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Paul Wall - conducted by General Baker  


Paul Wall

July 2006

MVRemix:  This may be kind of a presumptuous question, but being the fact that racism has been a dominant theme throughout this country, how did racism affect you as a youth and how did you deal with it?

Paul Wall: My mother used to march for a lot of different causes where she was growing up, like the Civil Rights movement; she used to march with the freedom fighters, not only just in America, but even in Europe and a lot of different places. She taught me even tolerance isn't okay, because tolerance is just a step above racism. She taught me ever since I was a kid that people are people and regardless of what you look like, what your parents look like, or what the color of your skin is, I am who I am and they are who they are. It wasn't even cool to be just 'everything is ok'; racism in any form is bad. She taught me anti-racism and it really meant a lot to me being that all her friends were all different types of races, all different types of people. My biological father was addicted to drugs, he was addicted to heroin and cocaine, and then from there my Moms pretty much raised me all her own until she remarried.

My Mom used to be an alcoholic too so we used to grow up going to AA classes and just seeing these people struggling and surviving just taught me how to survive, and just seeing how good I had it compared to how bad I had it before. As a kid you just think that's normal. As we grew up life just got better as [my Mom] overcame her addictions, and as she remarried, and as I found a real man to raise me. I started off at the very, very bottom and just as I grew up, life just got better for all of us. It was cool. It was a real good experience for me as a kid because it showed me so much.

MVRemix: I imagine all those things were very politicizing for you then. How does that shape your political outlook today?

Paul Wall: I just always felt like I had an inside hand, like I had inside knowledge on what the world was like because I had seen so much from an early age and I realized that the average person just didn't have any clue. It was funny to me, man; it was amusing. When I used to go down to Prairie View and I'd see people who would just be so spoiled; they'd be complaining and whining about this or that, acting like they broke.

It's funny when you see different people's views of what being broke is: some people when the only got $5000 in their back account. My idea of broke was when you got a whole bunch of debt, you got bill collectors calling your house everyday, and people knocking at your door, and repossessing things. You ain't got shit to eat, you don't know what you gonna do, Christmas comes and Santa Claus miss your house, you know, that's what being broke is to me. But other people have different views. I had my fair share of hard times, but at the same time I was really blessed, especially as I grew up and got older. A lot of that was just the result of my Mom having such strong faith and being such a strong, good-hearted person. Karma came back around and she ended up getting blessed beyond her wildest dreams.

MVRemix: Do you think it is significant that as a white rapper, you have a very large base of black listeners, unlike previous white rappers?

Paul Wall: Yeah because I think it shows that the reason why racism is such a big deal is everybody keeps making it a big deal. I'll never forget the line on A Time to Kill, when Samuel L. Jackson says, "At the end of the day, you don't see me as a man, you still see me as a black man." I never did that. I always treated people as they are. Even my own race has never been a big deal. I just was always Paul Wall. I'm six feet tall too. Being white is just a characteristic to describe someone.

MVRemix: Hurricane Katrina rocked this whole country, especially the South. How do you feel now one year after as regards the response and rebuilding efforts?

Paul Wall: That in itself is scary because ain't nothing changed. More than likely another hurricane gonna come, this year, next year, or a couple years, but when it come the same thing gonna happen and it might be worse. Its scary to see that we not prepared. We weren't prepared for it and we still ain't. Kinda like the 9/11 situation. They can search you a hundred times in a airport, but if its gonna happen its gonna happen.

MVRemix: Now I'm going to ask you some insignificant details. What do you think is the best hip-hop album of all time?

Paul Wall: My homeboy Lil' Keke, Don't Mess With Texas. That's definitely my all-time favorite.

MVRemix: And your favorite film?

Paul Wall: I think Above the Rim was a phenomenal film.

MVRemix: What is the best restaurant in Houston?

Paul Wall: Oh, gotta be Ruchi's. Its a 24-hour taqueria Mexican restaurant. They got like maybe 15 or more around the city. Its all authentic, you go in ther--don't nobody speak English--you just go in there, order some food and its gonna be off the chain. [laughs]

MVRemix: Who is your personal hero?

Paul Wall: My Mom.

MVRemix: If the workers of America went on a mass strike to decide when and how they work would you support it? Why or why not?

Paul Wall: I guess I would have to support because it'd be all my homeboys and partners striking, but you know, at the same it would be a setback for the country. If they went on strikes for long periods of time we wouldn't be able to make any progress. On a daily basis I think we're making progress in whatever we do: working at McDonald's, as a mailman, as a construction worker, whatever you're doing, you putting food on your table and putting money in your pocket. You just helping the economy out, so I don't know. It kinda goes both ways on that. I guess I would have to support it because it'd be everyone I know is the one's striking.





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"...my Mom having such strong faith and being such a strong, good-hearted person. Karma came back around and she ended up getting blessed beyond her wildest dreams."