Katt on the Prowl

You may think of Katt Williams only as a comedian — and a hilarious one at that — but there's more to the 34-year-old than jokes. For starters, most of us saw him for the first time as "Money Mike" in Friday After Next, the silly third installment in Ice Cube's Friday series, which, if nothing else, proved he can act. Since then, he's done several movies and HBO specials, released his own DVDs, appeared as a voice on The Boondocks, and somehow nudged Dave Chappelle out of the spotlight as the funniest black comedian of the moment.

But what's often not talked about is that Williams has another ambition itching to get out. The Katt wants to rap.

While taking a break from a grueling 100-city tour, Williams chatted with New Times about hip-hop and his record label.

New Times: So you've got a hip-hop album coming out soon. A lot of folks don't know anything about it. What can you share?

Katt Williams: Well, it was supposed to be out already, but I had so much going on and several movies all at once and then signed on to do a 100-city tour right afterward... I just had too many irons in the fire at once, so it had to be pushed back. But it's still coming out.

Is it a comedy album with some guest rappers on it, or is this a real hip-hop album?

It's my hip-hop album, man (laughs). I've wanted to be a rapper since I was 13... That's what I was hoping I'd be good enough to do. I kind of figured as I got older that it was something I'd have to do from afar just because I love to rap — not because I expected anything out of it. But now that so many doors have opened up for me, this record is very real, and it's coming out.

I read that you've started a record label as well.

Yeah, KattPack Records. We've got some good artists that we're in negotiations with right now — the Lady of Rage is one of them. I didn't realize how extensive the process was, but the record label is coming together real nice. I'm not gonna rush it.

Are you still a member of Dipset?

It's been publicized that we're going through some things right now. It's gotten ugly at times, but it's getting better. As a rookie artist for the past year and two months, I'm just waiting on the orders. We basically don't want any unnecessary mistakes.

What's the sound of the record like... is it gangsta? Smooth? What are you hitting people with stylewise?

If you're from Ohio, part of your style is that you don't sound like anything. That helps me a lot, so I wanted to work with artists from all regions so that it hits all demographics. I've got everyone from Paul Wall, Lil Wayne, E-40, and Snoop to Lyfe Jennings on there. When it comes out, people are going to be very surprised.

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Jonathan Cunningham