I'm good. I'm in South Carolina right now promoting the album.
time we spoke, we talked about your album getting pushed back and how
you felt you needed more time. Was that time necessary?
I'm a performer first. I love to hit all my grounds and have opportunities
to go into the clubs and all that. I have to make my presence felt and
I have to go shake the hands. I have to do what I do best and that's get
did the album change with the extra time?
change too much. A couple records changed. I was also trying to put a
lot of my mixtape material together. This was to keep me on my toes as
well as everybody else. I wanted to make sure everything was in the right
comfortable releasing The Rotten Apple now?
happy with the response to "Hands Up" so far?
getting out everywhere. Every city I go to, they're definitely playing
the record. We also took it out the country. The next single is "Help"
which is produced by Ron Browz. That record is out right now too.
you want to follow "Hands Up" with "Help"?
record is one of my favorite records on the album. I've got a lot going
on with my schedule and not only do I know what a hit record sounds like,
I know how to write one. And "Help" is the only record that
caters to the females on this record the same way "Karma" did
on Hunger for More. "Karma" was a very powerful record. Also,
the B-Side to "Help" is "Survival," which is the street
record. It's also the split video.
Up" video had a lot of beautiful women in it. Did you have fun shooting
I always have fun. Anytime I'm shooting my music video is a great thing.
That's what it's all about.
handpick the females?
I can, but
the truth of the matter is I don't really have a lot of time to do that.
I leave that up to the casting people. I've dealt with different directors
and I used Jesse. Jesse shot "On Fire" and I know he knows what's
acceptable and what the people are going to like. If you're working with
somebody new, you should definitely watch who they pick.
are you in the direction of the music video?
some of it to the creative minds you're paying to shoot the video, but
a lot of the scenery and things come from my ideas. I'm a fan of this.
I've been into the music since I was ten years-old. I've been planning
for a long time how I can make the music more effective. I draw everything;
my jewelry, my tattoos and I draw all my videos also.
a lot of big albums dropping in the fourth quarter, from Ludacris already
to Jay to Nas coming up. Do all the big names dropping concern you?
because I'm the future. I'm growing, and that's what hip-hop is. It's
growing, bottom line, and I'm going to take it to the next level. Five
years from now, all the names you said aren't going to be rapping no more.
had a chance to work with Hot Rod yet?
with him a couple times. I worked with him on this album and on the LL
Cool J record. I haven't worked too much with him because I've been gone
working on my album. But he's around 50 and that's the same person I had
helping me. He's in front of the best teacher I know.
you think of Hot Rod so far?
I think he
has a wide open lane to make a new mark. He comes from Phoenix, Arizona
and Sacramento, California. He has a wide open market. He can do for Phoenix
what Nelly did for St. Louis.
you think of the 50/Diddy beef?
To be honest
with you, I don't think about it. The least thing I could be concerned
about is Puff Daddy. That was a business situation and it didn't involve
me. You can't be friends with everybody. The other day I saw Bill Clinton
on TV dissing George Bush.
of disses, did you pay attention to Game's "The Funeral"?
Nah, I didn't
hear it and I don't think about it. That's the thing that separates me
from a lot of people. I'm straight from the hood, Southside Jamaica, Queens,
period. I would never put myself out there to look like him, like a fucking
clown. He changes too fast for himself. It's hard for me to make any kind
of a record if I'm thinking about anybody other than Lloyd Banks. For
him to be thinking about me when his album's getting ready to come out,
you can see he's not going in the right direction. Don't worry about me.
I'm not a fluke. My story has been a long time in the making. You can't
make a hit record if you're thinking about the next man's record. You
have to know who you are as an artist and as a person. If you spend all
your time worrying about everybody else, you're not going to go too far.
Buck said he respects you the most out of G-Unit in the lyrics department.
How does that make you feel?
At the end
of the day, my crew told me that before anybody else did. It's a wonderful
thing for me to live up to that and for me to be appreciated. I have to
put that on my back and walk with it. I take criticism from people I know
it's coming from honestly. If he told me I had to go step my shit up,
I would go step my shit up. We all have qualities that separate us from
each other and that's my strongpoint.
rappers receive some level of commercial success, a lot of fans say they
fell off. Can you tell the difference between hate and constructive criticism?
Most of the
genuine hate comes from stuff beyond hip-hop. It's more personal. I think,
for the most part, people agree to disagree. When you're not being criticized
and when you're not being talked about, that shows you it's a problem
because they don't care about you. A lot of times it gives me the motivation
I need. I have too much motivation. It comes from all angles. It comes
from music and it comes from personal situations and it comes from me
knowing how hard I worked to get here. At the end of the day, I just need
people to grow along with me. I just turned 24 years-old and I got a lot
of things ahead of me. Strap on your seatbelt, it's going to be a long
of artists are motivated by either a love for the music or a hate for
their critics. What motivates you?
It's really like both. I never really got the just due off my first project.
Some people would hate just to tell the truth. If I keep throwing out
hit records until the hate turns to love. At the end of the day, I make
the music for the people and for my fans. And if you're not a fan of Lloyd
Banks, it's my job to make you a fan and give you that quality music.
are you that The Rotten Apple will get better reviews than Hunger for
It's up to
the people. The people are going to determine where I go on my next project.
I could really care less about the reviews. If they don't give me my props
now, maybe they will on the next album. I'm young, man. I'm only 24 years-old.
I can do this all day.
it hanging out with Flavor Flav on his show?
It was cool.
The first time I met Flav was five years ago out in Barcelona. He had
just been released from jail not too long ago. I had a verse on a mixtape
that shouted him out and he said that when he heard that, everybody went
crazy. I had respect for him long before I met him. He has the biggest
reality series ever on VH1 and I had to do that. I was already out in
Los Angeles when they asked me to do it and I couldn't turn that down.
girls you saw, did you see any quality ones?
Nah. At the
end of the day, that's why the show is what it is. They can't be cool.
There has to be something wrong with the bitch for it to be exciting.
At the end of the day, that ain't for me.
not getting a spinoff on VH1?
in talks right now for deals with Playboy. We'll see where it goes.
you want to say to everybody?
I send my
appreciation to everybody who's supported me since 2000, 2001 when I made
my mixtape debut, and followed my whole career. That's who I do the music
for. I do it for the fans, period. Hopefully I inspire somebody else to
want to do the same thing I wanted to do when I was 11 years-old. I could
care less what the critics say or what another rapper thinks. I care about
the fans and I think they're definitely going to be satisfied with The
Rotten Apple and I think they're going to be definitely be satisfied with
my other project slated for the second quarter of 2007. I don't have the
title yet, but it's going to be stupid though. That's all I can say. I
don't want to look past The Rotten Apple, I just want people to know I'm
going to be coming out on a more consistent basis.