You’ve been showing a sarcastic and funny side with your HipHopGame journal Is It Me. Do you think you’re catching some people off-guard with it?
Yeah, definitely. I think so. That was the whole point. We talked before and you know that I’m like a sarcastic guy. You hear stuff on records once in awhile but most of the time I’m always trying to say stuff and trying to be the best rapper in the world so I had to use that forum to give people a different side of me. I wish I could do a TV show. I realize that a lot of people use journals to talk about their careers but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to make them laugh a little bit and see the other side of me.
You’re also a rapper who writes. That’s kind of rare. Is that a chink in your armor?
(laughs) Yeah, it is. I’m a writer. I used to write. I think it’s cool. It’s cool to be smart. It’s okay to laugh and smile and poke fun at things. I think hip-hop is trying to have everybody be a superhero and be some crazy invincible person. My thing is just showing my human side. I don’t mind.
In one of your latest entries you wrote about things rappers shouldn’t do to have a career. Out of everything you listed, how much have you done?
That was for the gangsta rapper, the hardcore guys that have a certain image. I don’t look at myself as one of these thugged-out, hardcore rappers that can’t be seen with his family or stuff like that. I went to school. I went to college. I was actually bright. I didn’t go to jail. Hmm…I’m not really a family man ‘cause I don’t got no kids, but you know, I’m not a hardcore, thugged-out rap guy. I’m authentic.
Did you just kill some of your credibility?
By doing what? By saying I went to school?
All of that.
(laughs) Really? Are you serious?
I kind of feel like if you’re not doing illegal stuff I don’t want to hear you rap.
What can I do? I can try and get arrested but I don’t know. I can get arrested and put it on Twitter. I don’t know, man. I’m just not really into that. People try to do stuff nowadays. They attempt to be hard or make a past like being a thug. It is what it is. If I killed my credibility in that sense, then it’s okay. I’ll survive.
I guess. Speaking of Twitter, what’s the most annoying aspect of the social networking device?
Everything. Every day I’m hearing more and more people getting caught on it and Ashton Kutcher is battling CNN for a million followers. This is crazy to me. Twitter is the new revolution. You know what it is? It’s status updates and I can’t find enough time in my day to update my status enough that people are gonna care but he sad thing is I have to be a part of it because I’m in this industry but I’m on there and I’m hoping that I get more followers but for what? I’m not meeting them anyways. I don’t get it. I don’t think there is one most annoying thing about it. I’ll tell you what it is – when someone emails me and tells me, “Yo, I hit you on Twitter.” I’m like, ‘Yo, hold up, are we not talking right now?’ (laughs) They’re emailing me telling me they hit me on Twitter. It’s crazy! Wow. I don’t think people really understand that.
How into Twitter do you think you’ll get?
As bright as I am, I don’t even know what’s going on with that. People follow me so I’ll follow them right back. If somebody messages me on there, it comes on my email and I’ll think I’m hitting them back, but nine times out of 10 I’m probably not so I don’t really know what’s going on with it. I’m hoping I get more followers because that will mean that people will think that I’m better at rap. With Facebook, I can log on there and I’m more active with it. It’s a little more mature than MySpace. Twitter, I don’t get it. I don’t get it.
How long do you think people will talk about themselves on Twitter before getting tired of it?
I really don’t know, man. I don’t know how long it’s going to go and I’m happy for the founders. They took something that was already there and made noise off of it but I’m just hoping that I’m a part of the next one. It went from MySpace to the statuses and then there’s a whole website for statuses. Maybe I can think of one-word updates and that can be the whole thing instead of a whole bunch of characters and I can get down with that site. It's amazing. We just keep dumbing things down more and more. I don’t understand. I sound like an old school hater even though I’m not opposed to that. I don’t know. It might last a year or two.
Would you ever hook up with a girl on Twitter where everyone could see your game?
That’s the stupidest thing in the world. I don’t even understand the direct messages. I don’t know if people can see it. I don’t even like hitting DJs and artists on there because I don’t know who can see it and who’s laughing at me. Hell no! You can be hitting on anybody on the internet. You don’t know.
But if you don’t have any personal game, it’s real easy to send somebody messages and show them your likes and dislikes. It’s easy to see what friends you have in common and all that. I know this person, you know that person, so maybe you should let me be with you. It’s a lot easier. It’s crazy, man. And it’s getting crazier.
How valuable do you think all these sites are at actually promoting an artists’ music?
I think they are more valuable in the industry. If you talk to an A&R, they won’t even talk to you if your MySpace doesn’t have 100,000 friends or a million friends but now you can doctor that. You can pay somebody to get you friends and plays and you don’t know if these people are truly their fans or if somebody is really paying for it. And if someone can’t get on a hip-hop website, you can go to their MySpace page and listen to their music and see if it’s crap and you can get responses. It’s better than sending somebody a demo when you can just mp3 a record. In that sense, it’s definitely a great connector. The only thing is it can’t be the one and only way for how you give your music to the world. Has it gotten out of hand? Yeah, a little bit. But you know, what are you going to do?
How much of the game is about the music today and how much is about networking and behind-the-scenes videos?
I should be asking you that! I need to figure that out. I have no clue. Years ago, you had to be dope. Now your hard work can outweigh your talent. The annoying thing is it’s hard work. A lot of the people who work hard are annoying DJs and doing blasts all day. They’re doing all of the little things that a talented person probably wouldn’t need to do. I don’t know, man. A lot of success has to do with how the artist looks in the last couple of years. It’s become a fashion show. It’s bad enough that anybody can do it.
But you know, there’s been a certain type of hipster thing going on and people like to follow whatever’s popular and what’s going on with everybody else. A lot of people are on the YouTube and other sites and it’s about how ignorant you can be and that ignorance gets you more views and if you get more views, somehow people think it translates to more fans and then you’re really popping. I do know that the game moves in cycles and it may come back around and people may start paying attention to what you’re saying and there will be sites that post the music up that’s real and people can give their honest feedback and you have a certain type of fan that goes to your site and you know what they’re looking for.
I guess we should talk about your music at sometime…
What exactly have you been working on lately?
I have been working on this album and it’s coming out on ChamberMusik/Koch Records and that has consumed my life for the last few months along with doing freestyles and all that and other songs here and there. But I’m not doing all the mixtapes like I did last year and I don’t want to confuse people. I don’t want to over-saturate myself. I don’t know how many people I reached last year but I don’t want the people to feel like my album is just another mixtape. This album, some of it I snatched from Thee Emotion Picture and some of it I snatched from Cinderella Man and a lot of it has to do with where I am now and we’re going through a whole bunch of industry politics and daily life shit and embracing the people around me that are going through what they are, like financial issues. You know, I’m surrounded by issues like domestic violence and poverty, just a whole bunch of stuff that I try to use and make it relatable. I did two CDs last year about relationships. I’m just doing something different. That’s basically what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing for my career. I don’t really know if people are taking notice yet but that’s what makes me stand out.
What made you go with ChamberMusik for this project?
I’m not really familiar with what they’ve done. All I knew is Cappadonna. At the time I was kind of in a weird place. I had deals on the table that were taking awhile and you know me, I’ve been through that whole waiting game before. I felt like I felt back in 2005 where I was sitting around and waiting and I’m not doing that waiting game again. They wanted to step outside of the whole Wu-Tang artist thing and I was like, ‘Word, let’s do it!’ And I felt like putting an album out outside of mixtapes was a good idea. If Wu-Tang fans are reading this and they’ll buy it because I’m Wu-Tang, I’ll make an alias tomorrow and I’ll do it.
And they were stroking my ego and I was feeling like somebody wanted me. (laughs) I just wanted to put some music together and get money up and do things right. I’m a fan of that and at the same time, I figured that at the end of last year after all that I had done, it would be easy to put things out commercially and my management bailed on me and I felt like I was at a point where it’s not that I didn’t know what to do next but I needed something to happen with myself. I was feeling not necessarily like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ but I was trying to figure out what my next step should be. I had put out a lot of music and I don't think I got back what I put out. I don’t think it was reciprocated. I did a whole CD with all of Stevie Wonder samples and real topics and real profound music. It’s crazy and I don’t even like my stuff but I can listen to that CD straight through. That’s probably the only one that I can listen to straight through. I wanted something to happen and not to get caught up in what the industry was doing and what was going on with the radio. You have to wear tight jeans to get love from some people. But you know, I’m going to do what I do.
What’s the tightest a dude can wear jeans before he shouldn’t leave the house?
I don’t really know what’s accepted or how they get them on. I know for a fact where there was a time when I wore my jeans a size 40 and my waist was a 36. It didn’t make no sense but now my jeans fit me but they’re not form-fitting. But for me to have trouble getting into jeans, you would have to feel like a woman and I just can’t take it that far. I don’t know if that’s something that all these people wanted to do or if they’re just doing it because this guy is doing it and they’re going to get a scarf and tie it this way and all that. You know, the whole thing, it’s just weird to me. All of the throwback jerseys, I wasn’t a big fan of that but it was kind of cool. I understood it. This whole phenomenon, it doesn’t seem authentic. It just seems like people are trying to be weird. I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I don’t know if I sound bitter. I hope not. I’m laughing and I think everybody else will be laughing in a couple of months at the whole thing. A lot of the people are doing it are doing it to be weird. Like, if you’re getting a Mohawk now, you’re kind of behind what was hot. I don’t know, man. I didn’t know fashion was this important in the game.
Where do you see the New York sound going in the next few years?
(laughs) It’s funny how brainwashed we are. Some people didn’t like the production on Jada’s album. Me, whenever I do something with a soul sample, whether it’s sped up or not, I’ll hear the words “dated” or something like that and I don’t really take it as something negative all the time. I would rather my music be timeless. When there’s four or five instruments on a song, it could sound like something anybody did. I don’t know, man. It’s weird. I don’t know where the New York sound is going. All I know is just the Auto Tune thing dominates the radio and if somebody does something else, they’re going to say that sounds dated compared to what’s out now. But if I do something that’s out now, I get caught up in that whole track. And I heard some of Jadakiss’ album and the New York sound is there. I wasn’t mad at it. People are going to say it sounds like something else and we always have to say that and it’s kind of sad. Remember when Just did the sped-up soul sample and how everybody else did it? We don’t have enough trendsetters to do their own thing. Jay had his sound, 50 had his sound and there’s a bunch of followers.
Are you surprised at all by Asher Roth’s success?
I’m not surprised at his success because I think when you take the blueprint of somebody that’s already been around for awhile and you kind of, don’t take the asme approach but you take some of the elements, like we know he sounds like Eminem even though he says he doesn’t sound like Eminem, but he took some of the cadences and he has funny twists and the college thing is working. There’s marketing behind it. However, I’m not surprised. I don’t know how good he is as an artist. I don’t really listen to too much rap. It’s tough, man, because you could even say it’s a race card thing and that Caucasian MCs get a little more of a look but there’s been a lot looked over that haven’t gotten that look. He just happens to sound like one of the ones who made it through the cracks. You’ve heard the people say that he’s bitten this and he’s bitten that. I don’t think that’s the main reason. I think his image and being that he’s talking about college and partying and he’s putting those together, I think people are gravitating towards it. He gets a lot of feedback, both positive and negative. I don’t really know much about him.
Why do you think you’re still looked over today?
I don’t know, man! I really don’t know. People tell me I must be blackballed in the game. I wish I knew the answer to that and then I would probably make happier records. But I don’t know. We’ve done interviews and all that and it’s always a topic. “Why hasn’t it happened yet?” I don’t know. To me, it could be some of the things that I did. It could be the fact that I’m not an ignorant dude. It could be I don’t have the internet push that these other cats have, the annoying people, or being on the YouTubes and all of that. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not that great. I don’t know. (laughs) I just think I am. (laughs) I think in the end, I’ve been blessed and that’s the beautiful thing. Here I am, in life, it’s much bigger. And I’ve evolved as a human being. I’m allowed to do what I love doing. This is something that I put my heart into. I was fortunate enough to have a record deal and have a deal with Virgin. A lot of people, they can’t even say that. Even though there are people that are more popular and they’re household names and all that, it’s not something that I get down about because I’m working it. I’m really blessed at this point in my life and I think that everything else that I get and whatever comes with this album or the more people that read the blogs, everything that comes to me, I appreciate it more. In the end I’m still smiling.