In competition, timing is everything ... or so says Lil' Flip. The Houston MC says that's why he's waiting to drop his new album, I Gotta Get Mine.
"My position brings out the best in some people," said Flip. "So I let dude drop his album and play his hand, and now I see what I got to work with."
While Flip never named the "dude" he was referring to, it's a safe bet he was talking about Southern rival T.I., whose Urban Legend was released this month. The two began beefing back in June at a radio-sponsored concert in Atlanta (see "T.I. Starts 'Filet Mignon' Beef With Lil' Flip At Birthday Bash").
Flip said he does name names on I Gotta Get Mine, due in late February or early March. "It's a couple on there that's going to have that spark," he laughed. "You know how Jay-Z came out first [with 'Takeover'], and then Nas came out [with 'Ether'] and won because he let Jay play his hand first? There you go."
For his new set, Flip worked with beatmakers like Play-N-Skillz and Mario Winans. He also manned the boards himself.
"There's no need to spend all your money on beats [from top producers] when there are new cats who are hungry to get on," he explained. "So that's what I did. When you hear it, you won't know the difference."
Flip said the album will have a host of guest artists. He plans on kicking things off with two singles: "Real Hip-Hop," featuring Ghostface and LL Cool J, and "Stay Ballin," featuring Yukmouth. He said the album will also feature Nelly and Jadakiss.
" 'Real Hip-Hop' looks at hip-hop through three generations," he said. "I grew up listening to Ghostface and the Wu-Tang, so I rhyme about that, and so on and so forth."
According to Flip, "Stay Ballin" is a remake of Tupac's "Still Ballin."
In addition to I Gotta Get Mine, Flip is also working on a new album, Death Before Dishonor, from his group Clover G's.
"This is the group that put me on and the first screwed-up clique to put out an album, so I wanted to put them on," he said. "I will be rapping on every song, so I'm going to be supporting this project to the fullest."
Solo albums from Clover G's members Will Lean, C-Note, Black Al Capone and Big Sheisty are also on the way.
After he's done putting the finishing touches on those projects, Flip plans to get back to working on his comedic biopic, "Pimpin' Ain't Easy" (see "Lil' Flip Turning His Life Into A Comedy").
"I put that on hold," he said. "I wanted to finish my album and the group album first. I wanted to get three or four years of music [done] before I started shooting the movie, so I spoke to ['Boyz n the Hood' director] John Singleton recently and we're going to sit down now and start planning the film."
If that's not enough, Flip sees himself as an entrepreneur as well. He'll launch his own liquor brand, Lucky Nites, in January. He also plans to launch two clothing lines, 5 Star General for men and Clover Girls for the ladies, and a Lil' Flip watch line later in 2005.
With his various endeavors, Flip believes his time is now.
"Hey, Jay has left," said Flip. "So someone has to do it."