Interview: SisQo Talks ‘A-List,’ Jagged Edge Fight & That One Time He Met Michael Jackson

SisQo may have very well been before his time, dropping the ultimate booty clapper of 1999 with the “Thong Song.” Just flip the switch to your local Hip Hop/R&B station or Soundcloud, currently flourishing with ratchet anthems fit for the era of leaked nudes. Despite being M.I.A. for 13 years (he’s actually been touring the world with his R&B group Dru Hill), the uber-popular ’90s singer with the platinum Caesar says he’s back in business.

While his out-of-nowhere dance track “A-List,” an appropriate bottle service soundtrack that features Waka Flocka Flame, steers away from his full-body vocals and utilizes AutoTune, he assures that his follow-up single will be a “butt-naked-me-and-the-piano record.” An appropriate description from the guy responsible for that thong song.

Yet, his comeback hasn’t come without controversy. After an Instagram video circulated earlier this month of an alleged scrap between him and Jagged Edge’s Kyle Norman, SisQo insists there’s no R&Beef. He’s ready to leave all the tabloid fodder in the dust—his Big Brother appearance and those gay rumors included. Here, he discusses his upcoming album, collaboration wish list and that one time the King of Pop gave him the ultimate cosign.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)

VIBE: How did you tap Waka Flocka Flame for your new single?
SisQo: Being gone from the public eye for so long after having the success with my first two solo efforts, I’m pretty much a brand new artist all over again. My first record “A-List” is pretty much a club banger so we were just trying to figure out who had a really good track record with club bangers. All lanes pointed to Waka and it didn’t hurt that my niece had a little crush on him from watching him on Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. We reached out and once he heard the song, he said, ‘This is dope I’m down.’

Was there any hesitation or fear that the people who knew SisQo from songs like “Got To Get It” or “Incomplete” might not recognize your sound on this new record?
Definitely but it wasn’t really a fear. People that are fans of what I do and have followed me this far know my policy on music. I do my best to never make any music that sounds like other music I do. Like what Jay Z say, “If you like my old stuff, buy my old album.”

Tell me about your third album, Last Dragon.
It’s kind of like finishing a trilogy of solo albums, but I had mentioned a billion years that it was a trilogy plan. My first album was Unleash the Dragon, second was Return of Dragon and this one, Last Dragon. I had the names of the albums laid out from my first album.

We’ve heard you do the dance records, the turn up records and serenade the ladies, but what sides of SisQo can we expect this go-round?
Definitely hallmarks of what you get when you sign up for my brand. Like you said, the turn up records as well as the kind of records where I’m just crooning. As a matter of fact, I’m actually shooting the video for my second release called “Lips.” That’s just a pretty much butt-naked-me-and-the-piano record. I can’t take complete credit but I was definitely a part of the sound of what R&B or pop music is considered today, which is kind of like a sing-rap kind of deal. I was one of the pioneers with songs like “Got To Get It” and “Thong Song.”

My first single “A-List” is pretty much following that standard. Somebody said something about AutoTune and I’m like I’m barely even singing on “A-List.” It’s more of a swag record but [using AutoTune] was pretty much to keep it syncopated. If you try to croon over a record like that, it’s not going to really lock on the beat and it’ll sound crazy. When people talk about AutoTune a lot of people don’t really know what it is. They think it’s just a robotic that they hear, but AutoTune is on every single record, even people talking. Just to dispel the rumors of me doing whatever’s “out right now,” my next single is me pretty much going to the next level of what I was a part of starting.