What about someone like M.I.A.?
That was the only person that I was a fan and I found the perfect record for. It was just left field. I feel like everybody has the same people on their singles and their songs. Like oh, it’s French Montana and Lil’ Wayne, French Montana and Nicki Minaj. Then I was like, let me do something that’s left field.

Not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I just wanted to do something that would make people sit back like, “What made him do that?” From afar nobody knows who’s who. You look at the game and all these songs that are out, you look at top ten, and nobody knows who’s who, nobody looks different. Except for the artists that’s featuring.

How did you get all these people? You seem to be able to secure a lot of relationships.
I’m the underdog and everybody wants the underdog to win. I feel like people have seen where I come from. When you come around me, it’s not fake, it’s the real. I guess a lot of people you be around, it’s not really them. It’s their man that’s sitting next to them, whispering in his ear every two minutes, telling him what to do.

You know if you follow our history you’ll know it’s like, from when we started until now, we’ve been good. We’re not the hottest, we’re not number one, but guess what? Everyday that goes by, we getting bigger and bigger. So I would rather do that, then come in and have a short run. I’d rather have a Cash Money run. Not to say that in a bad way, but 50 Cent could have been a lot bigger.

Really?
Of course. I feel like beef hurt him. I feel like it helped Ross unite people. That’s why Maybach Music is one of the biggest labels. It just makes sense.

Do you think Ross will have a longer run than 50 did?
Of course, Ross is on his fifth album. And like I said, he’s only getting bigger. This is going to be Ross’ first platinum album. He never went platinum. So when 50 came up, 50 sold 10 million. Then after his first album he just kept on going down. You think 50 could come out and sell 10 million now?

No, not really.
See, so it’s not where you start from, it’s where you end up at. You learn a lot about the game when you in it. It helps you pace yourself.

That’s real insight right there. Does that come from being in the game a long time?
I’ve seen it all. From the Cocaine City DVDs, with me just putting the DVDs together, watching everybody before they came or left. I was watching. You watch every rapper come and go and you gotta learn from that. You gotta learn when to strike and what to do.

 

50 Cent could have been a lot bigger. I feel like beef hurt him. Ross is on his fifth album, he’s only getting bigger. This is going to be Ross’ first platinum album. 50 came up, sold 10 million. Then after his first album he just kept on going down. You think 50 could come out and sell 10 million now?

 

Speaking of the changes in hip-hop. I feel like rap is very different than it was 10 years ago because it’s much less street oriented. Where do you fit into this now because you make street music in an era where street music isn’t the go-to of hip-hop?
It gotta come from somebody to bring it back. I feel like me, with the Coke Boyz movement that I got going, at least for New York, [I can bring it back]. I feel like if I could wish for one thing, I would wish to shut the whole fucking Internet off the week my album come out. So people that really love music will buy it. Just leave iTunes on.

[Laughs.]
Just shut the whole fucking Internet off for one week. Just for the first week.

Complex Media Network doesn’t though right?
Nah, no disrespect everybody.

Twitter too?
Everybody. I feel like nobody is going to go buy music when you can get it for free. People dropping mixtapes everyday. It’s not an album. Back when it was like a real album, you really had to go get the booklet and look through everything. Now it’s just like Datpiff, LiveMixtapes.

That brings up another thing I wanted to ask. I always like to ask artists this too, the transition from making a mixtape to making an album.
My fingers is itching to just drop a mixtape today.

Really?
Yeah I wish I could go smack songs together and here ya go, here’s a mixtape. But I can’t because you give people too much music they don’t want to buy your album. Make people miss you, I feel like that counts.

Is the process of making an album different for you? Are you thinking more, you know I have to make a song that’s radio friendly?
Not really. When I made “Pop That” it wasn’t radio friendly.

But “Pop That” has gotten quite a bit of radio play.
But I didn’t make it as a radio [hit]. When you hear it, it’s just having fun. I’m not going pop. Obviously growing up in New York, it was gangsta music. Everything I ever listened to that came out of New York—Mobb Depp, Fat Joe, Big Pun, Jay-Z, Nas—everybody was gangsta. So I wouldn’t know how to come in a different way.

And that’s where you see yourself going?
Yeah, but it’s just putting your own twist to it. I feel like you get a platform and it’s up to you to do whatever with it. That’s when you know what people’s motivation and passion, you know what it really is. Once you get into a position to say I did this, so I can own the Nets. I did this, I can open up these businesses. I did this, so I could just keep rapping. Some people just want to rap.

What do you want to do? Do you just want to rap or do you want to own businesses?
I just want to do everything I love. That would be the best way I can explain it. If I do everything I love, I’ll just be happy. You know, I love music, so I’m doing music. Maybe I love doing porn, I’ll do whatever the fuck it is. If it makes you happy you just gotta do it. [Laughs.]

Why don’t you ask my publicist she love making me look good? She love doing her job. She love making people look good. As long as everything you do in life is like that, you’ll be a successful person. Don’t be forced to do something you don’t want to do. It’s just momentary. You doing it for now, it’s just a stepping stone for you to get somewhere else.

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