I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on Act Your Waist Size. There’s been a lot of activity going on about it and that’s a positive thing.
That’s a good thing, especially since you don’t drop tracks every month.
Yeah. I try not to waste people’s money. I know what it’s like to have to fork out money for an album. That could be two or three hours of work. You have to make sure you put your soul into your record so people get their money’s worth. Plus this is the downloading age where everybody gets their music for free. I just had to put my all into Act Your Waist Size.
Are you happy with how Act Your Waist Size came out?
I think it’s the best stuff I made outside of the stuff I started on. I just turned it in and it’s that kind of situation. I tried to show a lot of the different range that I had. In a day where people will walk around with 10,000 songs on their person, you have to stand out. I can’t be running around like children doing a lot of crazy things to get noticed. I’m from the old school. I’m hoping the music does the talking for me.
Can you break down your album title?
I’m 32 years-old and my waist size is 32. And if you’re 18 and are a 32 around the waist, act grown. If you’re 54 and you’re a 32, don’t act like your life is over. 32 is in that range where you still have perspective where younger generations see you as one of them but you know better than to walk around being a knucklehead.
What if Nicole Ritchie acted her waist size?
I don’t even know what her waist size is. Maybe this doesn’t apply to her. This is for me. This is something that’s for me. That doesn’t mean I’m trying to market myself like other people market themselves. I have to look at my situation and that’s how that album title, in a lot of ways, only applies to myself. It’s my own personal reminder.
Can you take us through the making of Act Your Waist Size?
After the last project, I started making a bunch of beats and was looking for feedback on them. I knew what kind of songs I could drop. You have to remember when I send beats out, I’m hoping they all get rejected so I can keep them for myself. I dive into the work and whatever comes, comes. Whatever lyrics or music comes, it is what it is. I’m just trying to work in between the family thing going on and whatever happens, happens.
The album has a certain level of unpredictability.
I always want to make sure each my songs sound a little different from each other. Look at how the people listen to music now. I think my music fits that. Maybe that accounts for my surge in popularity. People usually jump around in moods when they listen to music now instead of staying in one vibe for awhile.
On “Slugger of Louisville” you said you got very little props. Are you underappreciated?
Maybe at that time I did. That was a year and half or two years ago. I feel like I get ample credit. I was just playing around.
What does “Case O’ Dilla” mean to you?
That’s the man, the myth. I remember how I chopped up a loop and put the drums down, and I was like, Whoa, I’m finally starting to tap into what this man’s been doing for years. I think it came from me coming across a drum machine from the same family that he used. It was only right to dedicate that joint to him. I felt I stumbled across his style like Columbus stumbling on America. I did the right thing and dedicated the song to him and gave the publishing to his mother.
What was your inspiration for “No Comp”?
Sometimes you really have to make songs to psyche yourself up to keep doing it. I think I get a lot of credit for what I do and people are interested in what I do, but I don’t really see much money off of what I do. You have to keep psyching yourself up for it. That was just a little sparring. It’s like when you’re on the playground and you’re playing the dozens and you just have to try to make them cry. That’s just one of those songs that I think every rapper should make one or two on an album because that’s the spirit of hip-hop.
From sampling to playing instruments, your skills are very diverse. What did you want in the production for this album?
That records didn’t really matter. Records and equipment and things like that didn’t really matter. Musicianship is what matters. It’s not about what plug-in you can score. I’ve never used Pro Tools. I have to use whatever type of skill I have to hold me over. I think God keeps me in this position of not being able to score new equipment so I can demonstrate what I have. I’m not really interested in endorsing anybody’s equipment or using anybody’s fancy shit. I’ll bang on some cardboard boxes and try to make it sound better than what anybody else is doing.
Do you like sampling or playing instruments better?
Sampling, only because I believe it’s something I can contribute to the new ways of making music. It’s an opportunity to become a Thelonious Monk or Charlie Parker and contribute to what they’re doing. I don’t have the chops on the instruments to do that. Some can destroy me on the instruments but not too many people can destroy me on the drum machine. I just play to my strengths. Now that I find out that that’s going to be my calling, I try to bring other aspects to the table. I played instruments on my first album so I don’t really have nothing to prove.
Does musicianship and skill matter today?
No, but at the same time, one thing that’s cool is that you have a choice. If the music doesn’t matter anyway, you might as well make the best music that you can anyway and apply the best marketing techniques to it. If nobody can agree on what sounds good, it just comes down to the marketing. I don’t think that you can jam anything down somebody’s throat a million times. They’re choosing what they want to ram down their throats. There are a few artists who have come out that proved talent matters. Whether or not you have it or not, it doesn’t matter as much as connecting with the audience.
You have the blog and stay online. How important is that interaction with your fans?
They keep me afloat. I always wanted to have a repertoire with the people who knew my music. Even if you don’t like my music, you can still consider me a cool dude and have dialogue with me here and there. I’m a real person first and then it’s this Count Bass shit. I look at people like people and I don’t really just look at them like fans. I have the same type of problems that they do and we relate on that front as well as discussing who’s the best of all time. We connect on a personal level as people trying to live in society. It’s getting harder and harder to find cool people and people who understand you for who you are. If I happen to put out everything about me out for the world, I would like to run into some cool people along the way.
It’s great to be able to directly talk to the people and I think it’s a gift for artists like me. I’m happy to have it and I’m happy to physically speak to the people and I don’t have to worry about this rumor or that one because I’ve already spoken on it before it can really get out there to the people. I’m just grateful that somebody gives a crap.
Is it good being a rapper in Nashville?
I don’t think it would be any more tough or any less tough anywhere else because I try to isolate myself from whatever’s going on anyway. When I went to Los Angeles recently, I went to a softball game. I wasn’t trying to run around being in the mix of hip-hop shit. Nothing I do draws inspiration from that. As a matter of fact, the more isolated I am, I believe the easier it is for me because I don’t have distractions and I don’t feel the pressure. That’s when I run into problems. I’ll be like, None of his shit sounds like mine. I’m going to have problems on mine. If I was doing that, I would be like, Uh oh, people are going to hate this new record I’m working on. It’s probably best that I’m isolated because I’m not worried about how it’s going to be received. I’m not really thinking about it.
What’s next for you?
Just raising this family of mine and trying to seek out more honest people in the music industry who do what they say they will and keep their word. It looks like I’m going to have to make music for money for a little while longer. I have other projects but the main thing is finding people who aren’t full of shit. It’s been the same thing for twelve years. You go through 1,000 bullshit dudes before you find the one. Whoever I’m dealing with right now I’m on No. 999.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Thank you very much for supporting my records and if you decided that you had to get it a little early, you can always go to my site and leave me a donation of some sorts. All of that benefits my family. You can also get my catalogue on my site. I hope that I earn your business on my future projects as well. Thank you for your time.