NEW YORK — Paul Wall definitely knows how to get around.
The Houston artist has collaborated with, made grills for, and chopped and screwed albums for a wide range of artists over the past few years, including Kanye West, T.I., Lil Wayne, Nelly, Lil Jon, Brooke Hogan and Travis Barker. But one person that’s eluded him is a fellow Texan: country star Willie Nelson.
Wall recorded the bulk of his sophomore album, Get Money, Stay True — due April 3 on Atlantic (see ” ’Mature’ Paul Wall Still Raps About Girls, Grills With Mariah, T.I.” ) — in the legendary crooner’s Austin, Texas, studio. But he didn’t manage to run into Nelson once.
“It was a lot of fun working out of there. It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Wall told MTV News. “It was just close enough to Houston where we could drive back home at night and drive out there in the day, but far enough to [not be] be bothered. When we got there, we got to work. It’s kind of out there in the hills, a little bit off to the side to where our cell phones really didn’t work too good. We were straight going out there with the mind frame to work and put out some music, and that’s what we did: When we started recording there, it was the turning point in the album. From that point on, all the songs we recorded were like the next level, the next notch up.
“I didn’t get a chance to meet Willie, though,” he continued. “I’d love to meet him one time.”
Wall can take some consolation in the crew he gathered for the project, which includes Juelz Santana, Trina, Jon B. and Expensive Taste — his side act with Barker and Skinhead Rob (see “Travis Barker Gets Down With Paul Wall, Juelz Santana While Arm Heals” ). Lil’ Keke is also along for the ride, spitting with Wall on the lead single “Break ’Em Off.”
Jermaine Dupri, who produced the Wall-assisted “Grillz” for Nelly, even shows up on the second single, “I’m Throwed,” for which a video is already in the can. Wall said the JD collaboration felt like a continuation of “Grillz.”
“It was off the chain,” Wall said of working with Dupri. “We had a lot of fun working on the ’Grillz’ song and the experience of performing it, so we just went back and came up with ’I’m Throwed.’ ”
One more person Wall wasn’t able to catch up with for Get Money, Stay True — but hopes to soon — is Chamillionaire. The friends-turned-foes-turned-friends-again have buried their differences, according to Wall, and are aiming to collaborate again soon. But only under the right circumstances, he said.
“I want to do another album with him,” Wall remarked. “But only if we find a label that believes in us as a [duo], then cool. But if they just see the gimmick of, ’Oh, they used to have beef, they used to have problems, let’s get them together now to do an album,’ it’s not really the same thing. I want it to be real. If someone believes in the music, then it’s all good.”