The down south rapper's claim to fame is his hit "Raise Up" in 2001. Word of mouth has taken Jive Records’ newest hip-hop artist Petey Pablo many places--literally. Within the course of two years, the Greensville, North Carolina native moved to New York and gained the respect of music industry veterans and copped a record deal with Jive Records. Having already appeared on Mystikal’s double-platinum album and on Black Rob’s “Whoa!” remix, it was time for the world to meet the rapper that hip-hop diva Missy Elliot hailed as the illest MC Down South. “I go everywhere on the album. I talk about everything. You ain’t gonna hear no bling, blingin’, that I killed 15,000 people, or how much my car cost or how many cars I got–cause that ain’t rap. I only write what I feel, what I believe, what I have done, or what I want to do. Everything is real. As wild as some stuff may sound in my rhymes, either I’ve done it, thought about doing it, is gon’ do it or I been through it in some shape, form, or fashion.” Petey’s interest in music was sparked at a young age via the church and the school where he learned to sing and acted in plays. Although he originally dreamed of being a singer, the North Carolina native quickly became fascinated with hip-hop in junior high school where he began rapping with a local crew. Long after his crew disbanded, Pablo kept rapping until he finally decided to make a move into the world.
With nothing but determination and “a hole in a doughnut,” Petey picked up and headed North. In New York, Petey’s resilience, easy going ways, and rhyming ability helped him land a few celebrity friends like Busta Rhymes, Mystikal and Black Rob. It was the one night while Petey was chillin’ with Black Rob at a club in New York that would change his life forever. “We was in the bathroom rhymin’ and Jive’s head A&R walked in the bathroom while we were in there. It was like me, Rob, Doug E. Fresh, and a whole lotta kids. So the A&R walked into the bathroom and asked me if I was signed, and I was like ‘nah.’ He was like come over to Jive and we’ll give you anything you want.” Word of mouth contributed to creating a serious industry buzz on this Southern MC. That’s why, by the time legendary super-producer Timbaland met him, he was already a fan.
“Timbaland had been looking for me cause he heard me on the Black Rob “Whoa! Remix,” says Petey. When we went to Miami, I seen Missy and she was like ‘This is Petey Pablo,’ and he was like ‘I’ve been looking for you.’ And it’s been on and poppin’ ever since.” With music from such producers as Timbaland, Prophecy, Abnormal and Petey Pablo himself, Diary Of A Sinner: First Entry, Petey’s first album, was one of the most welcome debuts of 2001. His single “Raise Up” was immediately embraced down South as an anthem, to eventually become was of the best selling rap records of the year, according to Billboard magazine. Petey’s sophomore project titled is Stiil Writing In My Diary: II Entry. It includes the smash “Freek-A-Leek” produced by Lil’ Jon.
Flowers? No, Petey Pablo Gives Studio Time For Mother's Day
Rapper's mom will record CD that he'll sell online.
Petey Pablo knows exactly what he's getting his mom for Mother's Day — a CD. No, he's not making a trip to the local record store. The North Carolina rapper will soon be booking recording time for his mother so she can record her own album.
"My mother can sing," Petey revealed recently. "Now that I'm able to grant those dreams that we had once, I just want her to have an opportunity of going into the studio and really singing, doing her thing."
Petey said he'll hook up beats and bring in musicians so Mama Pablo can cut a proper album. He'll sell the CDs through a Web site he's launching for his record label, Wright Brothers Records, this summer. If the response is good, he'll try to distribute it properly. "She doesn't want to be an artist, but this is just [me being] a dream fulfiller," he explained.
Petey's been busy lately, anticipating the release of his second album, Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry, due Tuesday. "I'm not a person who really feels comfortable sitting down and talking to people, so I put my business in the street through my music," Petey said, describing the "diary" theme that runs through his first two albums. "If you have a problem, all you need is someone to listen to make you feel better. And once 10 million people pick up [the album], I'll feel a lot better."
Petey admitted that while people all over the country are falling in love with Lil Jon, he still hasn't talked with the producer since enlisting Jon for his first single, "Freek a Leek." Lil Jon essentially used the same beat for Usher's smash hit "Yeah!" without telling either artist.
"I wasn't annoyed," Petey said before changing his mind. "Oh yes I was. MTV, I gotta keep it real — I was annoyed. But I just let that one fly out in the wind. Sometimes it's best to let things go. I ain't got no complaints."
Petey Pablo Denies He's A Rapper
He'll drop Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry early this year. Petey Pablo ... rock star? It's something that the country-bred Southern rapper claimed could happen one day.
"I'm not a rapper, I'm not what you consider to be a hip-hop artist," he said recently. "I'm an artist, period. If I wake up tomorrow morning and want to do a hard rock song and I want to call
up Kid Rock or Fred Durst, you might not even realize that's really me you're listening to."
Petey makes the first strides toward broadening his horizons on his second album, Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry, which is due early this year. After the surprise success of his debut, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry, the North Carolina native is peppering his rural crunk with raucous party tracks, melodic rhythm & blues and down-home confessionals.
In fact, one of the "guests" Petey unveils on 2nd Entry is a throwback R&B singer named Bobby Green. "Look out for Bobby Green because Bobby Green is really doing his thing on this album," he said with a wink. Who is Bobby Green? Well, Petey wouldn't explicitly say, but it wasn't hard to realize from the name alone — a combination of old-school soul men Bobby Womack and Al Green — that he was talking about an alter-ego. "[He's] the soulful side of my album. Not only do I have a funny, hangin'-out, let's-get-freaky side, but [this too]."
That "let's-get-freaky" side is represented in the first single from 2nd Entry, "Freaky Leaky." Petey isn't one who usually talks about jewelry, fancy cars and the lavish lifestyle often portrayed by his Northern peers. But on this song, he certainly lets the more raw and rambunctious side of him come out and play.
"This song is really like a step out there in the water, talking about some real freaky stuff. When I woke up that day, that's what I wanted — I wanted to get freaky."
Petey says he's been finished with 2nd Entry for a few months. That hasn't stopped him from working in the studio, however. He made a quick trip to New York recently to record a healthy dose of new songs for mixtapes and various soundtracks. "I get a lot of stuff going when I go in the studio," he said. "That's my place, that's my zone, that's my playing field.
"If you had to place me in a category as far as what I do with my music, I'd fall in the Tupac category," he added. "I record just like that — I've got four or five albums just waiting right now."
Petey's recent output has included a song he finished for a DJ Kay Slay album, a track with Bubba Sparxxx and two with Missy Elliott. Since Timbaland had a hand in discovering Petey Pablo, working with Missy seemed inevitable, Petey said. The two songs they recorded are called "Whole Wild World" and "Break Me Off," though he doesn't know what will happen to either of the tracks. "I don't want to pull out all my big guns," he said. "She's a megastar. You don't want to wear that out. I want to keep something."
Petey got down on another collaboration recently, one that surprised even him. In the fall, he flew out to Los Angeles and recorded four songs with Will Smith.
A grimy, Dirty South rapper like himself was the last thing Petey thought Smith would be seeking, but sure enough, he received a call from the pop superstar, who paid for Petey to join him in the studio.
"You don't really hear about Will working with other rappers. For him to call me and bring me to his house?" Petey said with disbelief.
So what did he think of the experience? "I'm in his house, in his kitchen, eating a banana out of his bowl. It's like, hey, man — I'm really here."
Petey Pablo, The Black Robert De Niro?
Rapper to make big-screen debut in marching band flick 'Drumline.'
Petey Pablo makes a grand entrance in "Drumline," his first big-screen role. The film, which just finished shooting in Atlanta, is a coming-of-age comedy that revolves around the explosive world of southern marching bands, fixtures at historically black colleges and universities.
Pablo, whose Timbaland-produced anthems "Raise Up" and "I" have made him a hot commodity, performs "Raise Up" and his new single, "I Told Ya'll," in the movie with the Morris Brown College marching band.
"I pull out in a platinum Bentley," Pablo said. "I get out for the performances as the drums are playing. It's like I'm a special guest for one of the biggest scenes in the movie."
Grammy-nominated Blu Cantrell also appears in the film. She sings the national anthem for the film's climatic Big South Classic battle of the bands showdown.
Due to arrive in theaters August 21, "Drumline" stars Nick Cannon ("The Nick Cannon Show") and Orlando Jones ("Evolution," "Double Take"). It was directed by Charles Stone III (the mastermind behind Budweiser's memorable "Wazzup?!" commercials, as well as videos by Public Enemy and the Roots, among others) and based on a story written by Dallas Austin (producer of TLC, JT Money), who played in a marching band in high school and who hand-picked Pablo and Cantrell for their debut film roles.
Pablo, for one, appreciates being able to skip auditioning for his part. "It was easy," he said. "I just basically woke up one day and they're telling me that I'm going to be in a movie. I've been really blessed, man. All the stuff that I'm doing and that has been done for me has basically come overnight."
Austin, however, has been working on "Drumline" since 1995, when he wrote the story on which the flick is based. He serves as the film's musical supervisor as well as one of its producers.
He hopes to bring a variety of sounds to the movie. "The essence is to come with drums from all different perspectives, whether it's drum'n'bass, garage, hip-hop from the South, hip-hop from the West or up North," Austin said. "All of them have their different elements, so it was important to me to combine as much rhythm to the movie as possible and not just limit it to the South, where a lot of the bands are."
Also based in the South — North Carolina to be exact — Petey Pablo isn't resting on his laurels now that he's making movies. He's already recording the follow-up to 2001's gold-certified Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry. He and Timbaland will be producing the majority of the album, which Pablo is recording in New York, North Carolina and other locales.
As he did on his first album, Pablo plans to bring a new sound with his second album, due later this year. "My albums take you through different situations, different changes, and it really doesn't sound like anything else," he said.
That difference was obviously noticed by Austin, who has Pablo smiling. "I'm happy as a motherf---er," said Pablo, who is thrilled with his first movie role. "This has sparked off some new sh--. Now, the movie people are looking at me like I'm the black Robert De Niro. It's on and popping."
Petey Pablo: Raising the Bar
Petey Pablo's going to have to change the spelling of his moniker to Petey Pablow. The Greenville, North Carolina, native has been blowing up for the past few months with his debut single, "Raise Up," which pays homage to his home state.
While in New York last summer, he quipped that his label and management weren't showing him enough love because he didn't get the big birthday bash he had hoped for. Today, in Richmond, Virginia, amore is in abundance. Fresh from getting mobbed by fans at a mall, the MC checks in while he's jetting off to an in-store to promote his debut LP, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry, which dropped November 6.
"It's crazy, man," says Pablo of the reception he and his heavily rotated single have been getting. "But it's what I expected. I ain't gonna say it's nothing no different. I got my eyes on them Michael Jackson tours where they're shaking your bus over there in Tokyo. That's what I want."
Pablo's latest stab at being like Mike means writing songs that not only make you want to dance, but also inspire. After the attacks on America, Pablo authored a "USA Remix" for "Raise Up" featuring the same Timbaland string-filled track and expressing his flag-waving patriotism: "USA, c'mon and raise up/ Take a flag, put in the air/ Spin it like a helicopter."
"I've always been an individual that's been before my time," he says. "I knew it was time. At that time, Jermaine Dupri was going into the studio [to record the charity single "What's Going On"]. It wasn't a hip-hop song. It was a remix of Marvin Gaye. I needed to step forth for the hip-hop community and do that thing."
Firmly embraced by his peers, Pablo will spew his Southern twang on upcoming albums by the Ruff Ryders, Fat Joe and, of course, his close friend Timbaland's group album with Magoo.
Petey Pablo: Proving Himself Worthy
"What it's like working with Petey Pablo?" Timbaland asks rhetorically. "So amazing. He's the best. You don't get a person that you don't gotta coach. I gotta coach him a little bit, but he's like your second Jordan. He comes in the studio and makes your song better.
"Petey is the truth," he continued. "His talent is way beyond what he can imagine. I wish he was my artist, but he's signed to Jive."
Timbaland first heard Pablo's raging, soulful flow on Black Rob's "Whoa!" remix and agreed to work with him after the two were introduced by Missy Elliott — that was Petey acting as one of Missy's hypemen during her performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. Missy's stamp of approval wasn't enough, though. Pablo, who features Timbaland on Diary of a Sinner's next single, "I," had to further impress the producer with his rhymes.
"I've been a Beat Club member ever since I proved myself on 'Raise Up,' " Pablo said of his association with Timbo's musical clique. "I don't think the track to 'Raise Up' is a typical Timbaland track. If you just heard the track, you wouldn't have thought Timbaland did that track. It don't have no crazy sounds on it. He's not talking on it. You don't have that 'Yeah, yeah' on that.
"It's like [teaching] a younger person," he continues. "You ain't gonna give him a big task to fulfill, but you're gonna give him something to prove himself worthy."
'The 'Hood Really Ain't Changed'
Petey Pablo's life reads like one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. It could have played out several different ways. After serving six years in prison for a drug charge, Petey, who honed his skills in jail, returned home to his North Carolina neighborhood only to find himself surrounded by the same street enticements.
"The 'hood really ain't changed," he says. "The people that was there was different. The little shorties was big shorties. The older heads was giving me love, but the younger n---as was looking at me like, 'Who this n---a?' That was the true test to see if this was my life. After being away for all them years, from everything that was cool to me and familiar to me, immediately — not allowing myself to get caught up in the same entrapments — I left."
After jetting to New York, he was taken under the wing of Erick Sermon and later, Busta Rhymes. Although "things didn't work out" and neither MC officially put him down with their squads, Busta's former road manager Fab decided to guide Pablo's career. Further down the line, he formed a friendship with Black Rob (Petey, Rob, and G. Dep are part of a clique of MCs called the Alumni), and while the two were out on the town, a Jive Records exec heard Petey freestyling in a bathroom and decided to sign him.
'Carry Jive Past 'NSYNC Status'
"It's really not an album. It's a diary put into the musical form," Pablo says of his LP. "The title track, that song explains exactly what this album is. The hook is 'Muthaf---a had thoughts, and I had to write them down.' "
His radio singles are a little misleading. Often on Diary of a Sinner, the 28-year-old drops his belligerent war cries and calmly engages in conversational raps when telling his stormy stories.
"This ain't even a song," he says on "My Testimony." He speaks to the listener, almost as if he's reading a letter of his reflections on life. "Kidnapped and confined within a system designed to destroy the innocent child I used to be," he discloses, admitting to having tears soak the pages of his rhyme book. "Stripped me mentally naked, embarrassing my mama's firstborn."
The flow of "Test of My Faith" is similar. He sings on the hook about maintaining hope through strife, while he narrates hardships in the 'hood within the verses. "Do Dat" speeds the tempo up more as Pablo pulls the card of fake killers and gangsters as he proclaims, "I can blaze a track without busting a gat at it/ Can you muthafu----- do that?"
Finishing the song's chorus during an impromptu performance, it's clear that Pablo truly believes that he is "What's going to carry Jive past 'NSYNC status," as he rhymes on another one of his songs. "Yooouuu gonna have to change up all your sh-- in a little bit," he spits in a sing-songy flow. "When the radio and the clubs get to pumpin' this and they start to find out what what rappin' really is."
Petey Pablo is on a ''Playboy Mansion'' Soundtrack
Players can select from genre-specific stations to create the mood in their virtual "Playboy Mansion". Hip Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated multi-platform video game release, "Playboy: The Mansion," will feature a diverse soundtrack including music from more than 40 artists. Players can select from eight different stations ranging from hip-hop to rock to house music, setting the mood at their virtual "Playboy Mansion." Developed by Cyberlore Studios for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and PC systems, "Playboy: The Mansion" is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is slated to launch in January 2005.
Emerging bands such as Start Trouble, The Wylde Bunch, The Rosenbergs, Aquavibe and Sugarcult have songs featured in "Playboy: The Mansion," as well as established artists including Petey Pablo, Felix Da House Cat, All-American Rejects and Sander Kleinenberg. In the game, players can purchase stereos and select music for different areas of the virtual Playboy Mansion. The soundtrack not only will allow players to customize their experience, but also serves a gameplay purpose by entertaining guests, and in turn, keeping the party going.
"With 'Playboy: The Mansion,' you can create the ultimate virtual party, and as the best hosts like Hef know, a party isn't a party without great music," said Jim Perkins, president of ARUSH Publishing. "We're thrilled to showcase music from amazing up-and-coming artists, and think there is something for everyone, with rock, punk, hip-hop, and even flamenco music available on your Playboy Mansion's radio."
Songs from the game's INgrooves radio station, which features dance and house music, will be featured on a CD release mixed by DJ Felix Da House Cat, and released in retail stores and on the Internet in January 2005.
Artists Featured in "Playboy: The Mansion" Include:
Petey Pablo; All-American Rejects; Sugarcult; The Rosenbergs; Start Trouble; Wylde Bunch; Aquavibe; Felix Da House Cat; Sander Kleinenberg, featuring Miss Bunty; Swollen Members; J. Boogie's Dubtronic Science; F.I.L.T.H.E.E. Immigrants; Armand Van Helden; Autopilot; Blue Van; Bob Berg; DJ Sneak; Dolla Skills; Eastern Sun and John Kelly; DJ Excess; Imperial Assassins, featuring Judge D; Jimmy Bruno; Jimmy Grand; Joey DeFrancesco; Like Minds; Matthew Skutnik; Michael Tello; Out, Out; People Under The Stairs; Poncho Sanchez; Prince Charming; Ray Roc; Reflekt, featuring Deline Bass; Silvertide; Simply Jeff; Sweatshop Union; The Moontrane Conductors; Toadstyle; Tony C And The Truth; Tricia Muldrow; and Young Rome.