Like they did the previous night, Drake and J.Cole performed at Hammersmith Apollo in UK earlier this evening and above Drizzy brings out Florence from indie rock band Florence & The Machine for TML‘s opening track.
2010 was an incredible year for Juaquin Malphurs. After a rocky start, which included a January robbery and shooting, the future of his career became slightly uncertain. But in spite of this setback, the underground buzz from “O Let’s Do It” boiled to uncontainable levels, and slowly but surely, Waka Flocka Flame became a recurrent name on the hip-hop scene.
To date, all of his singles have all attained moderate success of Billboard’s “Rap Songs” chart: “O Let’s Do It” (#7), “Hard in the Paint” (#20) and “No Hands” (#1). In addition, all of his official remixes have featured an all-star cast of fellow rappers – from Diddy and Rick Ross to Gucci Mane and T-Pain. In honor of these tremendous achievements, Wacka Flocka was nominated at BET’s Hip-Hop Awards under the “Rookie of the Year” and “Best Club Banger” categories, and MTV recognized him as the eighth hottest MC of 2010.
In the midst of a promotional campaign for Flockaveli, Waka Flocka managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on the influence of Machiavelli, the importance of authenticity, and the media’s misconceptions about “flocka” music. [Editor's note: this interview took place prior to Waka Flocka's recent arrest.]
AllHipHop.com: A few months ago, during a radio interview with WPEG Power 98 [in Charlotte, NC], you noted that you read Machiavelli’s The Prince before titling Flockaveli, your debut album. What inspiration did you pull from the book?
Waka Flocka: Machiavelli was all about the art of war. I really like the manipulation games that he played. And he taught me how to play with people mentally, but not physically.
AllHipHop.com: Before the release of Flockaveli, gangster rap was considered to be endangered. Why do you think radio and music lovers were so ready and willing to receive you?
Waka Flocka: I’m still trying to figure that out. But people enjoy the music. And they enjoy the person that goes with it. It’s original. And they know its real. And they can channel the realness. They know my music is not fabricated. And they got to know me as a person. I just try to keep it street. I just try to keep it 100. And they respect me for it.
AllHipHop.com: Coming from the mixtape game, and considering your mother’s success on the business side, what are some of the biggest lessons that you have learned along the way?
Waka Flocka: You really have to handle your business – in every aspect. You have to make sure the beats are paid for, and that there are no samples in the beat. You also have to watch the company you keep and the image you bring up. Back in the day, I used to go to shows, with bandanas all on me, loud, just not giving a f**k and being disrespectful. Now, I look at this as a job. I come and give people a show and give people what they paid for. I’m not just entertaining myself. It’s bigger than just me.
AllHipHop.com: Although you were born in New York City, you are firmly attached to the Atlanta music scene. When you look at your music, what elements do you think have been influenced the most by your time in “the A”?
Waka Flocka: Atlanta got everything on it. They showed me how to party. How to be crunk. They showed me everything.
AllHipHop.com: One of your first mixtapes was entitled: “Salute Me or Shoot Me.” Is it as simple as that?
Waka Flocka: I live by that. I been like that since I was a kid. The upbringing where I was from. You either with you me or you’re not. So salute me or shoot me. People don’t just want to hear me. They want my point of view in life. They want to know how I live. So I give people my personality.
AllHipHop.com: This year, you were nominated for the “Rookie of the Year” and “Best Club Banger” categories at BET’s Hip-Hop Awards. Were you surprised by the outcome?
Waka Flocka: I thought I won ‘em! Club banger? Come on, man! [laughing]
AllHipHop.com: So how would you describe “flocka” music?
Waka Flocka: The realest Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: So what do you think you are bringing to the table that other artists have not?
Waka Flocka: I think I’m bringing the same thing. But I’m bringing myself and not a story. I’m not fabricating. I’m just keeping ‘em entertained and energized.
AllHipHop.com: Lex Luger handles the bulk of your production. Out of all the beats that he contributed, which one do you think bangs the hardest?
Waka Flocka: “Hard in the Paint”
AllHipHop.com: From that song, which set of lyrics is your favorite?
Waka Flocka: “I go hard in the motherfuckin’ paint, ni**a. Leave you stankin’, ni**a. What the f**k you thinkin’, ni**a?”
AllHipHop.com: As you work on your second album, in what areas would you like to grow and develop?
Waka Flocka: I would like to cover different subjects and show more of me as a person. Maybe slow the tempo down and make something for the ladies. No pop songs or nothing. I definitely want to put another album out before the summer. And I really want my label to pop-off. Everybody on the album is on my label. And I’m coming up with a Brick Squad Monopoly album soon.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions that the media references when they talk about you or your music?
Waka Flocka: They say that I promote gang violence. I don’t know why people do that. But I’m gonna let them think the way they want to think. And I’m going to continue to win as they sleep.
Aubrey and Jermaine brought their European tour to the Hammersmith Apollo in London earlier this evening and of course Hip Hop Chronicle was present to capture Drizzy’s set as well as J.Cole’s “Who Dat”. International baby.