@DJQlassick x @IAmNotARapper58 Present: #ClassicFriday Vol. 37 #QlassickNoLimit
Jay-Z, Baby, Diddy, 50 Cent…there’s one guy that everyone seems to forget, the original advocate of the NO…who built an army full of soldiers…MASTER P! During the late 90s and early 2000s that NO LIMIT TANK was as distinguishable as any logo out. Master P built an empire through the underground and took it mainstream and provided the blueprint for all to follow. This week’s #ClassicFriday is a salute to that tank, and the self proclaimed ‘best hustler of all time’ Master P and NO LIMIT!!! as always follow on TWITTER & INSTAGRAM @DJQLASSICK and log on to IAmNotARapperISPit.com each and every FRIDAY for a new #ClassicFriday episode “I’m a NO LIMIT SOLDIER thought i told ya…UHHNNNNNNN…”
#ClassicFriday ABOUT NO LIMIT:
Then – Percy (Master P) Miller began his career by distributing his records through a small San Francisco Bay Area record label, “No Limit Record Shop”, which started out in Richmond, where his mother resided. Despite being on the West Coast, he maintained his connections to the South through his father who remained in New Orleans. He signed his friends E-A-Ski & CMT, then-girlfriend Sonya C, King George, Big Ed, and Lil Ric. Master P then joined his two younger brothers, Silkk the Shocker (Vyshonn Miller) and C-Murder (Corey Miller), as the hip-hop trio TRU.
During the early 1990s, Master P released many solo albums with little success. However, Miller was able to garner notoriety for himself and the fledgling No Limit label on the West Coast by collaborating with various artists on compilation albums such as West Coast Bad Boyz 1 & 2. By 1994, the label was on the rise, and Master P decided the time was right to expand the product. After signing Oakland rapper Dangerous Dame, who released the EP Escape from the Mental Ward through No Limit, he began working with New Orleans-based talent, starting with Kane & Abel (then known as Double Vision) and Mystikal, while TRU’s third album, True, achieved gold status.
In 1995, Master P officially relocated No Limit to New Orleans, while keeping his brothers and several California rappers like TRU member Big Ed, King George and Calli G on board. He then added local talent to his roster such as Mystikal, Mia X, Kane & Abel, Tre-8 and Mr. Serv-On. No Limit then signed a distribution deal with Priority Records, while Master P maintained ownership of his master recordings and recording studio. He also became the label’s main artist, and released Ice Cream Man in 1996 and Ghetto D a little bit more than a year later.
By 1997, No Limit had gained momentum with bestselling, if not critically acclaimed, releases from TRU (Tru 2 Da Game), Mia X’s Unlady Like, which went gold despite producing no hit singles, and Mystikal’s platinum-selling Unpredictable. The label also acquired their first marquee name in Snoop Dogg, on the heels of his acrimonious split from Death Row Records. His debut album for No Limit, Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told, was the most successful release in the label’s history at the time, as it sold over half a million copies in its first week and was certified double platinum in less than three months.
As No Limit’s popularity and mainstream coverage increased, so did its roster. In addition to incumbents like Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder, Big Ed, Mia X and Mystikal, Master P kept busy by adding producers KLC and Mo B. Dick (the latter who released his debut album in 1999) to Beats By the
Pound, along with rappers Mac, Mercedes, Soulja Slim, Full Blooded, Fiend, Magic, Skull Duggery, 2-4-1, R&B quartet Sons of Funk, kiddie duo Lil Soldiers, Short Circuit, Oakland-based pair Steady Mobb’n, plus Ghetto Commission, Prime Suspects, and the Gambino Family, nearly all of whom would put out records in 1998. Master P’s own release that year, MP Da Last Don, which featured him on a lenticular cover, reached number one on the Billboard 200 after moving 495,000 copies in its first week, and sold 4 million units overall, making it the best-selling album of his career.
At the peak of its popularity, No Limit became notorious for producing lengthy albums that consisted of up to 20 tracks and featured numerous cameo appearances by other No Limit artists (Fiend’s 1998 release, There’s One in Every Family, for instance, contained fifteen), in addition to the cheap packaging of its CDs in cases that consisted mostly of cardboard stock and a small amount of plastic, as well as s
pearheading the movement of garish Pen & Pixel-designed album covers.
Master P began to expand his horizons beyond music. He wrote, directed and acted in the underground movie I’m Bout It and contributed to the soundtrack, as well as two low-budget theatrical releases, 1998’s I Got the Hook Up and 1999’s Foolish. Meanwhile, World Championship Wrestling president Eric Bischoff, attempting to capitalize on the rapper’s popularity while searching for a quick fix to boost sagging television ratings, signed Master P to a contract at a reported $200,000 per TV appearance. He and his stable, the No Limit Soldiers, which included some of Master P’s lackeys and midcard wrestlers Brad Armstrong and Chase Tatum, feuded with Curt Hennig and the West Texas Rednecks, who had recorded a single called “Rap is Crap.” Bischoff hoped the Soldiers would be embraced by fans as faces and the Rednecks as heels, but he achieved the exact opposite result and the Soldiers were gone after a year. Master P even tried to make it as an NBA player with a brief but ill-fated tryout with the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors.
As for No Limit, while Silkk the Shocker’s 1999 release, Made Man, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, increasingly fewer releases featured cameos from the label’s marquee artists, leading their fans to the correct conclusion that they had left the label. By 2000, only Master P, C-Murder, Silkk, Magic, Mac and Mia X remained from their most celebrated artists. A long list of new artists such as Short Circuit, D.I.G., Full Blooded, Young Gunz (2 former members of the Gambino Family), Popeye, Future, Baby Soulja, Black Felon, Afficial, Samm, Curren$y, Choppa and Krazy were introduced in 1999 and 2000, who all failed to create interest in themselves or in No Limit Records. Popular artists such as Mystikal had left, and his first post-No Limit album, Let’s Get Ready, debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 in 2000. Beats By the Pound (KLC, O’Dell, Craig B. and Mo B. Dick) left No Limit after money disputes in the summer of 1999, only Carlos Stephens remained. Many new producers (XL, Suga Bear, Ezell, Kenoe) appeared but didn’t quite meet the expectations. P’s good friend Mac (who is still signed to the label) was in jail for murder at this time. Many of the No Limit artists did not reach longevity and left for other projects. By 2002, it appeared that the focus of No Limit Records was limited to the Miller family. This notion was further strengthened with the release of his son, Lil’ Romeo‘s, debut album.
On December 17, 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy due to various lawsuits.
In 2001, No Limit left Priority Records and signed a distribution deal with Universal. The label’s name was changed to The New No Limit Records. The first release under the New No Limit banner was Master P’s tenth album, Game Face. With Universal, the label also released new albums by the 504 Boyz, Lil’ Romeo, Magic and Choppa. In 2004, the reorganized label had moved to Koch Records for distribution. From 2004 to 2005, The New No Limit Records issued new albums by Master P, Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder Lil’ Romeo and the reformed TRU. In 2005, Master P established a new label called Guttar Music Entertainment. On November 26, 2010 No Limit was established again as No Limit Forever Records.