“I retired five months after it was released,” Skee-Lo says, drinking coffee at the Denny’s on Crenshaw and 37th, a few blocks from the home he shares with his wife and two children. “Not only did my label [Sunshine] take credit for producing ‘I Wish,’ they took all the profits. So I refused to shoot any more videos, promote or record music. I’m not their slave. I wasn’t working for free.”
The LA Times tracked Skee-Lo down for an update and some clarity on what really happened to his career. According to the interview, the rapper became so depressed after his label situation that he gave up on life and even contemplated suicide. It wasn’t until he got reacquainted with his faith in Islam that he was able to snap out of his funk and get his life back on track. Skee-Lo eventually went on to win back his publishing for “I Wish.” Currently, Skee-Lo receives royalties whenever the song is played or purchased.
“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?”
(Read the full interview at The LA Times)