Knowing how passionate you are about sequencing an album, how does it feel when a song leaks, like “Crack a Bottle”?
It’s like a stab in the stomach. First of all we weren’t even going to release the song. We won a Grammy for it, but I’m not even considering putting the Grammy up. My wife has a problem with that because she wants all of my achievements to be up in the house. But the way it came, it doesn’t mean the same to me. We didn’t get a chance to do the song with our heart in it because we had to go in and rush it out. We went in one day and finished it at least so people could hear a proper version but we didn’t get to put our heart and soul in it . . .
So “Under Pressure” leaking was a killer.
It was a little bit more frustrating because at least “Crack a Bottle” had a hook on it. I wouldn’t be as mad at a leak if the song was done.
Can you blame the fans for wanting to hear something after all this time?
Absolutely not. I’m not mad at the fans. I’m mad at the person that leaked the shit. I have no idea how it got out. It’s not even worth looking to see who did it. It happens. The most painful part about it is that I’m passionate about what I do, so people should hear it in the right form.
There were some other reference tracks that leaked with T.I. and Ludacris lyrics. Were those legit?
Two of them were. Somebody actually hacked into our emails, so that made our red flags go up. We’re in a new age and that’s a sign: Wake up motherfucker. You have to be more careful with your shit. That’s all there is to it. I know what’s up now.
Was “In Da Club” for Detox?
No. That track was done for D12. We were in the studio and D12 was in the studio. Em was there. It didn’t happen with D12 and Em took the track with him, and he is the one that handed the track to 50.
Knowing the personal nature of your music, will there be a part two of “The Message” for your late son, Andre Young, Jr.?
I’m actually back and forth about that. I’m leaning towards no because I don’t know if I want to put myself or my family through that. I kind of want the record to stay fun. Right now as we speak I’m leaning towards a no. Though I do have a couple of things that I’ve done [for him]. I don’t think so.
Have you heard a beat in the last five years that you thought was hot?
Damn, that’s a good question. When was “The Benjamins” made? [Laughs.] [Diddy’s “It’s All About] the Benjamins” was one of my favorite beats. I just want to hear something that makes me make the ugly face.
There’s nothing else since “Benjamins” that did that for you?
I know there is, but nothing is hitting me off the top. As soon as you leave I bet I’ll think of one. I’ve been listening to a lot of old shit. Most of the time when I’m listening to hip-hop, it’s old-school Wu-Tang or Mobb Deep.
What is it about the old shit that keeps you going back?
It was an exciting period of hip-hop. Hip-hop isn’t as exciting anymore and it motivates me to do what I do.
You’ve seen so much in your time—good and bad. You had a chance to reconcile with Eazy-E before he died. With everything that has been going on with Suge Knight in the last year, is there any side of you that feels that one day you might . . .?
I haven’t even thought about him. This is my first time hearing his name in . . . a long time.
So nobody told you when he got knocked out at a party?
Oh, of course I heard that. But it doesn’t even cross my mind. I’m not gonna get anything out of that, so I don’t even think about it. That’s not going to help me.
It was reported that you were trying to tie up some loose ends with the people who bought the Death Row catalog.
Was basically trying to go back and get what I was owed if possible. This was more my attorneys than me. I’m more like eh, whatever. But if you can make it happen, it’s all good.
You’ve had so much fun doing Chronic and 2001. So why would you want to detox? What is there to “detox” from?
You have to see it. It’s not really detoxing. What I’m doing is gonna say “Detox” but it’s gonna have that red circle with that line through it. Hearing it and seeing it are two different things. Once you see it, it’s like “Oh.”
So the idea is not detoxing?
Years ago you recorded a song called “Forgot About Dre,” but in 2010 it seems impossible to forget about Dre.
I hope not, at least not until this record is out. [Laughs.] I’m definitely in a different place now. I’m a lot smarter and hopefully getting smarter in years to come. I’m just cool right now, chilling and doing my work. Before it was ripping and running and I’m in a really calm place in my life, using my time wisely. That’s the most valuable thing we own.