The Magic came back from 24 points last night to beat the Heat. Is it too early to hit the panic button?
Not at all, man. Not at all. They’re going to bounce back. They’re going to bounce back. It’s too early to hit the panic button. ‘Bron gonna show out. Give him a little bit. He good.
Why haven’t the Heat been clicking this year?
I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s not clicking. We had a good season. We definitely had a good season. But I don’t know, man. We just gotta capitalize on certain situations and really take it home and beat these big boys, you know? We gotta knock down a big boy and that’s something we’ve had problems with.
Do you think Mike Bibby was a good addition?
Yeah, it should. It should be. It should be. I mean, I hope it is, man. We’ll see. It’s all good. We’ll see.
You were pretty quiet before “Hustle Hard” dropped. Was that the strategy?
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was. It was. I took time to really perfect my craft, man, and really come back the right way this time around being that this was my third album and it was a lot of pressure on me just me coming back into the role and the next record I was going to come back with. I just wanted to make sure it was right so I took the necessary precautions and got in the studio and worked hard to come back with that smash.
Do you hear things on your first two albums, Ruthless and Gutta, that you would do differently today?
Not really, man. I don’t really dwell on the past. I wouldn’t change anything on Gutta or Ruthless. I’m a firm believer that you go through certain things in life for a reason. I kind of like the growth, the growth pattern from all three of my albums, from Gutta to Ruthless to me dropping the “Hustle Hard” situation. I wouldn’t change anything, man.
Did you expect “Hustle Hard” to be a hit or did it catch you off-guard?
It kind of caught me off-guard by what it was doing. To me it was a mixtape record, a dope record I put on there. But the people, the fans, they clinged to it and the next thing you know they’re requesting it on radios. The good thing about that is that it grew organically with no marketing dollars behind it. It started off just growing organically. I definitely was shocked.
Why do you think “Hustle Hard” caught on the way it did?
I mean, it has to be the utmost…I don’t know. It’s relevant, man. If you can hear a hustler’s anthem on the head, I would say “Hustle Hard” would be that. And being that it is hard times and everybody in the world hustles hard, the way it was put together, I just feel that everybody in the world can relate to that. Whatever you do, whether you’re a doctor or a lawyer, you have to hustle hard to be what you want to be in life.
Going off that, how do you bring your street appeal while giving your music a universal sound?
I don’t know, man. Incorporate different scenarios, you know what I mean? I try to incorporate different real-life scenarios in my music. That way people can really listen to it and relate and have something to hold on to in my records, especially in my new records. I just try to let them grab onto something and just be relatable with it. That way they understand me more and understand the type of guy I am and that they’re not the only people who go through those situations.
How did the remix with Rick Ross and Lil’ Wayne come about?
The remix, I actually went to Ross’ house. He’s supported me throughout my whole career with “Cash Flow” and “Champion.” Being that Ross is doing his thing and is on top of his game, I just thought it was only right to put Ross on the “Hustle Hard” record. And it’s funny with the Wayne situation. Before he ever approached me about it, he was performing the record in different cities. He did it in Chicago on New Year’s Eve. He was going to places where it wasn’t playing and telling the DJs that he demanded to hear the record. Wayne loved the record and when I seen him at home, he told me he would love to be a part of the remix record. And me being a dude who grew up listening to Wayne with Lights Out and 500 Degreez, I would love for him to be a part of the record. I ended up sending him the instrumental two days later, he sent it back and it was a go, man. It was a go.
When you look at Wayne coming to you about it, do you look at it like you’re moving up a level in the game?
Oh, most definitely. Most definitely, man. Any time you can get somebody as big as Wayne, it’s always big. And it means more because I grew up listening to this guy, like a genuine fan and having all of his records and actually supporting him. For him to lift me up and tell me that he wants to be a part of what we got going on is huge. And I always wanted to work with Lil’ Wayne. What better time to have a record of this caliber and to be able to put him on the remix? It couldn’t be a better record, I would say.
What prompted you to refer to yourself as hip-hop’s Derek Jeter?
I’m just saying I’m that young boy. I’m that next big boy in the game. I’m soon to be that franchise name, that household name. When you mention Ace Hood, you see hundreds of thousands of fans who are supporting him and he’s packing out concerts and stadiums. We’re going to slowly and surely work our way towards that. I’m just letting them know that in due time, I will be that big, household name that y’all always planned for me to be.
This is something that a lot of rappers do in their music, and that’s using the word “retarded” and the negative connotations that term carries. Are you aware of the negative connotations that word has like when you say, “My flow’s retarded” on the “Hustle Hard (Remix)”?
I mean, not at all. We see it as music and just different metaphors and using things. We don’t create or say things and to speak to necessarily disrespect somebody or for somebody to feel out of the way. But it’s just music, you know what I mean? It’s just a clever way of saying certain things, you know what I mean? That’s how we see it. And me being an artist, that’s how I see it. As opposed to just saying it this way, we can actually switch things up and say it a more clever way. It’s just really metaphors but we don’t really see it as disrespect or for anybody to take it any type of way.
I get the part about trying to say things in a better way, but that word is offensive to a lot of people.
Yeah. Understandable. Very understandable.
Do you think the word will get phased out over time?
I think over time it will get phased out and people will find certain ways to say certain things but for right now, it’s in, you know what I mean? I know tons of people use it, but I don’t…I mean, I don’t think people really think about the negative or the people they’re actually damaging from it.
That’s one change I would love to hear in the music. What “Hustle Hard” remix was your favorite?
Swizz Beatz is probably my favorite. He was the first one to do that.
Are we going to hear another official remix to “Hustle Hard”?
No, not at all.
How’s the Blood, Sweat and Tears album coming so far?
It’s coming along well. I’m taking my time with this album and really critiquing it and making sure that people really get what I want them to get from this album. I try to make it as relatable as possible so that when I drop it, people are going to be able to pop it in and really relate to what’s going on in my life. They can say they’ve been through a situation I’ve been through in my life. I’m excited about the album. It’s going to be an utmost classic.
With DJ Khaled being signed to Cash Money and affiliated with Maybach Music, do you think you’ll be joining one of those labels?
Nothing’s official. Nothing of nothing. But who knows? I mean, I can’t really say anything now, but who knows, man? Who knows? Maybe. Who knows, you know?
How has working with DJ Khaled made you a better artist?
Just being there, man. Just being there and supporting me and just really pushing me and giving his 210% energy and support behind my whole music situation and whatnot. He’s definitely made me and helped me to brand me as a good artist. He’s definitely helping that aspect, man, by pushing me.
What do you need to do from here on out to make Blood, Sweat and Tears as successful as it can be?
Continue giving people the good music such as “Hustle Hard” and doing different collaborations with artists as well as myself as well as people who are coming along in the game as well. Definitely get out there, man, as much as possible. Continue dropping good music and whatnot. That’s definitely what I have in store for the people.