Kyle Kramer from Noisey recently caught up with Turk to reflect on what he remembers about meeting Lil Wayne for the first time, working with him, their friendship, and plenty more.
The YNT founder also spoke on recording the Hot Boys albums with Tunechi, his favorite verse from Tune, hearing “I Miss My Dawgs” for the first time while behind bars, what it was like when everyone left Cash Money Records, the Big Tymers (Birdman and Mannie Fresh), his “Zip It” single, and the “Baller Blockin’” movie.
You can read everything Turk had to say about Weezy and what stories he had to share after the jump below!
Noisey: What was it like working with Lil Wayne in the Hot Boys?
Turk: We did a lot of songs. It was fun working with Wayne. It was always like a competition. Every time we’d go in the studio, we always wanted to see who had the best verse. And most of the time Wayne’d wait ’til everybody else had did they verse, and he’d come out the cut and try to outshine everybody. By him being the younger artist on the label at the time, he always wanted to either go first or last. It was just fun, man. We had a lot of fun while we were recording.
I’ve read that you started in the Hot Boys because you and B.G. went to high school together, and you made a diss track about him.
Me and B.G. went to the same middle school. And at the time, B.G. was already with Cash Money. B.G.’s from the 13th. I’m from the Magnolia. It was just like friendly competition back then. I just felt like I was better. Everybody always feel like they better. So I made a diss record, but it ain’t go nowhere. It was just like some hood stuff. I remember being at like a sock hop, like a school dance, and I just dissed the whole 13. It ain’t take off to where it started no beef. It was friendly competition.
Magnolia Shorty actually introduced me to Baby and Slim at a DJ in the Magnolia. I used to rap a lot at the DJ. And Baby, Slim, and Mannie Fresh came into Magnolia one day, where I lived. Magnolia Shorty told ’em, “this the guy I was telling y’all about.” So I went up to Slim and rapped to him, and he gave me a card and told me come to the studio.
Everybody who was rapping in New Orleans always wanted to sign to Cash Money ’cause Cash Money was the shit back then. They was the label that everybody wanted to be a part of. They had all groups like UNLV, the B.G.’z, PMWs. They had all the best groups, and they had Slim. And every time they had concerts, they’d be packed. In New Orleans they were like the Def Jams and Epics and all that. So when they told me come to the studio, man, it was like a blessing from God. I was in the right place at the right time, and they so happened to be forming the Hot Boys, and they put me in the group. And everything else is basically history after that.
What do you remember about that first trip to the studio?
I was nervous on my first trip. Because all of them had been rapping—Juvie, B.G., Wayne. I had started rapping at DJs, but I never recorded in the studio. That was my first time going in a real studio. It wasn’t no in-the-house, in-the-closet thing. It was a real studio, like on the 25th floor on Canal Place. But I shook it real quick because we was going every day. The more you do something it becomes habit, and I was anticipating it every day after school. Even in my football clothes, I’m going, writing every day, anticipating on recording.
What do you remember about meeting Wayne for the first time?
Me and Wayne basically clicked, man, when I met him. Like I said, we was the youngest. So the youngest tend to stick together. Everybody else was older than us. Me and Wayne used to just start writing together. We’d do shows, and we’d stay in the same rooms. We were like brothers growing up. We hit it off from the first time we met. We was inseparable. That was my little bro. Everything that we did, we did it together. They used to call us the children of the group.
And we did a lot of fun things, man. We used to shoot paintball guns at people out the hotel windows. Some of the artists that came around we didn’t like, me and Wayne used to take their bags and hide ’em. All kinds of crazy little games Wayne used to be playing. They used to be funnier than a motherfucker. Wayne brought the kid and kept the kid in me. We grew up fast, man.
You guys, too, it would be like the two of you trading off in a verse on a song.
Yeah, that’s because we used to write together all the time. Like when you see me and Wayne going back to back, me and him used to write our raps like that. We used to be in competition. It stopped being a competition with me and Wayne, and it started being a competition between B.G. and Juvenile. Me and Wayne were trying to outshine them. And they was trying to outshine us.
What do you remember from those first songs, like Get It How U Live! era?
I remember we actually did Get It How U Live! album in Houston. We all brought our cars out there, and we just set up shop. I forgot the name of the studio, but I remember that’s my first time I seen Bun B do a 16, in like five minutes. Baby used to always have us write, like, “man, look, that’s how y’all supposed to do it.” ‘Cause Bun B would go in the studio and do his verse so fast. I’m talking about fast, man.
It just was inspiring to see a legend like Bun B in the studio, and we was able to be working with him. And he wound up getting on the Get It How U Live! album, on a song called “I’m Coming.” That was a big moment for me because I’m a UGK fan. RIP Pimp C. I loved “Pocket Full of Stones” and all that old school music that they was putting out back then. We was living that life, so we was able to relate to that.
That was my first time doing an album that I was a part of. I was a little shy on that first Get It How U Live! album. That’s why I’m not really as much heard on it. But by the time we got to that Guerrilla Warfare, you hear me all over, coming out of my shyness.
What was it like making Guerrilla Warfare ?
I ain’t lyin, Guerrilla Warfare rode, man. I like every song damn near all those songs on Guerrilla Warfare because I had gotten better. I got better with time, and by the time we did the second Hot Boy album, I was ready. I believe that album went platinum, double platinum. We did numbers on that album. Just to be a part of that, man, that was legendary.
We actually did that album at Circle House in Miami. We used to shoot dice all the time. Circle House, they had catered food. The guys [Inner Circle] that made the “bad boy, bad boy, what you gonna do, what you gonna do when they come for you,” they had a studio called the Circle House, named after their group. I remember recording, setting up shop in Miami. We was in Miami for one summer, and we did that album in like a week. And I knew it was gonna be a banger because every song was just a classic.
Was there anything special about making “I Need a Hot Girl” on there?
Yeah, me and Wayne have a classic verse to this day on that song. We play that song, that’s the part they wait on: “I like ’em hot, the ones that don’t tell me to stop, eat dick, swallow the cum, and they know how to pop.” They love that part, man. It don’t matter wherever I go. If I sing that, if I just sing that line what I just said, they gonna finish the song. I remember we were supposed to go to the studio and record, and we had a certain amount of time to finish it. Me and Wayne got on the bus, and we wrote our part back to back like we do, and we killed it. And that happened to be the favorite part on the song.
It’s what we were just talking about with the back and forth. The chemistry is so good.
See, we didn’t really ever know that effect on people, but we actually was like the first ones to do it, outside of The Outlawz. The Outlawz used to do that a lot. And we did a lot of our stuff based off of how 2Pac’s work ethic was. Baby used to always use 2Pac as the example: “Man, 2Pac working, he recording, he doing this. Look at The Outlawz.”
So then Guerrilla Warfare blows up. What was it like to be in the Hot Boys at that time?
It was great just to be, to come from nothing to make it to somewhere. Comin’ up from the project, man, you only dream of the places that we went. And just to be known to this day as legends, living legends. A lot of people telling me like, “man, we used to want to be like y’all for Halloween, man. I used to you to want to be you, and me and my cousins used to fight and argue on who was best.” And you still hear that 20 years later, today. Twenty years later, you still have people saying, “man, when y’all gonna do a Hot Boy reunion?”
To this day, everybody want to make that Hot Boy sound. I don’t think it’ll never die down. It’s forever. It’s one of those. It’s classic. It’s forever. The Hot Boys is a part of a classic movement. People gon’ always mention the Hot Boys. I don’t know why they ain’t give the Hot Boys no honors. ‘Cause we should. We impacted on hip-hop. They never honored the Hot Boys, and I’m kind of pissed off about that. When it’s your time I guess it’ll come. But they should see everybody is affected by the Hot Boys.
What do you remember about Big Tymers and those albums?
They was doing their thing, man. Big Tymers, they would go in the studio and just talk some shit. They couldn’t rap. They wasn’t rappers. They was game spitters. They’d tell you that. Baby actually got better through the years. But at the time, they’d go in there, and Fresh was like a comedian on the mic. And Baby used to say anything. He used to game spit, and he believed that shit himself to where everybody else believed it. They just had good chemistry together, man. Nobody ever did it better than them. They took “they can’t rap” and made the world think they can.
When Juvenile and B.G. left Cash Money and then eventually you left, and it was just Wayne, what do you remember from that era?
I don’t know. It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t happy. Everybody wound up going their separate ways, but, like, with every family, man, you have fights and falling outs. Every label throughout the years. We were all young. When you get older you know better, you do better. So everybody, we started working again, man. As far as Lil Wayne and Birdman, they gon’ work their situation out. And hopefully we’ll be on tour doing the whole Cash Money thing again. ‘Cause the world waitin’ on it, and I’m waitin’ on it.
Do you remember when Lil Wayne made his song, “I Miss My Dawgs”?
Yeah, that song touched me. I was locked up. I used to be rapping and singing it, too. And what he said about me, that was the truth. Like Wayne couldn’t go Uptown. They’d try to keep Wayne away from the streets and shit. But when we was staying together, Baby and Slim ended up going out of town to New York, to Universal. They was working the deal. And I psyched Wayne up to go Uptown. And we wasn’t supposed to be Uptown. We was supposed to be in Metairie. That’s the good part of Louisiana. And I was like, man, fuck that, we about to go Uptown. And that’s what he rap about. We went straight to the Nolia. He wasn’t supposed to go, and he saw me reunite with my soldiers. ‘Cause I hadn’t been—like, they took me from the hood. So every chance I got, I had to get back to Magnolia.
So that’s a real scene that happened in that verse.
Yeah, that’s real. All those verses are real. That’s just some times he had with every last one of us. But I think he went more in detail with me and him. Like he would start rapping different when he came on rapping about me. Because like I said, me and him were like, shit, night and day.
Juvenile is also from Magnolia, so did you guys know each other growing up?
Yeah, Juvenile just was older. We used to listen to Juvie’s music coming up in the Magnolia. Juvie used to actually cut my hair.
I didn’t know he did that.
Mostly everybody that raps know how to cut hair. There’s something about that. I don’t know.
In recent years, you’ve had some new Hot Boys songs. You had a song called “Zip It.”
Yeah, we was all on a song together. I even got B.G. to rap from prison on a song and everything. That actually was the first song the Hot Boys have been on since I was in penitentiary. All of us together. Nine years, that was the first song that we did all together, even with B.G. rapping from prison.
How did that come together?
‘Cause I was in touch with everybody. And, shit, I reached out to everybody. I be trying to be neutral. I try to stay cool with everybody, man. And I was able to make it happen.
Let’s go back on a couple more. What about “#1 Stunna” with Birdman?
Every song that was recorded as a group, we just had fun. Most of the solo songs, you probably had a studio session by yourself, nine times out of ten. But all the group songs, we was in there drinkin’, eatin’ Church’s Chicken and shit, shootin’ dice, and havin’ fun.
What about the song “Baller Blockin’,” with E-40?
Yeah, I remember that. We was all there, shootin’ dice, eatin’. We was eatin’ mama’s chicken that day. I remember we was all in the studio shootin’ dice, and E-40 drinking some shit called Gorilla Milk. It was chocolate milk and brandy. E-40 used to always talk his shit. “Baller Blockin'”—I don’t know if E-40 came up with the name or it was a conversation that we had, “niggas be baller blockin.” E-40 was a word fanatic. He come up with a lot of different slang in his everyday conversation. So it could have came from E-40. Don’t quote me on it ’cause I’m not sure. But who the right person to get on “Baller Blockin'”? Somebody like E-40! He can talk that shit. That’s how that song came along. I wound up doing that song, the chorus. I came up with the chorus. That was a big song. Then we wind up shooting a movie called Baller Blockin’.
What was the idea behind that movie? Who came up with that?
The idea, basically they had a script for us at first. And, you know, us being from the hood, man, we know how it is in the hood. So we basically took it and did it on our own, like, “man we ain’t ’bout to read no script.” ‘Cause it wouldn’t have been real. So we did it the way we’d have it go down. The way it came out, it was real life. That’s how it go down in the hood. That’s how we approached everything that we did, was real life situations. We weren’t fake about nothing.
What do you remember of Mannie Fresh as a producer?
Mannie Fresh was the best. ‘Cause he was a one-man army. He did everything. Mannie Fresh played the keyboards. He played the drums. Everything was Mannie Fresh. He might bring on a few more other dudes, but Mannie Fresh produced all them albums himself. He was great. Mannie Fresh was like the Dre in the South. And to this day, everybody still tries to do the things that Mannie Fresh did.
Then there was also your solo album, Young and Thuggin’ . What do you remember about that?
I believe I went gold on Young and Thuggin’. When Young and Thuggin’ was coming out, basically Juvenile was leaving, B.G. was leaving. That’s why Juvenile’s not on Young and Thuggin’. But I remember I did my album in like a week. We recorded it in New Orleans. I got Mack 10 on it, Wayne, Baby, some of the newer artists on Cash Money. And just, man, I was happy. That was my first solo album. Everybody was waiting on it. It was highly anticipated. I just ain’t have my mind right to push it at the time because at that time, like I said, the company had started breaking up, and my drug habit had intensified. I didn’t follow through because I had a drug habit, which was heroin and cocaine. And that kind of affected me throughout the years. And I wound up going to jail, man, in the time of my solo career. And I been going to jail since, until the time I caught my case in Memphis in 2004. And I wind up staying in there eight years, eight months, 16 days.
I got a documentary coming out about my life, 52 Bullets, and I got a movie called Reckless, a screenplay I wrote. So everything that I went through, everything I done seen, I documented it, and we puttin’ it on the big screen, man. Gonna give it to the fans so they know why this ain’t happened, why that ain’t happened. ‘Cause they can’t get all that in a interview. And everything I went through, man, maybe there was a reason. Maybe somebody needs to know what not to do in order to make it. We all go through things for a reason, man, and I went through mine, and I learned from it.
That’s good, turning it to a positive. It’s definitely one of those tough stories of the music industry that you hear, Turk squandering everything with drugs and prison.
Yeah, a lot of stuff that happened, it was ’cause of drugs, man. Money, sex, and drugs.
Do you have a favorite Lil Wayne verse you can think of?
“I Need a Hot Girl” verse. Wayne on “I Need a Hot Girl.” To this day, that’s classic. That back and forth is legendary, man. You couldn’t tell us apart.