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Exclusive Michael Jackson Book Excerpt: In MJ's Shoes

Long before sneaker lines became a prerequisite for music moguldom, the King of Pop launched his own multimillion-dollar L.A. Gear shoe. Though his endeavor didn’t enjoy the success of subsequent footwear ventures by other entertainers, Jackson blazed a trail in business just as he did in music—just ask 50 Cent.

By Zack O’Malley Greenburg 50 Cent isn’t known for being giddy. Born Curtis Jackson, the Queens native put himself on the hip-hop map with the 1999 hit “How to Rob,” in which he outlines his plans to relieve stars from Jay-Z to Will Smith of their cash. He rose to international superstardom after releasing Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in 2003; on the album’s cover, his face is contorted into a fierce scowl, perhaps a consequence of getting shot nine times at close range a few years earlier. These days, he’s more concerned with entrepreneurial ventures (though he still keeps a framed photo of a pistol in his office, behind a gold placard that reads “CJ Enterprises”). He took home $100 million on a single deal in 2008—payment for a stake he’d taken in vitaminwater parent Glacéau in lieu of a one-off endorsement fee—when Coca-Cola bought the beverage company for $4.1 billion. He’s launched his own video games, record label, sneakers, clothes, headphones and energy shots. Yet it still comes as something of a surprise when, a few minutes into an interview in his Manhattan penthouse office, he jumps up from his plush leather chair and begins bouncing around the room, gesturing with cartoonishly muscled forearms and smiling uncontrollably. The topic responsible for his good humor? Michael Jackson, the man whose early shoe and clothing lines helped open the door for the brand extensions of the next generation of entertainers, 50 Cent included. “When he did ‘Billie Jean,’ I had that poster on my wall,” says the rapper. “Like, he could have sold me penny loafers . . . the showmanship that was involved in his presentation was so much more advanced than the things that we’d seen in the past.” Long before 50 Cent created his G-Unit sneaker for Reebok or Jay-Z launched his S. Carter line, Nike had MJ. To be clear, those initials don’t refer to the King of Pop, but Michael Jordan. In 1987, the Chicago Bulls legend became the first entertainer to be paid on a scale commensurate with today’s stars when he inked a seven-year, $18 million contract with Nike to launch his Air Jordan brand. The agreement marked the apotheosis of the rapidly growing athlete shoe deal, which was virtually nonexistent just ten years earlier. In the 1970s, Nike’s first signing was University of Oregon track star Steve Prefontaine. He agreed to wear the fledgling company’s shoes for a then-whopping $5,000. The scales quickly shifted when Adidas signed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to a $100,000 deal in 1982; shortly thereafter, New Balance spent $1.2 million to lock up fellow basketball star James Worthy before Nike upped the stakes by another order of magnitude with Jordan; the company’s revenues soared from $10 million to just shy of $1 billion over that span. Athletes were finally getting paid to wear shoes, but musicians didn’t begin to break into the market until Run-D.M.C. released the song “My Adidas,” an initially uncompensated ode to shell-toes. In 1986—after a handful of Adidas executives showed up to a Madison Square Garden show and witnessed some twenty thousand onlookers raise their own sneakers toward the rafters at the behest of the rappers—Run-D.M.C. signed a deal worth more than $1 million. By 1990, upstart sneaker purveyor LA Gear was desperately looking to grab a bigger piece of a multibillion-dollar market. So the company’s chief, Robert Greenberg, turned to cofounder Sandy Saemann and said, “Let’s get Michael Jackson.” Saemann, a loquacious Californian who later resigned from the company after amassing millions in stock holdings—and now runs a high-end hot dog stand in Manhattan Beach—thought this was a bad idea. Even without a big-name endorser, he believed LA Gear had a shot at eating into its rivals’ domestic market share. The way he saw it, Michael Jackson’s image was still smarting from recent tabloid fiascoes and wouldn’t necessarily help sell sneakers in the United States. Greenberg saw things differently. Even if the singer couldn’t help with their domestic efforts, he was still huge overseas, as the Bad Tour had shown. If Jackson could sell over 4 million concert tickets—with more than half his tour dates occurring abroad—why couldn’t he move a million sneakers worldwide? Thus began the relationship between Jackson and LA Gear. When Greenberg and Saemann finally reached out to his camp, they found the singer was amenable to doing a deal as long as his financial conditions were met: $20 million. That surpassed even the seven-year, $18 million Nike deal signed by Michael Jordan in 1987 (though the basketball legend would earn far more after receiving a royalty on every Air Jordan shoe sold). But Jackson knew his worth, even when it came to sneakers. “He wanted it to be the biggest deal known to man,” recalls Saemann. “He was very conscious of where the scale was. . . . That’s the side of him that nobody understands. He knew where he was. He wanted to be number one and he wanted to stay number one, he wanted to be the largest entertainer with the most deals.” During early conversations over the venture, Saemann and Greenberg told Jackson and his attorney John Branca, who was negotiating the deal, that they wanted to launch the shoe abroad only. That way, they figured, it wouldn’t be such a gamble. But Jackson refused. If he was going to launch his own sneaker, it had to be the biggest and the best—bigger even than Jordan’s—and there was no way he’d settle for an overseas-only deal. LA Gear agreed, and Jackson accepted the offer of $20 million, about one-fifth of the company’s annual advertising budget, to help launch a line of co-branded sneakers that would be sold both in the US and around the world; he’d get half of that sum up front. The press release announcing the shoe would refer to him as the King of Pop, and his agreement with LA Gear would be described as “the largest entertainment endorsement ever made.” In return, says Saemann, Jackson promised he’d shoot television commercials for LA Gear and wear the sneakers in the promotional materials for his upcoming album, Dangerous, which was supposedly almost finished. When Jackson showed up at a press conference in Los Angeles on August 6 to announce the agreement, it seemed a perfect match. “The theme of our ad campaign is ‘unstoppable,’ ” said Saemann, introducing the singer. “This word epitomized what LA Gear and Michael Jackson represent. . . . I want to tell the competition, we’ll up you a Jackson.” “Thank you very much,” said Jackson, looking spiffy as ever in sunglasses, a sleek dark suit, and a purple dress shirt. “I’m very happy to be a part of the LA Gear magic.” Around the same time, Jackson hired a new manager, Sandy Gallin, who won the job after bonding with the King of Pop over the scope of their shared dream of making Jackson as big in the film world as he was in music. “What he thought he could become and what I thought he could become were very similar,” says Gallin. “Michael thought of being the biggest, the best . . . to repeat the great success of Thriller and to be able to have more people attend your concerts, to be able to have the most successful short films at the time, to be able to do movies, and to succeed more than anyone else in any form of entertainment that he entered into, whether it was writing, producing, singing, acting, directing. It was innate to his personality.” Despite the managerial changes, Jackson’s business career was chugging along at a healthy clip. To help promote Jackson’s shoe, Saemann directed a commercial that features the King of Pop spinning through a dark, steamy street in his new kicks. His face appears for only about three seconds toward the end when, after destroying a street lamp with the sheer force of his mojo, Jackson looks up to find a young girl smiling and clapping from an upstairs window. Saemann and Jackson also developed a close working relationship. They’d go to record stores and sales meetings together; on one occasion, Jackson elevated the moods of seven hundred sales reps by dancing on a table. He and Saemann would even edit videos together late into the night. “He was no slouch,” recalls the former LA Gear executive. “When Michael went to work on something, it might take two weeks to get ahold of him, but he’d give you five hours.” Jackson, however, still hadn’t completed his new album. Whenever Saemann broached the subject with Jackson, the response was the same. “I’m a creative guy,” he’d say. “You can’t force it.” In the end, LA Gear had to move forward with the launch of the sneaker line though neither the album nor the promised product tie-in had emerged. Retailers were expecting the shoes to be delivered on schedule—but they were also expecting the footwear to make an appearance in promotional material that accompanied Jackson’s new record. When that didn’t materialize, the results were disastrous. The shoes sold hundreds of thousands of pairs, says Saemann, but there were also hundreds of thousands that had to be returned to the manufacturer after languishing too long on the shelves. Jackson hadn’t held up his end of the bargain, and LA Gear was suffering. The day Saemann introduced him at the press conference, the company’s stock stood at $20.75 per share, down from a high of $50.38 the previous year. By January 1991, the stock had plummeted to $2.88; it lost 21.5 percent on a single day, thanks to the announcement that the company expected to lose $4 million to $6 million in the fourth quarter. Jackson’s deal factored heavily into that figure. In June of 1991, Saemann voluntarily resigned from the company “to pursue other business interests.” Roy A. Disney’s Trefoil Capital bought 30 percent of the slumping company around the same time. LA Gear would go on to sue Jackson in 1992; after the singer countersued, the two sides settled for an undisclosed sum. Saemann suspects the company let Jackson keep what they’d already paid him—the first half of the promised $20 million—but didn’t have to fork over anything more. And despite the damage to Saemann’s stock options and reputation, he still has some fondness for the singer. “I enjoyed every minute around him; we talked as equals and friends,” recalls Saemann. “But, genius or not, he didn’t deliver.” Back in 50 Cent’s office, the rapper is done pacing. Now he’s sitting down again, musing on his shared connections with Michael Jackson. There were plenty of those on the business front, given that the King of Pop proved it was possible for an entertainer to start his own clothing label, shoe line, and record company long before the birth of 50 Cent’s G-Unit empire. But he connects with Jackson on another level. Right or wrong, many people define both men by their most successful album—Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was the rapper’s Thriller. Like Jackson, he had many other hits, but the album remained something of an albatross because of the inevitable comparisons it evoked whenever a new effort was released. “[Reviewers] go, ‘Yeah it’s cool, but it’s not as good as it was when you came the first time,’ ” he explains. “And you can’t have a second chance at a first impression. No matter who you are.” Despite spending more than a decade trying to top Get Rich, it’s still his bestselling album and most critically acclaimed. 50 Cent doesn’t seem too distressed, though; he’s turned his attention to new business ventures like his SMS headphone line and SK Energy drink. The specter of success took a seemingly heavier toll on Michael Jackson. One need only consider how much time and money he spent on subsequent albums to see how badly he yearned to top Thriller—a perfectionist’s longing that caused him to drastically delay the launch of multiple works—sometimes at the expense of interconnected business ventures like the LA Gear shoe line. He did all of this in an effort to achieve something that was, by definition, basically impossible: to make an album more successful than the most successful album of all time. And Jackson was spurred on over and over again by reviewers and listeners who continued to hold his work, both sonically and commercially, to the standard of Thriller. “They just put you up against yourself,” says 50 Cent. “If they give you an opponent, you can analyze and figure out their weaknesses and beat them. But if it’s yourself, how do you win? How do you top that?” Adapted from Michael Jackson, Inc.: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire, by Zack O’Malley Greenburg. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster in the U.S. on June 3.

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Saba's Rhymes Mean A Lot But John Walt Day Means More

“Act like ya’ll know, man. This a holiday,” boasted Frsh Waters, the co-founder of Chicago collective Pivot Gang and the opener of the second annual John Walt Day concert. It's Thanksgiving weekend and while families are gathered around the dinner table, lovers and supporters of Pivot Gang–comprised of Saba, MFn Melo, Waters, SqueakPIVO and a few more–filled the spaces of the city's Concord Music Hall to keep up a holiday tradition of their own.

With a newly-grown fro, Waters enters the stage with no introduction, a contrast from initial mic stand-clasping nervousness during the inaugural John Walt Day, launched at House of Blues Chicago in 2017. Walt Jr., the cousin of Saba, was killed last year and is the sole inspiration for the rapper's John Walt Foundation that brings the arts to children in the city.

The concert is a resounding tradition that his Pivot Gang brothers don’t plan to break anytime soon, with anticipation flooding the city each Thanksgiving weekend and a simultaneous celebration of Walt’s birthday on November 25th. The concert is just a piece of the loving puzzle Saba, Waters and the rest of the group created to keep his legacy alive.

With repeated crouching and soulful backing by Chicago band, The Oh’My’s, Waters regained balance after kneeling on an uneven speaker, referring to the crowd as "Church,” a christening that he echoes on the ending of "GPS" a feature from Saba’s well-received debut album Bucket List Project.

 

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Happy 26th @dinnerwithjohn Long Live my niqqa Johnny 📷 @bda.photo

A post shared by Westside Cat (@frshwaters) on Nov 25, 2018 at 11:37am PST

Saba may have dropped the stellar sophomore project, Care For Me this year, but the continuation of John Walt Day means more. Sold out for its second year in a row with 1,400 in attendance, Pivot Gang house-DJ Squeak Pivot blares "Scenario" by A Tribe Called Quest as the crowd multiplies before his booth. Avid fans gather in all creases of Concord Music Hall, especially on the second floor, where a merch stand resides exclusively for John Walt items. A haloed painting of Walt (or DinnerWithJohn as listeners knew him best), sits next to an assortment of buttons and t-shirts, as a guest brings a newly finished painting of Walt to the show.

Between sets, the crowd roared for cuts by Chicagoans Ravyn Lenae and Noname, who’s Room 25 track "Ace" is cut abruptly before MfnMelo takes the stage. With orchestration by Care For Me co-producer Dae Dae and harpist Yomi, Melo flowed through "Can’t Even Do It" and briefly spoke to the crowd about Thanksgiving, inviting attendees with leftover pies to meet him after the show.

Strutting to Ariana Grande's kiss-off anthem "thank u, next," The Plastics EP rapper Joseph Chilliams poses freely, cloaked in a light pink teddy bear coat. “I made this song because there aren’t a lot of black people [in Mean Girls]. I realized that the fourth time,” Chilliams joked before performing "Unfriendly Black Hotties."

Joined by four-year-old Snacks Pivot, John Walt’s mother Nachelle Pugh pinpoints her nephew’s curiosity of joining his older cousins Saba and Joseph Chilliams as their miniature hype-man.

 

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John Walt Day It didn’t even feel real, so much love in the room. For the encore they usually yell the artist name or one more song or something like that. But on this night they yelled “LONG LIVE JOHN WALT”. I wish this could be everyday. I wish I could play you this new shit we just did. I wish you were here. Love you @dinnerwithjohn look at this coat” lmao 💗💗💗💗 📸 by my shooter @notryan_gosling

A post shared by Joseph Chilliams (@josephchilliams) on Nov 26, 2018 at 3:29pm PST

“It’s like Walter jumped into his body and he’s coming back through this kid," she said of the toddler's enthusiasm. "He’s studied Saba, he’s studied Joseph, and he’ll say 'Auntie, can I use your phone?' So he’d use my phone and watch the boys’ videos on YouTube. Joseph is a person that the kids look at and say ‘He’s so fun,’ and [Snacks] wants to be like him. Everything that they do, [Snacks] is studying them.”

Pugh credits Young Chicago Authors for sparking her son’s musical pursuits, with guidance by poet Kevin Coval. “Kevin mentored him until the day he passed. I really love and respect someone that can just work with kids and give them a place to express themselves creatively,” Pugh said. “Working towards a goal of creating something that I know [Walt] wanted to do, and to help others in the same token, that gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

The stage then transformed into a resting kitchen with illuminating lights on the bottom of side-by-side counters, with Care for Me co-producers Dae Dae and Daoud behind their respective keyboards. Once settled, Saba rushed the stage to perform "Busy," with a special appearance by singer theMIND. The pulse of the venue throbbed as Saba took brief pauses to talk intimately to the crowd. “I lost a lot of people close to me,” he said. “A song like "Stoney" is such a celebration of life. It’s crazy to think how long ago that sh*t was. John was still alive.”

As Saba diverted into memories of Walt’s life, Nachelle recalled the album listening event for Care For Me. “Saba wouldn’t let me listen to it. He didn’t even tell me that he was working on it until it got really close [to the album’s release]," she said. "Then, he warned me about "Prom/King." I think he was thinking about letting me listen to it by myself at first, but then he thought about it like ‘Nah, I’m not gonna do that while she’s by herself, let me just let her listen to it while she’s with everybody else.’ That was an easier way to break it to me, so I wouldn’t really break down.”

Saba capered into "Prom/King," but performing the heart-tugging ode to Walt was a first, even after embarking on his 2018 Care For Me tour.

“I didn’t know he was gonna do that. I didn’t think that he’d ever be able to do that. I don’t think he thought he’d be able to do that,” Pugh explained. “I don’t know if anybody captured the expressions, but I think he was in tears and he was just fighting through it. We went through this fight together on the day we found out what happened with Walt. When he got finished, he sat down, turned around and he looked at me and I’m like 'We did it.'”

Even with "Prom/King" being the most grief-stricken track on Care For Me, Nachelle revealed that the most poignant song about her son was "Heaven All Around Me," realizing the message just months after the album’s release. “I was like, 'Walter wrote that song through Saba,' she said. "That’s the song that gets me the most off Care For Me. I don’t think [Saba] intentionally did so, but it just put so much power behind "Prom/King" because you see what happened. He told a story.”

The storytelling of Walt’s legacy was fulfilled throughout John Walt Day, from Joseph Chilliams doing a comedic, warbled rendition of "Ordinary People," Walt’s favorite song to play on the aux cord, to the entire Pivot Gang reuniting to perform their ensemble track "Blood" for the first time. Walt’s presence was unwavering, with remaining Pivot Gang members continuing to carry his eternal flame.

“This year’s show, the passion was a little bit stronger, because at the time we did last year’s show, I think we were all still in denial, like 'We’re gonna wake up from this dream’ type of thing.' Pugh said. “I think we accepted the fact that [Walt’s] not coming back. They wanted to go as hard as possible because they were doing this for him.”

 

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JOHN WALT DAY was so beautiful. We gotta find a bigger venue for next year. I made so many new friends. Pivot tape up next 💪🏽🔥

A post shared by Joseph Chilliams (@josephchilliams) on Dec 1, 2018 at 5:15pm PST

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15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

Hip-hop may have become the Nielsen Music-declared most dominant music genre, but let's not overlook the strides R&B (including all its many sub-genres and cousin genres) have taken on the airwaves and within the culture in this year alone.

While persistent naysayers keep peddling the tired argument that "R&B is dead," the most recent news cycle has proven the exact opposite, as talks of a supposed King of R&B dominated discussions both on- and offline. Jacquees' lofty declaration notwithstanding, there's no denying that there are ample songs swimming around the 'Net from talented vocalists killing it within the genre.

For those looking to satiate rhythm and blues earworms—and in no particular order—VIBE compiled a list of the 15 bonafide R&B songs of 2018 (or at least ones that fall within the genre's orbit) that pulled us into our feelings each and every time we pressed play.

READ MORE: Let Jacquees Tell It, He’s The Jodeci Of This R&B Game

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Ian Reid

Let Jacquees Tell It, He’s The Jodeci Of This R&B Game

Rodriquez Jacquees Broadnax doesn’t want to be the bad guy of R&B. He says this with a sinister, yet warm smile. With year-end debates taking over social circles, Jacquees wants all the flowers for his glowing debut, 4275. “I ain't never had a year like this, I got one of those careers and lives that keep going like this,” he says, as he raises his iced out wrist to draw his progression. “It keeps going up, my sh*t just keeps going up.”

At 24 years old, the singer knows a thing or two about the ever-changing genre. Nearly half of his life has been dedicated to music, specifically to quiet storm-like sounds that now take on new meaning in our adult love lives. He’s hibernated under the radar for some time with his 2014 debut EP 19 and released gentle falsettos and big name features with Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign and Trey Songz along the way.

But between his accolades, he’s been condemned for his favorable “Quemix” of Ella Mai’s “Trip” and now, his self-proclaimed status of “The King of R&B” for his generation.

"I just wanna let everybody know that I'm the king of R&B right now," Jacquees said in an Instagram post on Sunday (Dec. 9). "For this generation, I understand who done came and who done did that and that and that, but now it's my time. Jacquees, the king of R&B.”

R&B artists like J. Holiday and Pleasure P shared their two cents on the matter while the game’s most elite like Tank, Tyrese and Eric Bellinger dropping stacks of knowledge on the gift of consistency, respect, and talent. But Jacquees has these things and then some with legends like Jon B., Donell Jones and Jermaine Dupri in his corner. Despite quick reactions from his peers, Jacquees is confident in nature and proud of his space in the game.

“I think I'm the leader though, as far as males go, I think I'm the number one,” he tells VIBE, just days before his “King of R&B” comments went viral. “You're talking about R&B young dudes who understand who goin’ [at] it, [but] who are they going to put in the front? I believe everyone will say Jacquees.”

Jacquees’ music is just a branch of what R&B has evolved into. Over the years, artists like SZA, H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, The Internet, Miguel and many more have flipped the genre on its head by churning out music that not only speaks to the soul, but to their vocal abilities. Successful R&B records aren’t confined to rap guest verses and traditional instruments now take center stage. But Jacquees sits in an interesting space seeing as his style caters to a grey area of folks who just heard their first Monica album yesterday and now appreciate a good nayhoo like the rest of us.

With hopes to release his sophomore album in February 2019, Jacquees chats with VIBE about his confidence, making 7275 and why he’s the perfect leader for R&B today.

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What have you learned about yourself as a human and an artist in 2018?

Jac

quees: This was my biggest year. I made the most money I’ve ever made. I dropped my album and was able to take care of my family. I ain’t never had a year like this and I thank God for that. I got one of those careers and lives that keep going like this, (slowly raises a hand to the ceiling) It keeps going up, my sh*t just keeps going up.

I think I learned about my whole self in 2018. Being that it was my biggest year, I went through a lot of stuff personally, but I think the biggest thing for me was listening to other people but also trusting myself. I have a strong mind so more of listening to myself helped.

Do you think you're the good guy or the bad guy in R&B?

Who do you think I am?

I think you’re a sweetie.

I don’t wanna be the bad guy, I’m a good guy. I’m easy to deal with. I’m a sweetie, but ain’t sh*t sweet though. (Laughs)

You have a lot of ‘90s and 2000s influence in your music. Do you ever feel you might sound dated, or do you think you’re bringing new sounds into the genre?

I just think I'm bringing a whole new sound. When I was younger, someone told me if you switch up what you’re doing, someone else is going to do it and you’re going to be pissed off. Just stick with it. When I was 14, everyone was telling me I needed to make club records but I didn’t want to do it. I remember CEOs saying, “Just let Jacquees do that [what he wants,]” because it’s a clock.

I figured out how to get my records at the club without changing who I was. I remember making “B.E.D.” and finding my flow on my project 19, you know? That’s when I got my swag.

What does love look like to you right now?

I think about a family. I think about me, a girl, a kid or something, like a whole family. One day I’m going to have it. I’ll still be in the game but I’ll say, “Yeah, that’s my wife over there with our son and daughter.” I'm getting older, too. I’ve been in the game for 10 years for real, but I’ll be 25 next year and soon they’ll be a little Jacquees.

There are a lot of layers in today’s R&B, especially in the mainstream resurgence it’s had. In that, there aren’t as many young male black vocalists being pushed to the forefront. I want to know your thoughts on where you exist in the genre today.

I think there's a big wave coming back right now because even if R&B didn't die down they weren’t promoting it that heavy. Artists were making songs, they just weren’t being acknowledged on a mainstream level. I think the game is really putting R&B back on top. You know, you’ve got artists like me, Tory [Lanez], Ella Mai, H.E.R., so many people, you know what I’m saying? Of course, you had Chris [Brown], Trey [Songz], all of them but that’s when we were in school. It’s a new time, ain’t no big male R&B singers.

I think I'm the leader though, as far as males go, I think I'm the number one. You're talking about R&B young dudes who understand who goin’ [at] it, [but] who are they going to put in the front? I believe everyone will say Jacquees. They’re not rugged like me. You’ve got Jodeci and Boyz II Men. I’m Jodeci, they’re all Boyz II Men. I’m street, they’re not street like me. You can hear it in their voice. There’s a difference.

It’s no disrespect to nobody because they’re all my friends, but I still wanna be number one. If we’re playing the game and I lose, I’ll be mad as hell but I’m still a good person. I just want to win.

As you should. Everyone wants to make the best music they can–

But I ain’t no hater either. The game is like a sport. The game is like high school. I remember being at this year’s BET Awards and seeing certain singers and thinking, ‘Oh, they’re seniors.’ I knew I was a freshman, but I saw Meek and all of them thought, “He’s a senior.’ You know how it is when you walk through school in the first year. Then the second you’re like, “I’m the ni**a now.”

When I did the Soul Train Awards in November, I felt like a sophomore that everybody knew. They knew me from my freshman year, but this time I’m playing varsity.

You’ve said before you want to do this for a long time–

Yeah, I want to make music forever and it’s my choice. I want to make enough money for me to turn down shows because now, I have to take everything I get. I always tell artists, you got this much time to make this much money. Because after that, sh*t’s closed. I've seen it happen.

For me, I know I got longevity in this game because I'm an R&B singer and a lot of R&B singers have longevity if you take care of yourself, you know what I'm saying? Even rappers, you know what I'm saying? You keep that flow going, don't do no lame sh*t, you know you’re stick around.

How do you take care of yourself?

You gotta take care of your health. That's number one. Your mind and your health is your biggest thing. Keeping good people around you...stay in good spirits with me. I like to keep good people around me. I like people around me [who] make me laugh. Smile, I don't really like people around me that I got to be like, “What's going on?” I just like people who are themselves.

Stream 4275 below.

READ MORE: Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

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