A Conversation with Hip Hop Impresarios
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Beginning in the mid 1990’s, Percy Robert Miller, commonly known as Master P, has been a major player in the music industry, becoming one of the first rappers to own his distribution label, No Limit Records.
In 1997, he scored a double platinum hit, "Make 'Em Say Uhh!”
Miller said one of the keys to his success was being able to “stay hungry.”
“This is about being hungry, about getting out there and chasing your dreams,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to do that. They don’t want to make those sacrifices, and that's what I think helps me be who I am, making the right sacrifices, being hungry enough to push myself and to go chase those dreams. “
He said he has tried to instill that hunger and drive in his children, even as they were growing up the children of a multi-millionaire.
“Money comes and goes; you have to love something,” he explained. “You have to be passionate about it. So, I instilled that and knowing you have to have faith in the man up above.”
In 2001, his son, Percy Romeo Miller, Jr. also known as Romeo, then a mere 10, had his first hit single, "My Baby,” which sparked his career and propelled him into television and film.
The Miller family has created multiple albums, films, including “Hot Boyz” and “I Got the Hook Up.” and most notably the Romeo! Show on Nickelodeon. Through his various business ventures, Master P was worth a whopping $350 million dollars, according to Forbes magazine in 2013.
Romeo is all grown up now and the president of his father’s company No Limit. Recently the USC graduate and his father were present for the unveiling second season of the television show “Growing Up Hip Hop,” which airs October 13 on WEtv. Prior to the premiere, the father-son duo shared their tips for success.
Howard University News Service: You’ve been in the game since you were 10 years old. How does it feel that in 2016 your career is still growing and thriving?
Romeo: I’ve always felt that God put me in this position for a bigger reason. Now, still being here and having a whole generation grow with me, I think it is very special and unique. People wonder why child celebrities go crazy, and honestly, it’s because it is not an easy task. When you have so much at a young age, you don’t realize that your brain isn’t fully developed. That is why I decided to go to college. I just wanted to go master my craft, be a regular kid and learn to appreciate life.
HUNS: Your dad is known for being a successful entrepreneur. How has that impacted you in the way you handle business?
Romeo: Me and my father always said we don’t think we are the most talented people, but we are the hardest workers and we will always be the best businessmen in the room. You know I went to school for business and that's the cool thing about my father. He’s not the typical rap mogul. It's because of him that rappers can make hundreds of millions now. I feel my dad is one of the biggest influencers when it comes to this culture of being accepted on a whole other level— and getting paid for it. In the beginning, rappers were not getting paid, but my dad’s vision was crazy, and just like he said, no limit.
HUNS: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned while being in this industry?
Romeo: The biggest lesson I have learned while being in this industry so long is, when you're on top everything is going to seem perfect. People don’t teach you about what to do after you achieve success. We always teach kids to go chase success, to go follow your dreams but nobody teaches you what happens when you actually get it. You don’t want yes men around you. I just want kids to know that if you believe in God and you put your faith in God and you make that your core, you’re always going to get through anything. When you're chasing your dreams nobody said it will be easy but it will be worth it.
HUNS: What difficulties have you came across now running a label?
Romeo: Man the most difficult thing with running a label is all your friends wanting record deals, even the ones who don’t know how to rap. It’s hard, because I have a big heart, and I want to see everybody on my team eat, but saying “no” to people you know is the hardest thing when running a business. You have to learn to just say it.
HUNS: In what ways do you try to establish your own legacy, being the son of one of the best businessmen in Hip Hop, Master P?
Romeo: For me, it’s not hard because I follow my own path. Though my dad’s was music-based and he was successful, I am leaning more towards business and acting. My dad was business and music. Acting is really where I feel is my lane. To any kid out there, just follow your heart and follow your own path and there will never be any pressure when you do that.
HUNS: What advice could you give to young entrepreneurs in college who are in the process of creating their own?
Romeo: That's the thing, going to college made me realize that you have to go out and get it. College is preparing you for the real world. I remember when I had my little conflict during school and I wondered “What am I here on this earth to do.” I remember three people told me the same thing. Will Smith, one of my father’s pastors and my father basically during the same time said, “You know what you are supposed to do whatever you influence the most with whether that's 10, 10,000, or 10 million people. You know whatever you influence the most people with and whatever keeps that heart going and keeps you excited. That's what you’re supposed to do.”