Imagine receiving a phone call from 50 Cent and he tells you, “Quit. You don’t need to work anymore.” This was reality for Hot Rod who signed with G-Unit Records in 2006. He went from the real estate business to making records with greats like Mary J. Blige almost overnight. Sounds like a dream come true for most of us, but Hot Rod learned that being apart of a major label does not guarantee success. After a few ups and downs, Hot Rod began touring Europe where he took notice to the impact dance music had on the club scene. He immediately embraced the sound and went right into the studio and unveiled a new sound; his own spin of urban hip-hop mixed in with dance. I @itsJazzyFBaby recently spoke with Hot Rod about his new sound, G-Note Records, acting and more.
What was it about dance music that pulled you in?
I was touring overseas, I hit over 20 countries in three and a half years, and I was partying, and I’ve never partied like that in my life. I was accustomed to going to Hip-Hop clubs and Top 40 clubs, but a lot of clubs I was performing in overseas in Europe, they have dance DJs, house Djs, electro, so it kind of brought me into that world. After I performed, DJ’s would play that music all night and people would just be wildin’ out. At first, I was a little uncomfortable, but then it just got so comfortable as the nights went on. It just took me over; I really got into that scene. So when I started recording, it started coming out in the music. I wanted to experiment with that type of sound. It’s really where the music has gone now. You look at Top 40, you see Britney, Jennifer Lopez, The Black Eyed Peas, and not the type of records that are getting spun over there on the house and dance tip.
Did you think the hip hop world would embrace your new sound?
Yeah. When you go to any club now, even a Hip-Hop club, they’re going to have sets where they’re playing the pop music, because the Top 10 in the country is pop music. I think it’s all been blended together; it’s not segregated anymore. I listen to all types of music, and I think everyone has combined music tastes now.
Were you afraid that you may lose some of your current fans?
When I first put the record out, I knew that they were going to be confused, because the production is so different from the previous production that I was laying tracks over. Of course they’re going to raise some eyebrows. But a lot more people were accepting it.
You’re a rap artist so why sign with G-Note?
It came about with the new sound. G-Note Records was already established, but there were just no artists. 50 established that because G-Unit Records and the camp G-Unit (the actual group) the marketing behind that kind of blurred the lines between G-Unit the group and G-Unit Records. G-Unit the group is straight hardcore-gangster-shoot-em-up. But G-Unit records is a company. So when they say Olivia just signed to G-Unit Records, everyone thinks that she was in the group. It would have made more sense if G-Note was intact. He has a new label called G-Note for R&B singers and other genres of music. When I introduced the new sound to him, it only made sense to launch the label with that sound so they want be confused. As soon as you see G-Unit artists are doing pop music, the people are going to say, “What?!” That’s going to confuse the mind. So it just made more sense to put me on the G-Note side. I’m the first artist on G-Note, and Governor is also signed.
Are you gearing up for a 2011 album release?
Yeah, the single is heating up. There’s definitely not a date, but we’re looking at the fall. Currently the single is on the Billboard Dance/Club chart at number 30 and on the Billboard Dance/Club Airplay chart, it’s at number 24.
What producers are you working with on this album?
I’ve got my in-house guys — they go by ‘Out the Box’. Definitely working with Magneto; he co-produced with Havoc on Eminem’s last album. And now he’s doing some work with Ludacris. He’s up-and-coming now. I’ve been working with him for a long time. And now I’m working with some of the big house producers like David Guetta and DJ Chucky.
Can we expect any major feature artist?
I’m sure it’s going to be some big names, but right now I’m building the foundation. At this time, I don’t have any huge features. I have 50 on a couple records obviously. They are spaces for big name features to be on there. But as of now, they’re not. Of course I would love to have an Akon or someone of that caliber on the album. But as of now, it’s just me and some unsigned features.
Do you plan on doing any acting?
Yeah, I have a couple of scripts from 50. He did that 10 movie deal with Lionsgate. So I definitely have some scripts in my hand and you’ll see me in a couple of those films. I’m real excited. That’s why it feels good to have a boss like 50 Cent whose head is in so many different things. It makes it a little easier to transition into these situations, because he’s already been through.
Would you say taking on a new sound was a good idea?
If you don’t change with the time, you might as well kill yourself. Because the music is going to keep moving. Either you stay and get left, or you can progress. It was a process. It actually took three and a half years for me to get into my new sound. It makes sense. It’s definitely worth it.