Mike West has been in the rap game for a decade and a half and has seen plenty of “beef,” especially since he comes from the “Thug Life” camp. It is extra poignant when he has beef with someone he used to call friend or “onetime homeboy.” Still, the turmoil with DJ Khaled of 99 Jams that has been brewing for almost five years now has spawned a highly anticipated new mix tape, Divide & Conquer Part II from the South Florida hip-hop legend.
With the release date (Aug. 17) for Divide & Conquer Part II approaching as quickly as one of West’s patented lyrical jabs, Mike Rothman sat down with the South Florida hip-hop staple to talk about the new mix tape, his ongoing beef with Khaled and his new single, “Where I Stand,” which focuses on his feud with the Miami DJ.
Tell us about the new record.
Mike West – Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m excited actually about this new project. It’s the second edition of the mix tape series that’s going on, the “Divide & Conquer” joint. It’s hosted by DJ Thug Life, which is real big time out in Germany.
Who is on the new album?
West – I got Pitbull on there. I got Money Mark on there. Amil is on there, you know I got a lot of real heavy weight features. Divide & Conquer II, you know what I’m saying, it’s going down Aug. 17. Actually I got Snoop on the record too.
Where can fans check out songs now, didn’t 50 Cent’s site pick up a song?
That’s a real big help right there. You know the video has been kind of controversial because of the whole thing between me and Khaled. That was a record I had to do, it’s not a record I was working for as far as radio or anything like that. It’s more of a rap record something to actually air out the smoke.
Any other songs you want to tell us about?
West - It’s four singles we are actually working from this one mix tape. It’s “Where I Stand” with myself. “I Gotta Get it” featuring Amil, she used to be with Roc-A-Fella back in the day. “Within The Lines” and then a song called “Strapped,” featuring Money Mark.
You are notoriously a social media addict, tell us where fans can follow you?
West - Everything is "RapperMikeWest," with Twitter, with Facebook, with MySpace and then we got MikeWestWorldWide.com coming soon so they can tune into that.
Let’s get into what everyone wants to know about; the beef with DJ Khaled.
West – I mean it all comes back down to the records. Dude should have never just gave me his word.
When I reached out to him back in 05, he gave me his word he was actually gonna play one of the records I had at that time with me and Pitbull called “Grand Finale” - and you know, he never did it.
But then they reached out to me in 2007 about the “We The Best” album he was doing. They actually convinced me to go in and do the verse even though I wasn’t dealing with dude like that cause he failed to deliver on the first scenario.
I am just gonna put it out there man, it’s true that he has to play a playlist you know like every other radio station does but Khaled has during the last hour of his show that he is on, he can play whatever he wishes to play.
That’s the reason why I gave him the record with me and Pitbull, “Grand Finale”. He failed to deliver that. I did the verse for the “We The Best” joint and that didn’t end up on the “We The Best Album.” So, I felt like that was a waste of my time.
Wasn’t there a short confrontation at the studio last year?
West - Then last year, he saw me at the radio station I was having a meeting with the program director, Derrick B, which is a good friend of mine. I threw him off guard for some reason, it’s like he got spooked. He came up to me and was like, “What’s up man, you got beef? You got beef? Looking at me like that, you libel to get knocked out in the building!”
The world has seen it on YouTube- Its like over 23,000 views or whatever the case may be man. That’s actually why I had to go in and do that record “Where I Stand.”
The actual reality is I look at him and the whole Rick Ross situation and I don’t have no beef with Rick Ross. I like Ross’s music. Everything that happened to Ross, he deserved to get it. Now I hear records now, “Khaled you my brother, you my brother for life,” I gotta laugh at stuff like that because Ross was in the same situation as me. Khaled didn’t want to play his record when he went to him. Then Khaled jumped on board after Ross did the deal with Def Jam.
This [Khaled] was my onetime homeboy. Everything could be easily squashed; only thing he has to do is spin my record.
You gotta understand dude told me straight up, “I aint gonna never play your record.” Again, it is sad I gotta do this and go in on somebody I know but everybody that knows me and Khaled, knows that I’m not wrong by doing this.
Check out Mike’s new mix tape.