Percy Miller, better known as Master P, lives by one creed – underestimate him if you want. That’s been the story of his life and he’s always rose above the naysayers. If you grew up in the ’90s, chances are you undoubtedly heard of No Limit soldiers. As the founder of No Limit Records, one of the biggest and greatest independent record labels, he forever changed the game and showed the world he’s a brilliant businessman.
Disrupting the status quo and laying a path to generational wealth summarizes his trajectory. From clothing to film, real estate, food products, mass media, and the list goes on, by creating various business ventures throughout the years, he is one of the few to set the example of building an empire and career longevity.
Now, the New Orleans native, who attended the University of Houston, has his sights set on spreading his message of generational wealth. During a recent visit to Houston for a Chase Bank economic summit, the Defender sat down and talked with the media mogul.
Defender: You come from one of the most notorious projects in New Orleans. How did you go from there to this media mogul who refuses to be put in a box and is trying to get our community to focus on generational wealth?
Master P: I grew up poor. I realized when I walk into these stores, there was no product owned by people that looked like me. I knew if we want to build economic empowerment, then we need to put money back into our communities. And I think that that’s what we have to change. I want people to realize when they first see me they may think I’m this stereotype coming from hip hop. But I went to college. I understand the importance of education and the fact that we’ve got to give back. My greatest job now is being a servant. I am focused on the inner city and the elderly. I want to make sure that we protect the wisdom in our communities and our culture, but we also prepare the next generation.
Defender: Our community has traditionally been focused on immediate money and not long-term gains. Changing that mindset seems to be your mission.
Master P: Absolutely. Without educating your family and your kids, then your wealth will stop right there with you. People think it’s about money, but it’s also about all the failures that I’ve been through. When people look at me right now, they say, ‘Percy must be so successful.’ They don’t understand the failures that I’ve been through. And that motivated me to build generational wealth, not just for my family, but others. You have to explain in your home that everything is not going to be perfect but if we educate ourselves, it can make a huge difference. I’m a student of the game. I don’t care how much money I made, how much money I lost. Life was like a Seesaw. You lose and get back up. Most of the successful people have lost money. They lost millions to get to billions. We are not programming our families to build generational wealth because we don’t think we can do it. We just want a good job. And I’m saying, you know what? Everybody can’t be a basketball player or football player. But everybody can be an entrepreneurer. You can have a nice job, but you also could invest some time into something that you love. You have to be passionate about something in order to build generational wealth. It’s not about money. It’s about loving something and being passionate about it and not being afraid to get better. So that’s what I give to my kids and my family.
Defender: What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing the Black community?
Master P: We are always consuming product, but we’re not producing products and to build economic empowerment, we have to change that narrative. We have a lack of education. I want to change that. I want to make sure that we understand that if we educate our community and our culture, we can be better. We don’t have to sit around and wait on other cultures to take care of us, if we empower each other.
Defender: Why did you decide to partner with Chase Bank to spread your message?
Master P: Chase is trying to educate the people, help them understand finance and banking, let them understand credit. We don’t understand that. I tell people all the time, the most important thing that you could have is credit, but we need to educate our culture and our people, too. People are building empires over credit and our people, we in underserved markets where we just don’t, it’s a lack of education. We don’t know. When you look at the banking system, people are afraid. Everybody has a business, but they don’t know how to take it to the bank. I remember the frozen cup lady, Mrs. Irene. Everybody would go to her house, spend our 25 cents. Imagine if she had been educated on how to have an LLC or how to do a business plan, her kids could be running a frozen cup conglomerate. I started selling CDs and tapes out the trunk of my car because of the Avon lady. There was a lady in my neighborhood selling Tupperware. She had a legit business. But now we want to take these people and show them how to make LLCs, make corporations, go to the bank. Let’s get some money, and understand this financial business. Doing this can take the people at the bottom and change them and show them how to do this the right way.