I’m feeling good, man. I feel like one of those kids where school’s finna start and it’s the first day of school and you can’t sleep. You’re up all night. That’s how I feel. I’m just trying to get focused and keep my eyes on the prize.
How does your new album Da Baydestrian lead into your upcoming album Yellow Bus Rydah?
I think that with me, every project that I do, I try to get better. Not just from a lyrical point of view, but in my ability to pattern my style and to own my own style. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of artists that have a great rapping ability and they put words together, but they don’t own their style. Jay-Z and Eminem own their style. Every project that I do, I just try to become more efficient with how I attack things and how I say things. I think this album definitely shows a growth from my last album, from my ability to control my flow as well as conceptually. I think I attack subjects that people wouldn’t expect me to speak on. This gives me more anticipation for Da Yellow Bus Rydah, because if I can do this on an independent album, what can I do on my official debut album? It’s like a pass to Shaquille O’Neal, in his prime, in the paint. It’s an easy two points.
How long did it take you to record Da Baydestrian?
Actually, it didn’t take too long. Some were songs that I already had. It was basically a concoction of everything I’ve been doing. It’s been two years since Son of a Pimp dropped. I wanted to show fans that I’ve been working. I’ve been putting in a lot of work and that’s what I tried to do here. I tried to show that effort on this album.
Why did you go with “Get This Together” for the single?
A lot of people just try to pigeonhole me. They think I’m just hyphy. It’s funny to me. The hyphy songs that I did are the only songs that got the attention. I’m not knocking that. It gave me the recognition for who I am today. It put me on people’s brains, but I didn’t want people to think that this is the only thing I have the ability to do. I’m an artist and I have a range of things I can do. I wanted to give people something that didn’t sound like me. “Get This Together” was for a street buzz. That was a record that wasn’t an official single, but I wanted to give it to the main outlets.
Fans expect hyphy music from anyone coming from the Bay. How do you balance making hyphy music with other types of music that you do?
Oakland has different sides. You also have the Hieroglyphics, Zion I and Blackalicious. These are different than what people would know us for. I wanted to express my more hip-hop side. I call it hip-hyphy. I’m not going to try to steer away from the fanbase that I created with the hyphy music, but I also have a fanbase who wants to hear me talk more about my goals and ambitions as a person. I’ve always had the ability to walk that line. I can do hyphy and I can see what’s going on around me and have a valid opinion on it. People respect your input when you talk about what other people are scared to. I’m not scared to talk about politics and all that. I’m not afraid to talk about that and I think that’s why people respect my mind.
You're signed to Atlantic but Da Baydestrian is coming out on SMC. How did you work that out?
I thank Atlantic for that. They gave me the opportunity to do that. Basically they wanted to see if I would be able to hold this down. They wanted to see if I could hold something down on my own. Man, it was a beautiful thing. I have a great relationship with the people at SMC. I just want to thank the whole Atlantic staff for giving me the opportunity to show and prove. That’s how that came about.
How’s your album Yellow Bus Rydah coming?
It’s crazy. That album is actually cra-zy. The production is crazy. I have Travis Barker doing some beats for me on that album. I got Chamillionaire and Paul Wall on the album along with Pitbull. It’s crazy, man. The album shows a lot of growth and it shows my ability to be diverse. I’m not pigeonholed to a certain region. I have the outside market that’s definitely working with me and showing me love. I feel good about the project, man. I feel real good about it.
How important is it to you to have a diverse sound on Yellow Bus Rydah?
That’s going to show people that I’m not just bound to a certain area. It’s going to surprise people. It gives you the respect of every region when you do that, when they see you working with their favorite artist. Some people don’t like you because you don’t like their favorite artist. With this, I’m showing people that I have the ability to work with other people. That’s the beauty about it. I get a chance to show not only my Bay Area comrades but people outside the Bay what I’m doing. They get a chance to gravitate towards me more.
Some of Atlantic’s recent signees aren’t happy with the label. Are you happy at Atlantic?
People have to realize that when you get on a major label…I’m from the Bay Area and I’m able to recognize what it is. They have a huge staff and a great lineup of major artists in the industry. They have their focus points and sometimes their plans don’t revolve around new artists. As new artists, we have to stay grinding and we have to stay hustling. I don’t rely on a major label. I look at it for what it is. I’m doing me and I’m handling my business. Shit, at the end of the day, you just have to stay busy. I thank Atlantic for letting me do this independent album. If they wouldn’t have let me do this, I probably would have been real angry and I would probably be saying a lot of bad things about them in this interview.
How important is it for you that even when things don’t happen the way you want them to, you still go to work and don’t badmouth the label?
You have to go to work, man. Sometimes we’re not always happy with our employers and the people that we work for. But until you find financial stability or a better situation, you have to stay optimistic about all the BS that’s going on. In this industry that we’re living in now, today’s A&R can be tomorrow’s president of the company.
How did your Recess mixtape with Dow Jones that you released last year do for you?
That did real well. We got a nice buzz off that. Me and Dow, we just stay working. That’s our whole philosophy. The mixtape, it did what it did and it gave people something to talk about. People didn’t know I could rap like that. Shock value, to me, is so priceless. With shock value, you’re able to catch people off guard and that’s what that mixtape did. That got us a lot of recognition. I feel that anything I do, I put my heart into it and I hope that people respond to it the way I want them to respond. If they don’t, I’m still going to give them music.
How important has Dow Jones been to your career?
Dow is great, man. Dow is an asshole. Dow is like a jerk. Dow will not let me do nothing wack. Dow is that A&R you need around you. He doesn’t like anything, so if he likes something you do, it must be cool. He doesn’t like anything. He’s like, ‘That’s wack. That’s wack. That’s wack.’ If you finally get him to like something, then you must have done something right.
A lot of artists have ego problems and they surround themselves with yes-men. I had to cut a lot of yes-men out from around me. I had to do things the right way. When you’re young and coming up in the game, you feel as though you can do no wrong. You need to have people who speak honestly to you with no emotional ties. You need people who are going to tell you how they feel and be honest with you, even if it’s going to cost the friendship. Dow, my manager and some other people are honest with me and that’s the type of people I keep around me. That’s what’s helping me out. It’s working wonders for me.
In terms of popularity, where would you say the hyphy movement is right now?
The hyphy movement is that new dude at school. Nah, it’s like that new girl at school. Certain people are like, ‘Man, she hella fine.’ Certain people are like, ‘Man, she ain’t all that.’ And other people just want to know her name. Certain people want to be involved and get to know her better. I don’t think we’re capitalizing off of it the way we’re supposed to be doing. This movement should be way bigger than it is, but it’s not going away yet. The people inside the Bay still want to know what’s going on with the whole Bay Area movement. My whole feeling is that if the hyphy movement dies today, let’s still be able to make good music and whatever sound becomes popular, let’s be able to fit in. The great artists are able to fit in. There’s cats like the Dr. Dre’s and the Snoop Dogg’s that have been around for a long time and they’re able to fit in. When the West Coast lost its buzz, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were able to stay current. That’s what I have to do.
How much unity is there in the Bay?
There’s selective unity in the Bay. People choose who they deal with. I try to stay diplomatic with everything and stay neutral. I try to not get caught up in everything and all the subdivisions of likes and dislikes. I try to remain neutral and remain a diplomat, that way I’m able to deal with all the artists from young to old and remain accepted. At the end of the day, the artists that need to deal with each other deal with each other and work with each other. That’s the main thing and that’s a beautiful thing.
What are your plans for the summer?
To promote Da Baydestrian. To sell a specific amount of units – around 50,000. That’s a legitimate goal. I look at it as 1,000 in 50 cities. I just have to get on my hustle and grind, grind, grind. I just have to give myself a chance to get on that next level and being on a major label.
What do you want to say to everybody?
For those who don’t know who Mistah FAB is, check me out and get involved in my whole movement. We’ll be around for a minute. It’s not just some fly-by-night, fugazi thing. I’ve been doing my thing for a long time and I have people supporting me. For those people who do know me, just continue to stay focused and stay with me. I’m going to continue to put my soul and my heart into this music and never will I give a person half of me. I’m going to go 100% all the time.
And to all the kids out there that are living and dreaming and wondering if rapping is for them, dreams do come true. It’s just how you apply yourself. I had to realize that myself. Sometimes we feel that living in the inner city, we feel that a lot of things are inevitable and a lot of things aren’t attainable. Reach for your goals. It’s attainable. I just want people to know that if it’s something that you really want to do in life, reach for it. There’s a saying – “you reap what you sow.” If you shit in a bowl and walk back ten minutes later and put your hand in it, you’re going to pull some shit out. You get out of life what you put in it.