some of the features from the album starting with Terry Flynt. In the end you’ll have a hot new version of Bail Money as everybody awaits the new album The Track Coach.
You met a lot of people during your career – which encounter impressed you the most?
I don’t know that is a hard one. I guess different people for different reasons. I’ll have to start with Texas T because out of everybody I have taught the game too; he is the one that has really made it work for him. Chingo Bling is impressive when you look at how well he markets his music and merchandise. Baby Bash is impressive when you look at how far he has really come in the game. When I met him it was right before the first Latino Velvet album came out in 1998 and at that point I only knew him for featuring on N2Deep records. The least impressive things I have seen have to be how many artists you think are doing it real big in the rap game but seem to have nothing to show for it. In other words there broke and or not doing it as big as people may think. The other is how many people are putting out rap albums and do not understand the business behind whatsoever.
You seem to hustle and bustle all day and night – do you still have something like a private life?
In the past I would have to say not at all, my life was entirely music and if you didn’t do music we had nothing to talk about. Now it’s a little different, I am a lot more about family so I take time for that and since my finance has a huge family I spend time with them as well. Outside of family and music I am rebuilding past friendships from when I was younger as well as building new ones. I’ve felt it was a lot more important to start keeping more people around me especially outside of the politics of music.
Imagine you’ve signed a new rapper, which has to be introduced to the audience – how does your basic business strategy look like?
I like this question because it shows how important the business perspective is. It will also give some I Hate Bullet Rappers a chance to copy my ideas so they can maintain there I hate Bullet wagon they jumped on. For example, the newest artist is On One, lyrically superior to most new rappers but needs work in other areas. The first aspect is image, in newer artists the image is there if you really look, but it has to become the most visible thing about On One the artist, the person and the music. In simple terms, it would be described as artist development. Once that has been formed, the concept of the album, photo shoot and album cover. These things have to dope, it has to stand up against all of the major label presentations. Then we start by picking song concepts that will enhance visual image of the artist. Then you devote time to creating the song that will carry the album on a commercial level, also known as a single. It has to be a universal song that anybody can like. Then you create the rest of the album songs, it is best to have about 15 songs to choose from and from that select the best 10. From there you have to put together you press & publicity package, one sheets for distribution, and radio packages for radio play. That is the general idea and obviously once the album is pressed, the single is being pushed and the release date is set, the real work begins.
What makes your day when everything else goes away?
I wish it was counting money, drinking some E&J V.S.O.P or fucking a some new bad bitch from some new town I ran through the night before but when the money ain’t there, or you wake up hung over, or you done fucked bitches you can’t even remember none of that means shit. With that said the only thing that can make my day is my woman and kids. They’ll love me when the people reading this interview stop buying my records. The sad part is that other rappers reading this are nodding their heads in agreement yet the first thing they’ll do is blow some weed, go fuck a some bitch or run through some money. Oh well maybe they’ll figure it out someday, and if not they’ll have a miserable existence.
Do you have any shot outs to end this interview?
Yea first I have to give a shot out to all the rap fans in Germany that was buying my records online before any stores ever ordered it. You got the ball rolling in Germany. I would like to give shot outs to the Bullet Presents artists like Juice, Texas T, Khevlar, On One, Yuns, J-Trey, Todd G, King Cevil, Mz. Malicious, Mista Locc, Sick Lake Records, Bullet Management, Empire Corp. Ready Starr, Evilways, James Churchill, Mike @ Dungeon Replication, Ryan @ Freq Mastering, John @ Walter Midi Recordings, Da Playboy Foundation, Daigo & G-House03 Records in Japan, Ren Kirishima @ Custom Lowriding Magazine in Japan, Late & Tricksta @ Rago Magazine, and all of the Bullet fans worldwide. Last but not least a special shot out to the Bullet haters public or closet, I understand your weakness.
What will be the first thing you do after having answered all these questions?
As I am literally finishing this interview, Bullet Management is packing the boxes of CD’s that we are taking on the road when we leave tonight for 4 and ½ months. The first thing I’ll do is walk out into my living room and kiss my new beautiful baby girl Reigna who is almost 4 weeks old. Then I am shaving my head, jumping in and out the shower, I’ll spray on a little Givenchy and then I’ll slide into my new Adidas that we received from Bullet Management after he hustled somebody for 7 pairs. Then we will leave to go pick up the first of 2 wrapped company vans. From there we will officially be on the road and working on our 2005 goal of 20,000 albums sold.
My quote of the day: If you can’t beat us’ join us’ and if you can’t join us its because you work with them or we don’t need you.