Do you find that fans expect a certain sound from you because of your Young Money affiliation?
I just do whatever I want anyway, to be honest. I don’t even really care about no opinions too much. I never pay attention to criticism or to negativity so I wouldn’t even know any hate that I have. I just do stuff that I feel like doing and if they accept it they accept it.
It must take a certain amount of confidence as an artist to get to that level.
No. It takes money. It’s like going to school. Certain students go to school to get rich and if students are already rich their swag is going to be different. I’m blessed financially. I’m not your typical new artist. I’m not a new artist so I don’t really care about that too much.
When did you stop caring what fans thought of your music?
It kind of started a few years ago. I don’t write, man. I don’t know if y’all know that. I don’t do what no other artist does. It’s Jay-Z, Wayne and Biggie. They write in their heads and you got other artists writing in their head, which is real creative. I don’t even write in my head. I see styles.
How do your songs come together?
I do a song straight through. I got a documentary coming out in January or February. I’m looking to put my album out around February. I’m wondering how they’re going to put out my documentary, if it’s going to come with the CD or not. It’s going to be interesting. I can do a song in five minutes. They’re going to see that I don’t sound like Wayne and that I’m doing some other stuff. I’ll write on my second album.
Do you make your best music when you don’t write?
I do. I’m not a rapper, I’m a prophet. Back in the day prophets, when God told them to go say something, they didn’t have to go write it down. They went and said what He say. I can have a conversation with you and tell you I went to the Bahamas, started chasing pajamas and stood by the ocean and saw a school full of piranhas. Why can’t I go in the booth and say that? It’s nothing but talking, dude. It’s easy for me.
I’m not like anyone else. I don’t know what it’s like for anyone else. When I write it kind of takes away from me and I only talk about what I know. I don’t come off the dome or off the head. I come off the heart and off the mind. I only talk about what I know. It’ll make sense to you one day. If you liked any verse from me, especially in the past year and a half or so, none of it was written. It’s rare that I think of a verse.
At what point did you feel like a prophet?
A long time ago. My story’s pretty deep. You’ll learn it one day. You’re not going to get all the way into it. It’s too early right now. We have to keep it interesting.
Are you holding back on a lot of tracks if you don’t want to let fans get your whole story?
Nah. I got 230 songs done. By the time y’all hear all 230 I’ll probably be doing something else like being the captain of a ship or being like the Crocodile Hunter and fighting the animals. Music comes out late. By the time you catch up to the Mack Maine that’s now, I’m not holding back but I can’t give y’all all 230 songs. I gotta make it interesting. Go listen to my single on my MySpace and listen to the song “Soldierz” that’s dedicated to the soldiers overseas. People think I’m singing now but I was actually singing before all these rappers, to be honest, and I don’t really use Auto Tune a lot. I don’t knock Auto Tune but I already knew how to hold a note without vocal lessons.
How much longer can rappers get away with using Auto Tune?
It’s dying out.
Are you tired of it yet?
Sometimes. I love Kanye using it. I love Kanye’s new album. It sounds good if you know how to sing. I used it on an old song and it sounds good. Wayne’s stuff, I don’t get tired of it. I like Auto Tune. But you have to mix it up. You don’t do a whole album with all Auto Tune. It’s over-saturated, I’ll tell you that.
Lil’ Wayne is known for constantly recording songs. Did you find that once you started working closer with Wayne that your work ethic changed?
I’ve always applied that to life. I played basketball when I was younger and I had a goal in my backyard. I would leave practice and go home and practice some more. With anything that I love to do, I’m going to keep doing it. It’s not for money or because I have to. I just keep doing it. But of course being around him makes your work ethic better.
I heard they went crazy when Jay-Z did seven songs in a row. The most I ever did was 13 but I average about eight songs a night. I did 13 one night. One time I think I did more but I didn’t count. But when I counted I did 13 and I’ll tell you all 13 are good. The titles of those songs were “Don’t Cry for Me” and “I’m A Prophet”…I’m not just spitting punchlines. I did six songs in 45 minutes at Katt Williams’ studio.
I got stories to tell, man. Every day is a movie for me.
A good movie?
Sometimes good. Sometimes wild. It’s just crazy, man. I wear a lot of different hats. I’m the President of Young Money, I help co-manage Wayne. I wear a lot of hats.
What hat that you wear would fans be most surprised to hear about?
I’m an actor now. (laughs) My first movie is in January. I already did my first commercial.
Are you studying your craft and putting your all into acting?
Nah. I don’t try at anything. That’s why I do songs so fast. If I have to try at it it’s not meant. Everything comes naturally. I’m going to study my script a little. I have to learn my words, naturally. But I’m not going to bother taking acting lessons. I’m already a character.
Do you work well with the other artists on Young Money?
I love it. All of them are better than me. I’m the weakest leak.
Why do you say that?
Because they are just the best at everything and better than me. I would put my money on them.
Does that motivate you to improve?
No. I’m the President. I get a percent of what they make. I’m not in competition with them. I want to see them sell 10 million. I’m not going to stay in this game too long. I got some fans that are loyal and I love the fans but I’m not going to devote my whole life to people that will turn their backs on you tomorrow so I’m going to give them what I feel I have to give them and help them smile and dance away their stresses and I’m out, man. I’m going to move onto something else in life. I’m going to be helping out on the business side. I’m an exec and I’m a young mogul. That’s why I do so many songs. And it’s boring. Not too many people are talking about anything. It’s boring. It’s not a challenge. I’m going to have to learn how to play the piano. Making songs is a piece of cake. It’s easy, man.
How much longer do you want to stay in the game?
I’ll give it, like, three years.
Jae Millz is one of the newer additions to Young Money. What’s it like working with him?
He’s a funny guy. That’s my little brother, man. He’s special. He’s been special since the Smack stuff when he battled Ness. He’s been special, man. All the artists we have on the label are special. Just to know how to rap these days is wack. The only way I respect you is if you’ve mastered it. I don’t know if dude has other talents, but Cory Gunz, he mastered his craft to me. He knows how to do what he does. He can just rap and I look at him and that’s what’s up. But if that’s the only thing you know how to do, what are you doing? These days you have to come with it.
Is Cory Gunz Young Money yet?
Let him know that he needs to holler at me if he has any interest because I got a spot for him. The cipher’s already complete but I feel that he could spit in it though.
How did your deal with Young Money come about?
Just crazy. Me and Wayne have been good to best friends since we were 6, 7, 8. We grew up in the same neighborhood. Baby and them, Slim, they’re like my uncles. I’ve been knowing them since I was younger and before I knew how to do music. I wanted to go and start my own legacy at another label. I got bad deals and contracts. Then they thought I was signed to this basketball player and I didn’t tell them no better.
I was being loyal and helping his artist and then I wind up being on a video called “Unsigned Hype” on BET and Wayne called me like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that you were unsigned, ahhh!’ So he flew me out and we did three songs, me, him and Currency. I’ve always been around. I was in the studio with them when they were locals and No Limit was nationwide and Cash Money was local. That’s how I grew up. I would leave school and leave basketball practice and go to the studio and watch them record and just have fun, man. I always had music in me when I was younger. And that’s how I got my deal and that’s how my rapping came about and everything.
Are you surprised at how far Wayne has gone in the game up to now?
Nah. That dude was rapping at 8. I thought he was weird. We used to be playing basketball in the ‘hood in Holly Grove and he used to be on the side making noise like, ‘Da da da da da.’ I was like, ‘What is this little dude doing? Come play sports.’ No one should be surprised. He had his first deal at 11. Everything he’s been getting he’s deserved. He’s been doing this since he was 11. How could you not expect somebody to master what they’re doing in 15 years when they do it constantly, straight, nonstop. He deserves everything he gets. It’s well-deserved.
In Wayne’s ESPN blog he talks about being a fullback in Pop Warner. Were you the better athlete?
He’ll tell you. I had basketball scholarships to Division I schools. His mom called him Fast Feet. He stopped though. He went on the road at 14 or 14 and I kept on playing ball. Little Fast Feet was pretty good when he was younger. He just stopped at a young age and got serious and got on his grown man and started taking care of his home.
Do you guys ever play any pickup ball on the road?
Yeah. We play basketball and we wind up playing on the same team. We beat everybody we play, pretty much. We beat them for money. We stick together. We’re like a two-headed monster.
How do you guys pick apart your opponents?
We’re survivors. Back then we didn’t score a lot. One game I had 30 rebounds. We’re just survivors. I remember they had us at 14-9 and we were going to 15 and Wayne’s manager was open for the game winner and I ran across and fouled the hell out of him. From there we took their hearts and their manhood and we wound up beating them. We’re survivors. I wouldn’t say about shooting or nothing. You can’t win. We’re bullies. We’ll play Jordan and Pippen or we’ll play Kobe and whoever and we’ll end up beating them because I’ll wind up doing something to Kobe that will make him end up losing his focus for the whole game.
You also have your own imprint in Kush Entertainment. What do you do there?
I’m the CEO/CFO. I come in and I correct stuff that I don’t like. I put all the money behind it and I oversee everything before it comes out.
Do you still talk to former Young Money artist Currency today?
I talk to him every now and then. I make sure he’s straight. I talk to him about once a month.
You were in the original “Got Money” song but that version didn’t make the album. Why did that happen?
I was and something happened. We went to listen to the album the day before it got printed. I was on the album and then when the album came out I wasn’t on there. It wasn’t Wayne’s fault. Wayne was mad and he said I better be on the video version. It’s good I’m not just an artist. That would have killed me. They’re doing a documentary on me now. The big thing was how much money Jay-Z had before his first album and how he did this and that. That’s cool. It’s getting documented with me and I didn’t have to sell drugs to do it.
Do fans recognize you more from the “Got Money” video?
Nah. Sometimes I still sneak by. Some people notice me. You gotta really look. I’m not really in it for the fame even though fame is a part of it. But they know me but they don’t know my face like they should, I guess. It’s not like I got tattoos on my face and I’m not light-skinned so I just kind of blend in sometimes and maneuver. But I do have ice and I do kind of dress differently. You can tell I’m somebody. It’s kind of cool. I’m in my last days of normality. There’s no more being normal. I’m shooting a video with Alchemist soon and then I got a few other joints coming so they’re catching onto the face. They know the voice though.
You don’t hear a lot of rappers thank soldiers for their services. How did “Soldierz” come about?
You’re going to be the first one to get the exclusive on “Soldierz.” You can believe it or not. I don’t walk around glorifying the soldiers. Sorry, I don’t. It’s not that I don’t like them but I don’t walk around like, ‘The soldiers are great!’ I don’t even remember recording that song. You can say, ‘What the hell does he mean?’ I don't do drugs. That night I sipped like three sips of Syrup. Three!
I hadn’t slept in three days. I was in the studio from 8 that night until 3 the next afternoon while my engineer was doing something. I would wake up and I was mad. I was like, ‘Put on a beat!’ I wanted to be sleeping. He put on a beat. He said that he bookmarked it.
3 in the afternoon I’m riding off with him and I got my CD in of the songs tat I did. I said that was a hot song and I asked if somebody sent it for me to get on. He said, ‘Nah, that’s you.’ I stopped in the middle of the street and was like, ‘All right, explain how this happened.’ He explained it how I explained it to you. He said I did it in one take and did the ad-libs in one take. He said I came out of the booth and went right back on the couch and went back to sleep.
The thing is, that’s going to be one of the biggest songs of my life. Now I appreciate soldiers and I thank him for his service and pray for his safety and ask him for his email so I can send him that song. That’s how it went down. There’s one more song that I don’t remember recording. I can’t think of which one it is. I supposedly had a fight one night with somebody and I don’t remember. They said I had a fight but I know in my dreams I had four fights so it’s possible. So it’s possible I went and fought somebody in my sleep. That’s crazy.
Is that the only song you don’t remember recording?
I think there’s one more but I can’t remember. Is it one more? I have to think. But that’s one for sure. That scared me. I still to this date don’t remember recording it. And when you listen to it now, listen to the end, the very end, the last words I said. I think I spoke in another language but I don’t know what I said at the end of it. Listen to it. I just mumbled something like I’m speaking in tongues or something. It’s scary.
You also have “Fuck Wet Willy’s.” How did that song come about?
(laughs) Yeah, man! That’s kind of the incident I told you about when I slept and fought somebody. Earlier that night I had got into it with some bouncers over there. Long story short, it’s a bunch of females in men’s bodies. Those guys put me in jail because they said I threatened to shoot them. I don’t even use words like that. I’m an entertainer, not a rapper. There’s so many other ways I could have said that. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But they put me in jail for simple assault. The owner calls me and apologizes for the bitches that he employs. Fuck Wet Willy’s.
They had already banned Wayne back in the days. They’re just a bunch of bitches. You’re a bouncer and you’re 6’2” and you’re bigger than me and you put me in jail and then you come and point me out. Wow. Are you serious? So fuck Wet Willy’s. And a synonym is South Beach Pussy. He’s the biggest pussy on South Beach.
Have you had other bad experiences with bouncers?
There’s not even power in that job! You don’t even have a gun on you. You’re a bouncer. You check IDs. You went to school to check IDs. You’re a duck. Is your moms proud of you? “What did you grow up to do, son?” “I grew up, Mom, to check IDs and let these people tell me what to do. I follow people and stereotype people.” I can see why you’re mad. I pull up in a Bentley and you’re checking IDs. I would hate me too if I were you. And you gotta give a third of your money to Uncle Sam. You’re wack. That’s what you grew up to do? You’re a failure. I’d be mad too.
Good luck getting into clubs after bouncers read this.
Nah, man. I don’t go to clubs so I’m straight. I only go to clubs when I’m getting paid and it’s not every bouncer. Every bouncer doesn’t check IDs. Some make sure the place is secure. There’s not too much to secure at Wet Willy’s. You need bouncers to do bouncer jobs. He’s an ID checker. That’s wack. I don’t knock people’s occupations. I have respect for barbers and garbage men. Everybody’s making an honest living and I love that. He’s checking IDs. Chicks can do that, man. What are you doing, brother? You grew up to be an ID checker? You’re a 6’2” ID checker? Wow.
When you’re in South Beach, what are your favorite places to hit?
I own South Beach. Just know that. I own South Beach. I’ll evict you. I’ll get you off the beach if I don’t want you there. The favorite parts that I like are everything. I’m a nature freak. I’ll go to the Bentley Hotel to eat outside with my sister. I used to like Friday’s. I like the clothing stores. I can’t think of this guy’s spot’s name. I go to the tattoo shop and go to the shoe store.
How did you and Wayne come up with the Rockwilder-produced “Zoo”?
Oh, man, that’s one of the hottest songs in the game. He heard the beat and he started rapping on it and me and him started going in and we were talking crazy. That was supposed to make Tha Carter III.
If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been on no official album. I don’t know what’s going on and it’s not us. The shit leaked out. I couldn’t make it. And what’s the one we did? “The Future.” Ohh, that was something. I dissed a few people in that verse too. I had to check a few people in that verse that were going at Wayne’s neck. That was a crazy verse. You can put me on a song with anybody and I’m going to step up to it. When I played basketball I played defense. The worst thing anybody could do is let me have competition on a song and let me go after them. That’s not good for anybody in the game. That’s the worst thing you could do. That’s not fair.
Do you have to check anybody in the game right now?
I’m in my own lane. I told you I’m starting a new, not genre, but I’m a prophet. Wayne’s the best rapper, T.I. is the king, Kanye and Jay-Z are the best hustlers. I might as well start my own lane. Eminem has his own lane. Andre 3000 has his own lane. I’m starting my own thing but mine is going to be called Prophet. I don’t know if I’ll be the best ever but I’ll be the first.
Your new single is “Throw Back” and features Lil’ Wayne. What was your inspiration for that?
The beat. Kane Beatz made it. Some of the words in the hook was something that Drake said in another song and Wayne took it and made it a hook. I’m an animated dude and certain beats have me doing wild, weird shit. I’m weird in real life. I just brought it out what a chick would say and all of that. I think it’s going to be crazy once it really hits mainstream. I think I’m the God of words like a Greek god. You might tell me a word right now and I’ll tell you, like, 20 words that rhyme with it within 20 seconds. I hate it because chicks will say words or something, man, to be honest, I’ll be having sex sometimes and words will just be coming. I'm like, ‘Stop, we’re not about to record right now! Why are you here?’ It’s crazy but God made it.
Next year I’m coming with my canoe and my yacht and I’m going to paddle down Mainstream and control Mainstream next year. Out of 230 songs I have, 150 can go on the radio. No bragging, no exaggeration. Naturally I have to sell some of those songs to some people. They’re struggling and I have hits. That would be pretty selfish if I kept them for myself.
20 words for every word out there?
I can do some stuff. It might not be exactly 20. I can do 10 fast. Just say a word, brother.
Now that’s a wild word. Now you want to say “orange.” It’s how you say it. I can make “orange” rhyme with “ballin’,” “tourin’,” “adorin’.” You can make it rhyme.
You didn’t expect me to throw you a softball, did you?
Nah, that was a good word. You’re pretty quick on your toes. I wouldn’t say it the way you did. I’m country. I can go so many different ways it’s ridiculous. I can make “orange” rhyme with “chilren” and that’s “children.” I can make it happen. That was a good curveball but I hit it.
“Louisianimal” is a Lil’ Wayne track where he has some lines for 50 Cent. Is that an old track from Wayne or is he currently going at 50 Cent?
It’s real old. That’s real old. Y’all know Curtis is a boss. Chill out, Curtis. Don’t even come with that. That’s real old. That’s when he was messing with Wayne and I don’t know why they put that out so late. I don’t understand what’s going on with that. Why would you do that? Nobody’s even on that anymore. This man just gave us an award at the BET Awards. But if he wants to respond and get all into it, all little brother has to do is give me the word and I know he’ll go in too. And what’s funny with “Gossip” is a lot of people don’t know that wasn’t to him. He had done that a year before and when they heard it they thought it was about him. You know we don’t worry about that type of stuff, man!
Do you think 50 will take it as a diss?
I don’t know. I don’t know him like that. It’s up to him. Whatever happens, happens. That was when 50 was coming at his neck and that’s when he did the verse.
What’s going on with your new mixtape?
I got the mixtape coming first. The mixtape with Cannon should be next week or the following week. I got Ross on there and Lil’ Wayne. That’s the big features and then I got Gutta Gutta on there. He’s a monster. I got Millz on there. He’s a monster. I got my own label too called Suit Your Soul Music Group. It’s all beautiful singers. And then I got my other label for the rappers and the grimier stuff. I’m not cursing or nothing. I’ll be the only male on Suit Your Soul.
What should fans expect on your album?
What you don’t expect.
Does being an exec at the same time ensure that you get what you want for your projects?
Yeah. I can make mistakes. I’m going hard on the mixtape. It’s all original beats so it’s like an album so I can sell it but it’s not my album. I want to drop a mixtape a month. I’m not going to abandon the streets, I just want my album to be for everybody. And I’m making the mixtapes for the streets.