HHW writer Don Bleek caught up with Juelz Santana at the Harlem Diplomats concert at the Best Buy Theatre, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy World Tour stop in NYC. Elz talked about his upcoming LP, entitled Born to Lose, Built to Win (which is dropping next year), his long-awaited I Can’t Feel My Face collaborative disc with Lil Wayne and Dipset’s Diplomatic Immunity 3 reunion album. Elz mentioned that he would like to work with Kanye West and Eminem. Elz is also featured in Video Girl, an upcoming movie with Meagan Good.
When are you dropping your upcoming album Born to Lose, Built to Win?
I’m dropping that the beginning of next year. I have a couple of other projects that I’m going put out before I drop that. I’m going put out the Reagan Era, which is a mixtape. People will definitely be satisfied with that.
How many songs have you recorded so far for your upcoming album?
I just really tap on it. I wouldn’t even say a certain amount. I got a bunch of things recorded, which will probably not even make the album because I’m going put out so much music before my album. I’m probably going have a whole new album depending on that time because I’m going drop my mixtape, me and Wayne going collabo on some records than I’m going drop another mixtape. I’m not going hold back on the people, I’m going give them my best material because I feel like they deserve that and I’m going keep on working.
Who are some of the artists and producers you will like to work with on your upcoming album?
Definitely my man Toomp, he’s one of the producers I plan on working with. We actually had a session before and I think it worked out great. I like these up and coming producers too. It’s always the one’s you hardly expect just like the artists and they are talented. I definitely want to work with Kanye. I have him do the beat and the feature on the song. That way we knock out two birds with one stone. I always wanted to work with Eminem, hopefully I get that feature done on my album, maybe get Eminem to produce a record on the album. He’s a real dope producer. I like his train of thought when it comes to approaching music.
Will Cam’ron and Jim being on your album?
Back in the summer, I spoke to your publicist Lynn Hobson and she told me that you were working with Sha Money XL over at Def Jam.
He and I are creating a master plan for my project. Just to make sure everything is set and happening in a timely fashion and things are being done. We’re taking the right steps to get me to where I need to be. Everybody knows where I’m supposed to be, on a throne or right there.
Last week, it was reported that you and Lil Wayne are about to start working again on y’all collaborative LP, entitled I Can’t Feel My Face, what’s the status on it?
Wayne and his camp just releases a statement, I was going keep quiet because I was tired of telling people about the I Can’t Feel My Face project, but we back working on that. We definitely are trying to get that out to the people. Hopefully, I probably let that fly out before my album too. Just to create that platform and then drop another mixtape, probably the continuation of the Reagan Era.
Have you and Wayne recorded any tracks yet?
He just sent me like five records and I sent him three. So we’re knocking those out. The ones he sent me had his verses on there and the ones I sent him had my verses on there. I got to knock out the ones he sent me. So we’re in the process right now as we speak of making some music and I’m going go out to Miami for a couple weeks. Just as much as we send stuff back and forth, we will have that much time in the studio together and have that good vibe, and create some good material and put it out to the people.
What label is I Can’t Feel My Face coming out on?
That always been the problem when it came to this situation because us being on two different labels, us just being such big artists, it’s a lot of politics, we still don’t know that yet. It will definitely be a Young Money/Dipset/Skull Gang type of things. What major label, I don’t really know. It might be a collaboration between Def Jam and Universal or however we put the project out there. Our main focus is to get the project out there. That’s what we plan on doing.
When are you, Cam’ron, Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey dropping the Diplomatic Immunity 3 album?
We’re slowly but surely putting that together. We had our situation with each other; it was about becoming brothers again. It wasn’t only about the music with us. We all just continued with our solo situations until we felt like putting that album out. In the meantime, in between time, our individuals’ success just grows. It’s just a beautiful thing. We still collaborate on music now. We haven’t rushed and said “we going take a month to do this album.” We’re just building it.
It was rumored that Dipset were signing to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath via Interscope, is there is truth to that rumor?
It wasn’t necessary Dr. Dre’s Aftermath; we were going do the deal probably with Interscope, the Diplomats deal. The next Diplomats album probably will be out on Interscope. Dr. Dre definitely will be working on that album with us.
Are you going to do another Skull Gang mixtape?
Yes, that will come out right after my mixtape, the Reagan Era. Y’all will have a lot of Juelz Santana material out there. You going have my mixtape, me featured on the Skull Gang mixtape, God giving me and Wayne, that album comes out major, even if it don’t come out major, we going give it to the people. We’re not going do music and hold it. So regardless of what, they going hear the music and that’s the most important thing.
What other projects are you working on?
I’m building my label up, which is Skull Gang. I have my artists which are John Depp, UnKasa, Richmond Rab, and Big B’z.
Is Starr still with you?
Starr will always be my sister, she’s dope and she’s always going be dope and she will always be with me in spirit, no matter where she’s at and what she’s doing.
I also read that you are featured in a movie with Meagan Good.
I did a movie with Meagan Good called “Video Girls.” It wasn’t like a super big role but I had a couple of parts in there. It was a good thing to work on. Hopefully, some more movie roles come in.
Are you going on tour?
Definitely, I don’t know with who or when but we are definitely in the works of putting a couple of different tours together.
Stay tuned to HipHopWeekly.com for the latest on Juelz Santana and the Harlem Diplomats.
Interview and words by Donovan “Don Bleek” Moore
Follow me @donbleek88