Did you watch the MTV Movie Awards the other night?
To be honest with you, I just caught the Eminem performance.
What did you think of Bruno teabagging Eminem?
I didn’t even know who the fuck Bruno was, to be honest with you. I just saw the clip. But now I understand that he’s a character or something in a movie.
Have you seen the Ali G show?
I know who Ali G is, but who the fuck is Bruno?
Same guy as Ali G and Borat.
That’s his government name or something?
It’s Sasha Baron Cohen.
That’s a character that I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t see the humor in it.
How would you have reacted if Bruno teabagged you?
I would have never been able to come back to the MTV Movie Awards. (laughs) I wouldn’t have been invited back. Put it like that.
What if it was a girl doing that to you?
I probably still wouldn’t have been invited back because some things would have happened after that! (laughs)
Eminem admitted that the whole thing was staged and was a promo for the Bruno movie. What would be the most outlandish thing you would do to promote a Lloyd Banks album?
I don’t know. I’m in another kind of vein. There’s certain things that I don’t think I would do. I’m not that outgoing of a person as far as creating things like, there wouldn’t be no publicity stunts or shit like that. I think the closest thing that would probably happen would be the going back and forth with rappers shit. That seems to happen to me because everybody knows your buzz. When you got an album coming, somebody’s going to speak on you to try to get some of that energy so it’s up to you how you actually handle it so it will go your way, of course, as opposed to somebody who’s trying to leach off of your actual situation. That tends to happen. I’m pretty sure it will end up happening to me.
How do you feel your buzz is right now?
I get nothing but positive comments. A lot of positive feedback. I wasn’t really internet savvy. I didn’t really pay attention to the computer up until a couple of years ago. I don’t think a lot of people did. Like, when my first album came out, there wasn’t an outlet for me to hear the people’s responses on the sites, at least to my knowledge. Now I have knowledge of all the websites like HipHopGame, et cetera. I’m on there. As I release a record, I’m reading and I’m watching the tone of the people and how they feel about the material and for the most part, I would say about 95% of the response has been positive and the other 5% has not been honest.
When you ask somebody how they feel about something and their name is “G-Unit Killer,” he already has his mind made up so I don’t have to read that comment. The comments that say, “Fuck Lloyd Banks and fuck his mother,” it’s clear that it’s not an honest opinion because we’ve never even met. There’s no way you can feel that passionate about me or my family. You just gotta know how to separate shit, man. You gotta separate the stupid asses on the internet from the real critics of music and I’ve done that before. My buzz, if anything, I feel that it is what it was. I came up in the mixtape market and I’m back with the streets and the core, where it starts. I tend to that and once I prove myself through that again, we’ll go on to other things.
So you don’t feel that somebody dissing your mother could listen to your songs with an objective ear?
Come on now. (laughs) Let’s be honest. If you were on the radio, that comment wouldn’t be played. You wouldn’t even state how you felt about that record because they wouldn’t give it play. Comment on the record and what you think is wrong with the record. If your name is “G-Unit Killer,” what the fuck are you listening to the record for? That’s what I think the internet has done. It’s given everybody a voice.
Do you ever want to find out where some of these guys live and punch them in the stomach?
Yoke the shit out of them? (laughs) Oh, man, I’m pretty sure there will be a way to do that in a couple of years. In a couple of years we’ll find out where you live! But it is what it is, man. You need haters. You need haters to lower your average like that. I don’t know.
Do you think some of those haters walk around in “G-Unot” gear today?
This is my question: Were you just finding something to do sometimes or is this a 24/7 thing with you? (laughs) I’ve been a fan of music since Run-DMC and I never felt that passionate about who had a problem with Run-DMC. I’m not on the 24 hour street thing. I don’t get some of the stuff. I don’t know if they got the memo, but the hate is over, especially if you’re a grown ass man. Get your shit together. People hate when they got time to. The same people who might walk around with a G-Unit Killer shirt on or whatever, if I seen him, he wouldn’t know how to act if I saw him in passing, unless it’s honest. I could understand if it’s Ja Rule’s little brother or Game’s nephew. I could understand why he’s passionate. But I can’t understand why a regular mo would feel that way, to get on the computer and be disrespectful. That’s disrespectful to me.
What kind of a social life do you think someone who wears G-Unot clothing around would have?
A very lame one! A very lame one. There are so many things you can do and so many ways to make money on a computer as opposed to just doing that. Come on, now. If you want to be a full supporter, then you go and you buy that man’s album and you go to his shows and shit. But as far as that other stuff, I can’t control anybody that would smack your head off. You gotta know that certain things come with it. If you’re in the middle of a G-Unit concert with a G-Unot shirt on, what do you think is going to happen to you?
Has that actually happened before?
Of course it’s happened! Of course it’s happened! You might do that shit just ‘cause you’re a fan. That’s like going to Detroit and you got a fucking Bulls jersey on and you’re the only one. You’re subjected to anything that comes. You gotta wear that. I just think they take it too far. The internet is like ghosts. You can say anything you want to say and you can have a user name. You don’t even have to use your real name. I’m just saying, find some constructive time and do something with yourself. If you’re going to do something on the internet, be a fan of the music and leave an honest opinion. And the fans have to know the differnece between a blog-type site and a media-type site where it’s just a bunch of bullshit as opposed to a site where you actually have intelligence on and people know the background of music.
There you go! That’s why you get paid. Let’s just get the money, man. Remember, this is just entertainment, man. It is what it is. But it gave everybody a way to be heard. A year ago you wasn’t hearing all this shit. Now you got so many outlets to hear it.
Would you ever leave a fucked up comment on a Tony Yayo song just to mess with him?
No! I wouldn’t even leave a fucked up comment on somebody I had a problem with. That just ain’t me! If somebody did an interview and asked me how I felt about you, then it’s a different story. But I’m not just going to do that. But I’ll be honest with you, when I’m on the internet, I’m listening to music. I’m really not into the response.
Makes sense. You’ve been releasing your mixtapes for free download lately. What do you think of doing it that way?
My whole thing with doing it is that this shit is practice to me. When you feed the streets, they give back, period. This is what I’ve come from. I was an artist getting play on the radio off the relevance of my mixtapes. I understand that the mixtape market is a way to be market.
Whatever epidemic is going on, like Swine Flu, you can speak on it. If it’s June, your album might not realistically come out until October or November and the issue might not come across as effective on there as it would if I put out a new record tonight. That’s all it does. It keeps me on my toes with practicing. I set a goal that I would make five mixtapes before I put the finishing touches on my latest project before I put that out just to get people to understand where I’m going with it. And right now I’m in between labels so I have a chance to make direct money. I got deals with iTunes and Microsoft and things of that nature where I can make direct income from the records I put out.
And you have more creative freedom.
Of course. All you have to do is clear it with the producer and the actual company and that’s it. If you’re on a label and you’re in the red, that money, you’ll never even see. You’ll never even see if that deal was made. That deal is going into recoupment. Now that deal is going straight into my pocket. It feels so crazy. I can just go into my studio, create a record and sell it for 99 cents on iTunes.
A lot of people can do that but you’ve built up a name over the last nine years where people are more likely to check for it.
Of course. That’s my advantage of being so young in the game and having so much experience and having a brand. Most people that have the opportunity to do anything independent, it’s usually after they already put out five albums or more on a major. They might be on their way out the game. This is my lane right now to just take advantage of for the time being before the big number comes and we make a move. But right now it’s definitely benefiting me.
What is your current label status?
I’m not a solo artist on Interscope as we speak. I’m at the point right now where we’re just going over the best situation. I’m pretty sure in the next couple of months it will probably be inked out. There are a lot of things on the table and right now this is 50’s last album requirement for Interscope Records. We’ll be in negotiations at some point with him and as a whole in the very near future. I’m good. There’s nothing for me to be all antsy about before I make the best decision.
How did you get your release from Interscope?
It gets to a point where you outgrow each other. The label might be looking one way. Interscope Records is a label that has a lot of different kinds of artists. You have hip-hop artists and alternative artists and a lot of different things over there and in order to stay a priority, after awhile your thoughts don’t mesh. They might want to go in one direction and you want to go in another direction. It’s just the point of outgrowing each other and moving on. I just feel like it’s time to move on.
When you look at the new generation of artists coming up today, and I’m not a huge fan of what’s out now, it’s a very different sound from what was popular even two years ago. Do you feel like the major labels are too busy chasing the new sound?
Of course. I’ve been a fan of hip-hop for a long time so I know what a hip-hop record is. Hip-hop does have a close relationship to R&B. I think if you asked me who benefited more, I would have to say R&B because that was to an older demographic. Now it’s like my little brother or sister or my little cousins know who all of the R&B artists are right now. They know The-Dream and R. Kelly and Beyonce all the way down to Chris Brown.
I think hip-hop made R&B more youthful and in return you get a lot more hip-hop artists who are melodic. It’s a lot of things. 50’s melodic. I’m melodic. Eminem is. Kanye is. Drake is. They can rap and actually write the record and write the records that an R&B singer would actually sing. And there are times when you write it and the artist doesn’t do it the way you want so you have to redo it. If you listen to a Drake record, it works for him. Some people shouldn’t do it so much. I mean, hey, if they’re going to take a portion of hip-hop, then you should take a portion of R&B, but it shouldn’t be a whole album drowned out in that.
It is harder to be a fan of the music today?
Of course. Or course. Because there’s so many things to sidetrack you and people don’t give people equal opportunities. It’s not the same. That's what I love about the internet. Regardless of what’s going on, you have the right to pick what you want to hear. If you just heard about somebody from the underground who is buzzing, you can listen to it on your own as supposed to waiting for your radio station to play it.
Back in the days you didn’t even know what the Soundscan was. Now there’s so many ways to rate an artist outside of what his actual talent is. Rate him on his actual song-making and his ability. Don’t rate him on how many records he sells because this is a business and that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. There’s millions in marketing going into certain artists and other artists don’t have that lane. It doesn’t mean they’re not as good. It’s just in a different situation.
Can you make money off your mixtapes for free download in terms of things like tours?
Of course, of course. And that’s how I look at it. I done done about five, six major tours, 50 city tours, overseas, and I’ve had the opportunity to perform mixtape material and then they go and check it out and you get calls to come back. Like, last summer I went to Rio de Janeiro with 50 and I got a call to go back this Friday. You have to use it. It has to be for promotional use and people hear that shit and it keeps them more up to date.
Back in the days you would get a new album and you would listen to that shit for 12 months straight. Now the lifespan of an album doesn’t usually last that long unless it’s a classic. Now fans might be tired of an album after three or four months. That’s why you come out with the mixtapes. It gives them a reason to buy your next project. It’s for promotional use only but if I do a concert right now, they’re going to come. They’re going to love that material as much as the shit they hear on the radio. That’s why when you put out a 99 cent download, as a rap fan, you would rather buy an exclusive that you’ve never heard for 99 cents than buy what you can hear on the radio if you turn it on. Maybe we see it different as hip-hop fans but you just have to adapt to how it is now but the more visual you are now, the more relevant you are. As an artist you gotta take advantage of what the internet is right now – the new TV.
It’s good for hip-hop websites too that rappers have realized we’re out there and the internet can be used for more than finding weird porn.
Of course. You can actually find an artist, like how Collipark found Soulja Boy or Drake also. From what I understand he had a large following on MySpace before he was actually discovered. Anybody, you can blow from your basement. If somebody likes your shit and somebody passes it off, you never know who will like your shit. But you only get one chance to make a first impression so I tell people not to play with it.
How do you think your come-up would have been different if you were coming up today?
It’s really hard to say. I hate to think back to a time that’s the past. The time in music now is a lot different and I would say that the mixtape market is more cluttered because we’ve set a standard. We created a new lane for people to actually get on and I think that it got over-saturated. You got producers who have mixtapes and engineers have mixtapes. Everybody has a fucking mixtape and it’s a lot harder to break through in that market now and at the same time, I would be coming in the game with no hate, like how it was in the actual beginning. We had a little bit of hate but we were the actual underdogs and it turned back into that. There’s less pressure on me. I love to show and prove. I would have still came to the game. I probably would have been nicer than when I first came in because I never would have stopped. I’m in the studio every day. This is my job and my hobby.
And if you didn’t get the memo that the hate is over, then something is wrong with you. I can’t think back to any group in hip-hop or any artists who have received the kind of hate that we’ve received and the overall blackball out of fear. You’ve never seen alliances form like, ‘Let’s team up! We are the world! Let’s all get at G-Unit!’ That shit is crazy! Now how can you say we’re not relevant when we’re relevant to all your favorite artists? It puzzles the fuck out of me. How can you not be relevant and we’re the topic of your favorite artists? Until you’re not the topic, then you’re not relevant, B, but they know what’s up. Music goes around and it doesn’t stay in one spot for anybody. There was a time when the East Coast dominated, the West, Midwest with Nelly and Chingy and J-Kwon…A lot of artists came out of these markets separately and as a lyricist, you just have to be ready for when it comes back to you.
Listening to the Relapse album, it’s just showing me that there are places to take it and it just shows me that there’s new heights to take it and that’s what needed because when an album like that comes out and when Detox and Before I Self-Destruct come out, it’s going to show people what is a good record as opposed to hearing a funny dance record on the radio all day. I feel like I’m gonna benefit off of these projects that are dropping prior to mine.
Do you still think Detox is actually coming out?
Yeah. I want to believe that, of course. Why not? I know Dre got thousands of records but he’s a perfectionist and even if it didn’t, man, he’s still a legend. That shows you his relevance. People have been talking about that album for years. How you think the whole movement started to begin with? You had Dre come in. Em hit. 50 hit. G-Unit hit. It’s like a domino effect. Hopefully those same dominos fall.
How important is it to have a consistent flow of music going to your fans?
That was my main focus, just to remain consistent. My last mixtape came out on my birthday. It was a double CD and it was called Reborn. I’ve kind of been dropping consistently every other month up until July 4, which is the final mixtape, and then I’ll go back into straight album mode and finishing up the product.
They’re definitely going to see and hear different things from me, like collaborations. I’ve worked with Nipsey Hussle and Jay Rock coming out of the West Coast, Uncle Murder coming out of New York, Ron Browz, Juelz Santana, we got a record in the works right now. We’ll see if that comes out soon. And there’s a lot of other artists too and fans never really had the opportunity to hear me in the studio with a lot of the big-time production like with Kanye West or the Neptunes or Just Blaze or just artists like that. I’m going to get in there this time around and link up with a lot of the new artists too and just bring something new to the table.
As far as visuals I haven’t done them because I wanted to saturate it and get a lot of music out so when I do the visuals it will have a bigger impact.
The only guest appearances you’ve ever really done for the most part, especially in the hip-hop realm, have been within the G-Unit family. What’s it like working with other artists?
You know what it was? We have a real big core. You have the Aftermath family. You have Shady. You have G-Unit. There was a lot of artists within them circles alone. When it was time to make my first album, you had Eminem on the record. I had Yayo, of course, on the album. Buck was on the album. But then I had Nate Dogg on the album and Snoop Dogg on the album. Even those artists were someway involved. They’re in the family. They were on the Up In Smoke Tour. Dre discovered Snoop and I didn’t really have to look to far to get features. It wasn’t that I wasn’t open to work with artists, it’s just that there were a lot of good artists within my circle.
Now it’s time for me to step outside of my circle and create a new sound and create new music and it feels good. I’m a fan at the end of the day. I participate in both ways. I actually put together the music and I purchase it also. I’m a hip-hop fan so I can sense something new and I feel a new energy and I’m humble. I’ve always been. It’s easier for me to step outside the box and work with people and not have my nose up or feel like I’m better than anybody.
When your mixtapes were all over the place and 50’s Get Rich or Die Trying was out, did you turn down a lot of guest appearances?
(laughs) That’s another thing. When you have management and you’re with a major, there’s a lot of things that go over your head. At that point I was 20 years-old. There were a lot of things that might have been set up that got shut down and I didn’t know about it. Sometimes an artist feels a certain kind of way. It was just a different time. Of course you get a lot of requests for features. I look at somebody like Snoop Dogg. That was the first rap record that I bought and I watched him. He never really had no features with anybody else that was outside of his circle. He had records with Tha Dogg Pound, 2Pac, Lady of Rage and Nate Dogg. It wasn’t until later in his career that he started to do features and branch off. I feel like that made him more exciting and it’s the same way with 50. You don’t really hear him with a lot of artists, so when you do hear him, it has some significance and it doesn’t just fall on deaf ears.
When I spoke to Tony Yayo last week, he had a lot to say about Rick Ross. It seems you’ve been more quiet on the topic.
It is what it is. You know what his angle with me was? He was trying to disassociate me. You know what I mean? He was trying to give me props and shit on the rest of my crew and I’m not that type of dude. That ain’t gonna fly with me. That’s a weak nigga that lets you do that. It’s like somebody telling you that your friend is pussy but you’re okay with me. If somebody can tell you that they don’t like your brother but they like you, then you’re soft. You’re the pussy for letting him disrespect you in your face. He just found a clever way to do. He’s playing chess but I’m good at that game and I’m not going to fall into that so when I respond to Rick Ross, he responds back and I put out “Officer Down,” which is still making money for me, on iTunes as we speak. It is what it is.
I just don’t consider him to be somebody to fuss back and forth with because he’s nowhere near…If it was a lyrical line, from 1 to 10, he’s probably around 4. 4, 5 tops. I don’t even understand what is there to argue about. You’re going to get spun around so many ways on a record by me! (laughs) And I don’t think there’s anybody that would disagree with that.
You can’t really talk album sales. It’s funny now that everybody talks album sales. My second album, which they looked at as a failure, it’s still over 400,000 records sold. Now if you sell 150,000 in your first week, what do they say? “That was a good first week.” That’s what they say. It is what it is, man, going through an economic crisis time. It is what it is. You just gotta find other ways to stay relevant and he’s at around 300 now, not even, so who’s to say what’s a success or failure?
But he took a lot of lumps for his situation because now both of your baby mothers are fucked up and now both of your relationships with the kids are fucked up because you don’t like their mothers. I think if anybody failed in this situation it was him. Now you know he was a C.O. I think he got more negative press than positive.
So not all publicity is good publicity, huh?
Not that kind of shit! The internet, we’re bringing on new forms of embarrassment. Back in the days there wasn’t this much shit. Now I’m not surprised to hear nothing! This fat motherfucker was a corrections officer and he sold more bricks than Pablo! I don’t understand this shit! One thing after another, it’s not shocking to me. I’m waiting to see what you have to do to completely be ruined. (laughed) Back in the day Milli Vanilli was ruined! That girl was caught lip-synching and she will still sell records today! It’s different. Internet is the new TV.
What do you think it would take for a rapper to be exiled from the game?
I don’t know. I was wondering if you could tell me the answer to that ‘cause this fat motherfucker just told you that he sold a thousand bricks and you just found out that he was corrections officer and he tried to find a way to make it make sense. I don’t understand. I was hoping you could tell me this.
I will tell you this. When I wrote a couple columns talking about him, I got more hate mail from his fans than I’ve gotten over any other topic.
(laughs) That’s the bullshit! See, but you know what it is? The name of his album is called Deeper Than Rap, right? What are you referring to when you say it’s deeper than rap? You’re referring to your lifestyle. This is what I’m saying. See, Eminem could do “3 AM.” He can do that from a conceptual standpoint. That’s him being creative. You know it didn’t happen. But when you say it’s deeper than rap and every five minutes off the camera you’re saying what your lifestyle was, that’s a complete contradiction.
Back in the day if Rakim was Rick Ross, he wouldn’t have been who he is today. You think 2Pac would have not spoke on that or Big Daddy Kane or whoever else wouldn’t have spoke on that? It wouldn’t have existed. Fuck that. He can make good music, but who the fuck is he making music about? That’s like watching a movie that says it’s based on a true story and then you find out it wasn’t. Are you going to watch the next one? The same thing should apply to him. If somebody says that to you, then you just give him the same breakdown that I just gave you.
I am very surprised that he gets the support he gets after being caught in a lie.
(laughs) Yo, then he said that he took the C.O. position, the corrections officer position, because his boss wanted him to! You couldn’t come up with nothing better than that? He could have said that there was a time in his life when he did that but he had to lie about that because of the other stuff he’s been lying about. Now you know what that makes me wonder? What the fuck else has he been lying about right now that hasn’t come out? So yeah, it does have a big reason to do with the decrease and everything else. It is what it is, B. Everybody takes flack from their situations. The Chris Brown and Rihanna situation, it’s clear that it’s not working out for Chris Brown.
Looking at that, you’ve always talked about your love for ladies. Should Chris Brown be able to come back from what he did?
I don’t condone what he did in no way, not 1%. I know Chris Brown. I’ve known him since he was a young boy. He’s actually one of the kids in the G-Unit clothing shoots for the kids. He did that. I’ve watched him come from that to now and him being the superstar that he is. It’s a very unfortunate situation and I don’t want to speak too much on what it is because I don’t know much about it. It might not be the first time this happened but that’s for the public to decide and the people who buy the records and not just them. If the radio decides to not play their records. It’s way bigger than me. It’s about how the actual system treats this and how they handle it. Hopefully they work it out though.
As a music fan, would you buy his album?
As a fan would I buy the album? I can’t say I would buy the album. I’ve never really bought an R&B album in my life but I can’t say I wouldn’t listen to the music. Shit happens. If my father hits my mother that doesn’t mean that I’m never going to forgive my father for that. I’ve seen a bunch of other shit. I don’t want to name it but I’ve seen a lot of shit.
Kind of an awkward segue way, but how’s your work in adult films been going?
I dabble in between that. I have a lot of meetings and things of that nature. There are a lot of different things on the table and it depends where I want to take it. At the same time, I’m very musically-driven right now. The music is what made things happen and if I stay relevant and I stay fresh, hopefully those opportunities will be there. Luckily I haven’t made a bad move with contracts. But I do what I do and watch how it progresses and then I can fall back and go do something else.
As far as contracts go, I’m not going to be signing no 360, five album deal. I got offers right now for one album and things of that nature. Overall experience and how much time you have to dabble with will determine what you get into. There’s definitely an open lane for me and it’s something that I can always do and at the time I’m doing it I’m not married. I’m not in a relationship. I don’t have any kids. My mother is a hustler and she tells me to go get the money. It’s a billion dollar business. Somebody’s going to get the money off of it. You gotta do what you gotta do.
We also have a wide range of ways to get money. It’s not like I’m only focused on adult entertainment. We got video games coming out and new video games in preparation as we speak. There’s a market for everything and why not pay attention to everything? And adult films is the business that didn’t really take a large economy hit. It’s gonna be there, it’s there now and why not take advantage of it? It’s promoted to a specific market and when you promote that, you promote in different lanes. You go to Howard Stern and porn conventions. People are making a lot of money off of it every year.
The things that go along with watching porno haven’t gone out of style no matter what the economy is doing.
(laughs) You’re right! And it’s never gonna go out of style.
Now you have to figure out how to combine the music, video games and porn into one thing.
You can! I’ve won Best Music for my music in an adult film. I’ve figured out how to market what I do into what they do. I’m going to win Best Music every time I’m nominated so why not do it?
Speaking of girls, what do groupies have to do to catch your attention on the road these days?
Well, it’s different now. It’s way different. When you enter in the game and you’re brand new, I was like the Road Runner. You know how the Road Runner looks when he runs? That’s kind of like how I was in the hallways of the hotel. I’ve grown since then. I’m 27 years-old now. I still get it in but I’m not as excited anymore. You know the difference between a good girl and a girl that’s attractive and you gotta know how to separate the two. You don’t want to have a baby that you don’t want. It’s going to be harder to catch my attention because I’ve had it for so long.
It sounds like you might actually be settling down.
No. Then you end up like Rick Ross with a baby mother and she could be a call girl and for all you rappers out there, this is nothing new. When you’re going out on the radio now, somebody’s been on that same road trip before you and that same route and everything. You have to know that. Just be careful, man. Don’t get caught up in no Kobe shit or worse. There’s a lot of traps out there and you definitely gotta be smart about it and it comes with experience also. Sometimes you gotta burn your hands to know it’s hot.
What’s it like on the road with G-Unit?
I’ve seen a lot of things. It’s just been different time periods and I’m pretty sure that every brand, like G-Unit, Ruff Ryders, Def Jam, Cash Money, No Limit, I’m pretty sure they’ve all experienced different things. I’ve been in hotels where the girls have already been in the rooms, like in the closet and shit. The lady downstairs told girls that we were going to be in the hotel. I’ve seen amazing things. I’ve seen people follow us from 8 to 9 cities. That takes money to do, food money and gas money and hotel money. It’s crazy. But at the end of the day, it’s all appreciated. I’ve always been a humble dude. I try to pay everybody attention. I try to sign every autograph and take every picture I can and all the other shit you just gotta weed out. I’m not going to let somebody hurt me because they’re willing to hurt themselves.
My definition of a groupie is somebody who wants to put themselves in an uncomfortable situation just to get to you. If they’ll put themselves through that sacrifice then how much do you think they care about you? As a man or woman you have to be smart enough to differentiate between the two.
Do you give Rick Ross any props for filming his video in Pablo Escobar’s hometown?
I mean, I came from there first. We went there right before he actually went down there. The difference is nobody probably knew he was there. You understand what I’m saying? (laughs) If we stood in the middle of the street and shot a video, it would have made it back on the news, not just the video. That guy, it just is what it is. And that’s even a knock on him because that’s not your lifestyle. So it really doesn’t matter.
Have you ever been in any beefs or battles that made you sweat?
Nah. Nah. I’ve never had that situation. In all honesty, there’s never been a time when I’ve been blamed for anything. This is what I do. I’m a writer. Writing is second nature for me. For the most parts, the situations have stemmed from 50 and he’s handled it so easily. I’ve had a good reference and at the same time, most of those dudes ain’t on my level anyway, especially Rick Ross. Come on. He will tell you that. If he won’t tell you that then he’s in denial.
How’s 50 Cent’s upcoming album Before I Self-Destruct sounding?
Crazy. Incredible. See, the thing with me is, I’ve been around 50, Em and Dre. They’re all crazy. I’ve been around them and you stop and you become overwhelmed with their material and the things they have. You always appreciate a lot of things that they don’t, like ‘That’s my shit!’ They might not feel the same way you feel about that record so you never hear that record. 50’s the same way, of course. I get the same work ethic from 50. Never dwell on one record. You can always make another one. He could make three concepts for the album in a matter of months and I never know what’s going to be on the actual album. He could take records from this file and this file and this file but whatever he takes, you know the finished product is going to be crazy.
What’s it going to take to get you to sign with a new label?
For one, I have to have an understanding of where they want to take it. On the money side, I’m good. That’s why I don’t have to rush into any situation. The numbers have to make sense and I want to be somewhere where they see my full potential because what I’ve done so far is not what I’m capable of doing and I’m going to show that, so just the right situation. Money is not always the right thing. They have to have a good drive and belief in you.
Have you been recording for your third solo album?
Of course. Of course. I believe in being over-prepared. I probably got 80 to 90 records in preparation that I got to the side and this is nothing that you heard on my mixtapes. I record a lot at one time. I have a studio in my house but I don’t record every day. I might write for a complete seven days and then go in and make seven records at one time. Two of them might be for my album and five of them might be freestyles. I got about 80 to 90 records in preparation so when I finish the next mixtape I’m going to only focus on my new album and put the finishing touches on that but most of those records will come with me sitting down with Polow Da Don and Kanye and Timbaland and Pharrell and Just Blaze and Swizz Beatz to finish the product off, which is something that I’ve never really done. And collaborating with other artists and go out to Detroit and fuck with Em and get some beats and hopefully a verse.
Has your approach to punchlines changed over the years?
Of course, so much so that people don’t understand where they are. I hear people say, “Oh, where are the punchlines?” Obviously I’ve grown a lot because if you don’t hear it then that means it’s some very good punchlines. That’s what I’ve come to learn. A lot of artists are doing the typical punchlines. “such and such like this.” It’s always set up the same way. I just found new ways to set up the punchline. It still exists. I don’t understand when they say I’m the self-proclaimed Punchline King because I didn’t make that shit up but it’s nothing to complain about. I’m a complete artist. But I do line up the punchlines a little different now. I try to make it less obvious, you know?