I recently got the chance to chop it up with Parlae aka ‘Teddy Gram da Hustla’, formerly of popular 2000s rap group, Dem Franchize Boyz (“White Tee”, “I Think They Like Me”, and “Lean Wit It”, for those that don’t know) about his new mixtape #IOnlyTalkRNS. The southern rapper has been hard at work behind the scenes and has established himself as the unofficial mayor of Atlanta. Just ask Rick Ross, DJ Khaled or Yo Gotti. The hoods of ATL are a no-fly zone without the blessing of the big homie, Parlae.
#IOnlyTalkRNS dropped today and includes features from the likes of Young Buck and Cap 1. As part of his RNU (Real Niggaz United) movement, #IOnlyTalkRNS lays down the basic blueprint of what it means to be a real one in these streets. Parlae took the time to answer a few questions for Vault of 1520 and discusses with us what he’s been up to since Dem Franchize Boyz, including beating murder and gun charges back in 2005 and 2006 consecutively, Ferguson, his views on a today’s hip hop, his RNU movement and why he thinks he’s the next MLK and Tupac.
Cherise Nikole: Who is Parlae? What are you about and what do you represent?
Parlae: I am the RNIK (Realist Nigga I Know) and I know a lot of people but they will tell u the same thing. I’m all ‘bout anything REAL, authentic, original, rare. I represent the streets, the struggle, [and] the lifestyle a lot of rappers portray. [Laughs] I speak for every black person who come from where I come from.
CN: Can you tell us how you got the Teddy Gram moniker?
P: When I first started rapping I used to sell dope and we call them cookies. I used to sell them in grams and one day when I was trapping I hid my bomb (hustle pack) in a Teddy Graham box that was on the ground because the block was hot. I started hiding my bomb there every day to keep it off me, then I said it on “Lean Wit It” and it stuck on me ever since. I just changed ‘Graham’ to ‘Gram’ because I was trapping. Then I added ‘da Hustla’ on the end & came up with ‘Teddy Gram da Hustla‘.
CN: Tell us what you’ve been up to since the Dem Franchize Boyz days?
Niggaz ask me Parlae u ain’t Rapping, Dis Rap shit slow so I’m back to trappin’” – Parlae
Them are lyrics in my song “Run It Up” on my upcoming mixtape. I also been doing music, I’ve dropped a few mixtapes and videos. I coach football too. I gotta give back to the kids and community.
CN: Do you still maintain a relationship with any of the members of your group or Jermaine Dupri?
P: I don’t talk to none of them but my group member, Pimpin. We do a few shows from time to time and it’s been years since I talked to JD.
CN: You seem very level headed. With over a million records sold and ASCAP awards, how have you been able to maintain your humility and stayed true to the streets without letting it go to your head?
P: Because I’m the RNIK (Realest Nigga I Know) [laughs]. That’s where I come from and that’s where I’m most comfortable at. I have always stayed in the most troubled places and been around street legends my whole life so I been taught by my OGs how to stay SOLID.
CN: How did your faulty gun and drug case back in 2006 affect your progression musically?
P: It didn’t affect it, it really fueled it. It help me to see was really behind me because in 2005 I caught a murder charge and got out so people thought it was over with for me after I caught this charge. Most importantly, it taught me how to overcome adversity and gave me more to talk about in my music.
CN: What can fans expect from #IOnlyTalkRNS?
P: Fans can expect to hear the real shit that they think but don’t say. The things you talk about with your friends, the motivation you need to get through your day and all the situations I been through that I never talked about. I’m bringing them into my life more and getting more personal with my music.
CN: Do you have any special collaborations with artists and producers that you’re excited about?
P: On the feature side Young Buck, Cap 1, Kidd Kidd, Yung Gwapa & Gutta TV that’s all. On the producer side: Will a Fool, Beatmonster Marc & KC, YDG, Archie Utmos, Bizzie Made, Beat Zombie and a few more
CN: From past interviews, I get the impression you want to show this generation what being real to the streets and being real to hip hop is. Do you think that is something that is missing in today’s music?
P: I don’t think. I know. I’m in the streets, so I know the streets don’t have no guidance. It ain’t Big Homies like it used to be when I was growing up so the lil’ homies try to find it in music but the ones they listening to ain’t really in the streets so everybody is being misled. That’s why I call my movement RNU (Real Niggaz United) to link all the OGs & Big Homies who do music together to give guidance back to the street like ‘Trick Trick‘ from Detroit, ‘Mitchy Slick‘ from the west coast and other REAL 1s nationwide.
CN: What are your thoughts on Ferguson/Eric Garner and the Black Lives Matter movement? Has it inspired your music at all?
P: That plays a major part in everything I do and everything my music represents. All we have been through as a race and are going through now should help us to come together to lead and help Black people to become better as a race. We live in a time where race doesn’t stop any achievement but the lack of knowledge is what’s holding us back. That’s why everything I say is real life B.K.A. RNS. I’m gon’ be the next MLK & 2Pac mixed. It’s now on the record and you got it first #RNS.
CN: What are you listening to right now and who are some of your favorite artists currently?
P: I only listen to artists who talk RNS like me and who done lived it FrFr (For Real For Real) like Lil Durk, Young Dolph, Lil Boosie, Beanie Seagle, a few local artist and a lot of myself.
CN: What else can fans expect from Parlae in the future? Will we get some visuals? A studio album in the future? Some future shows?
P: Fans can expect visuals on a weekly basis. Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘IamParlae‘ to stay updated. I have a few movies coming out this summer that I wrote and directed. I’m not thinking about an album right now, I just wanna motivate the streets right now.
Follow me on IG @IamParlae to stay in the loop about shows, videos and all Parlae updates daily.
Parlae’s repertoire includes four coveted ASCAP writer awards, over 1 million albums sold, over 5 million ring tone downloads, and he is still able to connect with the streets and remain humble in an industry that is so easy to get lost and caught up in. Far from the party music Dem Franchize Boyz used to make back when “snap” music was all the rage, expect #IOnlyTalkRNS to be the exact opposite. Raw, honest and for the streets.0