I’m great. I’m at the mansion right now and we’re just doing some things over here. I’m definitely feeling real good right now.
How have things been going the past couple of months?
It’s been crazy. I had to adjust so fast. I got signed in March and the papers basically just went through a couple months ago. Adjusting to the whole thing has just been so crazy. Now I’m on the radar and cats are looking at me. I got the haters and cats trying to diss me and it feels good. It’s cool.
You’ve probably never had as much hate.
Exactly. At this point, I’m not really focusing on that. I take it as a compliment. It’s cool. Getting dissed by Game, he came out saying something, I’m not really taking it too seriously. It’s cool. A year ago Game didn’t know who I was. It’s cool because people see me on the radar. I’m just focusing on this project. I’m trying to sell two or three million records. I just have to stay focused and make sure I’m on my shit.
How’s your debut album, Fastlane, coming?
It’s good. It’s already complete. I completed it within the first month I came out here. I came out and stayed with 50 Cent in the mansion. We would shoot over to New York every day and start working on the album. I had the album done before the papers went through. It’s a real good look. 50 and I had great chemistry in the studio. It’s a real good look right now.
What was it like living with 50?
Man, it’s crazy. Where I come from, see I don’t come from the crazy environment with the swinging and the killing and all of that, so that on top of being at 50 Cent’s mansion, all the things I’m getting exposed to being around his boys and being around people that are successful, the combination of the two has just been crazy. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot mentally seeing all of this. It’s crazy. It feels like a journey right now.
It’s a little different from Arizona?
(laughs) It is different. One of my goals is to put the spotlight on Arizona and show people that it’s not how they think it is. You know the DMX show where he’s in the desert? I don’t know where he’s at. They’re trying to show Arizona as a desert, hillbilly state and it’s not like that. There’s a good underground hip-hop scene, there’s crazy girls and ASU is popping. I’m also trying to bring the spotlight to Sacramento. That’s where I was born and raised. I’m trying to bring the spotlight over there and show people what it’s like in those areas.
Is it hard coming from Arizona?
It’s cool. It’s kind of like I got the state strapped to my back. I enjoy the responsibility. Cats are trying to not take me seriously because I’m from Arizona. You have to start from somewhere. There wasn’t always somebody from St. Louis. I’m just taking on the responsibility and I’m not really worrying about what people are saying. It just gives me more fuel to come out with an actual bang and show people that there is a scene out in Arizona.
50 writing for Game helped Game’s sales and hurt his credibility as an artist. Were you aware of that working on Fastlane?
50 helped me a lot on the album. I have fourteen tracks on it and hook-wise, I probably wrote about half of the hooks, I would say six or seven. 50 wrote the other half. The chemistry that we have is crazy because I was inspired by 50 so heavily. When we got to the studio we found out that we create music the same way. I didn’t need him to create my album. I can stand on my own two feet. That’s why the first single is with Mary J. Blige and not 50. He wants me to stand on my own feet.
On another note, even if people say I sold because of 50, I wouldn’t be tripping because it would be hot. I’d rather have him write on my album than someone else and have it not sell. How Game turned on that is a whole ‘nother situation. I had a lot of input on my album.
How was it working with Mary J. Blige on “Be Easy”?
It was crazy. Olivia originally wrote the hook and recorded it. It was actually the first song I recorded the night I came out to 50’s mansion. When we recorded it it was real hot. We took it to Interscope. Me, 50 and Jimmy Iovine had a meeting and we decided that “Be Easy” should be the first single and we should have a big name on it. We were going through names and we decided on Mary J. Blige. They played the record for her, she thought it was hot and she went ahead and did it. It’s crazy. Now it’s the first single and it’s hitting Direct Effect and 106 and Park. That’s when it’s really going to get crazy.
Should we read between the lines as to why Olivia’s not on the song?
No. Olivia’s project is coming. Her next single is going to have Missy Elliot on it. You shouldn’t read too much into it. She gets the credit for the hook but we just wanted to get a legend. Mary J.’s the Queen. We all talked about it and to get Mary J. Blige is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Olivia’s on the album with everyone else and a couple of my artists from AZ. You definitely shouldn’t read too much into it.
How did it feel getting that first phone call from 50?
Imagine holding a lottery ticket and they’re reading off your numbers. When I got off the phone, I was like, Are you serious? I was just sitting in a chair. Imagine everything going through my head at the time. It felt like a dream. It’s just real crazy. It’s real crazy.
How did 50 hear your music?
I did a lot of networking online. I was on a lot of sites and different music communities. I was trying to network with people doing the same thing I was doing. It led me to a local site called 602streetz.com. It’s a site for producers and booking agents in the surrounding areas. This dude was from Arizona but he landed an engineering job for G-Unit. He was telling Sha Money that AZ is a huge market but there’s nobody there to represent it. Sha Money told him to get some demos. So this dude Tory Scott posts up on the site saying that he’s accepting demos for G-Unit to listen to them. A lot of people didn’t believe him. A lot of people said it didn’t make sense for somebody to come on that site accepting demos for G-Unit. I sent him a demo and he thought it was hot. This is December ’05. He gave it to Sha Money. I guess Sha put the demo inside of 50 Cent’s beat package. 50 gets a bunch of beat-CD’s and listens to them on his flights, trying to find the next beat. He pops my CD in and he’s thinking that it’s something he did a long time ago. He was like, Damn, who’s this? As he keeps hearing it, he realizes that it’s not him. He sees my name on it and my contact information on it. He said that from hearing that demo he wanted to meet me and see what I’m about and do a deal with me. I’m still at work and I don’t know any of this is going on. I’m chilling. That’s when I got the call. From then on it was just crazy. That’s basically how it happened.
How did it feel getting your G-Unit chain?
I was coming from the G-Unit office and we were riding in the bulletproof SUV. We went by David the Jeweler in the Diamond District. He gave me the chain and said it’s official. It was the rose gold G-Unit chain and a matching rose gold watch. When I got it, I was looking at it like, Man, is this really happening? It’s a dream, man. It’s a dream.
After what happened with the Game, did 50 do an extensive background check on you?
Nah, it wasn’t really like that. He got to see what type of person I was when I went to stay with him. He was able to find out what type of person I am. He asked me about my life. I talked to him about how it was and I think he saw me as being real genuine. I’m not a thug. I don’t run around killing people and I don’t really have too much to prove. I just want to do my music. He saw that I was genuine in who I was. We have a real genuine relationship because I’ve been living with him for so long going back and forth. It’s cool.
How did it feel hearing Game diss you?
It felt good. It was cool. I was actually chilling and I started getting calls like, Game dissed you! Game dissed you! I was like, What? I knew he was going to diss me but I didn’t know when he was going to say it. I said, Hell yeah! Send me the track! He said a little something in there and threw a subliminal shot. He threw my name in another song and I thought that was cool. It shows I’m on his mind. It shows that I’m here. I’m not really falling into the whole beef thing. I don’t have a genuine beef with him and he doesn’t have a genuine beef with me. He’s just saying it just to be saying it. I’m not really putting my energy towards that. I’d rather be putting my energy towards being a good artist and selling two or three million records and making my money that way. I just want to say, Thank you, Game. I appreciate it.
Has 50 told you not to respond to Game?
I can respond if I want to. 50 told me to do what I want but he suggested not saying nothing. It’s kind of played out. That whole beef situation is like a car. If I start responding and everyone else starts responding, it just adds fuel to the car. Let the car sit on the side of the highway. I think everyone sees what’s going on. We’d rather put our energy towards our upcoming releases and make success happen that way. We’ll worry about the other stuff later.
Do the low sales of Mobb Deep’s Blood Money and Banks getting pushed back twice raise any flags with you concerning your project?
No. When projects get pushed back, they’re for different reasons. When you got beats with samples on them, you have to get those samples cleared. If you have a date and you don’t have the samples cleared by that date, you have to push the album back because you have to have everything straight with the album. I just learned that was what was happening with the Banks album from being behind the scenes.
As far as Mobb Deep’s sales, I don’t feel any pressure with that. I’m a fresh face and I have a different style of music. My sales won’t be affected by other artists. I’m my own artist and I think I’ll be able to hold my own and do the numbers that I want to do.
On your MySpace, you refer to yourself as the “baby of G-Unit.” Do you get treated any differently for being the youngest?
No, because I carry myself as a grown man. They do treat me as a little brother because I’m new to the whole industry. They’re always giving me advice and they’re letting me know what to look for in the future and what to watch for in certain situations. It’s about being new to the whole game. They don’t disrespect me or try to talk down to me. It’s cool. It’s a well-rounded, tight family.
In sports a lot of rookies have to carry the veterans’ bags road trips. You haven’t had to do any of that have you?
Nah. (laughs) There are a lot of other people around us who have to do those duties. As soon as I got signed, I came in as a boss, which I thought was cool. I don’t have to shine Young Buck’s shoes or carry 50’s or Banks’ bags. We have people around us to do that. I came in as a boss.
What’s your history as a mortgage broker?
When I got into the whole mortgage thing, I would say I was in there for a couple of weeks before I got the call. I was still in training. I wasn’t an experienced veteran of the whole mortgage game.
Have you made any real estate moves since signing to G-Unit?
I have a couple cribs in Scottsdale. I got the smarts to do that and I’m learning a lot from the fellas. They’re showing me not to be stupid with the money and how to invest. I’m in a good place right now.
From your experience from the training you received as a mortgage broker and your experience as a rapper, is it a smart move for a rapper to buy a chain the price of an apartment?
I say do it if you got it. Don’t do it if you just have that. If you can do it and it’s no sweat off your back, I say do it. You can do it once you have everything in place. If you have a couple of cribs and you have investments and money coming in, why not? You only live once. What I don’t think is intelligent is if you’re just starting off and you got your $1 million advance and you go out and buy a $200,000 chain. That’s stupid. That doesn’t make any sense. You have to make smart decisions. If you’re doing well already, why not?
Any investment advice for us?
Put the money up if you’re trying to make it as a rapper. Don’t be so quick to go out and spend it. Get yourself an accountant to watch your money so you won’t be broke by the end of the year. Definitely buy property. Always own something. I think that’s the problem with a lot of people. They don’t own anything and they go through life and they’re not looking to invest in things that they can eventually own. Buy a club or restaurant or buy a couple of cribs. Don’t just spend all your money on cars. Do that after you buy a house. I bought a couple of cribs because the houses always make money. That’s my advice. Always own property. I think that’s the most important advice.
When is Fastlane scheduled to drop?
Early ’07 in January.
What are you doing from now ‘til January?
I’m doing a lot of press. I’m going to be on MTV’s Direct Effect and 106 and Park. I’m going to be doing a lot of interviews and I’m going on tour with Buck and Banks. I’m going to be touching the fans and staying real busy. I’m going to be on the road a lot and doing some features. I want to show people my face and personality and give them a reason to like me as an artist so they feel they can really embrace me and my project when it comes out.
What advice do you have for rappers coming from undiscovered places?
The big thing is networking. Get online. I’m a big supporter of the internet. A lot of people try to discourage you. A lot of people call me an internet rapper because I had my music out there. I was really trying to get out there and network. If you’re not in an area where you can’t just step outside and be around people and you don’t have the money to fly out to ATL or New York, use the internet. There’s a lot of hip-hop sites and there’s MySpace. Because of the internet, I met a lot of producers who were sending me free beats for my independent album before G-Unit. I had producers from Virginia, Florida, Houston and Chicago. I met them online. It’s all about being productive and grinding and just trying to make it happen.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I appreciate the love. My label’s coming, 150 Ent. I got some artists coming with me like Willy Northpole and Cinque aka Cin City. Those are my artists I’m going to bring in the game. I also have to give a shout out to my sister. She’s the greatest sister in the world. Look out for my mixtape and I’m working on another one with Whoo Kid. Just look out.