I’m in a New York state of mind with this music.
Are fans ready for The Format?
Nah, I don’t think they’re ready.
You must be happy that this release hasn’t been as heavily bootlegged as past releases.
Yeah. That’s a good thing.
Are you happy with how the album came out?
Yeah. The joint with Premier wasn’t even really a single. We did that to get a buzz and we did a video for it. The response to that single was great.
On “The Format,” you said “It’s obvious that I’m real, rap skills remain.” Did you ever find yourself slipping?
To be honest, I never felt like that. On every album I step my game up more and more. I never felt like I fell off. On every beat I step it up more and more. I’m a battery. I charge up myself. I’m competitive within myself.
You also said you’re “too at peace to lose it.” Do you approach the hip-hop game like that?
Definitely. I’m at peace and I just spit what I live and what I grew up on.
Throughout everything you’ve been through, have you ever not been at peace in the industry?
I got frustrated with the bootlegs but I know and understand everything that comes with the game. I take the bitter with the sweet so it never threw me off my axis. I took every lesson as a blessing so I kept it moving and didn’t get stuck.
You also said you “got the method for the witty females perfected.” Does that maturity come with age?
I’m certified. From me being in the game so long, I just mastered my craft. It’s a natural thing with me.
How was it getting back with Premier for “The Format”?
That was good because “The Come Up” was serious. I was trying to outdo “The Come Up” and he gave me that track.
Based off of Primo’s other beats he released in the past couple of years, you didn’t get a typical Primo beat. Was that a conscious decision?
I wanted something different. I didn’t want the norm. I always try to go left with all the music I pick.
Do you have a format that you follow when making an album?
No. I premeditate nothing and I move off vibe and feelings and what I hear at the time. I go off what the music tells me. Others can use me as the format.
You have a line on “The Truth” about sewing up your circle. Are you referencing your Quiet Money camp?
You need to get rid of some people and minimize.
Has Quiet Money gone through any changes recently?
Everybody’s gone. I got a new artist now. Trav, I think he’s incarcerated and Jabbar is incarcerated. A lot of brother fall by the wayside but I’m working with a new artist named Fresh. I’m trying to see how the fans embrace him.
What do you hope “Rise and Fall” with Little Brother accomplishes?
I loved the album they put out and I just wanted to collaborate with them. I love that song.
What type of production were you looking for on The Format?
I was trying to keep it authentic East Coast and just giving people that authentic hip-hop and spitting that authentic poetry.
Are you happy with how your last album “A.W.O.L.” did?
I’m happy with how it came out. I appreciate what we got accomplished and it’s getting me closer to mastering this independent game. On this one we’re trying to take it a few steps further and we’ll do the same thing on the next one.
Are you still working on the Half-A-Mil project you spoke about last year?
We’re still working it out. Right now we’re cooking it up. There are a few people who want to be involved but I’m sitting and waiting on some things. Most of the album is done. We’re just trying to get some features.
How would the game be different if Half-A-Mil were alive?
He would be another piece keeping the game alive. Hip-hop is a culture and we live it.
What’s your next move?
We’re going to put The Format out. We have another album coming out, a Quiet Money album and Fresh’s album. We’re looking at movies. We’re just trying to keep it going, keep it elevated and keep the wheels turning.
What do you want to say to everybody?
November 7, The Format. I’m back.