I may have tried to write my first rhyme in 6th or 7th grade. I don’t remember the first but by the time I got to 9th grade I remember one of my better ones when I got to high school. It was just a story about school hopping, skipping school one day checking for girls on they lunch break, kicking it with em, shit like that.
Did you write your rhymes down then or was it just off the top?
I was jotting them down. It might take two days to get four or five cool lines. It was a slow process back then but I was pretty much just trying to follow the patterns of Big Daddy Kane. Like, I used to put “Smooth Operator” on repeat for three or four days in a row. [Raps] “I’m a smooth operator” and I used to be like, “Damn that’s how I want mine to be.” And I would try to come up with patterns, you know. Of course it was impossible but I had the right idea.
Was there a point when you said, “I want to be a rapper?”
Yeah, I think it was when I saw the “Symphony” video for the first time and Big Daddy Kane stepped out with the ropes on with the flat top. I was like, Damn this my calling right here. Some fly shit right here. This the club I need to be apart of.
What do you love about rapping?
Oh, I love just being able to communicate with dudes across the world. The same way I used to be in my little room communicating, understanding cultures, getting ideas and different perspectives on things. Perspectives and things. That’s what I like about it. Just listening to a cassette. That was a form of communication.
What was your room like as a kid? Did you have a lot of posters?
Not really a lot of posters. My momma ain’t like me fuckin’ my wall up and putting shit on there. I just listened to music, that’s what my shit was. Cassettes. My mom had the 8 tracks and the vinyls. I had cassettes. It was a little small room, a little bed, little TV set up, few sneakers and shit. I had the fundamentals.
What’s the biggest compliment that you’ve gotten from somebody that you look up to?
It’s so many. Just still being here, three No. 1 albums, going on my fourth, it’s looking bigger than ever and I’m aligned with the biggest, most powerful dudes in the game from Puff Daddy to Jay-Z to my immediate family, Maybach Music and We the Best, Cash Money, so it’s like this is the conglomerate right here. This is the mob for real.
What’s your favorite verse of yours?