Success hasn't changed Plies; it has just made him more real. After selling over a half million copies of his 2007 debut album, "THE REAL TESTAMENT," the rapper hailing from the streets of Fort Myers, Florida returns with the release of his sophomore set, "DEFINITION OF REAL." "I feel like what I try to stand for in this game and what I reflect and represent is the extinct individuality in terms of being real," explains Plies. "It was only right for me to embody my sophomore album with the whole definition of what I like to call real. It's a term that I looked up and I dissected and I feel like it fits me as a person; better than any term I ever ran across."
For most artists, being real is something their record labels invest marketing dollars in, but for Plies it just comes naturally. With so many of today's rappers claiming to be real, what is it that makes Plies different? It's a question only he can answer.
"The definition of real is based on who you choose to ask," explains Plies. "A lot of ni***s think being real is how many times you done been to prison or how many ni***s you done murked in the streets. I beg to differ," he says. "For me, real is being a responsible father, being a support system for my homies that's fucked up in the system, staying true to my beliefs, and staying loyal to the ni***s who done been with me for so many years."
Plies' main motivation is his brother and label CEO Big Gates, who is currently doing time in a federal penitentiary. "My brother being locked up is the biggest pill I had to swallow in my life," admits Plies." I never respected another human being as much as I respect my brother," he says. "You have a n***a that went fed a couple of years ago, but not only did he go fed, he took it for the team. I never had a person a part of my life that stood for what he stands for." It's the love for his brother Big Gates that ultimately fuels Plies' drive.
With less than a year between releases, Plies looks to redefine a term that the majority of his hip-hop peers take lightly. "With ‘THE REAL TESTAMENT,' I feel like I opened some doors and created opportunities that I would have never been able to musically," says the rapper. "I never made music that didn't embody who I am as a person, so for me to have the blessings to come back in just ten months and continue to feed the streets, I know how privileged I am that ni***s still wanna hear me." And with that undying support and admiration from his fans, "DEFINITION OF REAL" is shaping up to be one of hip-hop's most anticipated releases of 2008.
Led by a pair of powerful singles, Plies has created an unstoppable movement with "Bust It Baby, Part1" and "Bust It Baby, Part 2." The two-part ode to the women who have supported the rapper's career goes beyond mere radio records. Instead, Plies has an unprecedented marketing campaign that is sure to keep him at the forefront of hip-hop. "To have the female following that I got is something that is indescribable," he says. "When you got 2,500 people at a venue and 1,500 of them motherfuckers are all females and the other 1,000 are the hardest working street ni***s – to have the best of both worlds is something that I haven't seen musically in a long long time." The first installment of the series is a southern-cooked dedication to the rapper's faithful female fan base, while the second part is a larger-than-life tribute featuring production from JR Rotem and an infectious hook by R&B superstar Ne-Yo. If 2007's "Shawty" was a pop-hit with a ghetto twist, then "Bust It Baby, Part 2" is that to the tenth power.
For most artists, catering to such a diverse fan base can be tricky, but for Plies it comes effortlessly. In the contemplative "Worth Goin' Fed For," Plies debates the perils of street life. And with the heart-wrenching "Somebody Loves You," Plies reassures that no matter what's going on in life, there's always someone there for you. "Who Hotter Than Me" most definitely serves the hood, where Plies carries his signature swag and declares the streets on lock. And the Trey Songz assisted "I'm the Man" stands perfectly side-by-side with the super-raunchy "I Feel Like Fuckin'," making "DEFINITION OF REAL" a complete and balanced album, much like Plies' debut.
Still, don't expect too many features on the album, as Plies pledges to give his fans exactly what they pay for. "There ain't no other rappers on my album, that's important for me. I don't believe in having seven or eight features on an album – to me that's a compilation album." So, much like Plies' debut album, "DEFINITION OF REAL" only boasts R&B features. "I think I'm alright when it comes to talking about certain issues, so I don't really need the support of n****s to help me fulfill that vision.
"I never try to be defined by how many records I sell. I think it's more important for my mark to be made on what I stand for," says Plies.