There's a record about Kelis on Life Is Good that goes into what made you fall in love with her. How hard was that breakup? What was the feeling when she had your son after you were separated?There was a point where we were trying to hold onto a relationship that was finished. She was pregnant and in the studio while we were recording Distant Relatives, and he would move when the music would come on. That was a great feeling for me, just to have that feeling of family. It ended around the time the record was being done.
There were times when it didn’t bother me, and there were times when it bothered me a lot. There were times when I was thinking, Damn. I had this shit all planned out, and now I’ve failed. That was hard on me, because I don’t like to fail at anything. Accepting that I failed at this relationship—and it was public—messed me up. You ask yourself, How could that person be so cold? And I’m sure she felt the same way about me. It was ugly.
I saw Kelis as Courtney Love—but I also saw her as a mahogany queen. I saw us as a beautiful thing.
How has your relationship with women changed, now that you’re older and you’ve been divorced?
I’m taken aback by the beauty of women. There was a time when I only saw big breasts and thick asses. Now, I see the beauty in the subtleties. Those are even better than the tits and ass. The aesthetics have changed for me.
She might not be the prettiest, but there’s something special about her—
That makes her pretty. No disrespect to women when I say bad bitch, but my definition of a bad bitch is not always the video vixens. A bad bitch can be a younger woman, in her early 20s, but wise beyond her years. It could be a woman in her late 30s, who’s cool as hell, smart, and has great motherly qualities—or has great motivational skills, or is a powerful mover and shaker in her own career.
Like Michelle Obama is sexy.
Michelle Obama is the most beautiful woman on the planet. She cares about people. All first ladies have their jobs to do, but you can feel her sincerity.
What do you listen to in your private time? Are you a soul head? Do you listen to hip-hop?
I listen to it, when I get in the zone. It gets me in the zone. I’m listening to Frank Sinatra. I’m listening to Isaac Hayes. But then, I just bought Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em, and I called Eric B. and asked him questions about it—the recording process and things like that. It’s whatever I feel that day.
What’s different about that era and this era for you? Was the music better?
The music was definitely better. Let’s not even have that argument, because if you compare just a third of the music from that era to half of what’s going on now, there’s no competition. That music wins, hands down.
But that’s what makes hip-hop eternal. It resurrects itself, and it corrects itself.
I don’t have the energy for the women that Wayne fucks in his songs. I need to hear his songs, so I can reminisce like, “Yeah. I was a bad boy back then.” [Laughs.] I don’t have that energy no more.
The title is Life Is Good. Have you gotten to the point where you feel some mastery over your life?
In some ways. In some ways, not yet, but I’m on my way. Financially, there’s plans that I have, that I’m close to accomplishing. The setbacks were my fault. No matter who screwed it up for me, it was my fault for letting them screw my shit up.
What do you mean?
I never liked dealing with money. It comes between real shit. Friendship, loyalty, and love is the real shit. Money is the other shit. I have one way of dealing with money, and then you have educated people, who know how to deal with money, and we have conflicts there. It’s like in the movie Wall Street, my man Gekko says, “Pay attention. Money’s a jealous bitch. Either you’re going to pay attention to her, or she’ll find someone else that will.” And mine has definitely found other people who appreciate her more. [Laughs.] I’ve neglected her and abused her. I let a person take her from me—and I don’t mean my ex-wife, I mean some bad business from, like, six years ago that’s affecting me now. And I take responsibility for it, because it’s my problem. But I still see that as something I have to fix, because if you don’t fix money, it’ll fix your ass.
It’s fucked up when money’s involved in divorce. And I don’t give a fuck. I can’t take it with me, so someone can take the money. Anyone that I’m married to, if I give you my life, I give you my heart, I love you—my money is nothing. You can have it all. It’s just sad that when you’re dealing with love and life and marriage, that marriage is a contract. It’s a business deal. That messes people up.