Less than five years ago, Shawty Lo wasn’t even a rapper. Now, he’s the BET’s Rookie of the Year recipient. However prior to releasing his debut album Units in the City, Carlos Walker was facing many different challenges. While facing twenty to forty years of jail time and battling diabetes, Shawty Lo realized there has got to be something else better in life. He began to invest his money into D4L Records, where he would be the CEO. However, shortly after his return from his one year sentence, he began to try his luck at being an official rapper. He recorded his song “I’m the Man” which gained a lot of attention from media and fans all over the nation. And of course, his “beef” with T.I. has helped gain him a lot of exposure as well. Recently, I got a chance to finally sit down with Shawty Lo to talk about what really happened at the Dirty Awards, how the beef with T.I. started, and to see how his life has been since finding out he is a diabetic.
Lexilex: What’s up, Shawty Lo? What’s going on? You’re a busy man to catch up with. I’ve been trying to talk to you since last December. What’s been going on?
Shawty Lo: I’ve just been out here grinding and working hard.
Lexilex: Now, you know I have to ask you. What in the world happened at the Dirty Awards? I thought the conflict had been resolved.
Shawty Lo: It’s really unfortunate that it happened. I regret that it happened. Things just totally got out of hand. I want it to be over cause it’s really nothing to be beefing over. It’s not even worth it.
Lexilex: How did the “beef” with T.I. even start in the first place?
Shawty Lo: It started a while ago around 2006. I had asked him if he wanted to get on a track that I had with me. He told me he would do it. After a minute, I asked his people what was up. They told me he wasn’t doing it. I was like alright, cool. I guess he heard the song “King.” Next thing I know, he releases a song called “Big s**t Popping” where he disses me. “I was king and the n****s started laughing at him, same sucka n****s want the king on the track with them.” Then, I did “Dun Done it All.” After that time, he caught his case, and I fell off with it. At that time, my music was getting a lot of attention so I just let it go. , I never said his name and he never said my name. But when he got out of jail, he went on the radio station saying my name and it went from there. I never mentioned his name on my album once.
Lexilex: Now you’re originally from Atlanta, and Bankhead representative. Do you feel as though T.I. help paved the way for rappers such as yourself that’s from Atlanta and who represent Bankhead as well?
Shawty Lo: I never said that he didn’t put Bankhead on the map because he has. He’s just not from Bankhead.
Lexilex: Let’s talk about D4L for a minute. You guys had major success with your hits “Laffy Taffy” and “Betcha can’t do it like me”. Will we ever hear another record from D4L? Or, is everyone just doing their own thing?
Shawty Lo: You know what I don’t know. People wanted to make it seem like Fabo was the group and he wasn’t the group by himself. He’s supposed to be working on a solo album, now.
Lexilex: Do you feel like songs such as “Laffy Taffy” hurt your street credibility?
Shawty Lo: Nah, I don’t because I wasn’t a rapper then. I was still in prison when I called home and they told me they had a hit. Initially, I was on some CEO type of stuff. I wasn’t trying to be a rapper. They did the record “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me”. When I first heard it, I was like ‘ya’ll crazy talking about some Laffy Taffy,’ but it was a hit. It wasn’t until 2005 early 2006 when I did the song “I’m the man” and I just kept going from there. The people wanted to hear more music from me. I came home (from prison) that I actually started trying to make something positive out of something negative. I wasn’t trying to go back to the streets.
Lexilex: A few months ago, you won BET’s Rookie of the Year award. How did that make you feel?
Shawty Lo: That made me feel really good that people were acknowledging me for my music and the hard work I’ve put in. It was an honor.
Lexilex: You’re known and seen all around Atlanta. Do you find yourself being bombarded with people asking you to check out their music? Or asking for help with trying to get a deal? What do you do?
Shawty Lo: I just try to keep it real with them. I try to give them pointers on how to be successful. I tell them they have to work hard to get that hit record. You’ve got to have that hit single that people want to hear. You have to get the streets behind you first.
Lexilex: Who are other artists in the game that you respect? Who do you listen to?
Shawty Lo: My number one favorite artist is Jay-Z. My second is Lil’ Wayne.
Lexilex: You’re a known diabetic, which is a prevalent disease in our community. You have participated in the American Diabetes Association walk. Do you ever see yourself doing public service announcements to bring awareness to it?
Shawty Lo: You know, by me really being from the hood I have to take some speech classes because I don’t want to half step with it, I take this seriously. But I am working on my public speaking skills now. I am launching a diabetes health network so that I can help other people struggling with the illness. We are also working on doing a lot more within the community and at homeless shelters. I’ve done huge community days in Bankhead with free haircuts and face paintings for kids. I’ve given away groceries for those who are diabetic. I do a lot but I don’t do it for publicity. A lot of what I do goes unnoticed and that’s fine with me, as long as I’m helping somebody.
Lexilex: What’s next for Shawty Lo? You’re like the new remix king. Is there a new album coming soon?
Shawty Lo: Right now, I’m working on my book and a movie. And both are going to be about my life. It’s going to be called Carlos. I’m going to break it down year by year and let the people know everything. I am in the beginning stages but I hope to have it out by the time the album drops. Right now, the album is scheduled to drop around March 24th, but that’s not for certain yet. I have a new mix tape out I’m the Man 2K9 with DJ Scream. I have my group Costra Nostra. I have my artists Mook B and Stuntman. I’m just working on a lot of things.
Lexilex: I’ve heard a few new tracks, are those songs from the new mix tape or album?
Shawty Lo: Which ones did you hear?
Lexilex: The one with Trey Songs and Lil’ Wayne.
Shawty Lo: That’s from the album, it’s called “Supplier”.
Lexilex: Will Shawty Lo ever have an official YouTube channel? You seem to have a lot of videos on the internet.
Shawty Lo: You know what? I’ve never really thought about it.
Lexilex: Where can your fans check you out?
Shawty Lo: myspace.com/therealshawtyLO
Lexilex: Any lasting comments?
Shawty Lo: Thanks to everybody who’s supported me. I really appreciate it.