It was a scene taken straight from the Hughes Brothers’ hood classic Menace II Society. Earlier this year, while making another routine stop at a local car wash in Atlanta Juaquin “Waka Flocka Flame” Malphurs got caught slippin.’ Moments before pulling off in his freshly cleaned Beamer, the New York native found himself staring down the barrel of a Glock 9 with his assailant demanding his jewelry. Admittedly, he gave up his jewels without hesitation, but in one last ditch attempt at retaliation Waka wound up being shot in the arm as his attacker made his getaway.
The incident only gave the 24-year old rapper the wake up call he needed to focus on his burgeoning career as one of ATL’s trap rap stars. With his current street-anthem “Hard In The Paint” making its rounds across clubs and being remixed by your favorite rappers (Diddy included), Waka is doing more than okay for a rapper who–deal with it–doesn’t care about lyrics. Fresh off the plane in his hometown of Atlanta, Focka Flame chopped it up with VIBE about his forthcoming debut album, his childhood, his connection to New York rappers and the status of his relationships with Gucci Mane and Nicki Minaj.–Mikey Fresh
VIBE: Your single “Hard In Da Paint” is really connecting in a lot of different regions. What inspired that record?
Waka Flocka Flame: It was a song that I liked personally, but I didn’t think it was going to be that big. You really gotta bite your lip when you say, “I go hard in the muthafuckin’ paint!” I remember I was online reading Internet comments and just got mad as hell one day. That’s what inspired me to record that song. Instead of going out there and doing something to someone, I just put all my aggression onto that record. It took a lot of stress off me.
Did Rick Ross call you prior to jumping on it?
I didn’t even hear his version yet. That’s news to me. You just put me on. I been out of town.
Your debut album has a pretty interesting title…
Yea, Flockaveli is the name of my album. I was definitely inspired by Pac a while lot growing up, so people are definitely going to get to know me on a personal level. It’s really just my introduction to the world. I can’t tell my story whole story until I got people’s ears.
You’ve been working closely with producer Lex Luger, who has all ears right now. Did he do the majority of the album?
Out of the 15 or 16 songs that are going to make the album, Lex Luger probably did 12 of them. That’s my Dr. Dre… and I’m his Snoop [Laughs]. He’s the new sound of Hip-Hop. You ask anyone who needs a hit and Lex will come up in their conversation, guaranteed.
Do you usually present him with ideas or concepts for records first?
He usually starts off the songs. I might tell him to try a sound. But I literally watched him make a hundred beats in three days. Honest to God.
Which song off the album means the most to you?
I got a song called “Fuck This Industry.” But it’s just going at the industry as a whole. I would never go and sneak diss or make a whole song about one person. That just ain’t me, I could never do it.
Who else did you work with on Flockaveli?
I don’t really have too many features on there. I got Lil Jon on a record. I just have my clique, Brick Squad rocking with me. Actually, I got a joint for the ladies called “Sexy” with my boy David Blaine and my homegirl Gloss. It’s something for the clubs though, not no lover shit. I don’t even know how to be intimate yet. [Laughs]
Take us through your writing process. Do you write your lyrics down?