Pitbull, Ross, and Flo Rida do their best to pick up the slack, he concedes. "Those guys, they know they have to do it. They're in a state in their life where they have a lot of responsibility. But at the same time, Flo Rida makes sure he takes Brisco on the road with him or helps him out with his music or jumps on one of his tracks. Rick Ross comes back and hangs out with IceBerg and helps out some Latinos in Hialeah or Okeechobee." And, of course, Pitbull. "I have no problem with those guys. At the end of the day, they do look back."
But with the recent attempted shooting of Ross on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, things aren't all cool within the rap community, and Epps is in the middle of all the weird beef. "There are a lot of hungry rappers out there that think differently from what I just said. They don't think Ross comes out to help them or Pitbull doesn't come out to help them." Most frightening is that these guys threaten rappers on YouTube and other social-media sites. "That's just showing you're hungry and you're trying to make a threat," he says. "You're just trying to get a big-name artist to give you 10 G's to shut up. It doesn't work that way."
How it does work is through expended energy. "With me trying to help out artists as well, I've come to realize, those guys are always looking for a handout. They don't put in the grind, the effort and time into their projects to make things happen for themselves. They expect people like Ross or myself to make it happen. No -- you have to go out there and shake hands and kiss babies and make people love you as a person. And then people can respect your music and respect your personality, and they can support you in whatever you want do."
Epps' hands are likely sore from all the handshaking he must be doing. He has put out four albums since September, including Mr. Miami, had a hit with "Twerk," a single that ended up on Bad Girls' Club, and Blow's song with French Montana -- out on Epps' album Feed Me More -- is doing well.
"I'm proud of what I've done in the past four months, but 2013 is a bigger situation for me," Epps says. He wants to showcase other artists; is working on a new release, Heart Attack; is planning his annual four-day-long, tricounty birthday bash in April; and his wife just opened a clothing store, Lady Lux Boutique.
Also, as a Miramar resident, he knows about the long, hard drive home at the end of the night and is expanding his parties north of the Miami-Dade County line to accommodate more people. "The vibe, it's different," Epps says. "In Miami, they have their own certain type of party. I can tell they appreciate the DJ'ing skills more [in Boca]. They appreciate the music more. You don't have to play hip-hop all night. You can just play some old school, a little bit of everything, and they appreciate the quality of the music."
Even with all of the songs unplayed on the radio and the cars pockmarked with bullet holes, Epps knows it's primarily about just that -- the quality of the music.