Master P 1970–
Master P 1970–
Record and film company executive, rap artist, actor
In one of his songs, “99 Ways to Die,” rapper/CEO Master P has this line: “I’m not just your everyday rapper, I’m an entrepreneur.” Before the age of 30, Master P has made his mark as a hip-hop recording artist, a movie producer, and the owner of the largest independent record label in the industry, No Limit Records, powerhouse producer of southern-influenced gangsta rap albums. In 1997 Master P earned a reported $56.5 million, and Forbes Magazine placed Master P in the Number Ten spot on its list of the most highly paid entertainers for that year. His ranking placed him just behind the Rolling Stones and ahead of entertainment notables Celine Dion, the Spice Girls, Puff Daddy, and Will Smith in earnings for that year.
No Limit Records is an industry phenomenon. An independent label in an industry dominated by corporate giants, it regularly placed more albums in the top 40 charts than major labels such as Columbia and Capitol. In the spring of 1998, MP Da Last Don, billed as Master P’s last album, debuted, and it sold almost 500,000 albums the first week and skyrocketed to the number one position on Billboard’s charts. However, it was not the only representative of the label’s output: five other albums produced by No Limit Records were on Billboard’s top ten list the same month.
Born Percy Miller in New Orleans in 1970, the oldest of five children, Master P grew up in a housing project then called the Calliope Apartments in New Orleans’ Third Ward, an area with a reputation for a high crime rate and violence. His parents divorced when he was 11 and his mother moved to California. Though he shuttled back and forth between New Orleans and California, the teenaged Percy settled in New Orleans, attended Booker T. Washington and Warren Eason high schools, and played basketball at both schools. After graduation, he reportedly earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Houston. However, he was sidelined by a leg injury and headed back home rather than sit out the season on the bench. After the death of his brother, Kevin, and with some junior college business courses to his credit, Master P moved to Richmond and opened a small record store, No Limit Records, financing the store with $10,000 that he received as part of a medical malpractice settlement related to the death of his
At a Glance…
Born Percy Miller, in New Orleans, Louisiana c. 1970. Married, four children. Education: two years of junior college in Oakland and New Orleans.
Career: Opened record store, No Limit Records, late 1980s; turned store into record label and produced himself and others, mid 1990s; founded No Limit Film, No Limit Sports Management; owner of other businesses including a Foot Locker franchise, a gas station, travel agency and real estate; played basketball for the Fort Wayne Fury, 1998, tried out for the Charlotte Hornets, 1999; albums and solo releases as solo artist: The Ghetto’s Tryin’to Kill Me, 1994, 99 Ways to Die, 1995, Ice Cream Man, 1996, Ghetto D, 1997, MP Da Last Don, 1998; albums as part of the group TRU (with his brothers, rappers Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder): TRU 2 Da Game, TRUE, 1995. Films: I’m ’Bout It, 1997, MP Da Last Don, I Got the Hook-Up, 1998, Takedown, 1999, Foolish, 1999.
Awards: Forbes list of top 10 most highly paid entertainers for 1998; five gold and platinum albums; American Music Awards, Award for Favorite Artist, R&B/Hip-Hop, 1998.
Addresses: Home— Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Publicist—Barbara Pescosolido, No Limit Entertainment, 7095 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 701, Hollywood, CA, 90028.
Hip-hop music, although a major commercial presence in the 1980s and 1990s is at heart a grassroots arts tradition established in the urban streets. So, from the beginning, rap artists have been promoted differently from mainstream artists. An album being promoted by a major label will jockey for playtime at radio stations. If it gets played and listeners like it, they buy it and the album is on its way. Rap music, on the other hand, is promoted directly to its customers by teams of street promoters who hand out postcards, stickers, and sample singles from artists. If the promoters do their job, word gets out, and the records sell even before they get air time. Often in fact, gangsta rap albums are never played on radio stations even after they make the charts because of their raw language; instead, cleaned-up versions of them are prepared for radio air play.
It was this kind of street marketing that Master P followed and that allowed him to turn a small record store into a major record label in a remarkably short time. In 1994, he self-produced his first album, The Ghetto’s Tryin’ to Kill Me, and sold it out of the trunk of his car in neighborhoods in and around Oakland and also in New Orleans. It became an underground hit, selling a solid 200,000 copies without radio play and turning a profit for the young company. The Chicago Tribune quoted Master P telling an audience of fledgling entrepreneurs at a music business workshop, “Start in your neighborhood and sell your records. Once you start making a buzz, they’ll come looking for you. If you can’t sell records at home, you can’t sell them nowhere.”
Master P’s next move was to take the profits from that album and produce two collections of regional rap music: Down South Hustlers, Vol 1 and West Coast Bad Boys, Vol 1. The strategy he employed became a hallmark of Master P and No Limit Records’ marketing: highlighting well-known artists along with lesser known artists, giving customers more for their money, like longer play time on albums and two-for-one compilations, centering albums around themes, and producing album covers with striking graphic images. In an article in the Washington Post in 1997, Master P explained, “What I learned in the ghetto is that everybody wants more for their money. If you sell something for $20, they wanna know how can they get $25 worth. And that’s what hustling is about. You gotta be able to give your customers more for their money, ’cause that’s how you’re going to keep them coming back to you.”
By 1997, the four-year label had a cluster of artists who, while not household names, were well-known to rap fans: people like Mystical, Mia X, Silkk the Shocker (Master P’s brother, Zyshonne Miller) and C-Murder (his youngest brother Corey Miller). Without giving up control of the company, Master P struck a deal with distribution company Priority to take over record distribution, allowing him to concentrate on the other aspects of the business.
Master P’s next step was to diversify, starting with film production. He produced, directed, and acted in a low-budget semi-autobiographical film called I’m ’Bout It, which includes a fictionalized version of his brother Kevin’s murder by a drug addict. No one would back the project, so he bankrolled it himself using profits from No Limit. When he could not find any film distributor to handle the film, with its unsophisticated film technique, gritty dialogue, and Black urban focus, he added short clips to the beginning and end of the film, labeled it “banned in theaters across America,” and released it directly on video. Just as with his first album, he found that he had an underground hit on his hands. The video flew out of video stores. Within five weeks of its release, 200,000 copies sold and the film had risen to 26th place on the video sales chart. Moreover, the soundtrack to I’m Bout It went platinum, an unprecedented event for the soundtrack from a film that was never seen inside a theater.
The following year, in 1998, not surprisingly, there was no problem finding a distributor for No Limit’s second film I Got the Hook-Up, a comedy. Dimension Films, a division of Miramax, signed a distribution deal with No Limit. Master P wrote the screenplay, produced it, and played one of the starring roles, a con artist selling cellular phones in South Central Los Angeles. While the film was criticized as introducing a new era of Black exploitation films, it sold tickets. Within months, Master P was on the set of a third film, MP Da Last Don, scheduled to go straight to video. He has signed a deal with the Endeavor agency to help him land starring roles and develop major studio film and TV projects through No Limit. Master P is also scheduled to appear in Takedown and Foolish in 1999.
The financially successful venture into filmmaking demonstrated the business strategy of No Limit Records. Instead of borrowing for a new venture, No Limit takes the profit from one venture to bankroll the next. Ownership is retained, not given away, as in the distribution deal with Dimension Films. As much as possible, the middle man is eliminated. Each new enterprise starts small and builds from there, and everybody works hard. Also, there is cross-promotion: the films promote the albums, and the albums promote the films. Most importantly in every project No Limit has produced, the product reflected what the customers want. Tevester Scott, business manager for the label, stated in an article in The Baltimore Sun, “We have total control, we stay small and we constantly put records and films out. We know what sells in our market because we are our market.”
Within the next 12 months the entire No Limit company moved operations to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70 miles from Master P’s hometown of New Orleans. At the same time, No Limit undertook a host of new enterprises. In 1997, Master P started a sports management company, No Limit Sports Management, that represented several young NBA players including Ron Mercer of the Boston Celtics and Derek Anderson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Construction was almost completed on a complex called “The Ice Cream Shop,” which planned to include five recording studios, a dorm, a gym, a pool, an aquarium, a sun deck, a movie theater, a domed basketball court, and 15 Hummers for transportation. Businesses incorporated by No Limit Records in Baton Rouge in 1998 totaled 12, including a Foot Locker Franchise, a gas station, a travel agency, a real estate company, and a phone sex service.
The move to Baton Rouge made a statement about the kind of rap music No Limit made: southern-style gangsta rap, a new regional strand of rap outside traditional polarities of West Coast or East Coast rap. The move was also, apparently, a move to a safer environment. Master P saw Baton Rouge and the South as a safe haven from the violence that gangsta rappers have attracted in Los Angeles. He and five of his associates bought houses in a gated community in an exclusive area of Baton Rouge where former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards was living as well. The Baton Rouge community was apparently less than enthusiastic about the prospect of becoming the center for Southern rap; in fact, the country club refused the applications of No Limit executives to join, citing their association with the entertainment industry as the reason. However, the Baton Rouge community and schools have been the recipients of support from the Master P Foundation, including scholarships, violence-prevention programs, holiday gifts for inner city schoolchildren, and support for the Boy Scouts.
Another significant point that the move to Baton Rouge underscored is the strong ties among the artists and employees attached to No Limit. They call themselves “No Limit Soldiers.” The company’s logo is a tank with two rappers with machine guns coming out of it. A copy of the logo made out of ceramic and gold tile was installed on the floor of Master P’s swimming pool in Baton Rouge. Master P is respected in the industry for helping other artists without exploiting them and for this reason has attracted many to his label. Rapper Mystikal, also from New Orleans, worked to get out of bad contracts he had signed with other record companies so he could sign with No Limit. In 1998, in a headline-grabbing coup, Snoop Doggy Dogg, a major rap star, negotiated a release from his contract with Death Row Records to sign on with No Limit.
One of the advantages of being a multi-millionaire is that it allows you to follow your dreams, and Master P’s dream, dating back to high school, was to play professional basketball. In 1998, he tried out for the Continental Basketball Association’s team, the Fort Wayne Fury, and was signed as a free agent in October. Using his birth name of Percy Miller, he earned $1000 a week and $15 per diem allowance. After playing with the Furies for several months, averaging 1.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in eight games, he was invited to try out for a slot on the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) team, the Charlotte Hornets.
In January of 1999 just before the start of a shortened NBA season, word got out that Master P was trying out for the team. Over 15,000 fans crowded the Charlotte Hornets stadium in North Carolina to watch a preseason scrimmage, an event that usually drew a handful of spectators. “I think there were 10 Hornet fans here. The rest were for Master P,” Hornets forward Travis Williams was quoted as saying in the South Carolina newspaper, The Herald. Master P did not make the cut, but announced that he planned to continue to work for a berth on a NBA team.
While with the Fury, teammates would tease Master P as he lined up for the $15 per diem allowance with them. As quoted in a New York Times article, his standard response was, “Man, I ain’t letting nothing get by me.” Watchers in the music business industry, clocking Master P’s phenomenal success on multiple tactical fronts, nod their heads in agreement.
The Ghetto’s Tryin’ To Kill Me, 1994.
99 Ways To Die, 1995.
Ghetto D, 1997.
MP Da Last Don, 1998.
I’m Bout It, 1997.
I Got The Hookup, 1998.
MP Da Last Don, 1998.
Baltimore Sun, January 10, 1999, p. 1A.
Chicago Tribune, August 6, 1998, sec. 6, p. 1.
The Herald (Rock Hill, South Carolina), January 24, 1999, p. 1.
Newsweek, June 1, 1998, p. 66.
New York Times, November 9, 1998, sec. E, p.l.
Wall Street Journal, June 25, 1998, p. A1.
Washington Post, May 29, 1998, C14.
Donnelly, Rory. "Master P 1970–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. (May 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2872300037.html
Donnelly, Rory. "Master P 1970–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1999. Retrieved May 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2872300037.html
Master P 1967- (P. Miller, Percy Miller)
Master P 1967- (P. Miller, Percy Miller)
Full name, Percy Robert Miller; born April 29, 1967, in New Orleans, LA; son of Percy and Josie Miller; brother of rap music artists C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker; married, wife's name Sonya, 1991; children: four, including Percy Romeo (a rap artist known as Lil' Romeo). Education: Attended Delgado Community College and Southern University, New Orleans, LA.
Agent—Fortitude, 8619 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232; (voice work and commercials) Marcia Hurwitz, Innovative Artists Talent and Literary Agency, 1505 10th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401. Manager—Releve Entertainment, 6255 West Sunset Blvd., Suite 923, Hollywood, CA 90028.
Actor, voice performer, recording artist, music producer, songwriter, producer, and director. Performer with rap music groups TRU and Da 504 Boyz. No Limit Records (record store), Richmond, CA, founder, 1989; No Limit Records (record label; also known as New No Limit), Baton Rouge, LA, chief executive officer, 1990—; No Limit Film, founder; Take a Stand Records, owner; Urban World Wireless, president of Udub Music, 2008. No Limit Sports Management, founder, 1997; Creator of MP Clothing line, 1999; Miller Enterprises, principal; former principal of No Limit Clothing, PM Properties, and Advantage Travel. Founder of P. Miller Youth Centers and P. Miller Food Foundation for the Homeless; Joel John Scholastic Academy, member of executive board, 2008; speaker at community and family support functions. Continental Basketball Association, basketball player with Ford Wayne Fury, 1998-99; American Basketball Association, basketball player with Las Vegas Rattlers, 2003; Black College Hoops Classic, commissioner of basketball, 2008; McDonald's NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, basketball player, 2008.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (youth ambassador).
American Music Award, favorite rhythm and blues or hip hop artist, 1998; Black Star Award, outstanding film entrepreneur, Acapulco Black Film Festival, 2000.
Rhyme & Reason (documentary), Miramax, 1997.
Perry McKnight, I'm Bout It, No Limit Films, 1997.
Nino, MP Da Last Don, No Limit Films, 1998.
Guy, The Players Club, New Line Cinema, 1998.
Black, I Got the Hook Up, Dimension Films, 1998.
Quentin "Fifty Dollah" Waise, Foolish, Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
Maker, No Tomorrow, PM Entertainment Group, 1999.
Moe, Hot Boyz (also known as Gang Law), Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
Brad, Takedown (also known as Hackers 2: Takedown and Track Down), Dimension Home Video, 2000.
(Uncredited) Johnnie B., Gone in Sixty Seconds, Buena Vista, 2000.
Clean Up, Lockdown, Palm Pictures, 2000.
First Gat Boyz rapper, Undisputed (also known as Undisputed—Sieg ohne ruhm), Miramax, 2002.
Maniac, Dark Blue, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 2003.
Julius Armas, Hollywood Homicide, Columbia, 2003.
Paper Chasers (documentary), 2003, Koch Vision, 2005.
Himself, Scary Movie 3, Miramax/Dimension Films, 2003.
Mr. Carlson, More Mercy (also known as Bad Bizness), Artisan Entertainment, 2004.
Pistol P, Still 'bout It, Urban Works Entertainment, 2004.
Petey, Decisions, Koch Vision, 2004.
Tea, Repos, Ventura Entertainment, 2006.
Greg, Don't Be Scared, Bossman/Master P, 2006.
Bernard, Black Supaman, Neighborhood Filmworks, 2007.
Big Al, Paroled, Paroled Films, 2007.
Title role, Uncle P, New Line Home Video, 2007.
Angel, Toxic, Weinstein Co., 2008.
Internet Dating, Bossman/Master P, 2008.
Coach Dallas, Down and Distance, Gorilla Films, 2008.
Wally, Soccer Mom, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2008.
Film Executive Producer:
(And director) I'm 'bout It, No Limit Films, 1997.
(And director) Da Game of Life (short film), No Limit Films/Shooting Star Pictures, 1998.
I Got the Hook Up, Dimension Films, 1998.
Foolish, Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
(And director) No Tomorrow, PM Entertainment Group, 1999.
Lockdown, Palm Pictures, 2000.
(And director) Still 'bout It, Urban Works Entertainment, 2004.
(And director) Decisions, Koch Vision, 2004.
Producer, Desert Bayou, Indiepix, 2006.
(As Percy Miller) Uncle P, New Line Home Video, 2007.
Codirector, MP Da Last Don, No Limit Films, 1998.
Hot Boyz (also known as Gang Law), Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
(And producer) Repos, Ventura Entertainment, 2006.
Don't Be Scared, Bossman/Master P, 2006.
Black Supaman, Neighborhood Filmworks, 2007.
Internet Dating, Bossman/Master P, 2008.
Film Work; Song Performer:
Nothing to Lose, Buena Vista, 1997.
Light It Up, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1999.
Pootie Tang, Paramount, 2001.
(And song producer) Scooby-Doo, Warner Bros., 2002.
Paid in Full, Dimension Films, 2002.
Kangaroo Jack, Warner Bros., 2003.
Malibu's Most Wanted, Warner Bros., 2003.
Song producer, Hollywood Homicide, Columbia, 2003.
Cellular (also known as Final Call—Wenn er auflegt, muss sie sterben), New Line Cinema, 2004.
Television Appearances; Series:
Judge, Coming to the Stage, Black Entertainment Television, 2004.
Himself, Romeo!, Nickelodeon, 2004-2006.
(Sometimes credited as P. Miller) Contestant, Dancing with the Stars, ABC, 2006-2007.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
(As Percy Miller) Head Coach P. Miller Ballers, The Team, Nickelodeon, 2005.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Crip, Popcorn Shrimp, Showtime, 2001.
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, CBS, 2001.
Mariah Carey: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.
MTV Cribs Presents: How to Live Large, MTV, 2001.
Access Granted: Lil' Romeo, Black Entertainment Television, 2001.
Hip Hop Babylon 2, VH1, 2003.
Crashing with Master P, MTV, 2003.
MTV Bash, MTV, 2003.
Life of Luxury, ABC, c. 2003.
(In archive footage) 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs … Ever, VH1, 2004.
(In archive footage) And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop, VH1, 2004.
Hip Hop vs. America, Black Entertainment Television, c. 2007.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
"Lovers and Other Traitors," Linc's, Showtime, 1999.
Weird Weekends (also known as Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends), Independent Film Channel, c. 1999.
(As Percy Miller) Mister O, "Badfellas," Malcolm & Eddie, UPN, 1999.
Patience, "Something about Moesha," Moesha, UPN, 2000.
Patience, "The Robbing Hood," Moesha, UPN, 2000.
Patience, "Arriving Right on Q," Moesha, UPN, 2000.
Patience, "D-Money Loses His Patience," Moesha, UPN, 2000.
The Source Sound Lab, UPN, 2000.
Jean Baptiste Duvalier, "Art Attack," Dark Angel (also known as James Cameron's "Dark Angel"), Fox, 2001.
Curtis Bennett, "Orpheus Descending," Oz, HBO, 2001.
Musical guest, Oh Drama!, Black Entertainment Television, 2001.
"Snoop Dogg: Lay Low," Making the Video, MTV, 2001.
Himself, "I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas," The Hughleys, UPN, 2001.
Journeys in Black, Black Entertainment Television, 2001.
Mad TV, Fox, 2002.
Himself, "X Does Not Mark the Spot," Girlfriends, UPN, 2002.
Judge, Star Search, CBS, 2003.
Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, MTV, 2003.
Kevin Vick, "Grand Master," CSI: NY, CBS, 2004.
Soul Train, 2004.
106 & Park Top 10 Live (also known as 106 & Park), Black Entertainment Television, 2004, 2005.
ESPN Hollywood, ESPN, 2006.
The Fabulous Life Presents: Really Rich Real Estate, VH1, 2006.
(In archive footage) Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, ESPN, 2006.
Panelist, Red Eye (also known as Red Eye w/Greg Gurfeld), Fox News Channel, 2007.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
The 1998 Billboard Music Awards, Fox, 1998.
MTV Video Music Awards 1998, MTV, 1998.
The 1999 Source Hip-Hop Music Awards, UPN, 1999.
The 26th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1999.
The 1999 Teen Choice Awards, Fox, 1999.
Presenter, The 2001 Radio Music Awards, ABC, 2001.
Presenter, The 29th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2002.
Presenter, 33rd NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2002.
The 2002 Billboard Music Awards, Fox, 2002.
4th Annual BET Awards, Black Entertainment Television, 2004.
39th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2008.
Television Guest Appearances; Episodic:
The Roseanne Show, syndicated, 2000.
The Andy Dick Show, MTV, 2001.
Hollywood Squares (also known as H2 and H2: Hollywood Squares), syndicated, 2002, 2004.
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (also known as The Late Late Show), CBS, 2003.
The New Tom Greene Show, MTV, 2003.
The Sharon Osbourne Show (also known as Sharon), syndicated, 2003.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC, 2003, 2006.
Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2004.
The Tony Danza Show, syndicated, 2006.
Television Executive Producer:
Romeo! (series), Nickelodeon, 2004-2006.
The Team (miniseries), Nickelodeon, 2005.
Get Away Clean, In a Minute, 1991.
Mama's Bad Boy, 1992.
The Ghetto's Trying to Kill Me, No Limit, 1994.
99 Ways to Die, No Limit, 1995.
(With TRU) True, 1995.
(With TRU) TRU to Da Game, 1996.
Ice Cream Man, No Limit, 1996.
Ghetto D, No Limit/Priority, 1997.
Master P Presents … West Coast Bad Boyz II, No Limit, 1997.
MP Da Last Don, No Limit, 1998.
Only God Can Judge Me, No Limit/Priority, 1999.
(With TRU) TRU Niggaz, 1999.
(With Da 504 Boyz) Goodfellaz, 1999.
Ghetto Postage, No Limit/Priority, 2000.
Game Face, No Limit/Priority, 2001.
Good Side, Bad Side, 2004.
Ghetto Bill, 2005.
The Best of Master P, Priority, 2005.
Living Legend: Certified D-Boy, 2005.
Master P and Friends, K-Town, 2005.
America's Most Luved Bad Guy, 2006.
The New No Limit Deluxe, Koch Vision, 2006.
The Ultimate Master P, Koch Vision, 2006.
Featuring … Master P, PCT, 2007.
(With Lil' Romeo) Hip Hop History, 2007.
Greatest Hitz, Priority, 2007.
Singles from No Limit include "When They Gone," 1995; "Mr. Ice Cream Man," 1996; "No More Tears," 1996; "I Miss My Homies," 1997; "If I Could Change," 1997; "Kenny's Dead," 1998; "Make 'em Say Uhh!," 1998; "I Got the Hook Up," 1998; "Goodbye to My Homies," 1998; "I'm Going Big Time," 1999; "Jack of the Jackers," 1999; "B-Ball," 1999; "Step to This," 1999; and "Ooohhhwee," 2002; other singles include "Souljas," Priority, 2000; "Real Love," Universal International, 2002, and "Act a Fool," Koch Vision, 2004.
Master P Presents No Limits, Vol. 1, 1999.
Rising to the Top: Master P Story, 1999.
Welcome to Death Row, Xenon Pictures, 2001.
Xzibit: Restless Xposed, Fortress Entertainment Group, 2001.
"Homies and Thuggs," Scarface: Greatest Hits on DVD, Pop/Art Film Factory, 2003.
Making "Scary Movie 3," Dimension Home Video, 2004.
Appeared in the music videos "It Ain't My Fault" by Silkk the Shocker, "Let's Ride" by Montell Jordan, and "My Baby" by Lil' Romeo.
I'm Bout It, No Limit Films, 1997.
Da Game of Life (short film), No Limit Films/Shooting Star Pictures, 1998.
MP Da Last Don (also based on story by Master P), No Limit Films, 1998.
I Got the Hook Up (also based on story by Master P), Dimension Films, 1998.
Hot Boyz (also known as Gang Law), Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
Foolish, Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
No Tomorrow, PM Entertainment Group, 1999.
Decisions, Koch Vision, 2004.
Don't Be Scared, Bossman/Master P, 2006.
Black Supaman, Neighborhood Filmworks, 2007.
(As P. Miller) Uncle P, New Line Home Video, 2007.
Composer, Killer Pad, 2008.
Songs Featured in Films:
"Scream," Scream 2, Dimension Films, 1997.
"Hit 'em Up, Get 'em Up (Stick 'em Up)," Nothing to Lose, Buena Vista, 1997.
"Throw 'em Up," The Players Club, New Line Cinema, 1998.
Title song, Light It Up, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1999.
"Souljas," Undisputed (also known as Undisputed—Sieg ohne ruhm), Miramax, 2002.
"Lil' Romeo's B House," Scooby-Doo, Warner Bros., 2002.
"Choppa Style" and "Get Back," Malibu's Most Wanted, Warner Bros., 2003.
"Oh No," Hollywood Homicide, Columbia, 2003.
"Them Jeans," Cellular, New Line Cinema, 2004.
Romeo!, Nickelodeon, 2004-2006.
Guaranteed Success When You Never Give Up, Kensington Publishing, 2007.
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 21, Gale, 1999.
Contemporary Musicians, Volume 22, Gale, 1998.
Newsmakers 1999, Issue 4, Gale, 1999.
Black Enterprise, January, 2008, p. 46.
Ebony, June, 2002, p. 56.
Entertainment Weekly, June 12, 1998, p. 38.
Fortune, September 27, 1999, p. 166.
Jet, February 26, 2001, p. 32; February 3, 2003, p. 58.
People Weekly, January 28, 2008, p. 123.
Sports Illustrated, July 19, 1999, p. 82.
"Master P 1967- (P. Miller, Percy Miller)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. (May 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3069600109.html
"Master P 1967- (P. Miller, Percy Miller)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3069600109.html
Producer, rap artist
Percy Miller, known as Master P. chartered a remarkably successful career as founder and CEO of the independent record company No Limit Records. In addition to overseeing his record label, he is a rap artist, film and videodirector, actor, and business entrepreneur. In less than ten years Miller rose from record store retailer to owner of one of the country’s most successful independent record companies, enjoying forays into film and video as well. When he forged a distribution deal with Priority Records, Miller retained financial control of his company, No Limit Records, and also insisted on complete creative control. This financial and creative freedom allowed Miller and the artists on his label to branch out into film and video and to work with whomever they please—attracting more high-profile artists to the label. In less than ten years, No Limit Records grew into a multimillion-dollar operation with offices in Baton Rouge and Los Angeles; in September of 1997, No Limit Records had five of the top 150 albums in the country.
The 6’2”, 180-pound Miller was born in 1970 in the uptown portion of New Orleans, LA, near the French Quarter, and was raised in the city’s third ward 1, 800-unit Calliope housing projects. His parents separated when he was three years old and his mother moved to Richmond, CA. Miller and his younger brother Kevin were raised by their paternal grandmother. Miller slept on a bare wood floor in the hallway of his grandmother’s three-bedroom apartment, as there were eleven other children in his grandmother’s care. He visited his mother in Richmond frequently, and told the Washington Post’s Jay W. Babcock, “You would hope that my mom was livin in a big old fancy house, but she was in the ‘hood’too.”
Miller’s high school basketball coach, Moon Jones, took him under his wing and provided him with encouragement throughout his teen years. The University of Houston gave Miller a scholarship as a point guard, and he spent two years at the college before suffering a leg injury and conceding that the scholarship wasn’t sufficient to cover his expenses. He returned to New Orleans, where—as was his experience in high school—he had to hustle jobs on the street to make ends meet. He told Babcock, “I wasn’t hustlin’to buy a car or nothin’like that, I was hustlin’ to survive. I was hustlin’ to keep the bills paid, I was hustlin’ so my brothers didn’t have to hustle.”
A $10, 000 medical malpractice payment related to the death of his grandfather funded a trip to Richmond, CA, for Miller. He opened a rap music store there in 1990 and learned about the record industry from the bottom up. Miller was an aspiring rapper and fan of rap music even before he opened his music store, called No Limit, in the Oakland satellite of Richmond. By 1992, he was ready to start his own label. He told Carlito Rodriguez of The Source, “I seen a lot of good rappers and a lot of people in the business, but they wasn’t owning it. They was taking their business to somebody for a percentage and settling for less…. if I could just sell half of what they selling…and own my stuff, I could make some changes.”
Miller’s business strategy and acumen was honed by his experience managing his own store. He also received valuable tutelage from one of the Bay Area’s music distributors—a man named Saint Charles, who owned the Solar Music Group. Charles also mentored the musician E-40 and most of the independent-minded musicians from the area. Miller asked as many questions as possible from local distributors like Charles in order to piece together an accurate overview of the industry, and then released his first album, The Ghetto’s Tryin’ to Kill Me. Miller told Rodriguez, “Hands on, I think, is the most successful way you can learn something…. If you get out there and make a few mistakes, you’ll know how to do it.”
After releasing The Ghetto’s Tryin’ to Kill Me in 1993, Miller planned on selling just enough albums to see a return on his investment. Without any help from video, radio, or wide-scale distribution, the record sold more
Born Percy Miller in 1970 in New Orleans, LA; parents separated when he was three and a half years old. Education: received basketball scholarship as a point guard to University of Houston in Texas, attended college for two years.
Opened the No Limits record/cd store in Richmond, CA in 1990; founded No Limit Records in 1992; released The Ghetto’s Tryin’ to Kill Me, 1993; 99 Ways to Die, 1995; which led to a distribution deal with Priority Records; released The Ice Cream Man, 1996; Ghetto D, 1997; released soundtrack to the video I’m ‘Bout It in 1997.
Address: Record company —No Limit Records, P.O. Box 2590, Los Angeles, CA 90078 (213) 436–0250, fax (213) 436–0019
than 120, 000 copies. Miller was then certain there was a market for his music and he knew he could compete with rap music’s business leaders by eliminating the middlemen involved in creating, marketing, and promoting his music. His second release, 99 Ways to Die, sold almost 300, 000 copies and led to his lucrative distribution deal with Priority Records in 1995. His third release, The Ice Cream Man, ushered in an array of successful albums for No Limit Records. His fourth release was Ghetto D, which featured a moving tribute to his deceased brother, Kevin. It debuted on the top of the Billboard chart. Miller also signed MiaX, Mr. Serv-On, TRU (composed of Master P and his younger brothers Corey ‘C-Murder’ and Zyshonne ‘Silkk the Shocker’), Mystikal, Kane & Abel, Mercedes, Sons of Funk, Mo B. Dick, West Coast Bad Boyz, the Down South Hustlers, and Steady Mobb’n to No Limit, and released the soundtrack to the movie he co-wrote, directed with Moon Jones and also starred in, I’m ‘Bout It. The film was released as a video, in 1997, instead of as a feature due to a lack of interested distributors. More than 200, 000 copies of the video were shipped in five weeks.
Part of the key to No Limit’s success has been it’s variety of artists from differing parts of the country who bring their distinctive regional sounds to the label. Miller drew his entrepreneurial inspiration from the success of rap music’s Death Row Records and other black-owned, independent music labels. He told Rodriguez, ‘It inspired me. When I seen Lil’ Jay and Tony Draper (owners and CEOs of Rap-A-Lot and Suave House, respectively), it let me know it can be done.”
Miller shuns radio and television when marketing new releases, and places ads in specific consumer magazines such as Vibe, The Source, and XXL. He also displays the album covers of forthcoming releases in the jackets of current cassettes and compact discs. He told Soren Baker of the Chicago Tribune, “If we have a Master P record sell a million copies, why not advertise the newer groups that are coming out” B.J. Kerr. president of Atlanta’s PatchWerk Recordings, told Baker, “Everything (Miller) does is promotion for the next thing, whether it’s a movie or his T-shirts. He’s a marketing genius.” Miller also packs more songs per album on his label’s releases than other labels, figuring consumers appreciate more for their money.
Miller hired family members, high school friends, and people he knew in the projects to work with him at No Limits, and the general feeling at the label is that the group is one big family, striving together for success. Miller also hopes to serve as a role model for children in the ghetto, offering hope and a blueprint for economic independence. After creating an R& B department at No Limit, Miller has branched out beyond music, video and film into the realm of real estate and business franchising for Foot Locker in Baton Rouge. He told Rodriguez, “The ghetto wasn’t nothing but a place for me….that ain’t where my mind stopped at…. My mind was thinking, ‘I’m gon’ take my mamma up out of here. I’m gon’ take my sisters and brothers up out of here’…. that’s what this No Limit thing is all about: we ‘bout holding on to something and surviving.”
The Ghetto’s Tryin’ to Kill Me, No Limit Records, 1993.
99 Ways to Die, No Limit Records, 1995.
The Ice Cream Man, No Limit Records, 1996.
Ghetto D, No Limit Records, 1997.
I’m ‘Bout It, (Soundtrack), No Limit Records, 1997.
Chicago Tribune, September 4, 1997.
Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1997.
The Source, October 1997.
Washington Post, September 25, 1997.
—B. Kimberly Taylor
Taylor, B.. "Master P." Contemporary Musicians. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. (May 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3494000063.html
Taylor, B.. "Master P." Contemporary Musicians. 1998. Retrieved May 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3494000063.html
Best-selling album since 1990: MP da Last Don (1998)
Hit songs since 1990: "Ice Cream Man," "I Miss My Homies," "Make 'Em Say Uhh!"
Percy Miller was one of the most significant architects of mainstream hip-hop's expansion into the South in the 1990s. The enterprising Master P confronted the industry's staunch geographical bias against the South by ignoring mainstream rap conventions altogether. Choosing to do things independently, he spent the mid-1990s perfecting the funky, bounce-driven style of gangsta rap that later made him a hugely successful regional star. He and his No Limit label carved out a unique identity in southern rap circles with their straight-to-video movies, signature album covers, and catchphrase-heavy lyrics. By 1997 Master P had proved himself to be a bankable national star as well when Ghetto Dope (also known as Ghetto D ) brought the sound and style of New Orleans to the rest of the hip-hop community.
Despite his connection to New Orleans' rich hip-hop community, Master P actually split most of his youth between New Orleans and Richmond, California. In 1990 he started the No Limit label to offer something different to the patrons of his record shop, also called No Limit. He released two albums steeped in the slow-rolling funk of nearby Oakland: Get Away Clean (1991) and the modest hit The Ghetto's Tryin' to Kill Me (1994). Though it seemed that the slick West Coast gangsta rap popularized by Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Tupac was on the decline, the success of Master P's independent releases showed otherwise. He soon moved to New Orleans, where he teamed with local producers Beats by the Pound to create an unapologetically gritty take on gangsta that emphasized southern social contexts and the region's unique vernacular. His breakout albums, 99 Ways to Die (1995) and Ice Cream Man (1996), charted remarkably well considering that neither boasted a significant national radio or video hit.
The following year the No Limit empire began its national expansion with the chart-topping Ghetto Dope (1997) and the slapstick, straight-to-video biopic I'm Bout It, named after the breakthrough single of Tru, the side-group Master P formed with his brothers Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder. The album features the brutish sing-along hit "Make 'Em Say Uhh!" as well as the introspective ballad "I Miss My Homies." Despite Master P's novel rise from enterprising, independent regional star to national sensation, he was often criticized for his simple raps, gaudy materialism, and bouncy, bass-heavy production. The following year, Master P's threat of retirement sent MP da Last Don to the top of the charts, but his empire began to show signs of wear as his constant threats of retirement grew tiresome. No Limit struggled to balance its hardcore ethos with Master P's hopes for a larger presence in popular culture, as seen in his focus on the career of his son, novelty rapper Lil Romeo, and his frequent attempts to try out with professional basketball teams. By the time No Limit's more violent and aggressive crosstown rivals, Cash Money Millionaires, ascended the following year, Master P was not even the top draw in his own town.
Despite his musical missteps, Master P's outstanding vision and earnest business plan opened hip-hop to exciting new regions and sounds.
Get Away Clean (In-A-Minute, 1991); Mama's Bad Boy (In-A-Minute, 1992); The Ghetto's Tryin' to Kill Me! (No Limit, 1994); 99 Ways to Die (No Limit, 1995); Ice Cream Man (No Limit, 1996); Ghetto D (No Limit, 1997); MP Da Last Don (No Limit, 1998); Only God Can Judge Me (No Limit, 1999); Ghetto Postage (No Limit, 2000); Game Face (No Limit, 2001).
Hsu, Hua. "Master P." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (May 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3428400339.html
Hsu, Hua. "Master P." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Retrieved May 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3428400339.html