MJG, March 25, 1999


Eightball & MJG ran the underground scene in the south for several years before hitting it big nationwide in 1995 with a top 10 debut on the album charts with their third release in three years, On Top of the World. Now, after taking time out to record solo projects, Eightball & MJG are set to drop their first album of all-new material in four years on May 18. The 411 online caught up with one half of the dynamic duo in March.

What do you feel your role was in the rise of the southern sound?

"I feel like a hardheaded role, you know? We were hardheaded about givin' up and all and about gettin' the sound to be recognized on a nationwide basis."

You guys were successful in the underground for a long time before breaking into mainstream hip-hop. What would you say your biggest breakthrough was?

"I think On Top of the World was our biggest break as far as nationwide status, but I think our first album was a big break for us, too. It like strengthened our foundation. In the south, we had enough listeners ridin' with us to make the knock louder at the door. But I think the On Top of the World album... that was a nice lift, too."

People have referred to your first album, Coming Out Hard, as the "Playa Bible." How do feel about having that kind of impact?

"It's all cool, you know? I dig it. It ain't as tight as we intended on makin' it, but I understand how the fans feel. There was so much hunger in it. It was straight raw."

How long did you guys work together before coming out with that first album?

"For about eight or nine years. We already had a couple of underground tapes out. Prior to that we had done a lot of underground stuff for probably eight or nine years."

What kind of influences did you guys draw from?

"There were a lot of cats we used to look at. But we used to listen to a lot of R&B and stuff: Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Al Green, and then when hip-hop came on the scene, we were listenin' to cats like L.L. Cool J, Run DMC, the Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow. So you know, we were on all of that when we first started gettin' it. And not only did we start listenin' to it, but we also started writin' it and messin' around with it at the same time. That just all blended in with our musical background in Memphis. Cause, you know, Memphis is a music city already. The whole music vibe was already in us."

You guys were one of the first artists to have the real graphical, computerized imagery in your cover art. Now it seems like you're going back to basics with this latest album, with ads reminiscent of Run DMC's King of Rock. Is that something you influence or is that a record company thing?

"That was the idea, just try to go back to the basics, cause there's only so far you can go until the front of the CDs will be talkin'. So, we just tried to keep it basic, but with meaning, you know?"

So is that the kind of career you want to have? Run DMC is about to drop another album. What do you see in your future?

"I can only hope to have the type of longevity that them cats had. That's the key. We look up to them cats."

You've had the opportunity to work with a lot of artists recently. Is there anyone you enjoyed working with the most. Is there anyone that you still want to work with that you haven't yet?

"I really enjoyed working with everybody. It's a nice little list, the folks I have worked with. And it's nice list of folks I want to work with. Basically, I'm just down with networking with whoever has got talent. That's always like a new project, you don't know what you're gonna get out of it until you sit down and do it. You might sit down and come up with a masterpiece. You just don't know until you do it. That's the cool thing about networking. When you get through makin' it you might be real glad that you hooked up and did it. That's why I never see nothin' wrong with networking."

Talk a little about this album. What can we expect?

"It's really just a whole summary of our whole career, like from day one on the underground tip, when we'd do songs and tape them, all the way up to now, and how life has been and how it was and how it's goin'. There's not a whole bunch of new, different styles or nothin' like that. It's just Eightball and MJG in its rarest form. It's like back to the basics with the strength of space age. It'll sum up our whole career up to now."

-- Mason Storm, The 411 Online


Eightball & MJG
Coming Out Hard
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Eightball & MJG
On the Outside Looking In
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Eightball & MJG
On Top of the World
Click here to read B.J. Maniac's review from the November 1995 issue of The 411
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No More Glory
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Eightball & MJG
In Our Lifetime
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