Which is the greater producer: Kanye West or Just Blaze?
I'm not even being biased—100 percent honest—I would have to say Just Blaze is a better producer than Kanye West. Just is more versatile. Kanye West shines when he does those soulful-type music—"You Don't Know My Name," "All Falls Down.” But I think Just Blaze masters that. He can do that, then he can do a song like "PSA," "Can't Let You Go" by Fabolous, and it sounds totally different. He's doing real pop-eclectic stuff [now] and it sounds incredible. They're both super-great, but the only producer I'd compare to Just is Timbaland. That's the only producer with that versatility.
Which new artists are you feeling these days?
I like Joell Ortiz, Jay Electronica, I never really got into Wiz Khalifa, [but] I liked one song I heard 'cause he got a lot of buzz. I like J. Cole a lot, ‘cause he's a college kid; he's smart. He never really grew up in the street like that. He don't really advocate it. I like the fact that he keeps it honest and he still keeps you interested in what he gotta say.
What about the “it” girl of the moment, Nicki Minaj?
I think Nicki's dope, man. I just don't want her to burn out too fast. When you brought up that fast, there's nowhere to go but down. She's dope lyrically, but I think a lot of people are getting caught up in image, and that gets old quick. I'm hoping her album sets her apart musically.
Drake similarly went from 0-60, though.
Yeah. And no disrespect. I love Drake, but I don't think too many people are really anticipating his next album like crazy. Like, you almost know what you're gonna expect from him: the love songs, singing. He makes great music, but you never know with those guys. The thing is, Wayne is the Madonna of rap. He reinvents himself every two years, that's why Wayne’s been around for so long. People be thinking he's a new artist a lot. Wayne is a vet. Wayne got like 14 years in the game.
Do you remember the first time you met Wayne?
Yeah, we was down in Atlanta doing radio. I took him lightly a little bit on the radio. We was doing a freestyle on DJ Drama's show and this little kid went in. “I get money all day like tolls.” Like, how do you even think of that? I told him, “Yo, fam. You stepped your rap game up." He's been flaming ever since. I knew [Cash Money] were all fans because if you listen to Da Drought 2, somebody says 'I'd rather be Just Blaze and listening to Saigon.' I didn't even know these dudes knew who I was. [Laughs]
Ha! How do you think jail might've affected Wayne?