Friday, May 30, 2008

Who Is Shawty Lo?

Everybody wants to be #1, but I just want to be me and I believe that the truth will set you free. People always ask, ‘Who is Shawty Lo?’ Shawty Lo is…my name is Carlos, but everybody used to call me Lo as my nickname growing up. When I first started rapping, I thought Lo wasn’t a rap name. Being from the south, everybody holla’d “shawty” so I just put that in front of the “Lo” and called myself Shawty Lo.

I was raised by my grandmother but didn’t know what she meant to me until she was gone. She died in ’93 and was a very special lady to me. She took me and my sister in when we were just young children. My mother was on drugs when I was coming up, my daddy stayed off somewhere else, and so my grandmamma raised us as if we were hers. Even when my mama got herself back together and wanted to come back and get us, my grandmamma hid our clothes next door at the neighbor’s house because she didn’t want us to leave. That was my baby.

We didn’t have the money or finances, but one thing about it is she made sure we were clean, went to school everyday. We might didn’t have no Christmas or nothing like that but she made sure we’d be clean, we had something to eat everyday, she made it happen for us. Coming from the projects, we had nothing but my grandmamma always told me, “Don’t ever say you can’t because where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

And I remember her saying it to me before she died. She had cancer and had to sleep on a special bed that we put in the living room because she couldn’t go up and down the stairs any more to her bedroom. She used to always call on me to help her use the bathroom but I was teenager at the time and I used to get tired of going back and forth downstairs.

I was so tired on this one particular day, I think I was trying to sleep and my grandmamma had been calling me but I didn’t get to her fast enough so when I did make it downstairs she was sitting on the side of the bed. I was like, “Grandma, how did you get out of the bed?” Normally she didn’t have the strength to do that and needed my help but she got up out of that bed that day. That’s when she told me, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and that saying has stuck with me ever since.

Nobody thought I would get my shit together when I was younger. When I was dealing with drugs, I don’t like to brag about it because I’ve turned a negative experience into a positive one, but didn’t anybody think I would be successful with that. I came to be like one of the biggest guys in Atlanta. When I transferred into music, good things just seemed to happen. All I wanted to be was the man behind the scenes but I came to be a rapper for some reason. I like to give credit to God. I think I’m blessed, like my grandmamma is my angel.

When I was coming up, I was really bad. I used to fight a lot and do whatever. I was in the streets hard. I was a neighborhood bully, people used to hate me back then. The older folks used to say that I would be dead before I turned 19 but both of my older cousins that I used to run with are dead right now and I was the baddest one.

Some kind of way I’m still here though. That’s why I recorded the song on my album, “Feels Good To Be Here”, because I’ve been through so much and to look at how far I’ve come, it’s a good feeling. When people that knew me back then see me now, just by talking to me they know I’ve changed.

I was that guy at first and I had a lot of money. I used to think I had all these friends and girlfriends but when my money got gone, all my friends got gone and so did the girls, except for one that stayed down. Now, I look at life totally different. One thing about it, I’m still right here on Bankhead. I always go to the hood. I always show love and I like to show the kids that even though I’ve made it, I’m still the same man.

I like them to know that I’ll be there for them. If they bring me their report cards, I give ‘em $10 for every “A”, just to make ‘em work harder and let them know that just because they’re from the projects, they can be and do anything they want.