Early on, when you were rolling with Ludacris, did you kind of feel like you had to play a back position and couldn’t really step out into the forefront?
I didn’t have to play a back position it was just like trying to get in where you fit in. Luda’s a great leader, himself, a Virgo like me so it was sort of like I watched and learned a lot from being under him but there just comes a time when all the kids grow up and just want to become their own man, have their own imprint, and become their own boss and that’s just where I am in my career right now. I’m actually doing some A& R work on Luda’s 8th album Ludaversal so we still have a great business relationship. But for the most part, these mixtapes [are] kicking a lot of doors down, I’m getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of people and I just feel like I’m creating some real good problems for myself.
Well you definitely have the streets talking about your upcoming T.R.U. Realigon mixtape ?
I feel this mixtape along, with all of my other mixtapes, is an album format which kind of sets my music apart from everyone else. You know, I go into it and do research, come up with concepts, I do everything from photo- to video- shoots and I just put a little more time and effort into my mixtapes and my music period. Then, the title being T.R.U. REALigion I just felt that the acronym “TRU” could stand for “the real university” because my campaign is for “the real”, the few of us that’s left and for “Realigion” I spell it [that way] because people know religion is the study and belief of and I just believe I’m one of the last true people left and being real is a minority and that’s how I got to where I am today.
Everyone from Lil Wayne to T.I. always shouts you out for being one of the “realest dudes.” Why is that?
Like I said just being myself; a lot of people get around people like Lil Wayne or Baby and might laugh at jokes that’s not funny. You know?
Like a “yes” man?
Yea, I’m just not that. Sometimes I have a filter and sometimes I don’t as far as things that come out my mouth and people appreciate that because like I said, it’s genuine and a lot of people don’t offer genuine things anymore. Wayne has been my friend for over 10 yrs and I love everything that he’s doing and we just have a genuine relationship outside of music and the same thing with Baby and a few other peers in the game to where those people believing in me earlier in my career just gave me the belief to keep doing when no focus was on me at all.
While we’re being “real,” I wanted to talk about your use of Syrup. I noticed you are a big advocate of codeine and promethazine syrup.
I think people should be very careful because its addictive and can be fatal. You need to be your own individual. People are naturally curious about things but there comes a [point] where you need to let that go and that’s my opinion. I’ve probably been drinking since maybe 2007 so it’s a little different for me because it wasn’t well- known but the truth about promethazine/codeine is that it’s a pharmaceutical drug. No one makes it in a tub or anything .Moderate use is cool but I think that’s hard for people to do that but I definitely don’t promote people using it.
I mean Syrup isn’t something new, it’s been around for years and I think, as you said, in the last couple of years it really gained popularity.
I don’t think I’ve ever poured up in front of anybody but you just see my cup and know what it symbolizes but I don’t think I’m doing a commercial on how to like ruin your life. I’m ruining my life but I’m kind of enjoying it--just bought a new crib [Laughs.]
Do you mind telling us about some of the downsides of it? I know there are a lot of withdrawal symptoms when people try to quit.
Yeah, just to let VIBE readers know that I have ulcers, which a lot of my fans already know. For me I was drinking lean before knowing I had ulcers, I just knew I had stomach problems--and this is no excuse but in my mind it was just soothing. Not to sound like no crazy dude but it just felt soothing to a certain point, then when I found out I had ulcers I was prescribed meds anyway and it can be used for nausea and things like that because ulcers can cause nausea, vomiting and things like that. Even when flying a lot I’m one of those guys who has to travel a lot with a weak stomach
Back to the music side of things, where do you feel your lane is right now in hip-hop?
When you go the afterparty and go rock out and drink and smoke something in the club that’s where my my set is--that’s where I come in at. I’m cool with it. But I figured out how to be there so as much--people are [hype] about it. Not all artists’ music transitions to a small settings club. I got the music for about 500 people in a room to go crazy to. I make concert stuff too but everything is a time and a place. That’s why all of the big rappers [ hit me] because when they go to those clubs everyone’s going crazy. You see more with T.R.U. REALigion dropping Nov 1. I promise you that.
Check back on Nov. 1st for part 2 of VIBE's exclusive interview with 2 Chainz