Oh man, Im good. Im excellent. Im happy to be alive.
Its been a minute since we spoke. How have you been?
Everythings been good. Im just putting myself in a position
to win. Im hitting the streets, Im hitting the country, and
Im getting everybody to hear me. Even if people cant afford
a CD, I just give it to them. I just want to be heard.
It sounds like you had a lot of fun recording your new tape, Cross
Country Part 2.
Yeha, it was real fun. Its a new thing now. You have to know how
to adapt. My new motto is adapt or die. If you cant
adapt to other territories, youre going to fail. You cant
go to a weed spot in Virginia and ask for a 20, but they call
it dubs. Ive learned how to adapt. Ive been so
many places and I bring that out.
How important is it to be able to rock over beats from any region?
Thats extremely important. Im from the Northeast Bronx, and
New York rappers are expected to have a certain sound. These
kids now, in their CD-changers, will have a Snoop, Jay, Nelly, Lil
they like all those people. Thats who they grew up on.
Im a New York rapper, but Ive got to come on some shit where
they can listen to my shit. Theres no difference to them. Thats
why its so important to show that versatility.
A lot of people say that the problem in New York is not sticking to
the traditional style. What do you say to that?
I say its not 1989 now. Were going into 2006. You can sit
back and say, Remember what this was like, it was better then
Remember when Geto Boys came out? I didnt know where they were from.
Mind Playing Tricks on Me sounded like an East Coast sound
because we were running it back then. In order for me to get heard by
a kid in the South that only listens to a T.I. or Lil Scrappy, for
them to understand and listen to me, I have to have something on there
that he likes and that he can listen to in his car that has the same thump
as what he likes. Thats why I do that. I know how important that
Whats up with the Northeast Wildcats these days?
Were working on stuff simultaneously. Im getting myself popping.
Everybody in the group is busy in their own right. Were all getting
ready to get in a position to win. Were crazy. Thats all I
can say about it for now. Were dropping a new mixtape first quarter.
Are you still working with Charlemagne today?
Yeah. Me and Charlemagne are real good friends. Hes a real busy
guy. We havent been able to sit down and really grind it out, but
hes showed me so much support. Hes the one that showed me
how to record. Hes showed me so much support back from the L-Swift
days. Thats my man forever. I work with Twinz from Thundertrax,
Im also expressing myself on that level too so theres
some other things coming.
Are you still working with Scram Jones today?
Yeah. We were just in L.A. for the Vibe Awards. Hes showed me a
lot of support. I first met him when he was a rapper. I didnt know
him as a producer. Hes getting to a nice point now. Hes seen
me go through my changes. Were getting real comfortable with our
Any chance for a Natural Elements reunion in 2006?
Right now, A-Butta has a group called Bulletproof Junkies.
They do rock-and-roll. The band is Japanese and As the lead singer.
Hes got some dope stuff. I just saw a show with him a couple of
weeks ago. Were just doing us right now. Were still cool.
I dont know what Voo (Mr. Voodoo) is doing right now. Me and A talk
every day. I just have to follow through with this Swigga thing. God put
me to do this, what Im doing, right now, and I cant sidetrack
myself in any way.
Will you guys come together sometime?
Definitely. Theres going to be a few albums coming.
Natural Elements made their mark on shows like Stretch and Bobbito. It
seems like theres not a lot of outlets like that today
I dont blame that on anybody. When we were doing it, we would go
up to the show, and Redman or Nas would be there. There was a mixture
of up-and-coming artists and artists that were already on. Now, college
radio will play a hot record, but if it gets on Hot97 or anything commercial,
they stop playing the record. Now, they separate it so much so the listener
has to separate it. You should be able to hear 50 Cent, Mr. Complex, and
anybody else. Thats what we had, when the Roots could get played
and then Method Man would get played. You have to create that niche. Underground
radio has to balance it out.
almost like the internet is the only place left
Yeah. I go to HipHopGame every day to see whats up there. Thats
a whole new medium. I know that someone from Arkansas as well as someone
from the U.K. is checking it when I am.
What are your goals right now in music?
Of course Im going to get signed again, but this time I know how
to do it. Now, its a multi-million dollar industry, and you have
to exhaust all you can when youre hot. When you see me with my first
big record, theres going to be something bigger to follow. I know
how Im going to go at it. Im going to get a good six or seven
years after my first big song hits.
How has the label hunt been going so far?
Its been good because before, I didnt understand all that
it took to get a good deal. I say a good deal, because anybody can get
a deal. You need to have a good deal where you have a business relationship
with a label and you can stay with them for your whole career. A lot of
people switch labels because they didnt sign the right deal for
them. The label doesnt change. When we were at Tommy Boy, we signed
a wack deal. We signed a fucked up deal. I dont even blame Tommy
Boy. Peace to Tommy Silverman for giving us a chance. The more you do
for you is the more theyre going to have to take you seriously and
where you already laid things down. Its a whole different focus
right now, a whole different thing. Im just taking it one step at
a time and making sure I get the right deal.
Labels can say, L-Swift, you had your chance, why should we invest
in you again?
If you know what made me go into the transition from what made me go from
L-Swift to Swigga, the events that made me change that, then youll
see that its a whole different person. I am Swigga forever, this
is not a name-change where Im going to be L-Swift again in two years.
Listen to my new material and understand that when you sign an artist
that has been signed before, theres less things that you have to
school them on, and they should look at that as a plus instead of a minus.
From Natural Elements and Tommy Boy to everything else youve been
through, what advantage do you have right now over others?
Theres a big thing about you getting pigeon-holed. When they pigeon-hole
you, you cant move. Its a wrap. A lot of artists reading this
right now know what Im saying. Whether you change or not, theyre
going to remember how you were. You have to know exactly how you want
to ride it out for your whole career. Thats what I have a grasp
on right now. I want people to look for me on my fourth and fifth albums.
Thats why I do so much material. I know how I want people to view
Hows your debut album coming?
Its good. I have a few of them actually. Its coming along
so good because Im not under label pressure. I can go in the studio
and do nine songs, and maybe six of them will be real hot. I got songs
with me singing on them, but when I get a deal, Ill get someone
like John Legend to sing on it. Im just setting it up where Im
in a position to win and all I have to do is put the pieces in the puzzle.
Are you looking for an indie or major?
Major. I feel like I could sell 3-4 million on my first album. Im
not saying that just because other people do it. The money that it takes
to reaching 10 million people so 3 million will buy your album, you need
a certain budget. I cant go to Koch and sell 3 million records.
Its impossible. Koch is real bad for a new artist, its real
good for an established artist. If I was playing basketball, and the whole
game is points, thats what Im going to try to get. Thats
what Im going through.
Whats next for you?
I got this joint called Ready to Live. Its either going
to be that CD or a Northeast Wildcats project. Its all about productivity
and being consistent.
What do you want to say to everyone out there?
Look out for anything you see Swigga on. Know that its going to
be well put-together and crazy. Thanks for showing me love. Im going
to be consistent, and Im going to show you what I mean by that.