Percy Miller is best known as the streetwise, obscenity-spitting, heat-packing rapper, Master P. As the poster child for the 1990s gangster rap movement, Miller used profanity and anger to his advantage, amassing a fortune once estimated at $661 million in sales from his many records, and in royalties from his record label, No Limits.
But recently, Master P has drastically changed his tune.
Instead of continuing to spout the same violent lyrics that made him rich and famous, Master P, along with his son Romeo, has formed a new label, Take a Stand Records. As its name suggests, Take a Stand will offer "clean" hip-hop music, featuring responsible artists and a positive portrayal of the urban community.
"I made millions of dollars from making music with profanity in it," said Miller in an interview with ABC News. "I was once part of the problem, and now I want to be a part of the solution. I'm growing. I'm getting older.I feel like I'm a parent of hip-hop."
Now a father five times over and a father figure to millions of aspiring rappers, Master P has decided to set an example for the rest of the hip-hop community by refining his message and launching a record label designed to cater to those rappers who want to do the same.
In an open letter posted on his Internet site, he wrote, "I am ready to take a stand by cleaning up my music and making a clean rap album. … I am not expecting the entire industry to change overnight, but this is one positive step toward the growth of hip-hop."
Kids Today … 'Have No Respect'
The idea behind Take a Stand Records hit Master P one day when he found himself turning down the music on his stereo to prevent his youngest children from hearing the expletive-laden lyrics. After much soul searching, Master P decided to put his troubles with the law and the glory days of his gangster rap fame behind him and dedicated himself to cleaning up hip-hop's image.
"The rap game now -- kids don't have no respect right now," he said. "The kids will just say anything. There do need to be changes in the music, and I'm not telling every hip-hop artist to change or sell out. I'm saying, make it better for the kids, if you don't do it for yourself."
Miller is so dedicated to transforming this music genre that all proceeds from Take a Stand Records artists will go toward scholarship opportunities for underprivileged youth. In addition, Miller says Take a Stand Records will seek partnerships with organizations such as the NAACP and retailers like Target and Wal-Mart that are in direct contact with communities.
But his goal of putting a conscience back into the heart of hip-hop is not completely altruistic. Sure, Miller has let go of his Master P persona, along with any thoughts of reclaiming his title as a rap superstar, but he admits financial success is still on his mind.
"I don't want to be the biggest hip-hop star, I want to be the black Donald Trump. I want to be like Bill Gates. I want to be that person where people will say, you know what, he started one way, but now he is in corporate America and he is taking his game to another level. I want to show people that I can change," Miller said.
Describing himself as "always thinking about doing something different," Miller's newest project has already sparked a new album with his son, "Hip-Hop History," and an upcoming reality TV show, "America's Next Hip-Hop Stars," that's still in its development stages.
But Miller insists that his recent change of heart is not all about the Benjamins.
"It's not about how much money I can make," he said. "It's about what can I give back to these kids? … What type of legacy can I leave for my family so they can say, you know what, my dad started off the wrong road, but then he ended up on the right track. I could never be perfect, but I can work toward that and be a work in progress. And I think the same thing with hip-hop. Everybody is not going to clean up their music, but by one spark plug, we are a work in progress right now."