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Mike EppsDespite the cold weather New Era Cap (the official headwear of the NFL) set up a customized ice cream truck during Super Bowl week on Super Bowl Blvd with actor and comedian, Mike Epps, (The Hangover, Next Friday, Mike Epps Comedy Tour etc) as well as top-tier athletes  handing out complimentary ice cream.

Q: Super Bowl is coming up, who are you rooting for?

Mike Epps: I love Peyton Manning and what he did for the city (Indianapolis), but I’m going with them underdogs (Seattle Seahawks). I’m definitely loving Seattle right now. They got the young energized players. I’m definitely going with the underdogs.

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Q: How did you team up with New Era?

Mike Epps: I got with Phil Crimaldi of DKC, which is a new publicity group and New Era are clients of theirs and they came up with a great idea to design my own hats. You know I’ve been wearing New Era hats since the beginning of time. I’ve had so many of their hats. I met with the Chris and we came up with to design for some hats. I went up the the company in Niagra Falls and sat with a designer – checked out a couple patterns and came up with my own design and now we got a Mike Epps New Era hat that we’re hoping to launch real soon.

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Q: Is it one style or do you have different colors?

Mike Epps: Yeah we have different colors. But me being from Indianapolis, Indiana, I definitely went with my home town colors. I went with my high school color, which was money green, the Colts colors, which are cobalt blue and white, and I went with the Pacers, which was royal blue and gold and I’m gonna probably go with the Gucci colors the red, black, and green. Those are popular colors.

Q: I know you have a Youtube channel and you still perform stand up can you tell me which one you prefer and what are some differences between the two?

Mike Epps: Well, I think they all feed each other. We’re in a social network world now that one thing feeds the other. When you do stand up comedy now because everybody’s on Twitter, Vine, all these different social network outlets, I think you have to do that as an artist. You got to give people content to make them come and see you. Most of the audiences are on Facebook, twitter, and vine so you gotta give that up.

Q: I know you have a movie coming out “Repentance” and this role is a little bit different for you. Can you tell me about it?

Mike Epps: I been in the business now for 21 years and some of my earlier movies were “Next Friday,” “3 Strikes” movies like that and I think people have seen me do comedy for so long now that I’m an older man now, I have reinvented myself. I’m definitely doing movies now that are more challenging to me. I’m doing movies now that are dramatic roles like I did in “Sparkle.” This movie is called ‘Repentance.’ It’s got Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan. These are some great respected actors, so to be amongst them and do something is really great.

Q: Who are you listening to these days?

Mike Epps: I’m on that Kendrick Lamar real tough right now. I definitely listening to Rick Ross because he’s on some grown man shit. I like Drake, 2Chainz I like all the different genres of music.

Q: Do you feel it is important for you to evolve as a business man?

Mike Epps: Companies, Studios, labels they’re really controlling. Thank god for the social networking world. You don’t have to wait on nobody. As soon as you got an idea, you just go and do it. The days of waiting on some CEO to tell you you can do something is over with. Why should I wait on you when I got the product here right now when I can give it directly to the people? It’s making a lot of young artists become businesses – their own men. You learn that shit hands on. You don’t have to go to business school to become a businessman because you’re dealing directly with the consumer. You can pick up a book and Jay-Z and Puff Daddy will tell you how they made it. Anybody great that you like, will tell you what they did to make it where they’re at, which is to me more organic and better than sitting up in a classroom listening to a professor tell you how to be a business man. Why should I listen to somebody that’s making 200,000 thousand dollars a year versus going to pick up a book from a real millionaire or a dude worth almost a billion dollars telling me to do what he did.

Q: Do you have any book recommendations?

Mike Epps: I definitely like Russell Simmons’ book.

Q: I heard you say in an interview with the Breakfast Club that the entertainment industry sends a lot of people to the grave,  jail, or leaves them on drugs. How do you stay grounded?

Mike Epps: I think a lot of artists that come from humble beginnings, inner cities, trailer parks, or whatever get addicted to the struggle and we start this and depending on the struggle making us who we are. The only hard part about that is some of us dig so deep into it and we depend on it, so much that it ends up taking us out the game whether it was doing drugs or going to jail, becoming violent or whatever you use to keep it real. To some experts, we think that self destruction makes us a great artist. So now you got people putting themselves through situations rather than going through them. Like some of the shit we do to ourselves as artist, it ain’t natural. Like I’m going to put myself through this because in the end I’m going to look like and sound like this person but, unfortunately it’s really like gambling because you really don’t know if you gon’ make it out of it. So you taking a chance on something that could actually take you out of the game. That’s not something that makes you strong or good when you put yourself through it, versus you just naturally go through it. A lot of guys want struggle, you look at kids like Justin Beiber and he’s really discouraged about being blessed. Self destructive like I can’t believe that I’m this blessed and rich, so we start doing stuff to destroy ourselves because most of us don’t feel deserving of something. All of that stuff comes with success sometimes.

Q: Any final thoughts?

Mike Epps: I’d like to thank The Source Magazine for interviewing me since 1996. I did an interview for Source Magazine for Def Comedy Jam. Tupac had just got out of prison, he’s on the cover, so make sure y’all dig that article up. I’m still talking the same shit.

-Keith Lee