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Drag-On - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  



Mel Smalls, better yet known as Drag-on, has dealt with adversity his whole life. "From his mom Terrie Smith's battle with throat cancer, to family members struggles with drugs, to street fights, to loosing unborn twin boys to a miscarriage, to living and sleeping wherever he could for awhile", Drag-on is a man all too familiar with pain. This pain and struggle has never been conveyed more openly than on his sophomore release "Hell and Back", which dropped February 10th. I had a couple short minutes to converse with Drag-on about his new album, as well as other issues such as the demise of the Ruff Ryder camp and his record labels inability to promote him correctly.

MVRemix: You have the album "Hell and Back" out right now, so tell us what you want to accomplish with the album?

Drag-On: That I'm back and it's a new sound. I'm grown, so the album is definitely a growth from the last album. I got a lot of hungry producers on the album, this is a real street album not commercial. I tried to keep it real street. I got Swizz Beatz, Rockwilder, Neo, Needlez, Black Keys, EZ Elpee, PK, Tune Headz, Chocolate City. A lot of hungry dogs on there ready to go hard. Plus I got the family on there, Kiss, Styles, X, Cash Money.

MVRemix: Is there anything you want fans to specifically take out of this album?

Drag-On: I just want people to know that I'm back, straight up and down. Just know that I am still here, I been shooting movies, been on compilations two and three, I have been on all of X's albums. I am just working, they are making me go the long way.

MVRemix: How come its taken four long years for another Drag album?

Drag-On: It's a lot of politics man, you know the transition from leaving Interscope to Virgin. The Ruff Ryders ain't putting out albums on Interscope no more, so I got caught up in all of that. It's just real crazy man. I have always been working man, but I aint go nowhere. I been on all of the Dmx albums, and right after I dropped my album we dropped compilation two, three then Eve's album, so I been on all of that. So you know, I'm here.

MVRemix: What have you learned in those four years that makes you a different man from when you first dropped "Opposite Of H2O" in 2000?

Drag-On: I have been through a lot man. In 2001 with the whole 9/11 thing, I knew somebody that was in that building. My mom's caught cancer within that period of time between albums. I done caught a few cases, ya know what I'm saying. It's a lot man, but I'm still here, still hungry.

MVRemix: What about emcee wise, how have you progressed since the last album?

Drag-On: I just change up my flows all the time. I am just grown now, I am speaking from a man's point of view, so its real different now.

MVRemix: You got "Bang Bang Boom" as the new single, and I'm feeling the video for that. So tell us who came up with the whole Friday idea for the video?

Drag-On: I don't know who came up with that, straight up.

MVRemix: How is the single doing in terms of radio and video play?

Drag-On: It's doing aight…it's not really doing too good. But everybody that bought the album and heard the single likes it. As far as the promotion goes, come on dog, I know you know I don't get promotion like that. I am probably the only one over here that don't get star promotion like that. As far as the reason, I don't know why, that's just what it is. Everybody can take turns to shine.

MVRemix: Does that make you mad that the promotion is not there for you, or do you just take it in stride?

Drag-On: A little bit, but it just makes me wanna get even. And how I get even is going into the studio.

MVRemix: Overall, are you happy with the status of the album? Do you feel the album is in the position you want it to be in?

Drag-On: No, it's definitely supposed to be in a higher position, you know that. It's just the labels man, they don't know what the fuck they doing. But it's all good, I'm still here working man.

MVRemix: When X first came out Double R was the hottest crew out. So why do you think Ruff Ryders hasn't been able to keep up that popularity over the years?

Drag-On: Bad business. Bad business man, when business ain't straight…see the business part of this game seems to be in the background, but its not, its really first and then the music. If your business ain't straight, yeah you may put out the music and it may look good, but after the smoke clears out from all of that, you see what it is, and the shit don’t be nothing. When your business is taken care of everything is better. When the smoke clears everybody is ready to go onto the next joint. But after the smoke clears and shit still ain't right, you gotta hold up and it gets a little different. But we still family, we still here.

MVRemix: So that bad business, do you attribute that to Dee and Waah?

Drag-On: I'm not really going to get into it, its just bad business, straight up. I'm not pointing fingers anywhere, its just bad business across the board.

MVRemix: Could part of it be that everybody went onto do their own thing; X, the Lox, Eve?

Drag-On: Nah, well…The Lox are still here, but Eve left. Lox are doing their thing with D-Block but they are still Double R, we are all still Double R.

MVRemix: Let's talk about the acting, you have done a couple of movies the past two years, so how did that get started?

Drag-On: X

MVRemix: So he molded you into an actor?

Drag-On: Yeah, I shot Exit Wounds and did a good job, so Joel Silver called me back for the next one with X.

MVRemix: So what new movies do you have in the works?

Drag-On: Nothing right now, just music.

MVRemix: I was reading in your bio that you are working on one with Ed Lover?

Drag-On: Oh yeah, we just dropped that a few weeks ago, its called The Hustle. It went straight to DVD, so its in Blockbuster and all of those places. It's doing pretty good too.

MVRemix: So what's harder, the Hip Hop game or the movie game?

Drag-On: The rap game because the acting game is harder to get into, but once you in it you just gotta uphold it. The rap game is something I love, so I love that more than anything, but once you in the acting game its much easier. It's still hard work, its way less stressful. Rap is stressful because it's so grimy.

MVRemix: Now a lot of emcees wannabe actors these days, so what separates you from the rest of the pack?

Drag-On: Heart man, I love this. I am not really trying to separate myself from nothing, I am just trying to be respected and be known as one of the best to ever do it, straight up.

MVRemix: Besides yourself and X, who do you feel is the best rapper turned actor?

Drag-On: I would have to say LL, I like Mos Def and Queen Latifah.

MVRemix: Who is the worst?

Drag-On: I don't know.

MVRemix: Let's say someone never heard of Drag-on and you could only pick one song or verse for them to hear out of all your material, which one would it be?

Drag-On: I don't know man, I write so many rhymes and songs. Off of my second LP, I like the joint with Styles. I like "Life Is Short", there are a few joints.

MVRemix: What's going on in the future for you?

Drag-On: More music, more movies.

MVRemix: What about the third album, when should we expect that one?

Drag-On: I am pushing for like November.

MVRemix: So its gonna be two in one year?

Drag-On: I'm trying.

MVRemix: What about the immediate future, any guest appearances, tours or anything else that the fans should know about?

Drag-On: Just more music man, its coming.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Drag-On: Ya know, I'm here baby. The new album is in stores now, go get it.

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