Master P Discusses His Film Legacy & Why No Limit’s Covers Were So Loud
Twenty-one years ago, Master P wrote, directed, and produced his first feature film, I’m Bout It. In addition to P, the work starred his brothers and TRU band-mates Silkk The Shocker and C-Murder, along with Mia X, Mack 10, and Mr. Serv-On. While it may not have necessarily seemed it at the time, something significant was taking shape.
Other video releases quickly followed from P’s No Limit Films division. Highlights include 1998’s I Got The Hook Up, starring A.J. Johnson along with several other cast-mates from Friday. 1999’s Hot Boyz starred P (who kept his director post) and the No Limit Records roster in addition to Gary Busey and C. Thomas Howell. Busey stayed on to join Pam Grier in No Tomorrow. That same year, P hired Dave Meyers (now known for his work with the Lil Homies at TDE) to direct Foolish, a stand-up comedy film starring Eddie Griffin (who says he was paid $1 million for the script).
While building his film division, Master P also moved in theatrical releases as an actor. He appeared in Ice Cube’s The Players Club, Gone In 60 Seconds, and others. As No Limit Films motioned towards getting its films in theaters, Percy Miller soaked up game while working on major studio film sets.
These days, Master P is making a return to releasing movies, and he’s updating his formula. I Got The Hook Up 2 is coming next year as well as Get The Bag. For the latter, P tells Sway In The Morning, “Everybody’s callin’ it a modern-day Set It Off, but it’s really not. I’m looking to put Cardi B in this film [and] put her in her first film. I put Dc Young Fly in I Got The Hook Up 2, his first starring role. This Get The Bag is five females [who] just got out of college. Man, they get it how they live. I just feel like we missed another movie like this, so I’m like, ‘It’s time.'”
Dc Young Fly is a standout cast member on Wild N’ Out, as well as social media comedy sensation. New Jersey’s Fatboy SSE, another personality on the web, costars in the 2019 sequel. “That’s what I Got The Hook Up 2 is about; it’s about taking people that you didn’t believe in—the Michael Blackson’s, the A.J. Johnson’s,” P says. I Got The Hook Up 2 also stars P’s son, Romeo Miller, playing an officer along with his daughter, Cymphonique. Past No Limit Films stars Sheryl Underwood and John Witherspoon (of Friday fame) will also appear.
On Sway, Master P asserted his role for breaking would-be stars. “People don’t know that I’m the first person that put Leslie Jones in a film, Ken Jeong from The Hangover, Katt Williams…I could go on and on. I always believe in talent before it gets there,” he says. Jones, who had smaller roles in prior films, appeared in P’s Repos. Jeong, who worked as a stand-up in New Orleans for a time, worked with the label exec on such films as Uncle P.
While the early No Limit Films were straight-to-VHS, and later, DVD, Master P says those days are behind him. “Every project is going straight to the theater; we put a lot of money into these projects. It’s about seeing our people on the big screen. That’s what I want to be able to do with all this talent that we have that’s untapped…I’m going hard. I’m making movies like I made music back in the days. You gonna see a lot of these peoples’ careers just blossom.”
Master P also takes umbrage with a term that is often used when it comes to cinema. “I wouldn’t call them ‘urban films.’ They title us that, but ‘urban’ is really taking over the world when you look White America, they want to see what’s going on. They want to laugh at the jokes and stuff like that. What’s great about this film, a thing that I was able to accomplish with I Got The Hook Up 2 is putting that Latin market and the African American market together and make those big stars. We have a lot of big Latino actors and actresses in the movie, plus from the white to the Black, to the Asian, I think we cover [diversity] even though this is an ‘urban’ film. We’re covered internationally with this project.”
P boasts that I Got The Hook Up 2 has 137 speaking roles, a large quantity by any standard. “I want us to go out and support this movie the way we do a Black Panther. We don’t own Black Panther; we own this. There’s a difference.” He adds that a Repos sequel may soon be in the works with Michael Blackson.
Elsewhere in the conversation, P responds to a caller who admits they disliked No Limit albums releases for their bright artwork and candy-colored jewel cases. P, who owned a record store (called No Limit) in Richmond, says that he noticed that many Rap albums by N.W.A., Geto Boys, and other late ’80s and early ’90s lacked color. He knew that people would take a greater interest in more exciting visuals. Thus, the mogul applied that formula to the label he launched and eventually brought to the top of the charts.