What was your reaction to the Nas cosign?
I don’t remain cool when I meet these people, I’m like a little kid. Actually, when I met Nas… this was before he gave me any props on video, probably like a month or two ago, he actually quoted one of my lines from the Kweli song. I was like ‘Man, don’t quote one of my lines. You don’t understand man.’ I was so genuinely appreciative. I fucking used to type Nas lyrics just to put up on my wall.
It’s good to know he’s keeping up with this new generation.
Exactly. And I respect him even more because that’s obvious from interviews. He’s the one who said hip-hop was dead, so it would be easy for him to be a bitter legend. But he’s receptive to the new school. It means we’re doing better quality music and he’s not afraid to point that out.
Going back to your album, you mentioned it being a lot of storytelling, what are some of those tales?
If you could imagine a town called Dreamville, which is really to me, a mixture of my hometown Fayetteville and the city of dreams, New York. So it’s like this fictional town where the story takes place and within this setting there’s all these different aspects of life. Whether it’s the main character’s issues, family issues, relationship issues and then there’s this whole other issue of him trying to accomplish his goals. Prison issues, family members locked up. I see it like a movie.
"If I put out a mixtape it’s going to be better than somebody’s album"
Is this a concept that runs throughout the entire album?
Yeah, for the most part, but it’s not a literal concept album. It’s kinda like The Warm Up, but a little deeper. A continuation of that concept.
Is the album just about finished?
I could be done tomorrow if they said that’s the deadline. I have too many songs. That’s the problem at this point.
Does too many songs mean we would get a mixtape before the album?
Probably not. I don’t have throwaway joints. So if I put out a mixtape it’s going to be better than somebody’s album. If I’m serving you a meal, I don’t want to give you an appetizer that’s just as filling as the meal. I’d rather give you a banging-ass meal and then possibly come with some good-ass dessert.
So what you’re saying, is you’d like to starve us a bit?
[Laughs] Exactly. And I guarantee people are going to appreciate it, maybe without even knowing it. They’re going to appreciate that I didn’t stuff them and over do it.