Skee-Lo Wished He Was a Little Bit Taller. Then He Promptly Retired
The hook floated into his mind that Thursday night at the Good Life, following a successful preshow freestyle in the parking lot. When Sunshine Records (the parent company of Scotti) heard it, he received a $150,000 advance. The song's success created a familiar paradox: His music was omnipresent but he never made a penny. Nor did he get with Leoshi (though she did appear in the video).
After a half-decade of legal battles, Skee-Lo wrangled back his publishing rights. He proudly notes that he receives every cent when the song is purchased and played today. But even though he kept busy doing shows during his "retirement," his recording hiatus left him adrift and depressed, even after the royalty money kicked in.
"It got to the point where I told my wife and children that I didn't want to live anymore," Skee-Lo says of his low ebb five years ago. "Then a voice spoke to me clearly and said, 'At what point in your life were you truly happy?'"
The religious vision caused Skee-Lo to rededicate himself to the Nation of Islam, which he had joined at 16. His raised spirits and reaffirmed spirituality inspired him to form his own indie label, Skee-Lo Musik, whose flagship release will be April's Fresh Ideas, Skee-Lo's first real record since "I Wish."
But no matter the outcome, he's achieved the crucial goals of his lone smash: People still remember his name, and he'll be played on classic rap radio until the day everyone is 6 foot 9.
"I've had people from prison tell me how much that record helped them through the years they were locked down," he says. "People treat me well wherever I go. How can you hate on Skee-Lo?"