Even a little bit of money, fame, or success can change a person. But with six albums, a successful grills business (Grills by Paul Wall), and global recognition, Paul Wall is still the same platinum-toothed hustler from Houston. Following his #1, RIAA platinum-certified 2005 SwishaHouse/Asylum/Atlantic Records debut, “THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP,” Paul looks to have the Internet and the whole world goin’ nutz again with his new effort, “GET MONEY – STAY TRUE.”
Before Paul was “tippin’ on 4-4s,” the young go-getter was grinding as part of the reputable Houston-based label, SwishaHouse. Following several mixtapes and independent releases, he and a slew of Houston rappers introduced their unique regional aesthetic to the rap world at large. Soon, candy paint and chopped-and-screwed became synonymous with Houston, and Paul was a major player in the movement. Though well known in H-Town quarters, he finally hit it big. By late 2005, Paul’s drive-slow anthem “Sittin’ Sidewayz” was bumping everywhere. He also supplied verses on Mike Jones’s “Still Tippin’,” Kanye West’s “Drive Slow,” and Nelly’s Grammy-nominated “Grillz.”
While Paul’s sound and lyrics are more polished this time around, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. “You gotta stay true to who you are. No matter how much success I saw, where I went or what I did, or who I did a song with, or how much my album sold, how many awards, nominations, people are always like, ‘you still the same person you were five years ago.’” “GET MONEY – STAY TRUE” is a testament to that, from the first single “Break Em Off” featuring Lil Keke to the Jermaine Dupri-produced “I’m Throwed.”
Handling the majority of production is Paul’s longtime collaborator Mr. Lee, who helmed “On The Grind” featuring Freeway, and “Call Me What U Want” featuring Yung Redd & E Class. Paul also hooks up with Juelz Santana (“I’m Real, What Are You?”) and Snoop (“Everybody Know Me”). “Down in Texas, we definitely like our music slow, so a lot of the songs have a slow, entrancing type of vibe,” says Paul. “We just wanted to make some good music.”
Another standout track, “Slidin’ On That Oil,” introduces Paul’s new group, Expensive Taste, which he formed with rock musicians Travis Barker and Skinhead Rob. Paul’s wife Crystal (a.k.a. Crys Wall) was the inspiration behind “That Fire” featuring Trina, produced by Mr. Lee. “She would always tease me about how she had that fire in the bedroom,” says Paul. Turning the tables, Crys co-wrote the Lee-produced “Tonight” featuring R&B crooner Jon B. “It’s not really a song you’d expect me to rap on. I just heard the beat, and I was like, ‘I’d love to get somebody and make, like, a playa love song.’”
Throughout “GET MONEY – STAY TRUE,” Paul is uncompromising. From Houston to Hollywood, the rap star has worked his way up without neglecting his humble beginnings. “People always have something to say about how you should make music but I make music ‘cause I love it. I just maintain the integrity that I’ve kept and have fun with it.”
Paul Wall first made a name for himself in underground hip-hop circles as one-half of the Color Changin’ Click, alongside Chamillionaire. The duo lit up the streets on a series of SwishaHouse mixtapes, eventually unleashing the breakthrough independent release, “GET YA MIND CORRECT,” in 2002. Two years later, Paul received national attention via his appearance on Mike Jones’s hit single/video, “Still Tippin’” – the mainstream’s first glimpse of Houston’s unique and virtually overlooked hip-hop culture.
Released in September 2005, Paul’s SwishaHouse/Asylum/Atlantic debut, “THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP,” made its chart entry atop the Billboard 200 – a feat that was then unheard of for a Houston rapper. The rest, as they say, is history. Along with countless guest appearances – including tracks with 50 Cent, Daddy Yankee, Three 6 Mafia, Kanye West, and many others – Paul continues a parallel career as a DJ and remixer, creating screwed-and-chopped remixes for everyone from rappers to rock bands. In addition, his partnership with Houston jeweler “TV Johnny” Dang has turned into a world-renowned operation. Paul has also teamed up with Zenetti, a global trendsetter in designer automotive accessories, to create a signatur