Are you happy with where Dirty Money is right now?
I felt the first time we earned our name, or people began to understand, was at the BET Awards. You could tell that . . . when Dirty Money was a trending topic. Sometimes it just takes time, but you got to hold to your beliefs because you know something that the rest of the world don’t know.
You’re managing Rick Ross now. Did you think that he was underperforming as a brand?
I saw that he was ready to go when he did the “Angels” remix. I saw that he was ready to start to really dig deep. I definitely think he’s a brand that is way bigger than he is . . . the same thing with Nicki [Minaj].
What is Ross’s best quality?
His choice in beats. He is one of the best at choosing music. He doesn’t make stereotypical music for the South. He’s a very unique rapper from Miami. Ross is like that cat who is from the South that spends time in New York, spends time in Paris, London. Has a crib in Malibu. He has a very worldly point of view. And the way he talks about the streets metaphorically, it feels like soul music. It’s not like he’s glorifying street life of the South. He’s really found the tone in his voice.
You know, people are upset over the comparisons to The Notorious B.I.G.
When I think of him or look at him, I don’t think of Big. I think it was my fault in a way, ‘cause I know how the blogs work. I said when he did the “Angels” remix, I said I can feel you channeling the spirit of Big because his approach to the record was the way Big would have approached it. But that was not a comparison to him and Big. But that was what I said and everyone just ran with it.
Is Nicki Minaj that good, or is she benefiting from a barren field?
She’s really that good. To be honest, she’s really holding back.
Are the comments from Lil’ Kim about Nicki disheartening?
When I heard her say what she said, it didn’t really affect me. I didn’t get mad at her or anything like that. I knew how she felt. I ain’t agree with it. But also I know the motivation. I know that people say, “Oh, he’s trying to get a new Lil’ Kim.” I guess people will see in time. Yeah, Nicki’s had flavored wigs on, but besides that it ain’t even the same approach to the writing.
How are they different in respect to writing?
It’s just a different approach. You just have to listen to it. Kim is real Brooklyn Biggie. She reminds you of a female B.I.G. You could tell she’s Biggie’s artist. She represents that well. Nicki really sounds like a Young Money artist.
How is your temper these days?
My temper is good.
You seem very even the last few times I’ve seen you. Why?
Sometimes I look like my temper is on ten?
I’ve definitely seen it on ten.
Damn. My temper is good. Anger management, all that shit, it’s been like a very, you know, it’s almost like a new birth type of year. Born again. I’m really finding myself and also I just don’t have the time for any BS.
What happened during the Martin Bashir interview on Nightline?
There were times in the interview when I had to give him an ultimatum. The questions weren’t being handled the right way. In hindsight, when I saw him I shouldn’t had done the interview because I know the style of interview that he does . . . The whole thing about giving a Maybach to my son, that’s really like a racist question. You don’t ask White people what they buy their kids. And they buy ‘em Porsches and convertible Bentleys and it ain’t no question. It’s really a racist question and put things back in perspective with money and the way that people still look at you. And I’m not saying that consciously he’s a racist. But he probably don’t even realize that he would not ask Steve Jobs that. He would be like Steve Jobs has that money and that’s the gift his kid is supposed to get.
When you saw him, didn’t you think, This was the journalist who railroaded Michael Jackson?
When I saw him, I knew he was known for pretty volatile interviews. That’s not even where I’m at right now. I don’t need to be any more famous. I don’t need to be on Nightline. So I was like, why am I even doing this interview. Is it about my music? I should have more went with my gut. But you live and you learn . . . And, you know, I showed a level of maturity that young people of color, when they’re in that position, they’ll understand the way they’re supposed to handle it.
I feel like old Puff Daddy wouldn’t have been so diplomatic.
Yeah, yeah. But when you say old Puffy I think it’s just a version of somebody that was more moving off just emotion. That’s dangerous. There are people dead or in jail or ruin their careers [that act like that]. You gotta take the good with the bad. It didn’t really bother me. It’s not like his interview really hurt me. I don’t think it was a bad interview. Matter of fact I’m proud of that interview.
You told Bashir that he was pretty skilled at the mind fuck. How good are you at mind fuckin’?
[Laughs.] I’m skilled and well versed. But it’s not like . . . there’s one important thing that I wanted to get out in this interview. And you ain’t asking the question. There’s an off perception that needs to be addressed about me that I have ever robbed somebody or mistreated somebody. Or tried to be ruthless or whatever in this game. Like, all this year I’ve heard people say, ‘Where’s Carl Thomas, where’s Black Rob, where’s G. Dep? Where are these artists?’ And for some reason they go ahead and equate that, ‘cause those artists aren’t with me, that I’ve done something wrong or malicious or conniving. It’s something that I do have a problem with because they don’t have no proof that I’ve ever done nothing like that.