Do you have a favorite record from the album yet?
I did this record called “Lunch Box” with Organized Noize and for now it reigns supreme as the one I listen to the most. I don’t really listen to my stuff that much. I’m the type of artist where if I lay something down—that’s it. If it’s not popping—it’s not popping. I don’t go back a million times. Those guys are so fun to be around and are creative as hell. I was in there, Sam, Rico, Ray and Sleepy Brown out in LA. We did almost like a bebop record —kind of like my version of “Hey Ya” if you will.
I noticed you haven’t sprung for the “I Love College pt.2″…
The label been trying to get me to make a club/radio songs for so long, but I refuse. Making a record specifically for the club? I don’t even go to the club you know what I mean? I think I may make road trip music. When I put an album out—I want it to be a body of work.
Then was it a challenge for you to meet in a middle ground with Pharrell?
As much as Pharrell challenged me, I feel like I challenged him as well. We really went into the same world. I was in the studio with him for 12 days, and we came up with some wild shit. We did one called “Cheat So Bad” where I’m talking about the whole having a girlfriend situation and then suddenly you get hit with the “want what you can’t have” type of feeling with other chicks. Working with Q-Tip was unbelievable, too.
You mentioned growing up on Tribe’s music before. What’s your relationship like with him?
Being able to talk and work with Q-Tip is all just so crazy for me. He lives right down the way and to me if I had to say there was one artist that’s had the most influence on me besides Mos Def, it would have to be Q-Tip. I look at him as someone who’s kept their integrity throughout their whole career. He’s the closest thing to a mentor that I have in music, and he probably doesn’t even know that. But I look at Tip, and I’m just like “you’re that dude.” I’m almost scared around him because I don’t want to mess up.
So you went from working with your in-house crew to all outside producers on this album?
Nah, but I got chance to expand my sound and grow. This album has definitely been a way more professional ride. Getting used to not being to intimidated, not making it feel like work, and not making it seem like you’re working with your idols was the only a big challenge this time and it’s helping me grow.
You can really hear a big difference in your vibe and demeanor than on your last mixtape Seared Foie Gras…
That was very New York inspired. I moved to Manhattan to kind of just get into the city life, but I found out I’m a little more slow paced. But we’ll see if Brooklyn takes me in next. I feel like not a lot of people heard that Seared Foie Gras mixtape—it didn’t really get the response that Green House Effect had. It was really something for my core fans and people who wanted to hear me grow. That mixtape is 100% me. I picked all those beats.
Was there something that triggered your musical evolution?
I can’t make music that I haven’t had life experience with. I need to make music that really means something. Getting in touch with your self really isn’t easy. I’ve genuinely been growing up. It’s been really fun to cognitive and aware of it
It’s almost like you’ve graduated from college and now entering grad school…
That’s what it is. In grad school you’re still having drinks but you’re actually shooting for something. You’ve limited yourself to certain things and set some new goals. I think touring was the biggest thing for me. It really opened my eyes to who I’m speaking to and how much my music really affects them. It was about getting outside of myself.