Maintaining, you know. Just working hard, grinding, hustling every day. I’m trying to get this cake.
Your debut album Mail on Sunday isn’t dropping until February. How are you getting fans ready for it?
Basically my focus is just to make this album a classic album and give the streets what they want.
How’s the album coming?
We have enough material for three albums, but we’re trying to make the best album possible. I’m working with a lot of different producers like Cool and Dre and the Runners. I got a song on the Entourage Soundtrack and I have the lead single (“Low”) for the movie Step It Up 2. We have a major thing going on. We’re shooting a video for that soon. It’s looking real good.
What was it like working with Cool and Dre?
It’s a great opportunity. I’ve been a fan of them for a long time. They’re from the same area that I’m from. It’s a great thing. I’m really feeling their tracks.
Can Cool and Dre and the Runners give you that real Miami sound?
They’ve been doing a great job with the tracks they’ve been doing and the tracks they’re giving me, I’m lacing them with tight lyrics. It’s a good combination.
Are you surprised with how well “Low” is doing for you?
The first time everybody in the office heard it, they knew it was a smash. Everybody was feeling it and we think that can outshine the “Birthday” record. “Low” has legs of its own. Every day we’re getting more and more spins on it. I didn’t expect it to be as big as it is. It’s taking me everywhere from the East Coast to the West Coast. It’s a great thing. We’re also shooting a video for it. It’s a much bigger response than the “Birthday” record.
What kind of impact can Mail On Sunday have when it drops?
It’s going to have a great impact for the fact that I’ve been grinding hard for the last three years on the West Coast. And now I’m down here in Miami with Ricky Ross and Brisco. They’re showing me the ropes and everything. I’m an open-minded artist and I have all kinds of music. I have Jimi Hendrix albums. Everybody can feel where I’m coming from from the ghetto and the ‘hood to the most famous rich areas. 2 year-olds can basically understand what I’m talking about. The beats are so hot coming from Cool and Dre and the Designated Hittaz. People should really get a chance to feel Flo Rida.
How did you get down with the Designated Hittaz?
They gave me my first record that most likely got me my deal. They gave me “Jealous.” I was just in the studio working and doing other tracks. And one of the dudes came to me and told me he had the track for me. He thought I could do something with it. So I came up with the concept and laid it on the record. It was part of the demo that we brought to Atlantic and they were loving it. It’s a big record.
Why did you title your album Mail On Sunday?
The mailman doesn’t come around on Sunday, but I have to get that cake every day.
What made you want to sign with Atlantic?
Basically they get behind the artists majorly. They do a lot of promotion and my indie label does a lot of promotion. So with that combination, the world will get the chance to see Flo Rida in a major way. I’m going to be seen and heard.
Other artists signed to Atlantic have expressed how unhappy they are with the label. Have you experienced any of that?
I’m very happy. If I don’t have tracks, they supply me with tracks. It’s a great thing. Every other week I’m getting a nice CD to lay some hot lyrics to. Everybody’s on point in the building. They’re feeling my music and we should have a great year coming up.
What made you sign with Poe Boy?
I grew up with E-Class’, the CEO of Poe Boy, brother. We stayed in touch and he actually got a chance to hear the music I laid in the studio and we got to a point where he really felt like I could be an artist. They really thought I had something. I had songs that I brought to E-Class that made it to the demo that we brought to Atlantic. That’s how it came about.
You also played a lot of basketball growing up. Where would you be right now if you had just focused on basketball?
I grew up with a basketball goal in my backyard in the projects. Every day, that’s what I did when I came home from school, before I did my homework. I would probably be in the NBA right now if I gave it the same grind as I gave my music. I would have had to have worked harder to elevate to the highest level possible. I took this music thing very seriously. I would go without meals to sacrifice money for the studio. If it wasn’t for the music, I would be in the NBA right now.
A lot of artists think the grind stops once you’re on a major label. How much harder do you have to grind now that you’ve gotten a deal?
I’m on a label with hundreds of artists. In order to stand out, you have to give it your blood, sweat and tears. A lot of times I have no breaks. I have to promote myself. I love to be in the studio writing. A lot of times I don’t come home until 5 in the morning and I get up at 12 and do it all again.
You also sing your own hooks as well. Where does that versatility come from?
Since the age of 13, I was always a comedian. I was always a shy guy. My cousin used to collect a lot of music and we would go out in the garage and record songs. I would listen to the records and I knew if I could make the lyrics make sense, I could have something. That’s when I really started taking it seriously.
You’ve come up relatively fast in the game. Are you surprised at all by your success?
A lot of people used to tell me I was going to make it. Every day I wake up and I get asked to sign autographs, I’m like, ‘Wow.’ It’s like I’m a fan of myself. I can’t believe that.
Is there unity in Miami today?
Oh, yeah. Rick Ross is my brother. Brisco is my brother. That’s the only way you can have a family relationship. We support each other a lot.
How much harder would the grind be if you didn’t have other rappers to work with?
They keep their ear to the streets like I do and we know what hot music is. They definitely bring help to my situation.
What does Miami have to do to stay on top of the game right now?
We put out a couple of mixtapes. I put out four myself. That same effort that we put on our albums, we put on our mixtapes. I think that’s why we’re getting a lot of love. And we put out DVDs with the mixtapes. I feel like that helps us a lot.
Are Miamians supportive of their own artists?
Oh, yeah. I had my birthday the other day and a lot of people came out. I was so surprised. I shouldn’t be surprised because I get a lot of love at my shows, but I was like, ‘Wow.’
How valuable is it that you’re coming from Miami right now?
It’s very valuable. I went on the West Coast and tried to get on Capitol Records and Geffen Records. You hear stories about people taking big trips and getting a deal and everything, but it was the other way around for me. I came home and I got a deal. It’s a great thing that I’m getting respect from my home. You have to get respect where you’re from first before anyone else can respect you. I grinded and it’s just a great feeling.
What do you have to do for the next few months to make sure Mail On Sunday is successful?
I have to put God first and thank Him for every day He wakes me up and puts breath in this body to move. I make sure that I take advantage that I have my limbs. At the same time I read up on other artists who, in the past, were very successful. I do my homework and I stay in the studio. I feel like I should be very successful. Along with the team that I have, I feel I should be very successful.
What advice would you offer to other artists?
Me, personally, I feel like every time that you go through struggle and pain, the closer you are getting to your opportunity. I’m not the type of person to give up, but it came to the moment and situations got real bad before I got my deal. You have to just continue to ask God for patience and put Him first. You also have to have that drive. You have to have the talent too and be different from everybody else. You also have to have the people feel your music.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I want to tell everybody in the United States, “Thank you for supporting me and for making this song blow to No. 1 on a lot of stations.” It wasn’t like that last year for me. I feel like whatever you put in, you get out. The album is coming out soon and make sure you check out the Step It Up 2 movie. My song “Low” is going to be in there. Just continue to tune in. Flo Rida is going to continue to do a lot of big things and you can be a part of it.