“It’s gon’ be no limit to your success when you dream big.”
Those words of wisdom were instilled in hip-hop mogul Master P by his grandmother when he was a kid. And judging by how he built his No Limit Records empire — a journey that is covered in the new BET docuseries “No Limit Chronicles,” premiering Wednesday at 9 p.m. — Grandma was right.
The series traces how Percy “Master P” Miller rose up from the Calliope Projects in New Orleans — where, he says, “a life ain’t worth nothin’ ” — to found his own label and launch himself and other members of his family into rap stardom. And in addition to Master P, his brothers Corey “C-Murder” Miller, Vyshonn “Silkk the Shocker” Miller, ex-wife Sonya “Sonya C” Miller and son Romeo Miller are all interviewed here, showing you just how much of a family business No Limit was from its beginnings in 1991 to its bankruptcy in 2003.
“Nothing could stop us but us,” says Master P, 53, in an interview, still looking every bit the gangsta.
The five-part docuseries reveals how Master P became the mastermind of No Limit Records — which Snoop Dogg, once on the label’s roster, describes as “one of the great dynasties in hip-hop” — by taking you back to his tough upbringing in the streets of New Orleans. But while his grandmother would throw hot water on drug dealers to get them off his porch, Master P would also play DJ at family dinners.
Basketball, not music, was initially supposed to be his way out of the projects, and “No Limit Chronicles” details how Master P was a high school hoops star who played at the University of Houston before an ACL injury sidelined his basketball dreams.
He recounts how he then turned to selling drugs, much to his grandmother’s dismay, but found new inspiration when he and his high-school sweetheart Sonya had a “blessing” in their son Romeo. “No Limit Chronicles” follows the family’s move to Richmond, California, where Master P opened the No Limit Records and Tapes store with $10,000 in seed money from a malpractice suit after his grandfather’s death.
With his street savvy, he went from selling gangsta rap to becoming a gangsta rapper himself. And “No Limit Chronicles” doesn’t shy away from the fact that he would sometimes sell music and drug product in tandem.
The docuseries also reveals Master P’s connection with the late rap legend Tupac Shakur, for whom he once opened. “I was really inspired by being with 2Pac,” he says.
But more than his rap skills, it’s clear that his business acumen is what really put the “master” in Master P. He started taking business classes at Merritt College in Oakland, California, and expanded his label’s roster to the south. Taking it back to his roots, he brought up rappers from New Orleans, including female MC Mia X, who is interviewed here.
And in one juicy reveal, Master P turned down a $1 million deal from Interscope Records honcho Jimmy Iovine to keep his independent hustle going with No Limit Records, showing you just how much of a Bay Area boss he had become.
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