Published on September 16th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
Mr. Serv-On Explains Why It Took Over 20-Years to Realize The Impact of The “No Limit” Movement; Talks Reunion Tour!
Mr. Serv-On broke musical barriers when he collaborated with, Big Pun and created a classic with his debut album, “Life Insurance!”
There was a time where, Master P’s roster on No Limit Records was full of talented artists. He literally created a “Dream Team” type atmosphere and we typically got a chance to hear every member of that, dream team during the intro of the roster members albums. Lyrically, tank member, Mr. Serv-On always stood out. Always able to hold his own with a faster paced lyrical delivery than other tank members and a completely different style than anyone from New Orleans had grown accustomed to. Not many artists start their career with a celebrated classic, but that’s exactly what, Mr. Serv-On did with his 1997 album, “Life Insurance.” Serv-On would turn heads once again on his 1999 release, “Da Next Level,” album when he collaborated with the late great, Big Pun on the hit, “From N.Y. to N.O,” which was a rare collaboration for a New Orleans artist to collaborate with a top notch rapper from New York at the time.
During my recent conversation with, Mr. Serv-On, he explains why, “The No Limit Reunion Tour,” “hurts,” why it took over 20-years to really understand the impact No Limit had on the music world and much more!
Mr. Serv-On, it’s an honor, my brother. How are you?
Mr. Serv-On: I’m blessed, man. I’m alive. I have some things that I have been working on for a couple of years that I knew would fall into place by God’s grace, they are falling into place. So, I’m happy to still be existing, man… period.
You spoke during an interview, a very good interview on YouTube how your life was spared on more than one occasion and it always seemed like, Master P was the guy there to facilitate it being spared.
Mr. Serv-On: Oh yeah, man. There are times where you sit down, and you look… I always say it to young dudes, man you have to take heave. I was blessed to be covered and spared more than once. I got the message on each one. I just wish a lot of dudes, especially in this music industry, I wish a lot of young dudes would do it right. A lot of these young guys wait till they get into the music business to make mistakes that can cause them their life or their freedom. And I’m like, “Dude, those things happened to me that made me think, I gotta do this music thing to get away from it.” Once you make it in it, I don’t see what more messages you need.
I spoke to, Fiend and he talked about the bittersweet moments of, “The No Limit Reunion Tour,” because of the people who aren’t there anymore because of death or incarceration. It’s a long list, how have those missing pieces affected you?
Mr. Serv-On: It’s past bittersweet. It hurts. We came, we worked hard, and we conquered. We walked away from everything too soon. We looked forward to one day being united again. And for me, it’s hard. It’s hard from not taking flights with, C [Murder], and [Big] Ed meeting you at the airport and making sure your family alright, man and C-Murder making you laugh at the airport. We used to joke around and mess with, Mac. We messed with him so much about different lil things. I put it like this, going on stage without them was like the Bulls; Jordan and Pippen. It’s almost like saying, when Jordan retired, and Pippen had to go on the court. Yeah, he went, and he still had to do it, but you couldn’t get him to say, “Yeah, it’s my time, but it’s not the same without my brother.” You saw the result, no championships. For me to not have, Magic. And I’m going to speak for me and my point of view, Magic was the only one from Downtown out the 9th Ward. We from Uptown. I used to like messing with him and trying to get him to drink. I used to always try to get him to take a shot of Tequila because he didn’t drink. He was the funniest dude. In those times of being at the bar at hotels and I used to drink. Me and the security got our drink on and it was funny because I didn’t smoke weed back then. I was a drinker. Not heavy like crazy because we always conducted ourselves.
Man, you got times like our first show in Denver and I was sitting at the bar by myself and it really hit me. Usually, Magic be there, and I’m messing with him to take a drink and take a shot and then, C would walk up and scream at the bartender, “Hey, I need a drink. I want an orange juice on the rocks,” because he didn’t drink either. We would laugh. Then when it was time to go to work, we knew that we had the worse of the worse and the best of the best come to our shows. We had killers, we had everybody. I knew going into war, even though it’s music, it still was war because every city we went into they loved us, but they wanted to prove they were soldiers also. To know I had, C right there, to know, Magic was right there, to know, Skull [Duggery] was right there and to definitely know, Ed was right there. If I was out of town, man, Ed would check on my wife and my kids when I was married. I leave now and I would have to worry about my family. I didn’t worry when I was gone back then because, Ed was there.
It’s just so much, man. I looked around in Denver and it really hit me. I was like, “Where, C… where, Mac?” And I got angry. I got more hurt and then Ed and Magic death and even, Slim. Catching the tail end of him being with us before we walked off. Just being on stage and I’m doing, “Eternity,” that’s, C on the hook and my dude not next to me rocking it and they are losing their minds, but he’s not doing his verse. When my verse is over it’s like, “Where is his verse?” You understand what I’m saying. It just didn’t feel right. It’s like it went silent for me. You gotta realize that was really our first show together in all these years without everybody. It hurt, man. It’s reality.
Even more so for you because you had the feature with, Big Pun on that, “From N.Y. to N.O.,” joint and that’s someone else that came into your life and he’s now gone. You’ve suffered a lot of losses.
Mr. Serv-On: Man… do you know I don’t perform that song. For the rest of this tour I’m going to get out of it. It’s hard because that dude was so genuine. Pun was so genuine. I don’t like death. I don’t like jail cells. You go see, C. C not mad at me because I told him, “If I come see you, I gotta leave with you,” so I can’t come see you, but I will support you in any form or fashion I can. You look at, Pun… arguably at that time that dude was top 3 in the game. He wanted to do a song with me as much as I wanted to do one with him. And when I got there him and Fat Joe… we had our security, but he held me down from the time I got there. Pun was so gracious. He was so gracious. Got out of his bed, his foot was broken. Nobody knew this, he got out of his bed and knocked his verse out, it was in 5-degree weather, he’s out there with a broken foot with Timberland’s on doing his verses. He never complained or fussed, and we kept in touch. The hard part about it is, we talked when I was there and I was like, “Bro, you gotta lose this weight.” And he was like, “I know. Everybody on you.” And I said, “No, I’m not fussing with you, but I want to see you here. You are one of the greatest. You are going to go down in history.” And we laughed and talked about it and he texted me and he basically said he was going to a weight center or whatever to lose some weight. I was so happy, man. Then I found out, he made it back to New York and that happened, and I was like, “Man… this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be. A lot of us make it out of the street with murderers and we die like that.” We finally make it where we can feed our families legally and we die or go to jail over something that could have been prevented.
Please quote this, C and Mac are innocent, man. And it’s not just because that’s my dudes. That’s a hurting feeling to watch, C and Mac going through that. With, C it hurts deeper because that was my dude. We got the same name, Corey, we played ball together and he’s always had my back and no matter what with him, I’ve always had his back; whether he was wrong or right or I was wrong or right. It’s just not the same, man. It’s not the same not seeing him walk in the airport and making jokes. To not have him on the airplane with me, it don’t even feel right.
For the ones who are there, what has it been like to reconnect with them and hit that stage with them again?
Mr. Serv-On: It’s going to get better. We always said, “Keep in touch;” me, Mia, Fiend and KL. But to walk in the hotel and see, Mike face light up… that’s Mystikal. It’s like, “Ah man, you losing that weight. You look good.” I loved it. We grown men and it’s easy to say, “I love you.” And then to see my momma and she break out in a smile and say, “There go one of my sons. My other son.” And, Fiend, he always greets you. If your day bad, man, this dude greets you and it’s like, “I’m okay now.”
He is a wonderful dude, man.
Mr. Serv-On: You know him, so you know how he is. To see him is always love. And then, [Master] P… he may be, Master P to the world, but he’s still my big bro, man. And no matter what, he was quiet when he got there and went straight to his room, but he was tired. He is all over the place and when he got to the show it’s like, “What’s up, Serv!” As the show go on, he’s being himself and calling out our names and you start seeing him warm up and getting into it. And then it was bittersweet again because when, P used to be on stage, he would turn actually before he went on stage and say, “C, grab a mic, Serv, grab a mic, Mac, grab a mic, Fiend, grab a mic.” To back him up on stage and be on stage with him and we just hit it off. Just seeing him and watching the crowd… in this life, we go through so much being who we are, when we get on stage, that’s our peace, that’s our heaven and that’s our paradise. Because all of it go away when that music start, and you got 10,000 people that… you made their life.
A lot of rappers take that shit for granted, man. It’s money and I’m lit and this and that. take your time and look in these people face. They spent their hard-earned money. Your words mean something to them. When you think your family and your friends or nobody appreciates you and what you got going on in your life, when you get on that stage, the love that you get erases all the bad feelings. And to watch my dudes and I had to realize it again. Maybe I forgot. When I first saw it in Denver, I was like, “Yo, we’re not just historic, we’re world icons. This shit is big.”
There was a time, ya’ll had everybody wearing camouflage.
Mr. Serv-On: And you know during the time period, we never really looked at it like that. I love, Cash Money. Please quote that. They were the stunters and the partiers. BG, Juve and them guys are real dude, they are real shit… Stunna, all of them are real. But they were for the party. We were for the struggle; we were for that dude that had one speaker in his Cutlass. People that were just trying to get it; pamper money, we were for them. We never paid attention until one day, C-Murder said, “This shit is like a cult.” And we laughed. And he said, “I’m going to prove a point to ya’ll.” He said, “We don’t really see it.” That’s how smart and conscientious dude was. People look at him the wrong way. When he got on stage he said, “Hey man, I want everybody to turn around and put your middle finger up to everybody that don’t give a fuck about you.” And they did it. We talking 20,000 people in Cleveland. That control reminds you of the control in the movie, “Malcolm X” when he was standing in front of the police department and all he did was put his hand up, point his finger and everybody moved.
We never realized it because we were so focused on the job. We never really how huge we were. We were a big deal. We got a nation of millions. When you’re selling 5-million cd’s like, P did with, “Ghetto Dope,” which to me is one of the best albums ever. P had 5-million people bought his cd and followed him religiously. If they had the internet like they have today, imagine how many followers he would have easily. With all this craziness going on, you know what, anybody racists against you in any form or fashion, all my white kids, black kids, my Mexican kids and European kids, stand up against it. We could have said that, and they would have did it. That’s how strong we were. That’s what makes me mad with the young artists today. Some of ya’ll got 2-million people follow ya’ll and ya’ll don’t tell them to go vote. Ya’ll don’t tell them to stand strong. This is what I would do, I want ya’ll to do the same thing. Not all police are bad but stand against police brutality and unjust laws in your city and prison reform. They have a power that we didn’t have. We didn’t have the internet. They don’t care. They steady going to jail in these bogus situations and they have the power to vote in anybody. And you gotta think these young artists are in every city, bro. They can sit down and say, “If you buy my music, vote for this guy,” and put the right guy or woman in position, mayor, city council, senator, congressman. They got rappers from every city now that are huge that can change this landscape. Just watching it, bro and thinking, “Wow, we really was a big deal.” It took 20-something years later to be like, “Damn, look at this.”
BE SURE TO CHECK BACK FOR MUCH MORE WITH NEW ORLEANS LEGEND, MR. SERV-ON!