I’m good, I’m good, I’m good.
How’s your debut album My Dreams: A Day in the Life coming?
Man, it’s the best album. It’s going to be the best album to come out in probably the next two, three albums or until somebody sees what I’m doing and copies it.
What makes this album so good?
I feel like good music consists of having good beats, good rhythm and good verses. Phenomenal songs come from having phenomenal beats, phenomenal hooks and phenomenal verses.
Are you happy with how the fans are responding to “Sidekick”?
Hell yeah! That’s a female-driven record and for the gangsters and the thugs to come up to me and tell me that it’s hot, that tells me that it’s a special record.
Are you happy with how “Streets On Lock” did for you?
Of course. That was a street record. I’m definitely happy with the results I got from it. I got a great response from the streets from it and that’s who I made the record for. I make music for the cats that have been through that real life drama.
How did you come up with the concept for “Streets On Lock”?
Initially I had gotten a beat from a dude I knew and I had heard ‘Pac in the sample. I just heard it and it just gave me inspiration just from hearing it. I had been talking to one of my friends, DJ Felli Fel, and he was telling me that I needed to put stuff like that in my songs because it could identify with everybody. It was clever and I just did it. I played the song for him and he just loved it. That’s when “Streets On Lock” really started.
You’re working with Jermaine Dupri over at Island Def Jam. What made you want to work with him?
For the same reason that anybody else wants to deal with him. He’s a legend, he knows talent and he knows records. He has a keen eye for talent. I just think that him coming to me initially was like, ‘Wow!’ He doesn’t have any need for me. He can deal with any artist he wants to. He doesn’t need me. And I’m from the West Coast and the West Coast isn’t on right now. I just think that he saw the raw talent and was like, ‘This is what it is.’ I’m a southwest artist by way of Mississippi.
What is Jermaine Dupri bringing out of you?
I think it’s just a higher level of knowing how to make hit songs and knowing what a hit is. A hit could be slow, fast or mid-tempo, but his thing is that the people will let you know what a hit is. Nobody has the format for a hit record because if they did, everybody would have one. He’s the type of dude who’s observant. He can be in the club just standing still, just observing what makes the club jump. That ingenuity right there is why he’s winning. The little things that people do is what makes it work.
How are you guys working together on My Dreams: A Day in the Life?
He’s doing more like dealing with the executive end with it. We’re going into the studio to work on some records. He’s really just letting me know what I need to do.
Do you find that fans expect you to have a certain sound since you’re coming from Compton?
Of course, but I’m originally from Mississippi. It’s different from Snoop Dogg. I came up in Mississippi and I was moving back and forth from Mississippi to L.A. I kind of inherited both sides as a kid and as an adult. That’s why my sound is mixed. I’m southwest. I could tell you about the palm trees and the lolo’s but I can also tell you about the d-boy life with the white tees and hustling. It’s just me being in different places.
You said the West isn’t on right now. Why is that?
I think that the difference of it is that when you look at New York and you look at it as a symbol, when Biggie and ‘Pac died, Nas and Jay-Z were their understudies and they weren’t on, but they got on and they realized that they could stay on forever if they just continued to bring each other on. They weren’t afraid to put each other on at one point. That’s what’s going on in the South right now. They’re not afraid to put somebody else on. On the West, everybody just wants to hold on to their little piece of shine but they don’t want anybody else to blow. I think that’s what a lot of this boils down to. I think at the end of the day, the new artists that are out here on the West right now, they’re not really tripping. There’s really no hate. It’s more like, ‘I’m doing my thing, you’re doing your thing. Let’s come together and make it pop.’ And that’s a blessing, man. I’m happy to be a part of that.
Can you bring the West together?
I feel like I can be one of the key components to bringing the West together. You have to look at it like the South didn’t become known from one artist getting a deal. There were four artists who all had songs and videos popping. That’s what it’s going to take. We have to have the club controlled by West Coast artists when you come to L.A. That type of thing is what breaks the artists and that’s what needs to happen.
What do you have to do from here on out to make sure people are aware of My Dreams: A Day in the Life?
Today, in hip-hop right now, every label damn-near is breaking their artists with a single instead of them developing the artists around a movement or around the streets. So you have an artist that drops and nobody knows who he is but they know his song. So when it comes time to go buy his album, they don’t do it. People have been fooled enough times when they went to buy somebody’s album and only two songs were hot. The fans are tired of that. Fans may buy a ringtone of an artist now but not the album. People buy into artists. T.I. and Young Jeezy are prime examples of that.
What’s the next move for Hot Dollar?
I’m going to continue to pound the streets and push “Sidekick.” I’m working on some more records with Jermaine and I’m doing some more street videos. My whole thing is establishing Hot Dollar in the streets and as a person, not as a song.
What do you want to say to everybody?
If there’s anybody out there who’s really trying to be where I’m at, don’t listen to the people who tell you that you can’t do it. Everybody’s going to tell you that you can’t do it. Do what you feel. Do what motivates you. Stay around people that motivate you. And at the same time, just stay prayed up and keep God first. And cop that new Hot Dollar album.