When he’s not visiting Gucci Mane in prison or making amends with T.I., Shawty Lo is all about Carlos. The Atlanta rapper is hard at work on his sophomore album, I Am Carlos, the follow-up to 2008’s Units In the City.
While his debut boasted sing-alongs like “Dey Know,” “Dunn Dunn” and “Foolish,” this time around Lo hopes to create a new sound while also seeking inspiration from some of the big radio hits out right now.
“It helps me with my craft. I don’t just listen to my [music]; I listen to everything,” Shawty Lo tells VIBE. “I listen to R&B, rock, country—I’ve loved music since I was a kid. Lately, I’m still on my boy Weezy, my boy Jeezy, Gucci, Rick Ross, Drake, Nicki [Minaj] and Waka Flocka [Flame]. I’ve been listening to what’s popping.”
Though his songs are known for their catchy beats, the former D4L member isn’t too hung up on big-name producers for the new disc. “It can be a local producer, it can be a mainstream producer, just long as the tracks hot,” he says. “The beat has to really talk to me before I create my song.”
Carlos has no official release date yet.
In the meantime, Lo plans to drop a mixtape in the first week of February. Hosted by DJ Scream, I’m Da Man Pt. 3 comes on the heels of his Halloween mixtape, Fright Night.
“This will be my fourth mixtape with Scream. I’m just gonna give [fans] the appetizer before I drop the main album,” says Lo. “I’m just working until I meet my deadline and then I’m gonna turn all the songs in.”
Lo adds that several tracks from the mixtape might be included on Carlos, stating, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” —Linda Hobbs