Master P on Bringing Culture to Corporate America (live from TMRE)

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Master P is an American rapper, record executive, actor, and entrepreneur. In this episode, he shares his thoughts on what corporate America can learn from hip-hop culture. He then talks about his work to get distribution in some of the more competitive spaces on retail shelves across the country, Snoop Dogg, Shaq, and some of his business endeavors. He also weighs in on the future of businesses and answers a few questions from the audience.

If you’re looking to get into corporate America and become the best in your space, this is the episode for you!

Episode Highlights:

[03:55] Master P’s insights on starting from the bottom, marketing as the key to his success, and bridging the gap between hip-hop and corporate America

[10:15] Personalities sell thanks to social media

[13:12] How to get talents to work with brands

[15:58] On Master P’s transition from music to business,

[19:45] What he learned from the types of partnerships he has been able to make

[22:48] On creating ideas, being a blessing to others, and loving what you do

[28:32] What sets great companies apart

[33:32] Master P’s 5-year forecast for companies

[36:58] How to shift from being rich to wealthy and how the Astroworld tragedy will impact the hip-hop industry

[39:40] The accomplishment that Master P is most proud of and the best advice that he has ever received

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Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

Guest: Master P, @MasterPMiller


 The Market Research Event

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo


Mr. P: The wealthy people, they talk about ideas, and that’s when I start changing my mindset. It’s not about money. We have to start thinking about the ideas that we create.


Dan: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. You can check out Trapital’s deep back catalogue of past interviews, deep-dive essays on companies in music, media, and entertainment, and a weekly newsletter that is read by tens of thousands of people, go to trapital.co to learn more. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for investment decisions. 


This episode is with the one and only Master P. This is actually P’s second time on the podcast and this is a unique episode. This is the audio from a live conversation that we had at the TMRE Conference. This is a business and marketing conference in Nashville and this was in November 2021. 


Let me give you a quick backstory on how this came about. A few months back, I was reached out to by David Boyle, who is a fan of my work, he works in music and entertainment, and he, a few weeks later, told me about this conference that he was helping to plan. 


This was a marketing conference so they have different keynote speakers and one of his ideas was to have more hip hop and more cultural focus for these people that are marketers from corporate America and Fortune 500 companies. 


And he asked is there anyone that I think could be good to have this kind of conversation with given the audience and the first person that came to mind was Master P. If you listen to the episode that we had in January of 2021, you know, we talked deep about the interest that he had in acquiring Reebok and some of his other business moves. And when I think about that bridge between corporate America and culture, no one strikes that more my opinion than P. 


So I reached out to P’s folks because we had had a good rapport and conversation from the January podcast. So we brought everyone together and made it happen. Really happy with how it turned out. We had this conversation in front of a few hundred folks on stage. There’s a video of this as well. The video is posted on YouTube and there’s clips of it shared on social media as well, which I’m sure you’ll see if you follow on other channels. 


But, yeah, this is a really great conversation. We covered a bunch of topics. We talked about what corporate America can learn from hip hop culture and how P was able to leverage some of his own insights in music that have given him success and insights into how he has launched Uncle P’s Rice or Rap Snacks or, more broadly, just how he’s worked to get distribution in some of the more competitive spaces on retail shelves across the country. 


We also have a bunch of fun in the conversation too. We talked about Shaq and some of his business endeavors. We answer a few audience questions as well. This was definitely one of the highlights I had this past year. I had a really great conversation. Thank you to everyone from the TMRE Conference and Master P and his team for making this happen. 


This is a dope chat. Hope you enjoy it. 




Dan: Welcome back to Nashville.


Mr. P: Yes. Thank you, thank you. I’m glad to be here.


Dan: Definitely. Percy, as you know, we’ve talked before and one of the things that I always appreciated about you was how you clearly showed a clear understanding for who you were serving. That was clear in the album covers that you put out and how you had people coming back to the stores week after week to get that. 


And I think a lot of that carried through with how you’ve approached corporate America as well. 


Mr. P: Yes. 


Dan: So what are some of those ways and what are some of those insights that you use to continue and what that through line was between what worked in music and what worked in corporate America as well?


Mr. P: Consistency, not being afraid to feel, also realizing that if you want to get to corporate America, you got to start from the bottom. I started from the bottom, trusting the process, continually growing, and marketing was the key to my success. 


A lot of big companies out here, they realize that marketing, and so a market at my level. And, you know, a lot of people look out the window and they say, “I wanna be like this company. I wanna be better than this one,” but I’m saying how can I be the best in my space? 


So, when corporate America was buying the big billboards, I was buying the bus benches. I couldn’t afford the big billboards and the big signs so I started small and built and grow every day. And I think that was the key to my success is putting the work in and being consistent.


Dan: I hear that. And those buying the bus bench as opposed to the billboards, what is the corporate America version of that?


Mr. P: Well, I think corporate America version of that it is just go big or go home and they’ll rather spend a lot of money and feeling like they’ll make it up. I didn’t have no money so I can’t make it up. So this is my money I’m using and I wasn’t afraid to take the risk and grow with it, even though it was a small step. 


But, at my space, I figured if I grow every day that I will get there and I think corporate America look at it different because, so we talk about bridging those gaps between hip hop and corporate America, nobody didn’t expect us to last as long because we are rebels, we think outside the box but there’s a lot of us that wanna grow and think bigger and think about economic empowerment. 


So I think, as a hip hop person, we kind of like sneaking up on corporate America and corporate America is going this way and we going that way and we saying, “We both need each other,” but, for me, it was that journey. 


Like I was gonna do what nobody else would do and I think that kind of shied a lot of corporate America people away at first, saying, “Well, I don’t see the business.” When I first make ’em saying, people’s like, “What the hell is this?” You know, they didn’t think that I’ll sell 100 million records after that. 


But being different and being unique and coming from the South, I had to compete against the West Coast and the East Coast. But like I said, that consistency, every day, every day, it’s like an athlete working on my game, I gotta get better, and I started realizing when I was living in poverty is three types of people in the world.


There’s poor people, rich people, and wealthy people. The poor people, all they talk about is money. “I need my money, gotta pay my rent, I gotta pay my bills. When my check coming?” And then the rich people, all they talk about is things. “Look at my house, look at my car.” 


But then the third step, the wealthy people, they talk about ideas. And that’s when I start changing my mindset. It’s not about money. We have to start thinking about the ideas that we create. And so when I look at hip hop, even though they didn’t see me, I was thinking product, I had made a Master P doll, the clothing, all these different things and I realized as I grow in my craft and as I grow as an artist, I’ll be able to sell all these different things using my brand. 


And to now, where I’m at now, to be able to sell products. And I always look for a problem. And I think a hip hop person, they thinking outside the box and that might scare corporate America. But when you look at it, those guys are thinking out the box because they using what they have. 


And so I started thinking when I got into the product business, I said product outweighs talent but I wanna o create this on my own. And I know that when you look at, I start realizing that you look at Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, we thinking those products was owned by us. And I said, when I start researching that, I said we buying a lot of these products but we’re not creating that. 


And then I went from being a consumer to a producer and I started seeing — and I started showing some of my friends in corporate America, “This is what I wanna do, I wanna try to get my product into the stores,” and some of the biggest companies in the world, whether it it’s Walmart, Disney, all these different companies, if they don’t see that other people see that you’re coming up, they don’t think that you’re valuable. 


And we also gotta set our minds even though these companies and brands are so big, but they have to change it to where who’s gonna be next? Because everybody’s coming up from somewhere. Every bank started from something. And so when I first went into these places, I was scared thinking of failure, they’re not gonna accept me, and then I started looking in all these companies, I start realizing they have a diversity department. 


And so when I started going to the diversity department, I started sharing my story with them, saying that there’s no African American, a minority-owned product. How do we get those on shelves? And then you start looking at, from the women perspective, there wasn’t as many women, female-owned products. 


And so I said, when I create a business, I always find a problem. And so I started going through the diversity departments, I started getting my products into these major corporations. But what I love now and what we’re doing today is bridging that gap, because there’s a lack of understanding, is we have to educate the corporate America side and we have to educate the hip hop side, because a lot of the hip hop guys don’t wanna change their growth and then corporate America don’t wanna change their traditional ways,


but it’s so much more money, much more revenue if we have a little compassion for each other. And so today is about bridging that gap, showing you guys that we all think and we all want things because I like to be around good people. I don’t judge people. Nobody’s perfect. And I said, I wanna be around people with integrity and I wanna be around good people. It’s not a black or white thing with me. 


And then when I do business, I wanna sell business, I wanna sell my business to the world. And even though I wanna be an African American-owned company, saying that, but I wanna sell product to everybody. 


So I’m not thinking the traditional way. And I think that, moving forward, what I’ve seen is that — we was talking about this behind stage. There’s a ten-year-old kid named Ryan that makes $29 million on YouTube selling products. 


Dan: And if y’all are not familiar with this, you should definitely look this up after. It’s a really fascinating story.


Mr. P: Yeah. And this kid is ten — no, he’s nine years old.


Dan: Yeah, nine.


Mr. P: And he made $29 million promoting brands. So now he’s valuable to corporate America at nine years old. Imagine when this kid get 19. But that’s the risk that I’m saying that we have to keep an eye open for. Now, people — since we got social media, we got computers, we thinking that we don’t need people no more. With selling personality. 


That’s why Shaq is everywhere. Shaq is on every commercial in the world because we selling — we selling personality. Snoop Dogg, I started Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg is everywhere because we selling personalities. And I didn’t give up on Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg was signed to one record company and they didn’t think that he was gonna be successful and I said, “I’ll take him.” 


And I spent millions of dollars on Snoop Dogg and then we took his career to the next level and now he’s one of the most notable hip hop brands in the world now. So, every time I talk to Snoop, he’d be like, “Oh, I got another company want me to sell their product,” because this talent back — you know, and even some of the corporation with Snoop Dogg, he liked to smoke. No, but Snoop Dogg can sell product.


Dan: Right. 


Mr. P: They know one thing, get some air freshener but Snoop Dogg is gonna sell product. But that’s how we bridge that gap with hip hop and corporate America. Even myself, a lot of people didn’t think that I would survive this long but I had — I never was in it for the money. I was always in it for the education and to grow and be a student in the game and get better. 


And I was able to pass up so many of my colleagues because they was only thinking for the now. I always think if you could count it, you really don’t have it. 


Dan: Right, right. 


Mr. P: And what I love about this today, we wanna educate each other. Even a lot of my white friends, the older guys that sit around, they say, “Well, Percy, why don’t you do this this way?” I say because times has changed. We gotta stop thinking traditional. 


Because, think about it, those companies that use Snoop Dogg and using Shaq, they’re making more revenue. Just thinking outside the box, instead of thinking, “Well, I don’t know about this guy, maybe he’s trouble,” you know? I mean, it’s all about building relationships. And like I said, nobody’s perfect. So, I want us to build relationships with corporate America and us to grow together.


Dan: And what are your thoughts or suggestions to companies, maybe some companies here, that they wanna do that? They see Shaq, they see Snoop Dogg and they’re like, “Well, how can I do that? What’s the best way to have someone like them working with my brand?”


Mr. P: Yeah, you know, you just gotta go for it because there’s so many people out there that are successful talent that works. But they gotta work for your company or brand. And I think you gotta see through the other stuff. And once you see through the other stuff, because even in corporate America is not perfect. We have a lot of CEOs that get to the top then they do crazy stuff and they fail. 


So think about it, we still taking a risk. We have to be more risk taking. I had a guy that ran this company, it was a billion-dollar company, so if you look at a hip hop artist, you might say this hip hop artist that got in trouble and now you see him on the news. But this guy ran a billion-dollar company and he got in trouble. 


So he out there hanging out with the girls doing all this stuff and he didn’t realize he is corporate America. He ended up messing up the whole company. So nobody’s perfect. So we just have to have a compassion for each other and an open mind. That’s why I said I just wanna be around good people. 


And I think that’s the thing that corporate America have to start thinking. And then we have these diversity departments in our companies, we really have to use it. It’s almost like we’re giving our money to a foundation that’s really not gonna go on the front line and help the people in the community. 


And so that’s what I realized is like doing the right thing when nobody’s looking, that’s what integrity is.


Dan: Right. 


Mr. P: And so, once you get to that level, ’cause a lot of people talk about, “Oh, I’m gonna be the top of this company, I wanna run this company,” and then you get to the top of the company and then you turn, “Oh, this is mine.” Like you don’t own the company, you’re the CEO of the company for a while and you can make decisions. Are you the shareholder of these companies? Well, what about doing the right thing? 


And that’s how we bridge that gap. And I think that’s the great thing about today, you guys, so I appreciate you guys being — give yourself a round of applause because this is… 


And I think it’s about being truthful. I think that’s the thing that if we could be truthful with each other, we could get past anything. And I had to understand who I am and grow, because I wanted to grow and I wanted to be better as a person. 


And I think anybody that get in power should feel the same way. We gotta to stay humble because I feel like God gave it to you, He gonna take it away. And so when you do the right thing, you’ll have it along the time. And I’ve been successful 25 years doing this coming from hip hop and it’s a blessing when most people said it would never happen.


Dan: Right. And I think what’s unique about you is that you’ve seen this from both sides of this. You’ve see this as the artist that is partnering and helping these companies, but you’ve launched your own companies and seen how you can leverage your brand to do that. 


How was it from that side? What are some of the things that made you successful with the new products you had launched? Because you had a successful career in music, but stepping into CPG is a very different type of business. 


Mr. P: Well, my music career was going well. It’s almost like a basketball player, basketball player, football player, you know, those guys at the top of the game, and you said, “Well, why are you not creating product when you’re at the top of your game?” 


And so me creating the chips and noodles, I used to eat noodles and chips all the time. And so now when you look at Rap Snacks and you look at Rap Noodles, it’s like how come we don’t own none of those things? 


And was talking about this earlier about these companies, whether it’s Wells Fargo, it’s a bank but it’s a family. That’s a family name. And I started thinking like that, like if I wanna build generational wealth, then I have to build something with my family. 


If you look at Versace, Louis Vuitton, these are all families. But for us, we are consumers and we’re buying this thinking. And so now, if we’re gonna build economic empowerment, because we can’t change the past, everybody talked about we poor, we come from this and I’m saying, I can’t change the past but I can change the future. 


And so I start looking at that and saying, “What did these families do? Why can’t we do it?” But you have to do the right thing. You also — it’s gonna take a lot of time, a lot of sacrifice, and I think the key to my business is growing and being consistency, adding something in every day to build my brand and my business. 


So I just started looking at product and I started realizing that product outweighs talent. I used to play basketball, I played in the NBA, I can’t dunk or shoot like I used to so I had to figure something else out. And I don’t care if you’re Michael Jordan or whoever, Michael Jordan say, “You know what, y’all liked me as a basketball player but now you’re gonna buy my shoe.”


Dan: Right, and I think, like just to break that piece down, the product outweighing talent, and I know this is something that we’ve talked about in the last conversation we had, the artists that we see that are now becoming billionaires, they are selling products. They’re selling products that people buy on a repeat purchase. 


And I think it’s harder to do that in music, where you’re either buying the CD once, you’re going to the concert once, and that’s why I think most of the artists that do get to that, Rihanna, Jay-Z, or whoever level you wanna say, it’s because they have equity in some company that is selling products.


Mr. P: Well, you know what, I mean, even thinking the stock market, thinking about taking company public, we’re not thinking like that but that’s when we bridge that gap and you are the people you hang around. 


And so the traditional way from hip hop thinking we are growing, if you look at what Drake is doing, Kanye West, all these companies, you know, they’re building companies at the same time. And they don’t work for everybody but you have to be willing to put the work in. 


And corporate America started realizing that we can take some of these guys and we can expand our brands. And I think that’s the way we both have to think and we’re gonna bridge that gap. But like I said, we also have to make sure corporate America keeps an open mind, let’s be fair with each other. 


Dan: Right.


Mr. P: Because if I can sell this much product, then I wanna get my wealth, my worth out of it at the same time. So I think that’s where the growing process and educating yourself, that’s why I feel like the wisdom part is so important. 


And I don’t pray for money, I pray for wisdom. I feel like if you educate yourself and you realize technology is changing every day, you could be a part of this growing corporate America world and expand and come from hip hop.


Dan: Right. So, for you and your career so far, you’ve done a lot of partnerships. What’s been the most effective one or what’s been the one that you look back on and be like, “You know what, that one, everything was working with that”? What made that one stick out?


Mr. P: Yeah. Well, I think getting into the food business, the snack food business, we look at Rap Snacks and saying that nobody believed in this 20 years ago, it took that long that we could be just as big as a Frito Lay or any one of these companies.


And putting hip hop artists’ faces on packages when people laughed at me 20 years ago, like it’s not gonna work, so I had to put me and my son, we was the first owner packages, now we got Cardi B, Lil Baby, all these other amazing artists now of this generation. 


And it started with me and my son because nobody believed. And I think when you’re doing something successful, nobody gonna see that at the beginning anyway. That’s the vision that I think that a lot of people because you get scared because you fail. So imagine 20 years ago, I’m like, “Ah, I’m done. Nobody believed this gonna work,” and I’m just like, “Okay, no, let me go to this company. Let me go to this store. Let me go check out this vendor.”


And like I told you, if I can’t get in the front door, I’m gonna go to the window, I’m gonna crawl to the chimney, I’m gonna speak to somebody and say, “Look, what do you think about this?” And people started catching on. 


And now you look at, they got major companies now starting to put faces on their packaging because of what we’ve done. I mean, even with the shoes, Nike doing this now, using the animal print. And I started this when people said this wouldn’t work. 


And that’s what made me understand for motivating oneself, encourage you actively to think independently. So we’ve always been rebels but in a good sense. We think outside the box but we have integrity. And we realize that we live in a more edgier world. And I think corporate America is starting to realize that too. That’s why they invested in hip hop. Because the world is just edgy. Is not just, oh, a music thing no more. Hip hop is a coach. 


Dan: Right, and I know you mentioned 20 years ago, no one believed, now, but a lot’s changed in 20 years, right? There’s a lot more brand partnerships, hip hop is on a much more global stage than it was 20 years ago. Do you feel like you’ve noticed that shift as well with the type of partnerships you’ve been able to make or what you’ve seen other artists or former artists do? 


Mr. P: Yeah, no, I definitely see the switch. I’m able to get on company boards now, which, 20 years ago, that never would have happened. Being able to get into the stock business, create generational wealth for my family, which, 20 years ago, that would have never happened. And so many doors are opening because we have an open mind and I feel like we’re stronger together. 


Dan: Right. And even an example of, I know earlier this year when you were in talks to make the bid to buy Reebok, that is not a conversation that would have happened 20 years ago. Or if it did, there may have been a different response than I think a lot of the positive response that you got from a lot of folks in the community that wanted to see that or moves like that happen. 


Mr. P: Yeah, no, it’s educating yourself to your business and your brand and being able to connect and being able to be in a position to come from hip hop and to have an opportunity to buy other brands and companies is just amazing. I feel like God has blessed me. And the more I bless other people, I feel like God has continued blessing me so it’s not just about me.


I come from a poor culture of people, grew up in poverty, and to be able to do the things that I’m doing now, it’s a blessing. And it’s all about blessing others. I feel like I’m a servant now, like I’m not here for the money, we can’t take this with us. And it’s all about creating ideas. 


So, I’m not here to say, “I wanna be the richest man in the world.” No. I just wanna create ideas and that’s the way I build wealth. And I’m able to put other people on and help other families and I think that’s the most part of the blessing that I love, that makes me smile knowing that I’m able to help a Snoop Dogg and look at what he’s doing now with his career. 


I’m able to go into a community and give back and not sit around and have my community and my culture wait ’til somebody say, “Oh, we’re gonna help them.” I can do it. And it’s a blessing. And I’m open to connecting with other companies that see the vision that I have. 


I mean, I realize a lot of successful people have done it but you gotta love doing what you do ’cause I love helping people. I love helping people in the community ’cause I figure if I could put more people on, I feel like I have a — maybe I can create more millionaires and more billionaires. And then I feel like I’ve made it. 


We look at like what Bill Gates did, Warren Buffett, and all these guys had done, it’s not just them. It’s having a great team. So I look at like, even though I’m at the forefront, I gotta have a team of experts so we could keep feeding our people. So that’s what it’s about for me. It’s not about the money or the wealth. I wanna be able to feed the people. And that’s what I love doing. I want to be the Muhammad Ali of hip hop.


Dan: Powerful force —


Mr. P: Yes. Yes, I mean, if you look at Muhammad Ali, I know you guys look at this guy was so amazing that even though he made his money in the ring, but it’s what he did outside the ring. And if you look at George Foreman, I mean, look what he did with the grill, like that was probably the most powerful thing for his family to build wealth.


Dan: Right, right. 


Mr. P: He probably got knocked down so many times and knocked out so many people say, “Babe, look at the money I make from this grill.” I bought a George Foreman grill in college, like I’m like, I had to have it.


Dan: And now you have Shaq with his own grill, right? 


Mr. P: Shaq, let me tell you something about Shaq. Shaq is — that guy on every commercial you see, and I love it. Think about it, y’all, like — but it’s his personality. And I feel like that’s what I wanna do, like that’s the type of personality I have. 


I wanna be able to have fun and do what I do and not just have — Shaq a big old guy, you think Shaq just gonna be angry when you meet him, like, man, this guy’s so nice. And you wanna put him on everything. And it’s because his personality and his integrity. And I’ve been knowing Shaq a long time. And people don’t believe this, I beat Shaq one time in my backyard. 


Dan: Oh, we gotta hear this story. We gotta hear this story. 


Mr. P: I’m just telling y’all, for real, like he’ll tell you. He came to my house. He was like, “Man, I know you about to the lead and everything but I have to play,” so I’m like, Shaq, I never went inside though. Like I just stayed outside, jump shots. 


We went to like five, I hit five in a row. He’s like, “No, go to six.” I won already. And — no, but what I love about Shaq, you guys, he about giving too and he about the people and the culture and I think that’s what corporate America love about him. Everybody wanna smile. Everybody wanna have fun, you just don’t have to be a tough guy. 


And people don’t realize that’s what I did with hip hop. So when I came up with “Make Em Say Ugh,” people was like, “What is that?” But then when it caught on to it, it just changed the world. I mean, I did that song the night and the concert at No Limit Reunion Tour and people still come with camouflage. It’s a movement that we created. And the movement is still going on ’til today. 


And when people like and love what you’re doing and knowing that you are doing stuff with compassion and you’re able to help other people, they will follow that movement. And I think that’s why we follow guys like Shaq and Snoop is because of their heart. 


Dan: Right. 


Mr. P: And I think that’s the movement I was able to build. Seeing stuff is — seeing that diamond in the rough, even when somebody’s going through hard times, to be able to help Snoop take his career to the next level when even the industry didn’t believe in him at the time when he left Death Row. 


Dan: Right.


Mr. P: And me seeing that is knowing that I always like that diamond in the rough saying, you know what, you might think that car old but I’m gonna fix it up, put some tires on it, put a new paint job on it, and then I’m gonna make it better than ever, and that’s what we was able to do and I hope we’re able to help other people like that, that we know that still is a big piece of this culture and this community.


Dan: Definitely. One of the things you mentioned earlier, you talked about the fact that you’re on boards now and you are a mentor for a lot of people, both formally and informally that are reaching out for advice, and a lot of them are companies and executives in corporate America so I’m sure you hear a lot of what’s working well and what you think isn’t working well. 


So the companies that it’s working well for, let’s start there first, the companies that have been doing it well, what’s in the DNA of those companies? What do you think sets them apart? 


Mr. P: I look at the companies that I look at that’s doing it well, is like a Walmart, Disney, like those guys have been around so long but they’re constantly changing and they’re constantly opening their doors to new ideas. 


Maybe they have a younger people into their companies and brands and sitting with the older people, because it took me a long time to even let my grandmother know that I was successful because she just didn’t believe me. She like, “I got to work, grandson.” I said no, you don’t have to work no more. She said why, because she’s working for these people on St. Charles Street. And the guy on St. Charles say, “Well, your grandson make more than me.” And I’m like, “I was telling you that.” But you have to get out your traditional ways. 


And we, as the older people, they can’t see that technology, all this stuff that changed, and like we just talking about a nine-year-old kid making so much money, but imagine the shareholders in these companies being able to see the big picture. We can’t do this the traditional way no more or we’re gonna start losing. 


Think about it. Imagine how big IBM was ’til Apple came. Apple came with like people thinking outside the box. So those companies that are doing it, “Oh, we want stuff that’s gonna surpass us.” We look at Steve Jobs, the way he’d done it and the stuff that he’d done, he’s been able to pass this down from generation to generation because he thought with young minds too, at the same time, taking the wisdom but also taking the young minds and mixing it up together. 


If you look at Elon Musk, I mean, he’s doing it too, because he’s taking it untraditionally. And I think that’s what a lot of these companies are gonna have to look at and that’s what — I mean, I love that about Disney and Walmart, companies like that that are saying just think bigger. 


If you look at Allstate, they’re doing the commercials with all these athletes and stuff and they just putting — like these guys are doing it, they’re seeing the big picture. I think there’s a lot of companies and brands out there are gonna start taking to that same, if I wanna be valuable, I wanna be around the next 10, 20 years, we need to get on that train and we need to start thinking outside the box and still do it the right way. 


We understand corporate politics and everything, but still being able to have a little open mind to how can I take a little risk? I mean, if you could lose money for 10 years and say I’m gonna be all right in 15 years, then you could take one or two years and take a risk and say, “Let me think outside the box.”


Dan: Right, right. 


Mr. P: We’re gonna write this off anyway. But it also come with ego. Think about it. Whoever in power, then it’s like a football team. Everybody got to have a great quarterback. If the quarterback not good, you’re not gonna win. If the quarterback got an open mind, no, let me go talk to my running back, let me talk to my defense, you know, you come in as a corporate person and I’ve seen this happen so many times to where I was just about to do a deal with somebody that was the CEO of this company but they had a bad attitude and by the time I come back, they was gone and I could see it, because the integrity part and being truthful, nobody’s gonna be truthful ’cause they don’t wanna lose their job. 


And that’s what I love about hip hop. We’re gonna be truthful with each other. Man, I don’t like that, that don’t sound right, I don’t care if you’re Jay Z, Puffy, whoever, we’re gonna sit down with each other and be like, “That ain’t right.” Oh, man, you should — “Man, I’m telling you, that is not right.”


But in corporate America, we’re like, “I can’t lose my job, I just got this house, I just got this car, I got my kids the feed,” so there’s so many yes people that the people at the top, they don’t even know when they not doing what’s right. 


So those are things that I think that we’re gonna have to work on, that I see, you know, when I go into corporations that do deals, I have one person that really like and wanna be a part of it but if that other person don’t like it, they feel that they didn’t bring this in, then they don’t want it to happen. And I’m like that don’t make no sense. You just missed on an opportunity. 


And then once we go big with something, that other person, no, they didn’t got fired because they had opportunity to get there but they didn’t see it. And so I just think it’s about having a little more integrity and having an open mind because the world is changing. I mean, we flying up to space now. If you got 26 million.


Dan: I’m gonna see you join ’em soon.


Mr. P: No, I’m not going to space. A black man don’t need to go up to space right now. I’m gonna play it safe. I’m gonna stay right here. 


Dan: I hear you on that.


Mr. P: I’m gonna take over the bottom. 


Dan: Right, right. Let them deal with everything up there. I hear that. The last question for you, there are so many changes happening recently, because we are seeing more and more artists doing types of partnerships. What do you see for five years from now, ten years from now? How do you think things continue to change?


Mr. P: Well, I see things would change, like I said, if the people at the top of these corporations have an open mind. If not, just new companies are gonna be created, independent companies are gonna take over. Because there’s technology now. There’s a lot of wealth being built. And the big companies are gonna be losing if they don’t have an open mind. 


I just think that with technology, it’s hard. I mean, every year you look up, you say, “Oh, this person is the richest man in the world.” No, somebody come out of nowhere because they’re thinking outside the box. Even if you look at like a Carlos Slim, this guy came outside the box from a single family home because the world didn’t see where we’re going with technology. 


And the same thing with Elon Musk. We’re not seeing that these guys are risk takers. So these corporations, even you look at Amazon, Amazon is a risk taker. So, the people that’s in those companies are looking younger and younger. They are creating younger and younger millionaires at the top and billionaires because they are taking the risk. 


And if these traditional companies don’t do that, then you’re gonna see more younger people running these companies which we could do this together because we need the wisdom. It’s just, I think in corporate America, we get caught up into, “We did this our way. This is the way my grandfather did this.” And it’s not about that. Time keep moving. Time wait for nobody. 


And I think with technology it’s gonna — I mean, look at cryptocurrency, all the things that are happening right now. We never thought that we’d be buying coins, we’d be buying paintings for $2 million that we don’t even see. Think about it. We spent $2 million on a picture that we can’t even put in our house.


Dan: Do you have any of those, by the way? Do you have a Bored Ape or one of those?


Mr. P: Oh, I’m gonna plead the fifth. You know, but I’m saying, look, think about it. Who would ever thought we’ll be living in a virtual world? My kids spend so much money on putting stuff on a video game, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I gotta buy these clothes for them,” like, who gonna wear the clothes? I can just use my credit card, spend $300 on some clothes that you’re gonna play on a video game? So the world is changing and we have to be able to change with the times. 


That’s the one thing I’m saying and if you don’t change, you’ll get left behind. And I think corporate America is starting to see that. And even as a hip hop culture, we have to change too. We have to grow and understand corporate America so you’re not gonna be able to sell product if you got tattoos all over your face, you’re just not. 


You’re gonna have to be better have a good image, you’re still gonna be yourself but if you wanna get into corporate America, you’re gonna have to start making some changes too. So that’s where we bridge that gap and we gotta start coming to a happy medium to where we both can build economic empowerment and then the ones that are at the forefront can have an open mind to say, let’s do this together, because we’re stronger together.


Dan: I hear that. Well, thank you. That was great. That was great. And, yeah, so we have a few questions here. We have some good ones. Let’s see. So, Dan Fleetwood asks, “What’s the best way to shift from being rich to being wealthy and that mindset?”


Mr. P: I think ideas, like we just talked about. Start focusing on ideas instead of the riches. I think everybody look at what they see and what they have but when you start — like my wealth is built on ideas, it’s not built on, “Oh, I got a nice house, a nice car.”


I get excited and happy knowing that I just created something. Like when I realized that, even as poor people we’ve been buying noodles, just something as noodles, people laughed at me when I said I’m gonna make my own noodles. It’s a multi-billion-dollar business. We’ve been buying it. Our coach have been buying it, no, listen, every dormitory, in school, it’s in the prison system, this is in the poorest communities. This is food. I mean, this is what I grew up on. 


I’ve been buying cereal, got my own cereal now. And so it all come from the idea. So I think when you start creating those ideas and bringing it to life, and they don’t have to be successful at first. Like I told you, I failed a lot of times, but my failure, always fall on my hands and get back up and keep running and keep moving.


Dan: That makes sense. Another one here. So someone had asked that about Travis Scott and he obviously was someone that had a bunch of partnerships, some brand partners have pulled back given the tragedy that happened at AstroWorld, what impact do you think that may have for hip hop more broadly with partners?


Mr. P: Yeah, well, when you have a partnership, the first thing is to blame something if it goes wrong. So, Travis Scott is just — he’s gonna be a victim of that because of people lost their lives at AstroWorld. 


And a lot of brands are gonna start pulling back because of the negative media that’s out there. It’s a tough one. It’s not his fault. I think the guy is a good guy. But what happened? People lost their lives. So I think a lot of companies and brands know that, they’re gonna pull back off of that and just because of that, they can’t tie their company and brand with the negativity. 


And we just gotta keep praying for the people that lost their lives and even him, man, it’s like that’s a difficult one. Because I don’t think that he’s the problem with that. But corporate America, they just gotta pull back, especially for right now but I think that this guy will eventually get past this. But it is a terrible tragedy. 


Dan: Definitely.


Mr. P: Yeah.


Dan: So a few people had asked what is the proudest moment of your career? What’s the accomplishment that you’re most proud of?


Mr. P: The accomplishment I’m most proud of? Buying my grandmother and my mama a house. I mean, that’s when I knew I made it.


Dan: And what year was that?


Mr. P: Man, that was in the 90s, like ’98. I was like — because we were so poor, I lived — so when I went to university, listen, I’m gonna tell you all this story, right? Gary Lewis was my coach and he says, “Son, you’re the most happiest guy on our team. You know, we have Hakeem Olajuwon to all these big guys to come. So why are you so happy?” 


I say, “I got my own bed, coach.” I’ve been sleeping on the floor ’cause I live with my grandparents my whole life. So, she had 12 kids. They only had a three-bedroom apartment. And I slept on the floor. But when I slept on that floor, it made me know that there’s nowhere but up from him. 


And I was thankful that it built my character. So I realized that I don’t have nothing but I need to do something about it. So I’ve always been motivated to get out there and get it and not be thinking about what I don’t have but just be thankful for what you do have and having a roof over your head. 


And I made the best out of it. I always said, so I think being poor and rich is a mindset, even when I was living in the projects, I always say, “Yeah, I’m gonna get me a mansion one day,” and people laughed at me. “You wanna get a mansion? You in a project.” I said, “No, I’m not.” And I’d never thought that I was there. I always was thinking bigger. 


And I think we have to change that negative mindset, speaking negativity. I’ve always said I’m waiting on my money to come. Like I had a cousin that got into accident — some accident with the bus so she always would say, “I’m waiting on my money to come,” and so I kept saying I’m waiting on my money, I never said I was poor, I’m waiting on my money to come. 


And that just got me out of that mindset. And when I got to college, I realized that and I majored in business and marketing at the University of Houston and I took that basketball scholarship to open up other avenues and build other relationships and so it’s all about networking and building relationships and not getting caught up with what you don’t have and being jealous of somebody else that they have a little more than you. 


Some people don’t want them probably. You know, having a lot of wealth is not for everybody. When I first made it, I brought my auntie a car, right? And my auntie, she broke down on the freeway in New Orleans, she had a brand new car and I don’t know what happened, she told me, “Come get me, this car broke down on me.” 


I say, “Auntie, called AAA.” This is a brand new car, like you gotta think — the mindset has to change. And a lot of people don’t change their mindset because they get caught up to the past. So, no, man, I think that’s what life is about, growing, being better, nobody’s perfect, and not being afraid to take risks for the right way, to grow and build your company and your brands.


Dan: Makes sense. So this should be the last question. What’s the best advice you ever received?


Mr. P: The best advice I ever received was love is more important than anything. You can’t buy love. You could buy pleasure, can’t buy love. And respect others if you wanna be respected. And that’s what my life has been about. Knowing that it’s not just about you. So I grew up in a team atmosphere, it’s about the team. 


So we look at these companies and these corporations that I go talk to, it’s always built on a team atmosphere. If you look out for the team, everybody will be okay. It’s not just about you. And I think some people, they make it just about them. We gotta stop doing that. And we can’t take this with us, no matter what you have. There’s no U-Haul going to follow you to the gravesite and say, “Oh, we’ve taken all your riches with you.” No. This will be left here for somebody else so make the best out of it and, like I said, be a servant. So, I’ve been a servant now like — yes. Serving other people.


Dan: Well said. Well said. And with that, thank you so much. This was great. Hopefully, everyone enjoyed this. 


Mr. P: Thank you, guys.


Dan: Everyone, Mr. P.


Mr. P: Thank you, guys.


Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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