Bad Boy for life? Not if you're Loon. The MC has left Bad Boy Records.
"I definitely want people to know that this was amicable," Loon said. "It's both beautiful and empowering to see that Puff can be the bigger man."
According to Loon, who released his self-titled Bad Boy debut in 2003 (see "Loon Prepares To (Finally) Drop Debut, Rap And 'Ball' On Broadway"), he simply wanted more attention.
"Being that [Puff] has so much going on, I didn't want to be the nagging artist," he said. "I was happy for all his success, but I was at a crossroads as an artist. I wanted to put forth the same effort for myself that I was putting forth for Bad Boy. So he allowed me the opportunity to go out and be a budding entrepreneur and be my own man.
"I have been such a loyal artist for the past four years," Loon continued. "However, I never really had the opportunity to establish myself because of [Diddy's] court case, Shyne, J. Lo, etc. None of those were Loon situations, but I took them on and we overcame them together. Puff has had a lot of success and I was established as an artist in terms of doing songs for the ladies, but that took away from the many [other] dimensions of Loon."
Loon, of course, had his own legal difficulties earlier this year when he and two other men were charged with attempted murder after an incident at the House of Blues in West Hollywood in February. He was cleared of the charges in September (see "Assault Case Against Loon Dismissed For Lack Of Evidence").
"I just wanted to bury myself in something positive," said Loon (born Chauncey Hawkins) of how he coped with the incident. "I got involved with the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and their voter registration drives, etc. I could have been on records and mixtapes talking about it, but I didn't feel the urge to capitalize on something that embarrassing to me and my family."
Now, with those days behind him, Loon is looking forward to controlling his own artistic destiny with his Boss Up Entertainment.
"I can't be anybody else's artist," he said. "With the knowledge I possess, I would be a fool to just sign another deal. I own my publishing — I own everything. I pretty much own my own ass.
"I'm close friends with [prominent music-business executives] like Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles and Sylvia Rhone," he added. "I want to take this head-on as an indie. I have many relationships with radio and DJs, so I want to use those to my advantage. Then I can sit down with people like that and broker a deal that's comfortable for me and the label."
While he's been off the radar for a minute, Loon says he already has music in the can and ready to go.
"The music has been done," said Loon. "I just wanted to end my relationship with Bad Boy before I released anything else. I didn't want to extend my relationship there. I just wanted to hold on to my guns and wait for the smoke to clear. Now the smoke is clearing, and you will be hearing something from me very soon."
In addition to releasing his own material, Loon has also plans on signing acts to Boss Up.
"I'm a boss now," said the MC. "I am trying to instill that same quality in my artists. If push comes to shove, I want to be able to borrow $100,000 from my acts. I want to instill that independence and responsibility in my acts."
In addition to his new gig as a label executive, Loon has also gotten into acting. With roles in upcoming films like "Happy Hour," "State Property 2" and "Death of a Dynasty," Loon looks to be following in the footsteps of his former boss.
"I'm trying to position myself in the right way in both fields," Loon said. "I'm not that old, so I'm in no rush. I just want to do it right."