I first learned about Master P while living in northern Alabama back in 1996. At the time, his "Ice Cream Man" single was getting a lot of radio play on Birmingham's R&B station. Later that year, I moved to Louisiana with my family. This happened to coincide with Master P's rise to fame in the music world from the stage of New Orleans, so as a young high school student, I was captivated.
During the summer of 1997, he released his TRU 2 Da Game compilation with brothers C-Murder & Silkk Da Shocker. My friends & I played basketball in my driveway that summer almost every day listening to the album.
Later that fall, he released his Ghetto D album. I remember going to the record store on release day and just being excited about how a local artist was gaining national recognition. Within a few weeks, his album had risen to the top of the Billboard charts.
There's a saying that purports the music you listen to while driving your first car, you'll love for the rest of your life. Well, when I got my Camaro during the summer of 1998, the first album I put in my CD changer was Master P's "Ghetto D".
The summer of 1998 also had the distinction of being the first year I had a job. For someone who grew up reading Eastbay, I was thrilled to land a job at Champs Sports in the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. As luck would have it, this mall was only 2 exits up Interstate 10 from the Country Club of Louisiana, where Master P & most of the artists on his No Limit record label resided.
If you're familiar with hip hop artists from the 90s, the only thing they loved more than gold chains was athletic footwear. As a purveyor of all the Air Jordans money could buy, I was in a very enviable position for the hip hop fans in the greater Baton Rouge area. During 1998 & 1999, I was able to sell shoes to Master P, Silkk Da Shocker, C-Murder, Mystikal, Snoop Dogg, & Juvenile. 17 year old Juston felt like a rockstar.
The album cover you see above is the autograph I was able to get from Master P while he was shopping in Champs Sports one Saturday afternoon. It's still my favorite rap record of the late 90s. Almost 15 years later, it reminds me of the entrepreneurial, rhythmic, and insightful figure this artist represented.