Xavier Douglas is a Sophmore at the Urban Assembly Academy of History & Citizenship for Young Men.
Xavier Douglas: So what have you been up to?
Paul Wall: I’ve been on the road. I’m about to go back on the road with Slim Thug.
Xavier: I heard you have a new album Fast Life.
Paul: It comes out May 12th.
Xavier: What can we expect from that?
Paul: Well, we have a nice list of productions and collaborations. We have Travis Bakar, Plain Skillz. On the collaboration side we have Too Short, Gorilla Zo,Yung Joc. We have Trey Zero little Ki Ki. We have Akon on the album, Webby, Mouse, Baby Bash, Pitbull. I have Chamillionaire, it’s almost like a compilation.
Xavier: That sounds cool. I can’t wait for it to come out.
Paul: Thank you.
Xavier: Who inspired the album?
Paul: Well we call it the Fast Life because that’s the name of a store that my friend owns in L.A. It sells different clothing lines, one of my friends own a clothing line and I own a clothing line. I love the name the Fast Life. It’s just that fast up-tempo lifestyle of grinding, non-stop hustling trying to achieve your goals. For me it’s to support my family and ball out of control. So, I’m grinding non-stop, from sun up to sun down. I’m trying to stack my paper up and the music is just a reflection of that. It’s motivated by that same universal theme of grinding.
Xavier: What was it like for you as a teen growing up?
Paul: I had my fair share of hardships, but I try to focus on more of the positive things I had growing up. My mother was a really big inspiration for me and I did a song about her on this album. It’s kind of like a “Dear Mama” type of song. I don’t think there are enough songs about our mothers in hip-hop or just music in general. There are only a few, so, I felt like doing one to show the love I have for my mother.
Like I said, I had my hardships growing up but I wouldn’t trade my childhood for nothing, because it helped make me who I am today. If you don’t have sorrow you can’t appreciate the sweet. If I didn’t have those hardships I would take a lot of things for granted.
Xavier: What are your views on education?
Paul: When I graduated from high school I went straight to college, the University of Houston. I went there for three years. I stopped going because my music was taking off for me.
I feel like you can only learn so much from books, I think we learn most on the job through experiences and other people. But, at the same time you have to have the compromise of what you learn from the books too. You can’t learn everything just from people. You have to learn from the books too. You have to compromise because there are some people who put all their eggs in the book basket and some people who put all there eggs into learning from the streets basket or from other people. You can’t do one or the other, you have to have that compromise of both in order to be well rounded enough to be successful.
Xavier: There is so much going on with Barack Obama being President and all. What is your advice to the younger generation?
Paul: It was so great seeing him get elected. It’s just been a huge change in the atmosphere not only in the country, but, all around the world. When George Bush was in office, everybody was depressed, everybody was complaining about everything, but know body wanted to do anything about it. Everybody kind of just accepted where we were. As soon as President Obama got put into office, elected, now people are motivated to go get it. They are ready to grind and make a change for themselves instead of waiting for someone to do it. To see people get off their butts and go grind is a beautiful thing. Even I feel more motivated now.
Xavier: It’s good to hear you say that. What things would you like to see change in the world?
Paul: Man, I support these troupes so much, I just hope that he can find a way to bring them home and create some type of peace. But, that’s a lot to ask, I’ve been over there and seen it first hand, doing tours with the U.S. soldiers. It’s not something that’s likely to happen any time soon, or, even in our generation or the next. These wars have been going on for years, so it’s kind of hard to ask somebody to do that.
Also, hopefully he can find a way to bring this country out of this recession.
Xavier: I heard you were doing another film with Raquel Cepeda.
Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah, with my boy, my partner Johnny Dang who I did Grills with. He’s from Vietnam. We already started doing a documentary on Vietnam and Iraq, about comparing the wars and the effects that the wars have on the people. We went to Iraq a couple of times. We plan on going to Vietnam pretty soon.
Xavier: When do you expect it to be done?
Paul: I’m not sure. It will take a while. When we went to Sierra Leone, it was the same. It took a long while for it to be done. For this film we are going to focus on the war and the after effects and how things are going to be for the Veterans when they return from the war. I think we have heroes fighting for our freedom and the freedom of others and we should respect our heroes. But, when they return home they don’t get that same respect.
Xavier: In what ways do you give back to the community?
Paul: We always have something going on, whether it be with the Boys and Girls Club or I do a lot with the Robert Clemens foundation here. He does a lot for the youth in sports. We stay busy doing things with the Make A Wish foundation, going into schools and speaking with the kids. We just did something with the Grammy Foundation. We went to a school in Galveston, Texas, a school that was hit by the hurricane. They lost every single instrument in their music program. So we did a big fundraiser where people donated their instruments. We raised $50,000 in money and instruments. Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child was with this program too. It was called the Grammy’s Giving Back to the Gulf.
Xavier: What are your goals in music in life?
Paul: In music, my goal is to just become a better musician album after album. My goal is not to put out platinum albums but to become a better musician. In life, my goal has always been to just have a family that loves me. I have the wife. I have the kids, so it just has been a wonderful thing for me. My goal now is just to be able to spend time with them, support them and give them the things I didn’t have growing up.
Xavier: That’s cool. Thanks for the interview.
Paul: Thank you. Much Love and Respect.