I’ll be anywhere and come up with lyrics. I do most of my joints quick… in minutes. I just put all my thoughts in my blackberry or iPhone. Writing on paper be slowing me down. I swear I had two mixtapes finished on my iPhone and they got erased. I was so cotdamn mad, man. It was like 50 raps, you can’t describe the feeling of losing your hard work like that over technology. I get sick just thinking about it.
That’s a tough loss. Do you attribute that to maybe being under the influence?
I don’t need to be super charged up off drugs in the studio. It slows me down, really. I like to be clear-minded most of the time. I guess it depends on the song. I don’t like nobody around when I’m doing something that’s personal. If it’s a Crunk song, I want people around me so I can feel the energy.
Let’s talk about your childhood living in Queens, New York.
I grew up around Run-DMC and LL Cool J and all those people. That song “Mary Mary why you buggin'…” that’s about my real aunt. Do your homework on that one. Like LL’s grandmother’s house was right up the block from mine, and they were known for parties. Murder Inc., Ja-Rule, even Biz Markie were always around the way when I was a kid. The Lost Boyz, all of them knew my family. So I been around hip-hop since a young’n. No one can say I ain’t hip-hop.
Yea, you get a lot of criticisms for “not being hip-hop." Do you feel like the South is really running the game?
Personally, I’m not into saying “The South run rap” or whoever runs rap. I just feel like the shine is directed down here for now. People will hate no matter what. I'll say a person who can work hard… can beat talent. Hard work pays off.
Do you consider Queens your hometown?
Well, I consider Riverdale, Georgia my home, but there ain’t no taking away from New York. Shit, I still remember taking the Q3 and the Q4 bus as a kid.
Did any song in particular draw you into hip-hop?
The first song that grabbed my attention was Big Daddy Kane “Ain’t No Half-stepping." He was just that slick gangsta. But I actually grew up listening to people like DMX, Onyx, even Mariah Carey, bro. My uncle, Corey Rooney worked at Def Jam and Sony. I actually remember meeting Method Man as a kid. Actually, I want to get up with him one day do a record together.
What do you remember about first moving to the South?
It had the females—all the girls had big booties. I remember just thinking that all the girls our age looked grown. And everything was just slowed down, but I got adjusted to it pretty fast.
Your father was incarcerated and passed away when you were very young. Do you feel like you were always looking for that role model figure?
I grew up at my grandmother's and a lot of my cousins had their mother and father. So it always felt like there was a hole in my life. Even when you watch movies and TV as a kid you see kids with their dads and you know you're missing that.
Do you think that’s why you turned to the streets?
I can’t use it as excuse as to why I turned to the streets. That would be lame. I mean it might of put some more anger into what I was doing but the streets was just all I seen as a kid. So that’s where I’ve always wanted to be. Run the streets and play basketball that’s all I did. If I had doctors and lawyers around me, I’ll probably want to be around them.
Did you have any aspirations of making it to the NBA?
I stopped playing basketball when my little brother was killed. I just wanted to hurt people after that… I developed this negative attitude and a short temper. Actually, I think it affects me to this day—it’s the reason I get aggravated so quick.
I understand you were there when he was murdered…