Filero Battles with the Past, Takes Control of His Future. Second In a Two-Part Series.

[Ed. Note. See Part 1 of Rocks Off's encounter with Filero here.]

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A hint of things to come? Filero (left) and SPM square off at checkers back in the day.
When we talked to Filero about how much the rap game has changed since he saw the first Texas Latino rap album, actually a cassette, in the Gulfgate Mall Sam Goody, he says things that make him sound like an old man. This in turn makes us an old man, because he expressed some things we agree with, like wanting to see more originality.

But who doesn't?

"I wish people would stop doing all these mixtapes and start doing more original music," says Filero. "There's no more originality in the game. Everything's a fashion show. Rap was the CNN of the streets. Now everybody wants to talk about clothes, cars and jewelry. People want to be followers. We need more leaders. Put more albums out. Do a mixtape after your album is done."

Filero was one the first guys to call us when the Rocks Off started working this Latino rap beat and he said something that surprised us: "You're a writer. That's good. We need more Meskin writers. Everybody wants to rap, but there's a need for people to become active in other parts of the business."

And it was then that we knew Filero had something more to say if given the chance.

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Over this past weekend, we ran through our 90-minute conversation with him over and over, trying to make sense of how to properly give him a platform to tell his side of the story without demeaning or diminishing what South Park Mexican's (SPM) Dope House Records was able to give to the game. Regardless of the side anyone stands on, there's no ignoring the path Dope House bulldozed.

But what Filero challenges is whether it could have been executed in a better way. "If everybody was getting paid, they [artists] would have stayed [with Dope House]," says Filero. "It was 'work-for-hire'. Pay you a one-time fee. That's why lots of artists left Dope House. That's why Grimm, [Baby] Bash, and others left."

Filero's referring to something we talked about in our Friday blog, where he expresses discontent for producing 80 percent of SPM's Hustle Town, but only receiving $1,000 and a bottle of liquor as payment. From an artist's perspective, the scenario may have looked like getting paid $500 for 16 bars, and if the track happened to be on an album that sells 200,000 units, don't expect anymore than your initial payment.

In complete fairness, we talked to some artists who didn't want to be associated with this piece, but offered an important perspective on this issue. They told us that the job of an independent label, like Dope House, isn't to pay royalties. That's the job of a major label like Universal.

We also learned on the down-low that when Dope House couldn't make due on payments owed to producer Happy Perez and Baby Bash, the label gave them SPM's Benz and Corvette, respectively. So in our terms we interpreted that as don't ask a small business to give you a signing bonus and profit-sharing incentives. If you want that, go work for Bank of America, not the local credit union. That makes sense.

But Filero still maintains, "They should have taken care of them boys instead of giving them cars. He ain't give me shit."

And for the record, he wasn't referring to Perez or Bash, but Dope House artists in general.


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