I had a case against the government so they had a case against me. They wanted me to drop my case and I didn’t drop it and they won. They won because I couldn’t take the stand. I had gotten sick and I don’t want to say they won because of that. They win because they can win. Everything was stacked against me but that’s over with now.
Elaborate on the case they had against you?
My case was with me and my brother—we overpaid money to the government and they owed us money, then they owed us the interest on the money and it started off that they owed us five million dollars and then interest on that for 20 years. They didn’t want to hear about that and they wanted us to drop the case. We wanted to carry it through and they wanted me to say I was guilty on some smaller stuff and so that was basically it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in all of this?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is I never thought I would... At the time, no one had been locked up for something that they locked me up for. If I had signed certain papers, which I was told not to do, it wouldn’t have been any problem whatsoever so I took it for granted and I said that this well never happen because I didn’t do anything. But a picture was painted that I did—like I never paid taxes in my life and that’s a lie. We paid over 25 million dollars in taxes. I paid them 5 million more than I was supposed to but they didn’t talk about that.
Now you’re over the hump and you have an eight album record deal. Talk about your next album and the subsequent music.
My album will be out in September and then I’m going to do a gospel album and who knows what else, I don’t know yet. This album I have coming out in September is finally finished. My business has always been competitive—trying to out do what you did before and I feel that this album proves everything I want to prove. R&B singing can be—some people have said that R&B has went to this side or is like hip-hop now. Although my album has some hip-hop and everything on it, I’m one of the ones who have been able to escape that when it came to that with albums and I’m thankful for that. But this album proves everything that I want it to prove.
Elaborate on what you’re trying to prove.
That I’m the best. I’m gonna prove that I’m one of the best [Laughs].
How’d you end up getting Lauryn Hill?
John McClain [executive producer] was very instrumental in that happening but the duet that we did together⎯people say it’s the best duet they ever heard [and] I’m very proud of that.
But she’s been so inconsistent with music.