Everything’s cool. I’m at Rap City right now and I’ll be in the studio later.
Your compilation is dropping late summer. How’s it coming?
We have a lot of big names on it so far. We got Jim Jones, Pitbull, Bounty Killer and Wyclef on there. Fat Joe is also on there along with Mobb Deep and Nucci Reyo. A lot of people are on there. It’s a great look. It’s an exciting situation.
How are you going to make this compilation different from the other compilations out there?
I want to release it at the right time with the right record. I want the movement to be in tact. I want everybody to be aware of it. Until that happens, I’ll just keep working. I’m not going to release the single until it’s time. When it’s time, it’s time. It’s inevitable. I’m looking at the end of the summer for the release. We’ll see how everything plays out.
DJ Clue’s The Professional Part 3 didn’t do too well. Is that a concern for you?
At the end of the day, it has to be your time when you drop. Right now it’s Khaled’s time. You have to drop the right record and do everything you can to promote the album. You have to have that energy ready to go. When it’s time, it’s going to be time. Right now I’m in studio-mode. I’m into the sample clearances and all that. When it’s time to kiss the babies, that’s what it’s going to be.
How much of the production are you handling yourself?
Addicted 4 Life, as a production company, is doing about half of the album. Fat Joe’s producer did a joint. Havoc from Mobb Deep has a joint on there. It’s crazy right now. We’re dealing with the label situation and making sure the business is straight. Unfortunately it’s business before music so I have to handle my business right first so the music is promoted right and it can be on that platform that it needs to be.
You manage Nucci Reyo as well. What made you want to manage him?
He’s very talented. He’s really talented and he’s a lyricist. He has a great look and he has a lot of personality. He’s a great guy at the end of the day and our relationship is on the up and up. We can just hang out and chill together which is a great thing.
What are your plans for Nucci?
Until that right situation comes about, we’re just going to keep on putting out music. Right now it’s very important that my compilation does what it does so he can have the outlet be there for him. It’s real important that I do my numbers. He understands that and it’s good with him.
You’re also doing some things with Ron Artest and Tru Warier. What are your responsibilities at Tru Warier?
Ron just dropped his album and he has Foul Monday. I show them love on the radio side and mixtape side of things. I give him beats and consult him. I try to help him out. It’s definitely a personal relationship before a business relationship. Whatever he needs, he can call me. Whatever I can do to help him, I’m going to do.
You were also in AZ’s “The Come Up” video. What’s your relationship with AZ?
That’s my guy. He’s just a great dude at the end of the day. It’s an honor to speak to him on the phone and to be able to work with him on different levels. He’s definitely underrated right now. People are sleeping on him. I know once he links back up with Nas, people are going to be on his bandwagon again. We have a cool relationship where we can hang out and chill together. I know his personality and he knows mine. It’s a great relationship at the end of the day. That’s my nigga.
You have your show on Hot97 on Wednesday nights. How do you approach each show?
I pretty much try and play a bit of everything. I don’t want to put any kind of limit on the music I play. I like playing underground stuff and I like playing the commercial stuff also. I like playing a tiny bit of reggae but I like playing the hip-hop shit. I like to get real underground with it too. That’s pretty much the basis at the end of the day. I like to be unpredictable. I don’t want to be put in a box. I want to play a little bit of everything. I’ll be playing a lot of joints each show. Tony Yayo or Lil’ Wayne could call up during the show. I have relationships with the best crews from Terror Squad to G-Unit to Black Wall Street. I’ll never have a one-sided show. I’m different in that way.
I’m one of the youngest dudes up there too. It’s a great accomplishment for me. I’ve been through a lot in my career and to have my show on one of the biggest radio stations in America is just a great accomplishment.
How often do you get approached to play records for money?
It happens. I get money outside of radio, so why would I take money to play a record? I can do anything I want to outside of the radio, but the radio is untouchable. You can’t take money to play records. That’s illegal. People can ask at the end of the day, but I play the hot artists at the end of the day. Someone might feature a hot artist, but I’ll pretty much play artists that are already around. I’ll break a few artists, but we don’t do payola over here.
What do you look for in new artists to break them on your show and mixtapes?
Right now, the game is so crazy. I’m looking for a combination of things. Obviously the dude’s story, look, talent, delivery, lyrics, hustle, camp, who he’s associated and affiliated with…You have to get it right. There’s a lot of different things and elements that make an artist. It’s not just talent anymore. They have to get their talent up and they have to be persistent. I have to feel like your music is something that needs to be heard.
You got your start working for Stress Magazine for free. How important was it for you to work for free and build a foundation first?
It was crucial. Every part of my life and every part of my career makes me who I am today. Without that first initial step, I’d have nothing.
Looking back on that, was the grind you put in worth it?
Definitely, because all the opportunities are there for me now and I just have to take advantage of them now. They’re right in front of my face. I just have to put out this album and make history.
What’s your focus going to be for the next couple months?
I’m in album-mode, trying to make the best music possible.
What do you want to say to everybody?
The album’s coming soon. Addicted 4 Life, Absolut Season begins.