Okay, lets talk about your album. What inspired you to go with “How to Love” as a single, given that you’re singing on there and not rapping?
Obviously for the Lil Wayne fans, those deep fans, the real Lil Wayne fans know that I’ve been stretching my real voice. It’s not the first time I’ve sung on a song. Nothing inspired me to do it because it wasn’t nothing I haven’t done before. It’s just a song I felt was doable, and I went in and done it. Thank God for the results.
You mentioned how humbled you were at the success of “She Will.” Drake, who wrote and performs the song’s chorus, has now become a platinum star in his own right. Do you look at the guy and say, “Wow, I helped create a monster, I have to stay on my toes”?
I don’t look at it like that. Drake is my artist. If he wasn’t my artist, then yeah maybe. But that’s my artist. He’s not [just] a friend. We’re more than friends. It’s business. It would be impossible for it to be a competition. I mean, I’m the guy’s boss.
Are you shocked at how huge of a star Nicki Minaj has become in such a short time? We’re talking about someone who went from releasing underground mixtape in Queens, N.Y., to opening up for Britney Spears.
No, not shocked at all. It was just the plan, and always the goal. Actually [Nicki] hasn’t done anything yet. She hasn’t satisfied me yet.
You’re a tough boss…
Well, I’m not satisfied with anything she’s done. I believe she can do a whole lot more, and I believe she will do a whole lot more. It’s not shocking, and it’s not surprising. It’s quite fitting. But other than that, it’s nowhere near the end.
Has Nicki gotten to the Diva level where she’s requesting that all brown M&M’s be removed on her tour rider?
[Laughs] Nah, not at all.
Given that Cash Money artist Jay Sean is a native of the U.K., you probably have some strong feelings about the London riots and how some talking heads blamed it on hip-hop culture.
All you could do is pray for the people that were dealing with the situation and hope for the best. As far as them blaming hip-hop, you can blame Jesus for things, so you can’t really fault anybody for blaming someone or something. All you can do is hope for the best.
When you were in prison you blogged that the hardest part wasn’t being locked up, but being away from your children. Now that you are out, you’re juggling parenthood, behind head of a label and a touring artist. Is it overwhelming?
It isn’t as tough as it seems because I’ve been doing this for a long time, so everything’s kind of in place—and I thank God for that. It can get tough, at times, and it can get difficult. But the more complicated it gets, the more better it is. I’ve settled with the fact that I’m a wanted artist.
In what way?
There are superstars that people love or are fans of. Fortunately, I’m an artist that my fans actually want to be around me and see me. They want to feel me. That’s why I go on tour a lot, because I actually satisfy my fans with it. That’s the whole point of it; just satisfying fans.
At 28 you are already a veteran of the music industry, which has gone through major changes since the day you were a 9-year-old rapping on Cash Money. Has originality gotten lost on today’s MCs?