Moving and Shacking... I’m doing my Market East tour and we are going to D.C., Atlanta, N.Y.C., North Carolina, Virginia, Chicago and Ohio then I’m going back overseas in July. I’ll be hitting Paris and other countries. Paris is all about art. If you’re an artist it’s the place to be. I just been grinding and moving as much as I can. It was crazy to see the response out there. I was shopping with one of the interns from the company that booked me and this fan came up to me. He said, “We love your music!” They play me on cable channel called 05 TV. They show a lot of love. I don’t know how they get it but they play me on television.
Internationally Known, Locally Underground... It’s very challenging because I am known here through underground music and music that has seemed to seep through the cracks. We don’t have the help from the labels. There are still some areas of the underground that I have not been able to corner. The weird thing about my career is I might not get more coverage in the underground but then I’ll get mainstream coverage like Hot 97, Daily Show or a feature on Singersroom. I don’t want to talk down to anyone’s success or belittle there grind but I feel like I been an underground secret. Certain things I haven’t done because I feel it’s not good for my brand. People may not feel my decisions but I look to brands like Gucci or Yves Saint Laurant that stayed true to their brand and mission. Who wouldn’t love a mainstream co-sign from a Kanye West or Rick Ross but for now I’m going to do the best for my brand.
Creative Criticism… If one of the people I looked up to had me in the studio and they played something wack I wouldn’t say anything. No, I would but my answer would be so respectful it wouldn’t seem like I’m downing him. How many records do you think people have heard that were wack coming from Kanye or Kells (R. Kelly)? I also wouldn’t want to pacify them. I would say it in a way that would be so respectful... in a way that he would find it on his own. There is a way to talk to your elders and there is a way you talk to someone who makes hits. My goal is to write amazing records with them. Never try to out shine your master. It’s cool to show your mentor you’re talented but you shouldn’t throw it in their face. They know all the angles and they know how to maximize the wealth. They have the keys and the blueprint to success. People love to burn up Kells and Ye but they come back looking like money.
Dreaming... Regular dreams that I have are about being in the studio with people that I look up to like Kanye West or R. Kelly.
When I’m Under the Influence... Usually I get very political. I think about men and women relationship and I think about situations men and women go through.
Think Like a Man... I know I’m not in support of Steve Harvey’s book. I think he is killing black love. I think things should be organic. It’s on people to know if they feel right about a situation. You have to have your own foundation and do it for the right reason at the right time. You shouldn’t say this is the way you find a person. You need people to access their wants and needs. You need to tell your partner what your cool with and accept it. You have people make a compromise like not having sex for 90 days. You got people that can be married for years and don’t know each other. Who are you to make them wait 90 days?
Crushing on you... I got a crush on Taraji P. Henson. She is definitely blessed.
Native Dance... You can catch a lot in a dive bar where I’m from in Newark, NJ. When people from Newark dance they are basically saying whatever is going on they are letting it go. They’re dancing usually is part of them. I think it’s a release that is extremely calculated. Women have an “attention dance”, an “I want to be seen dance”, “I want to be alone dance” and “I want to hang with my friend dance.” Dudes have their own dances also. They have the “I’m showing that I’m nice at dancing” dance. In jersey people love a smooth style... it is slick. Women have their little sexy, frisky way of dancing. I believe Jersey is about cool. You have to dance cool at all times. There is a different code. Everything has to meet a specific standard if you do a crazy dance they will look at you funny. It’s calculated, controlled and it has a lot of attitude. Sometimes there is not a lot to smile about in Newark but Club/House music from Newark is like what Go Go is to DC. It’s the soul of the city. It’s all about the way you let go and how its going to be perceived. You already know a dude/female is from Newark or Jersey by how he moves.
Just Good Music... Real singers were sick over that Love Below album because they wished that they wrote those records. He’s (Andre 3000) not even a singer. But he took it to a land unknown. That embodies what the essence of real genius is. Otis Redding wrote incredible songs but he is not a pretty singer. My thing is when stuff becomes factory music, everyone singing the same thing, that's when R&B gets lost. They are so quick to put R&B through the factory. My thing is the Otis Reddings and these other singers had interesting voices like Anthony Hamilton and Sam Cook ... inspirational voices. Van Hunt is a beast but he is underrated. He has two new joints out. Anthony Hamilton for years made us feel like he wasn’t a soul artists because the songs were so good . We forget Musiq is R&B. He is Soul/R&B artist.
Jasmine Sullivan has the Glow... I think Jasmine Sullivan gets a bad break. If Jasmine went the way of Adele and went Pop/Folk, she would so win. The thing about singers is her voice is too big for R&B music now. In church, at any moment it can go to jazz or any type of music. Gospel can go any place. R&B fans do not want to hear that. They want first verse, B section and hook. Second, first, B, second, vamp bridge and out. If you don’t give R&B fans that then they almost go crazy. Andre 3000 jacked up a lot of standards of R&B. Marvin and him jacked up the format of R&B. The Whispers, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Teddy P., Donny Hathaway and Jackie Wilson were also amazing crooners. When you hear Jasmine she is bigger than the track. That’s why sometimes those types of singers should do live albums. So they can go where ever they want to go outside the confines of the track. I can just tell from a singer’s point of view. She is hearing so many things in her head when she is singing. If you ever go to church and you see Kim Burrell live she can do whatever she wants to do. That’s what Jasmine and Beyonce are doing. I think Jasmine does it the best, making you feel like you’re not in church all the time. She can dumb it down and write hit records. It’s a good thing that she writes these incredible songs, it balances out
New Jack... Miguel writes good records, we can’t hate on him.
Living Legends’ Work... R. Kelly’s “Share My Love” is one of the most incredible songs. He makes the simplest stuff sound genius.
Your music in 1 Word… Yummy!
Favorite Candy... Ginger Altoids and Jelly Fish are my favorites.
Favorite spot to eat... Iberia’s in the Ironbound section of Newark. They have the lobsters, crabs, shrimp and all that. You can ball out in there.
Favorite Car... The buggy eyed Vintage Porsche Carrera. I would get that in all black with black shoes.
Favorite Movie... Submarine or Downtown 81
Favorite Song... Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” or Notorious B.I.G’s “Who Shot Ya?”
Dream Vacation... Paris! I did Paris. Now, I want to go to Italy.
Favorite Color... Lavender.