“I’m just a lucky little camper from Los Angeles,” says TeeFLii, whose smash hit “24 Hours” rotates on FM dials around the clock and landed him a pen date with Rihanna for her upcoming LP. After three mixtapes and a joint effort with DJ Mustard, the South Central serenader has finally released his major label debut album, Starr. For his 12-track offering, the 27-year-old hood-ratch crooner didn’t depend on West Coast bounce or radio-ready beats from frequent collaborator, Mustard. He indulged in the topic of bedroom relations and delivered a solid effort, filled with all the raunch and charisma he is known for. VIBE caught up with TeeFLii while on his radio run in L.A. and chopped it up about Starr, his mother’s reaction to the LP and when he will re-introduce the world to his dancing skills.—Tanay Hudson
VIBE: What was the recording process like? TeeFlii: For the most part it was fun. It was cool. I was very happy to be recording my first album and be a part of a major company. I was just honored. How long did it take to record the album? I’d say about a month. A lot of people didn’t know I had [already recorded] the album. It’s just that the label and my team had to agree on one date and agree on how it was going to come out and what was the master plan. All of the business had to be right before we just threw the album out. That was a big learning process for me because I was so eager to get the album out and let everybody have it. But it came out at the right time. I’m happy with it. RELATED: The Big Cosign: 24 Hours With TeeFLii In NYC What’s your favorite song on the album? I got a grip of them but so far, the main one I been bumping is “Different Positions” but I been banging that “Intro” to the album, man. That “Intro” is dope! What inspired the only ballad on the album called “Love Over Money”? I was getting into it with my girl and basically I was choosing money right then and there. I felt like ‘This is my chance.’ I’m young and having fun. It’s just based off of me telling her that this is where I am based on my life right now. You say it’s one thing but I say it’s another thing so how is we about to get along, you feel me? It’s just talking from a real relationship standpoint. Nobody ever thought I would do that. What was the celebrity feedback to the album? The response that stuck out to me the most was with “Addicted” with DJ Quik and Snoop Dogg. That response was lovely. I sent it to them and told them if they liked it to jump on it and they bussed it out. They did their thing. I feel humbled to have some of our pioneers from the West Coast have my back on this one. It was a honor. RELATED: The BIG Cosign: TeeFLii Talks ‘STARR’ LP, Writing For Rihanna, And Why You’ll Never Hear His Gospel Songs How did you get DJ Quik to mix your album? Me and DJ Quik work good together. That’s like my uncle. He really loves the way I work. He thinks my work ethic is outstanding and DJ Quik has an great work ethic. We just mesh really well together. We own a studio together in Hollywood so I learned a lot from Quik [on] how to make my sound better and everything. Who did you really want on your album that you were not able to get? I don’t look at it like that. Whoever was on the album was meant to be on the album. I’m happy with where the album is. I know you come from a dancing background, being involved in the Krump movement and starring in Dave LaChappelle’s movie Rize but you don’t really showcase your skills on the regular. How come? It’s just timing. The timing has to be right. The budgets have to be right for the label. I just wanted to show my singing skills because sometimes people can get mixed up like, ‘Well, he’s dancing a lot. Can he really sing?’ So I just wanted people to grasp that. Of course, on my second album, I’m going to dance more and introduce more to show the growth of TeeFLii. As of right now I just wanted people to understand that I sing. But I love dancing. That will never leave me. The last time we spoke your mother called your work “devil music.” Has your family heard the album? If so, what was their response? I’m doing things that my mom and my dad wanted to do as a kid so I feel like they’re happy. My mom is really happy. She’s ecstatic with the album. The ballad killed her. It made her cry and everything. She took it real well. I know you have two mixtapes coming after the album. What’s the plan for those? Just to bring the ratchetivity back. (Laughs) Do things on the album the way I really wanted to express them but couldn’t because of the label. I had to downplay things. I’m back! There will be an AnnieRUOtay 4 so don’t worry. Features? We don’t know just yet. I can’t give up too many secrets.