These days it’s hard to tell whether the “P” in Master P should stand for Poppa (a proud one at that) or Publicist. Not only has No Limit’s CEO negotiated a TV pilot and a spot on the upcoming ’NSYNC tour for his son/artist Lil’ Romeo, he’s been running around telling anybody who’ll listen that his 11-year-old is going to be the next big pop star.
“All the kids done zoomed in on him,” said P with a grin. “He has a big fan base and his album [Soulja Boy] ain’t even out until July 3. We done got e-mails where they [calling him] the Michael Jackson of hip-hop” (see “Son Of A P: Lil’ Romeo Preps No Limit Debut” ).
P’s partiality notwithstanding, Romeo’s buzz among kids is indisputable. His “My Baby,” which uses samples and interpolations of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” has made him a quick airwave favorite.
“This is something bigger than me, Snoop or Silkk,” said P. “This is the first time we ever put an album out and didn’t have to sticker it. We made sure his music is for kids and the beats are something the adults could grab onto. He’s gonna take No Limit to the next level.”
And while it may be premature to put Romeo in the same class as a young MJ, it’s hard not to compare him to another rapping tyke with braids. “A lot of people did that,” said P of Romeo’s comparisons to Lil’ Bow Wow. “Just like when ’NSYNC came out, they compared them to the Backstreet Boys. But ’NSYNC tapped into a whole other market. Romeo is gonna get a lot of opportunities that Bow Wow couldn’t get maybe because of management, maybe because of image building. Bow Wow set the trend and I looked at it and said ’OK, let’s take this to another level.’ Just like how Bow Wow looked at Another Bad Creation, the guys who came before him. Romeo has something else to offer, just being himself and being well-grounded.”
It’s that down-to-earth personality, P said, that has enabled Romeo not to get caught up in his own hype and has allowed him to become buddies with Bow Wow, despite instigation by some fans and members of the media.
“[Romeo] and Bow Wow got together yesterday,” P said. “They’re doing a lot of fun stuff. They’re not getting caught up in the controversial side. They know they’re friends. They know we gonna show the audience that this is not like the [adult] rappers out there. All they wanna do is make their music and make money. They gonna show the world how to unite. Something that the bigger rappers should be doing.”
P tried unification on wax between the two boys but said it was nixed by red tape. “We was working with Jermaine Dupri,” said P. “We had a song that him and Bow Wow was going to do but going through Sony, they didn’t approve it. Maybe we’ll hold on to that for a soundtrack or something.”
While the No Limit colonel had a tough time coming to the table with the Sony head honchos, he said it’s been nothing but love when dealing with the executives at his label distributors, Priority. But friendship and business are two separate things. No Limit’s contract with Priority is up and there have been rumors of P finding a new home.
“We done been real successful dealing with Priority,” P said of his business partner of six years. “I had fun and made a lot of money there. We’re in negotiations right now. I am going to open up avenues. I’m only going to go through with a certain amount of acts with Priority. That gives me options to go other places and put other records out.”
And while the No Limit tank might be rolling out to a new distributor, the label’s CEO said it will definitely be marauding its way on the road this year. “We ’bout to have a big No Limit tour real soon,” said P. “We’re getting together the production on the tour. We’ll have a big ol’ tank on tour with the monitors. We’re making it real big.”
It’s no surprise that P and his son, as well as his brothers C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker, will be on the tour this year. Mia X, who’s ended her recording hiatus, and new No Limit boy band Six Piece will be joining them. Both acts have albums dropping this year.
Aside from music, Master P plans to make another go at the NBA this year. This time, he’ll be shooting hoops for Michael Jordan’s Washington Wizards. P said he’s confident he won’t be cut this time, as he was by the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets.
“They got  guys on the team,” P said with a smile. “I know I can make the top eight. I seen them guys shoot.”