By Rashad Phillips Photo courtesy of ReelzChannel and No Limit Forever Records
Percy Miller, aka Master P, is opening the doors to his family home for viewers to see how he and his family plan to expand their empire. Master P’s Family Empire will air on ReelzChannel on November 28th at 8PM (ET)/5PM (PT). Master P is a self-made music mogul who grew up in New Orleans’ Calliope projects, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the nation. Master P’s success story gives hope to millions of impoverished children in housing projects throughout America. Master P used his natural talents, street smarts, business education, and his desire to succeed to get his family out of The Calliope housing projects.
Master P’s original dream of becoming an NBA player was derailed when he suffered a college basketball injury. After P’s injury, he didn’t give up. He focused on acquiring business knowledge at a local community college which he later used to open a record store and launch No Limit Records. Master P created his empire by selling more than 75 million records and developing a variety of complimentary business enterprises. Nearly twenty years since the release of hit records like “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!”, “Mr. Ice Cream Man”, and “Bout It, Bout It”, Master P is refocusing his energy on the music industry with the release of his upcoming album entitled Empire, which will be in stores on November 28th.
Master P’s Family Empire will show P’s fans how he balances being a single father, running several multi-million dollar enterprises, operating two charitable foundations to help at-risk kids, and strategizing the return of No Limit Forever Records. Master P is on a mission to teach his children about the importance of building generational wealth. His personal mantra, “I’m your father, not your friend.” along with his tough love teachings are intended to mold his children into the next generation of wealth builders.
Below is my in depth interview with Master P about Family Empire, his new album, his upcoming film entitled Master P: King of The South, his experience trying out for the Charlotte Hornets, the importance of financial literacy and building generational wealth.
Phillips: What can our readers expect from Master P’s Family Empire and why should they tune in to watch your TV show?
Miller: Family Empire is going to be different. It’s not going to have all of the fighting, fussing, and arguing that most people expect from a reality show. A lot of people complain about all of the negative stuff on reality TV shows and how they want to see positive reality TV shows. I feel like positive reality shows are banned from TV. The TV executives don’t think that viewers will watch positive shows. I’m going to show everyone that positive reality TV is entertaining.
I want people to tune in to watch Family Empire because the show is going to be unique. It’s nothing like our show on television. The questions that I constantly hear is “P, How did you do it? How did you make it out of the hood and into Hollywood?” People will get some of the answers by watching Family Empire. My family and I have been through a lot. We’ve made it through the struggle. I think Family Empire will show viewers that I’m still learning how to be a better parent. Hopefully, parents will watch the show with their kids and pick up some ideas on how to build better relationships within their family.
Don’t just teach your children how to read and write, teach them how to build wealth.
Phillips: How does Master P balance the role of being a single father, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and recording artist?
Miller: It’s simple. I put God first, my kids second, my business third, and everything else comes after that. You can’t lose if you put God first. In business, I wear five or six different hats because this is what I love doing. My experiences in The Calliope Projects and in the Bay Area taught me how to hustle. I turned my ability to hustle into entrepreneurship; business is in my blood, it’s just a part of who I am. I don’t hustle just for me, I hustle for my family. I’m sure that’s something people will see when they watch Family Empire.
At night, I don’t sleep a long time. I get the proper amount of sleep but I don’t sleep for seven or eight hours straight. I can’t sleep for a long time. I might sleep for two or three hours at a time. Sometimes, after a couple of hours of sleep, something comes on my mind and I jump up ready to work. That’s just how I am and my body is used to sleeping only for a couple of hours.
Phillips: Please tell our readers about your community outreach efforts?
Millers: I’ve done a lot of community work in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Louisville, Texas, Baton Rouge, and in the Carolinas. My foundation is called Let The Kids Grow, a charitable organization that focuses on getting guns out of kids’ hands. I want to put cameras in the hands of at-risk kids so they can learn how to earning a living shooting their future. I focus my energy on the younger kids. I come from the streets and I can relate to the kids. I want to get the young kids before they make a wrong turn. You have to catch them early because by the time they get to their teens, their minds are already developed. I want to catch the kids ages 12 and under to prevent them from choosing the wrong path. I want to show the kids the changes that I’ve made. Hopefully, they can make some changes too. A big part of my program is letting the kids know the importance of getting an education.
I want to put cameras in the hands of at-risk kids so they can learn how to earning a living shooting their future.
My other foundation is called Urban Born. We go into some of the worst neighborhoods that you can imagine. In some of the worst neighborhoods is where we find the best kids. It’s not my fault that I grew up in The Calliope Projects; we just were poor. It’s not these kids’ fault either. Some of these kids have the potential to be great students, but they just need to find somebody that believes in them.
When it comes to helping at-risk kids, I want all of your readers to know that it’s not about money. A lot of these kids don’t need money, they need some of your time. They need somebody to show them that they believe in them. They need some positive people around them.
Phillips: Please tell our readers about your upcoming film entitled Master P: Ice Cream Man, King Of The South?
Miller: Right now, we are casting for the film. The movie is about my life. It focuses on my childhood in the Calliope Projects. Then, it shows my success after the Ice Cream Man, which was one of my first hit records. Life was tough for me, it was a struggle because I lived in New Orleans which was the murder capital of the world at that time. I lost my brother [Kevin Miller] at a young age, and I didn’t think I was going to live long. My goal was to make it to age 19. Then, I put my focus into basketball and I thought I could make it in the NBA. But I got hurt and I couldn’t play basketball. After my injury, I put my focus on business. Before I decided to go into the music business, I had several business ideas. One business idea was a mobile detailing business. This was before mobile detailing businesses were poppin’ like they are now. If it wasn’t for my brother saying that he wasn’t going to help me wash cars, I might not even be in the music business.
Hopefully, my film will give kids in the ghetto some hope and inspiration to chase their dreams. I’m a living example that it can happen. I want kids in the ghetto who are going through the struggle to know that their dreams can come true.
Phillips: Please tell us about your experience trying out for the Charlotte Hornets?
Miller: I tried out for the Charlotte Hornets. I thought I should have made the team. The fans thought I should have made the team, too. I did everything that I needed to do. I played good basketball. During that NBA Lockout, we had one of the most famous teams in the league. Every one of our games were sold out. I think that I surprised a lot of people with my skills and with my decision to go after my dream of playing in the NBA.
We gotta educate our community about financial literacy because money can’t buy everything.
Bob Bass, former Charlotte Hornets general manager couldn’t figure me out. I don’t think they understood why I wanted to play in the league when I was one of the biggest rappers. I don’t think Bass knew how tough it was in The Calliope Projects because he asked me why I wasn’t scared of Anthony Mason. I told Bass that “I’m scared of nobody! I’m a human like everybody else, no man should be scared of another man.” Bass said he [Anthony Mason] is so big and everybody else is scared of him, why aren’t you scared of him? I said, “I don’t know Sir, but I’m not scared of no man.” Bob Bass asked me those questions because he heard about a time that I fouled Anthony Mason hard in practice. Usually, a hard foul against Mason would turn into a locker room fight after practice. After I fouled Mason, he said, “When we get back to the locker room, we gone fight!” I said “Okay.” You know me, I’m from the hood so after practice I was knuckled up and ready to go. As soon as Anthony Mason came into the locker room, I said “What’s up big man?” Mason said, “Lil man [referring to Master P], go head on, you crazy.” After we got through that situation, Anthony Mason and I became friends.
I made it all the way to the last cut and I’ll never forget Bob Bass saying, “You are a hell of a player, but your music is pure filth.” Bass said the team decided to go in another direction. I feel like I didn’t make the team because my past caught up with me. What most people don’t know is that it’s a lot of politics in the NBA. It’s not even about money. It’s about who you know and what circles you are in. We gotta educate our community about financial literacy because money can’t buy everything.
It was a good experience for me being in Charlotte. The fans showed me a lot of love. I got love because I was involved in the community when I was in Charlotte. I tried my best to convince other NBA players to get involved in the community. We only practiced two hours per day so we had time to give back.
Phillips: Please tell me your definition of generational wealth?
Miller: Generational wealth is about preparing yourself and your kids to become financially literate. In our community, people become successful but if their kids aren’t educated about money then they can’t hold the wealth. Building generational wealth is setting your kids up so that they won’t have to start all over again. I don’t want Romeo, Cymphonique, Veno, Hercy, and Mercy to go back to the Calliope Projects and start all over again. Me and my brothers already lived that life. No parent wants their children to go through the same struggles that they went through. We can prepare our kids to be entertainers and athletes, so how come we can’t prepare our kids to be financially literate. So as parents we have to become financially literate so we can make a better future for our children and their children. Don’t just teach your children how to read and write, teach them how to build wealth.