THE BACK STORY
As a die hard hip-hop fan growing up in the 1990s, No Limit Records was everything.
The highlight of the week for my friends and I was going to Coconuts record store in Evansville on Monday nights to cop the new releases from C-Murder, Mia X, Mr. Serve-On, and of course the list goes on an on. (Yes, we had to go to an actual store and buy cassette tapes and CDs back then.)
New albums were released on Tuesdays, so Coconuts would open at 12:01 a.m. for our eager crowd. The parking lot would start filling up with Cadillacs and box Chevies around 10:30, and by midnight, the place seemed more like the club on a Friday.
One summer night in 1997 was different though. The parking lot was thicker and there was more excitement in the air. That was the night the movie I’m Bout It was released.
It was the first time the gritty, non-apologetic street music we all loved was manifested into film. The storyline was an embellished, dramatized recount of actual events that took place in New Orleans’ Calliope Projects, where Master P and his brothers grew up.
Making the movie was another unprecedented move by the man who had already been shaking up the structure of the music business for the previous couple of years.
But, it wasn’t the last.
About a year later, Master P released his second film, I Got The Hook-Up.
The fictional comedy was a sharp contrast to I’m Bout It. P had proven that his venture into movies was not only viable, but also diversified.
Fast forward 20 years.
I recently learned that Master P is working on a sequel to I Got The Hook-Up. Hearing the news made me think about the historic significance of the original film, and I knew I needed to get the scoop, hopefully from the man himself.
I was able to reach P by phone at his Hollywood office (thanks Chris 2X). He graciously made time for an interview, which quickly turned into more of a friendly chat once I mentioned that I’m an old school No Limit fan.
The first question was obvious: Why a sequel, and why now?
“The sequel is just needed,” Master P explained, “because people aren’t laughing anymore, and laughter is the medicine that will heal us with all our problems and all our pains and all our struggles. Let’s get our people off the street and get them in the movie theater, laughing.”
He continued, “Think about the people who grew up on I Got the Hook-Up and now their kids are gonna grow up on I Got The Hook-Up 2, so we’re gonna be able to enjoy this with families. You know, mixing up the old comedians with the new social media stars, I feel like this is gonna bridge that gap between generations.”
I immediately thought about how cool it will be to sit down with my teenage daughters and watch both films together, so I can school them on hip-hop history and P’s contributions to the industry. And by cool, I mean cool for me but probably not them, because they think my love and affection for everything 90s is “soooo lame” Lol.
So, what about the cast?
The sequel features veteran comics like John Witherspoon and AJ Johnson along side some of the hottest funny guys in the business right now, like DC Young Fly and Michael Blackson. Expect to see some new faces as well, like Fatboy SSE, Pio and Funny Mike. Rap superstar Young Jeezy is even on the bill. And of course, P’s children, Romeo and Cymphonique Miller, have roles.
“This film is like New Orleans gumbo,” P said proudly. “That’s what I call it. I call it gumbo, because of all these different spices in one pot.”
THE LOUISVILLE CONNECTION
Master P’s connection to Louisville is widely known and goes back decades.
Speaking from personal experience again, the first major concert I ever attended was a No Limit show at The Louisville Gardens in 1997. I remember seeing Dope Fiend Willie (a character from the I’m Bout It movie) riding down Broadway on the back of a drop-top at Derby the following year. P even mentions Louisville and Lexington in Bout It Bout It Part II, the main hit from his 1996 Ice Cream Man album.
But more recently, P has been working in Louisville’s communities and spending time with several families of some of the city’s most high-profile homicide victims. Last year, he built a strong connection with Michesia Norment, whose son, Dequante Hobbs, was killed by a stray bullet as he waited for a piece of cake at the family’s kitchen table.
To recognize his contributions, July 17 was declared Master P Day by Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith and the city of Louisville. A celebration event is in the works and will be announced at a later date.
“It’s not about getting awards and dates,” P said. “I do this from the passion of my heart. I love the city, and I’m just glad the city loves me back.”
I asked P why his connection to Louisville is so strong and why he continues to give back to a city that he’s not originally from and has never lived in.
“People don’t realize, during Hurricane Katrina, Louisville opened their arms to my family,” P said. “And I never forgot that, so I keep coming back with Christopher 2X to help the community, help the kids and help the elderly. I love it. Louisville is like my second home.”
So, what does all that have to do with the new movie?
Master P recently had a contest for cameo roles in I Got The Hook-Up 2. Two Louisville women, Jayla Ferrell and Lamonique Mason, won the contest and were flown to Los Angeles for filming.
“To be able to bring those two contest winners, and let them see how real Hollywood sets goals, I just thought that was special,” he said.
P is now having a second contest to choose someone from Louisville who will receive a trip to Los Angeles for a full red carpet experience at the movie’s Hollywood premiere.
“We’re definitely gonna go out to dinner. We’re gonna take them on the red carpet. They’re gonna get a chance to mix it up with the Hollywood stars.”
Both contests are sponsored by Master P and the Winton & Hiestand Law Group.
I Got The Hook-Up 2 is scheduled for release in May, 2019. Be on the lookout for more information about the premier and local showings.
Even though I Got The Hook-Up 2 is still in production, Master P is already making plans for a third installment of the comedy series. He told me they will eventually be hosting a casting call in Louisville to find new talent for that film.
“We’re gonna bring Hollywood to Louisville,” P said.
So, stay tuned for more projects from the entertainment mogul, as well as more opportunities to be a part of them.