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Kane and Abel - New Beginnings
2/23/05 - exclusive interview

Born the identical twin sons of Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx, the Garcia brothers have endured both success and hardship. While studying Mass Communications at Xavier University in New Orleans, they eventually earned their place on the tank at No Limit Records.


What followed was a ride to success with the label, which ended with a friendly departure from it, subsequent deals with other majors, and the birth of Most Wanted Records.

Just as the twins began building a reputation for their independent label, misfortune struck and they were sentenced to three years in a Texas Federal Prison, essentially for not providing their knowledge of a felony related to the trial of reputed New Orleans drug kingpin and convicted killer Richard PeŮa. After serving two years in prison, Kane and Abel became free men, and have been piloting their label with a better understanding of the business as well as themselves. What projects are you presently working on?

Da Block Party, itís a comedy. Reality Show is the new Kane and Abel album. We got all the top producers for the Kane and Abel album, Kanye West, Manny Fresh, Juicy J, KLC. We really been concentrating on movies, the movie business is actually booming, the music business is kind of declining.

Why the movie business?

One, itís more profitable, two, from a company standpoint, it costs the same to promote a movie, but the profit is greater, and in the urban market its less competition. DVD sales are increasing every year, music sales are decreasing, youíre going to see a disparity.

What distinguishes Most Wanted from other labels?

In 2000, we were Billboards #2 Urban Label before we went into the unfortunate situation we went into. We have the hot beats and crunk songs, but you will also hear about politics, about religion, about the things the everyday person goes through on the street. I think most people relate to Most Wanted because we give them the complete experience. When major labels realize there is a niche, they come in and sign some of the acts that were underground. Now, if you get hot, itís best to not take the deal. I canít tell you how many artists were hot in the South, and major labels swooped in and killed their career. They give you a certain amount of money, and youíre their slave. We'd rather make the same amount of money, do it for ourselves. You have lawyers and accountants running labels now, they look at how marketable an album is, not if itís good music. Now you see a mass exodus of good artists from labels, nowís a good time to be with an independent label. You may not get your videos on MTV or BET, but you can control your own product.

Youíve released multiple albums and have maintained strong sales for being independent; What has been the formula to your success?

Promote, promote, promote. We donít try to be all things to everyone. We go to five main states, we hit the radio stations hard, we market Ďtil weíre blue in the face. If you maintain a relationship with your fans, you continue to bring them hits, and you have relationships with radios and clubs, you will have an outlet for people. The key is that we put it all the way out there, we make sure you know its out there. At the end of the day, if people donít buy the album, we at least know we did our job.

Many Hip Hop fans, including Latinos, have never realized that you were both Latin. How does being Latino fit in with your music, and do you ever feel the need to represent for Latinos in Hip Hop?

We have so many Latino fans, if you listen to our records, we do interludes talking in Spanish. Itís a necessity for us to represent, we do shows at Hispanic and Mexican clubs, we participated in the Puerto Rican day parade in New York.

Describe your overall experience with No Limit Records

You could actually see the principles of success put into motion, believing in yourself, believing in what you are doing. But on the flip side, when you are on top, you have to pay the closest attention to what you are doing, because its so easy to fall down.

So much negativity has surrounded your former label that the phrase "No Limit curse" was created. Mystikal, Mac, C-Murder all convicted, Big Ed died of cancer and Souljah Slim was murdered . Whatís your take on the myth of the curse?

I really donít know, it seems like its been a lot of misfortune when it comes to a lot of people associated with No Limit. Itís something that I canít explain, if itís a coincidence, or if we're like the Kennedys. Personally I hope this is the end of it. With Souljah Slim, I saw him the day before he died, my heart goes out to his family.

Speaking on your own experience with the No Limit curse, how much did your time incarcerated affect your music plans and that of your record company?

Well, to be honest, for us being incarcerated was kind of a good thing. It taught us a lot about life, a lot of lessons that had to be learned. As far as business, it really didnít hurt as, because we still had business conducted on the outside. It was a learning experience, you get to know yourself, you learn who is with you and who is not. You learn to sustain your health, sustain your mentality. You get to learn a lot about people, about different walks of life, you learn about how much heart you have, because it takes a lot of heart to be behind those walls. In prison itís a whole other word, in there anything can happen, if something happens you canít walk away. You live your own life, you ainít dead. You play basketball, you let time pass, try to be a better person when you walk out than when you walked in.

Did the fact that you were known affect your stay?

At first itís a big deal. In a federal system, there are rules to the whole system. Puerto Ricans stick together, Texas people stick together, so its harder to get picked on. My crew was Boricuas, thatís who I ran with every day. In my prison, probably 30 [Puerto Ricans] straight from the island. My celly was from Caguas.

Your circumstances are obviously better now, so what can we expect from Kane and Abel in the future?

We arenít all about the fame and money, we want to genuinely help people: our family, our fans. At the same time, as long as God is willing, we gonna keep putting out projects, investing and making life better for the future. We got movies, records, books, e-commerce, we gotta keep moving. E-commerce is amazing, how you can reach so many people and sell stuff while you are sleeping. We have people buying stuff from Africa, Europe, it just shows you how global hip hop is.

You've written several novels. Is this something you want to continue doing and have you considered writing about your personal experiences and being incarcerated?

We got a new called Diva. We put out The Last Ones Left, which was a bestseller. As far as writing about our own experience, I guess we will see how that story pans out, itís kinda early right now. But, we take aspects of situations, experiences, and put them in our characters. If you read any of our books, you'll read aspects of ourselves, (laughs) the feds actually wanted to use one of our books against us. The classic story is a heroís journey. You have to go through a struggle, a challenge, thatís with any hero. We are just waiting for the climax.


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