Let’s talk about Love King, which was supposed to be your final album, but ended up being your least memorable. Why do you think that is?
Multiple reasons. The first is that you should never be rushed to do anything. It really comes down to this, L.A. Reid told me ‘Dream no one’s turning in an album, can you give me one?’ I was chillin, getting ready to drop a “Put It Down” from Love Vs. Money and then a video for “Fancy” and “Right Side Of Your Brain.” The second thing is that the building was in transition and people can say that they want to but that really affects how records get put out especially with how things have evolved with marketing. And I wasn’t thinking of that because I didn’t think that had anything to do with me. But if that’s going to happen to anyone I’d rather that happen to me, because I don’t depend on my record sales to live.
Fact. And with the exception of one song, that album was also the first time we didn’t see your right-hand Tricky Stewart in the credits.
Right. Tricky wanted to do the American Idol thing at that time and back again this is LA asking me to deliver something in the middle of when Trick was trying to fulfill another part of his life. It was my idea to put out an album so at that time I just felt like it wasn’t right for me to take him off his path.
Will he be on this free album?
I wouldn’t dare ask him or Los to be on this… it just wouldn’t feel right. But he’s already got some stuff on the album-album...
I also heard you have this NWA type rock group going on?
Yup! I’m really excited about it. I’m putting myself in it, but I want a girl to be the lead singer. No one talks about politics anymore. It’s ‘I swag this, I swag that.’ When did we not become witty enough to say something real? I think what music is doing now is rocking people to sleep, thinking we’re not in some bullshit. But we’re in so much trouble in so many ways. We don’t know about our finances or what’s going on in different parts of the world. It’s not about being depressed, but being aware. So I want to make a group that does just that. This is going to be the best Coldplay-Jay-Z mashup sounding songs you could ever imagine. I make metaphors about sex because it just so happens I sing R&B, but that’s not the only thing in my mind. At the same time, I’m not going to be doing something so far left that Dream fans won’t understand it.
That makes sense. How are you finding your lead girl?
We’re going to do a national search. It won’t be a television show, but everyone will know we’re looking.
Back to The-Dream we know well. This has definitely been the year of the asshole. So many R&B singers have incorporated rapping into their styles and aren’t afraid to curse. Do you feel responsible for dudes trying this route?
If I did something it was more so that I infused the confidence of trying to crossover and do whatever it is we feel like we can do. Now what’s necessary for me to do is to keep making sure I keep singing records. It’s not about rapping better. There’s a billion rappers, but who’s going to sing the fucking songs? Everything is a season though and seasons come back. The Weeknd are a very talented group of guys, definitely an influence of the 07-08 Love/Hate summer. But we all are products of what that is. Frank Ocean is definitely amazing. We all are birthed by influence, now if we last, that means we actually have something. Being influenced isn’t good enough, you still have to be good at what you do. And Frank, The Weeknd, Miguel… they’re very good at what they do. I doubt if you asked if I influenced them, they’d be like ‘Nah.’ I’d be like really? (Laughs).
It’s definitely not a bad thing to admit that you were influenced by someone.
Right and it’s sad that I have to come and say I’m the dopest motherfucker alive. It used to not be that way because once you worked your ass off, your counterparts were calling you up to say so. Our egos aren’t at a state where you can give compliments away that easily. Like I don’t think I’ll ever have R. Kelly’s throne until he gives it to me.
But on the flip end, when Love/Hate dropped it carved out this different subgenre in R&B and you were alone in that lane. Now you have byproducts of that who also happen to be your peers. Does that change your mindset at all?
You can’t compete with history. I already did it. That’s like me competing with R. Kelly… I can’t do that. Nothing’s better than something new, but you’re always going to remember what you love. You can’t compare me to the new guys because I don’t do what they do and they don’t do what I do. As a writer I can. I can do whatever as a writer, but as an artist that’s different and that can never be replaced. There’s nobody on the planet that’s more doper than I am with this shit. I’m so in love with it that you can’t be. Some people want to do their shows, get off the stage and fuck something. I want to go to shows and see how when Beyonce sings “1+1” it breaks you down. And if there were two words I fucked up on I’ll make sure I’m better at the next song. That’s just me.
Let’s talk about your next love songs. You had a very public split with Christina Milian how has that influenced your coming new music?