Entrepreneur, businessman, mogul, and philanthropist, he entered the business world with the independent launch of his extremely successful, No Limit Records, which sold over 100 million units. That success led to the launch of P. Miller Enterprises and the release of movies and TV shows.
His billion-dollar mind did not settle for dominating the world of media. He created numerous products, such as Soldier Snacks chips and trail mix, Soldier Coffee House coffees, Manna Island coconut water, LA Great Food and Beverages, Uncle P food products, and Moneyatti clothing and shoes. Oh, and if that was not enough, he played for two NBA teams: the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors.
Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and receive a master class in business as we explore topics ranging from understanding the importance of ownership to financial literacy, why product outweighs talent, and much more. Remember, knowledge is the key to a future with no limitations, and today we have the pleasure of receiving that key from none other than the man himself, Percy Miller, aka Master P.
It is great to have the opportunity to speak with you again, Mr. Miller. We had such great feedback before that we had to create an opportunity for another master class.
PERCY MILLER: I appreciate it. My life is all about giving our culture and our people a blueprint by instructing them on ways to use education and wisdom to build economic empowerment.
MONARCH: Absolutely. Product outweighs talent is a slogan that we all can use. When did this become your mantra and why?
PERCY MILLER: Well, I started realizing that product outweighs talent a long time ago. You can be one of the greatest athletes in the world but you can’t play sports forever. But if you create products and a brand, you can build generational wealth. It’s going to start with product because product enables my family name to outlive my talent and me. When you look at Kellogg, Campbell, Wells Fargo, Gucci, or Versace, they have hundreds of products, not just one. And these are all family names that have been passed down from generation to generation.
MONARCH: How would you advise someone to begin adopting that mindset and living a lifestyle that reaches toward success?
PERCY MILLER: I believe success starts with being passionate, doing something because you love it opposed to doing it for the money. If you are doing something that you are passionate about, you are less likely to quit. I tell people all the time, I don’t pray for money. I pray for wisdom. One of the richest men of all time was King Solomon, he sought wisdom not riches. I think when we get people to start thinking like that, it’s going to be a game-changer. We’re going to be able to take care of so many families because with the education and wisdom, we’ll be able to make better decisions. Everybody thinks they’re self-made. I tell people I’m not self-made; I’m God-made. That’s why I created the books “Guaranteed Success When You Never Give Up” and “Never Go Broke” giving our people the blueprint to financial literacy.
MONARCH: Absolutely. Branding and marketing…is this a skill that comes naturally to you?
PERCY MILLER: Branding and marketing is a natural interest for me but as a skill, I continuously educated myself throughout the years with experiencing trials and error as well as researching, growing and building my knowledge to stay 10 steps ahead of these corporate giants. Every business is built on distribution, marketing, and consistency. Take a look at McDonald’s—that symbol we see, that big red sign. When you see it, you stop. Consistency is another thing that McDonald’s has figured out. The Big Mac tastes exactly the same all over the world. You know what to expect when you buy one. Distribution is key when you are creating product. You want to be able to get it on the shelves in stores to build your empire. Adequate marketing to the consumers will get customers to buy your product.
MONARCH: Please share the concept that you had when you started branding Soldier Snacks and any of your other brands. Where did you start?
PERCY MILLER: When I started Soldier Snacks and began branding it, I realized that this was a family business, a product that came from the influence of my grandfather, Sergeant Claude, that I can pass on to the world. The branding of Soldier Snacks is a company that is all about the military and families. It’s about giving back. Our slogan is “The more we make, the more we give.” The concept and branding incorporates everything from the slogan and the concept to the bag. For example, a regular chip bag is just a regular bag. Soldier Snacks is this loud, camouflage bag that reflects the military. It’s never been done before, and we focus on a whole military aspect, giving back to military families and fallen soldiers’ families. When you think about the military, think about this: How many products are owned by African Americans on a military base? I’m leading my family into new territory, taking influence from my grandfather, somebody who taught me to get out there and work hard and to never give up, never quit. That’s what my brand was built on, so I wanted to market and promote that to the world.
I added so many other brands to diversify my portfolio, such as Moneyatti Clothing & Shoes, Soldier Coffee House, LA Great Water, LA Great Snow Cones, Master Crunch Cereal, Icon Rap Noodles, Golden Masterpieces Chocolate Candy, King Kongin Energy Drink, LA Great Rice, Manna Island Coconut Water, and LA Great Beer (the only Black-Owned beer brewing company in Louisiana). I want to change that limited mind-set, we can have more than just one product. The more brands we build, the more opportunities we create for our culture.
MONARCH: That’s consistency. It reminds me of the way you built No Limit Records.
PERCY MILLER: Yes, you have to be committed to consistency, and that’s what we talked about: staying consistent and having a brand and pride of ownership. It started from the Soldier Snacks to the chips then to the Soldier coffee. Think about it: Everybody drinks coffee, but nobody has ever had a military-based coffee. What’s unique about my brand is the camouflage coffee bags. This is history, it has never been done before.
MONARCH: I cannot wait to have some Soldier Coffee House in the camouflaged bag.
PERCY MILLER: Of course.
MONARCH: What made you go into the snack food industry, and how difficult has it been navigating in that type of space?
PERCY MILLER: It was very difficult at first but we brought diversity to the food industry. I am currently working on a new project with Snoop Dogg that consists of Snoop Loopz Cereal and Momma Snoop Pancake, Syrup and Oatmeal. We partnered up to be the new Kings of Breakfast Foods.
I realized that we spent trillions of dollars a year as African American consumers, but we don’t own any of these brands. We lack the education when it comes to buying stocks in our favorite brands. I want to teach people how to think differently. It’s time to create our own brands. I got into the snack food industry with Rap Snacks with James, and I would think about other lanes to explore. For example, Rap Snacks was created for the culture, Solider Snacks was created for the kids and the military. As founder of Icon Rap Noodles, I realized that American consumers eat a lot of noodles but they are mostly owned by international, companies. We’re spending a lot of money on these other brands that are out there. But they’re not putting money back into our communities and our culture. That’s why I started creating brands of my own so that I can help make a difference and open the doors for other minority-owned brands to get their products on shelves as well.
MONARCH: So all of your projects have some type of purpose and actually mean something to you. And you have a passion for it that extends way beyond money. Do you believe economic empowerment is the main ingredient to improving Black America?
“God gives us the power to be successful. There’s no limit to your dreams when you put the work in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who acquires understanding.”
PERCY MILLER: Yes. Economic empowerment is so important as well as to be able to recognize that. Think about it. We protest, march in the streets, we fight for injustice, we bring awareness, what else can we do? And that’s what I’m saying—having a plan, having a purpose, having a plan of action is the only way to change the narrative. We have to put people that look like us in office to help run our government as well as in boardrooms of major companies.
MONARCH: Technology provides us with so many tools to advance our knowledge, and yet it seems that finance is just something that’s not readily available to us at all. How can we change that?
PERCY MILLER: We have to invest our time into financial literacy, learning, and educating ourselves as well as our families, the same way we train as athletes and entertainers. We have to put a little more time into our financial literacy because if we only know how to run, jump, act, do all these different things, we have no time to understand what’s banking and what’s credit. Other cultures have been doing this for years and they pass it down from generation to generation. We have to do the same thing.
MONARCH: You know, a four-year institution is not necessarily the environment for everyone. So it could be two years or, if you’re mastering a craft, continuing to educate yourself.
PERCY MILLER: Yes, exactly. A lack of education will keep you in poverty because it’s your mind; people don’t realize that once you start thinking better, you do better. You know better. And don’t let your conditions and your circumstances stop you from getting to where you need to go, whether its 2 years, 4 years, 10 years don’t put a time limit on your education and if you have to read some books or go online, do your own research and study.
And the way you do it is through education—knowing who God is, knowing that whatever your destination is, you’ll get there. Just stay on the journey. I tell people all the time it’s a marathon. Just don’t quit. My whole motto is, I’m not going to quit. If I love something, I’m passionate about it. I’m going to keep going till I get to my destination.
MONARCH: Explain to me the difference between poor, rich, and wealthy. Those are three different things.
PERCY MILLER: Poor, rich and wealthy… Poor people think and talk about money most of the time. Rich people think and talk about material things most of the time—my boat, my car, my house. Wealthy people think and talk about creating ideas and how they can bring those ideas to life, and that’s the difference.
MONARCH: What do you look for when beginning a new venture?
PERCY MILLER: I always look for a problem and think about how I can be a part of the solution. If I am going to be committed and invested, it has to be about something I have a genuine interest and am passionate about that becomes the purpose. Then I will want to see it win no matter how long it takes and that’s how it becomes successful.
MONARCH: I want to know what inspires you. What motivates you?
PERCY MILLER: I think what inspires me the most is my family, the next generation; they make me want to be better, do better. I believe what motivates me is looking in that mirror everyday knowing that I am here for a purpose and I have another day to grow and help make a difference. I don’t like to waste time. It’s all about self-accountability. People don’t realize how important that is. We have to stop blaming others for our shortcomings, failures and circumstances. Don’t be afraid of getting out of your own way, the only person holding you back is you and your excuses. There’s going to be a lot of things that happen to us in our lives that we cannot control but we can control how we respond.
Everybody is going through something or went through something. When we put our trust and faith in God, truly putting God first, nothing is impossible, we can overcome anything. That’s my motivation. Just because I came from poverty doesn’t mean I have to stay in it.
MONARCH: How do our readers stay up with everything P Miller?
PERCY MILLER: You could follow me on social media @MasterP our websites, SoldierSnacks.com / SoldierCoffeeHouse.com / LAGreatWater.com / LAGreatSnowCones.com / MasterCrunchCereal.com / KingKongin.com / GoldenMasterpieces.com / MannaIsland.com / LAGreatBeer.com / OfficialMoneyatti.com / Moneyatti.com
You will see me popping up on all types of things. I appreciate your time. I just want to salute Monarch magazine for everything that they’re doing for the culture.