There was a video of Slaughterhouse singing your praises, too…
Joell, Royce, Crooked, Joe, yall did me dirty! I was supposed to be the fifth member of Slaughterhouse and they know it. Me, Royce and three other people drove out to Jersey, kicking the breeze. I was like ‘let’s start a group.’ He was like, ‘Charles, you’re on a major label.’ He calls up Joe and I already had Crooked’s number, so we do the illest conference call. Joe Budden says to me very sternly, “Charles, we are not your age. We cannot afford a failure. And we don’t want to be a failure and bring you down from your situation.“ I said, ‘y’all are representing hip-hop. Only way y’all fail, is if y’all don’t spit.’ Royce was with it, but I know the love is still there. If they’re still on board, I’m with it.
So many of the peers you came up with—Wale, Asher Roth, B.o.B, Kid Cudi, Drake—have garnered strong mainstream success. How does it feel to see that happen?
Everyone’s success is their own. Whatever lane they’re in, congratulations.
I remember your mixtape Well Isn’t This Awkward dropped a day before So Far Gone and it received great reviews, but got bumped once Drake’s tape dropped. What are your thoughts on him?
I might be one of the few artists in hip-hop to not take offense to his verse on “Forever.” I know a lot of signed niggas that was like ‘Everybody got a deal/I did it without one? Fuck this nigga!’ [Laughs] Then to make matters worse, right around the corner, I got dropped. That line hurt. I’m not going to hate on no one’s success, but if you’re in the car with your homies and “Best I Ever Had” comes on and you ain’t have no chick next to you, of course you’re going to hate on it. Especially since I know the original sample, and I can play it on the piano. I got love for “Best I Ever Had,” and one day I’ll rap over the “Over” beat.
Why not now?
Because everyone’s rapping on that. That’s why I’m glad I waited [to rap] on “Successful.” You not going to say I’m giving [Drake] next by rapping on this beat two weeks after it came out. I’m not going to be a groupie. [If we do a song together] I’m confident it’s not going to be a complete blowout. No one will blow me out on a track period. I don’t care who I’m doing a song with.
"[If Drake and I do a song together] I’m confident it’s not going to be a complete blowout. No one will blow me out on a track, period. I don’t care who I’m doing a song with."
What about Cole? He’s been known to do just that.
Stop that. Don’t get it twisted, I love Cole, he’s nice, but he ain’t about to body me on a track. But whoever I’m making music with—Cole or Drake—it’s going to be fire.
Have you learned anything from watching Drake?
This is not a diss, but it’s almost choreographed when he’s on stage. He knows how to move. When I’m on a stage, I look like a professor. It’s a college lecture, as opposed to a performance.
We all know from Well Isn’t This Awkward that you have more than a bit of love for Rihanna. Have you gotten the chance to meet her yet?
First time I met her, I completely blew it. I walked up to her and asked if she’s real. She was looking crazy good.
What did she say?
She gave me the ‘I’m interested’ face but this was before the big incident [with Chris Brown]. How do you tell someone, ‘I’m your knight and shining armor, but I’m two feet shorter than you?’
Did you ever get word that she heard it?
Nah, I took guesses when I saw [the “Hard” video]. I was like ‘Oh shit. Maybe!’ I thought “Hard” was her way of saying, ‘Yeah, nigga made a mixtape about me.’
What line in that song made you think that?
All I know is that would be my theme song if a chick made an album about me.
Is there any other chick that could inspire a future mixtape?