Paul Wall is on his way to be hip-hop’s Heavyweight Champion of the World–no, not in the boxing ring, but in the hearts of his fans. Dubbed as the “People’s Champ” for his down-to-earth attitude, Paul Wall is putting Texas on the hip-hop map as he takes the music industry (and the world) by storm.
“My music is about the hustle, but not just hustling on the block but in going out there and getting what you want,” Wall said in a Texan drawl. “As for being the people’s champ, it was a name my buddy gave me because I’ve always treated people with respect, no matter what their status was.” But even though Wall is now a big time name in hip-hop, he didn’t always see it as a career. “Rapping was what I did for fun growing up; it was just a hobby at first,” Wall explained. “I started getting serious about it after my boy, Michael Watts, introduced me to the business side of rap. I took what I learned from him, ran with it while still having fun, and started putting out mixtape albums.”
With a passion to make music, Wall knew he wouldn’t make it big overnight. He decided to work on different projects in hopes that one of his ventures would eventually lead him to a career in music. “I got my name out there working on different things daily,” he said. “One day I would be out promoting, the next DJ’ing, while the following day I was working on my rap game. For me, it was about promoting my name as a person, not just as a rapper.”
As his reputation grew in Houston, Wall knew he had to be patient, but never lost hope in his dream. “The hardest part about getting my name out there was having the patience that my hard work was not in vain,” Wall confessed. “I saw other people make it and felt that should be me. I admit that at times I got frustrated and fed up with the whole game, but I would stop and remember to tell myself, ‘You never know what God has planned for you.’”
Soon, his patience paid off as he became part of the Houston power group The Color Changin’ Click with fellow childhood friend and well-known rapper Chamillionaire. “We were all homeboys growing up in Houston,” Wall reminisced. “It went on for a couple of years, but then me and Chamillionaire took rapping more seriously, and eventually, we all started going our own ways.”
Now as a solo artist, Paul Wall has delighted fans with his gritty Texas-influenced lyrics and beats, first inspired by the “Screwed and Chopped” musical innovations of Houston’s own legendary DJ Screw (who pioneered that art of slowing and pitching down records, and chopping and repeating lines of lyrics to a mesmerizing effect). “The style of music we were creating here in Texas was just so different that I would have never thought that the rest of the world would embrace it in the way they have now,” he explained. “My music is based on the Texas culture and what I like to call ‘Screw culture.’”