Kevin Hart is nowhere to be found. Seated behind a vast mixing board inside a subterranean recording studio in Hollywood’s iconic, stack-of-pancakes shaped Capitol Records building, the superstar comedian refuses to break character as his shit-talking hip-hop alter ego: Chocolate Droppa.
Droppa, of course, is a familiar sight to Hart’s hardcore fans, popping up on the comic’s 72-million followers strong social media feeds since 2011, garnering over 25 million YouTube views and memorably appearing on Saturday Night Live last year.
Now Droppa is preparing to release his first album on Motown Records—Kevin Hart Presents WHAT NOW the Mixtape Hosted by Chocolate Droppa—in conjunction with the theatrical release of the stand-up mogul’s comedy concert film Kevin Hart: What Now? (out Oct. 14). You can listen to the first single, "Baller Alert," right now.
Complex got Droppa sounding off about the 3 Rs, getting shot 18 times, and his secret ambition to create a “Lyft bikes.”
You’re here to spit some bars for “Baller Alert,” your collab with Migos and T.I. Why are you repping Atlanta so hard?
I’m coming straight from Scranton, Pa. I brought that to T.I. and Migos like, “Look, this is something I feel that y’all can rock. Rock it!” At the end of the day, if you rock together, and you in the street, guess what? You gettin’ walked on. It’s like, if you concrete, you not going to put a jack hammer out there and break it, right? So what I’m doing is breaking concrete.
Right. So how’d you get them to collaborate with you?
Relationships are important. I got about a good 298 relationships that I really hold on to: my guinea pig, my bird, my iguana. You got my Nintendo—which is the first one that came out. I’m so loyal to that thing. I’ve never upgraded to any of these other systems. And then when you come to artists, you got some artists that just rub me the right way. I’m not trying to go lower than me. It’s all or nothing. We givin’ a hunnid—or we givin’ a hunnid!
Another person giving a hunnid: Metro Boomin, the producer of “Baller Alert.”
Yeah, it was tough at first because we couldn’t vibe. If you great, you need to make sure that somebody on that great level. Of course I’m talking about me being at the highest level and him not being where I was. But in that studio session, I got him there.
Slow walk him into my world. Everybody not going to understand the lyrical warfare I come with. So when you hit people with it, you gotta understand that sometimes they’re blown away.
Tell me about the three Rs you’re always talking about: Real, Rap, Raw.
Real means authentic. The shit ain’t fake! I ain’t no butt shot! I ain’t no titty job! I ain’t no goddamn lip injection. I’m here giving you real. What you see is what you get. Now after that you go to the next R: Rap. Yo man, I don’t sing. I’m not out here doing country. I ain’t no neo-soul artist. I ain’t out here playing ham bone. Not on some jazz or orchestrating a choir. I don’t play spoons. I rap.
I sort of like the spoons idea.
I ain’t playing that shit! You go to raw. Come on man, some of the best shit in the world is uncooked. I don’t know if you like sushi. But if you did, you would understand the power of raw. I’m raw. Put a fork in me, I’ma bleed a little bit.
In a previous interview, you claimed to have been shot 18 times. That’s nine more times than 50 Cent.
Ay man, when you a lotta man, you can take a lotta bullets. The thing is, I didn’t go down. I actually jogged to the hospital after I got shot. Ran a 5K to the hospital, did that shit in like 23 minutes.
The name of the mixtape is Kevin Hart Presents WHAT NOW The Mixtape Hosted by Chocolate Droppa. What does Kevin Hart have to do with it?
That’s a positive brother—somebody who always stood in my corner. He told me I had the potential to be the eighth or ninth best in the game. So I’m loyal to him. If you take away those words, I wouldn’t be sitting on top of the rap game right now. So him having a movie coming out—What Now being his next comedy special—I’m like, “Dude, I got you. I’ma show you the same love that you showed me.” That’s my guy.
I don’t know if you like sushi. But if you did, you would understand the power of raw.
Were you part of his entourage?
There’s a couple of times where we may have shared some women. But everything good comes to an end. When that situation stopped treating me properly, I disappeared. When I’m seeing everybody eating filet mignon, everybody drinking the finest champagne and I’m over here sipping on some fuckin’ Hawaiian Punch, my stomach touching my fuckin’ back, something wrong with that.
I’m seeing everybody everybody on our team driving the newest Toyota Sonata, or mothefuckers shittin’ on the game with the mini-vans with the door that got the remote control—I ain’t got no mini-van with the door that got the remote control! That’s when I made the decision I got to move on.
Help me understand something about the name Chocolate Droppa—are you a droppa of the chocolate persuasion? Or is more about, like, dropping chocolates?
I don’t have to tell you that. You got a good look at my body, my persona, my attitude. Now you ask yourself: what does he do? Do I look like a guy that’s not doing the most active, chocolate-type shit ever? No. It look like I’m very active with that chocolate shit. We out here.
Is there a master plan for Chocolate Droppa? What do you think about crossing over into the boardroom like Jay Z?
Business-wise, I’m trying to be on top by the time I’m 56. I’ma buy me a duplex and rent it out. I’m also thinking about doing some cool things with public transportation. Adding bikes in the city. How they got Uber with the cars and shit—what if I did, like, Lyft bikes?
A bike would come and then you could ride it?
But how would the bike get there?
What else should people don’t know that they don’t already know about Chocolate Droppa?
My favorite color is pastel blue. So if people go, “What can I get him?” Psshh. Pastel blue kind of puts me in a nice place. And I’m loyal. My boy Kev, regardless of his actions in the beginning, he’s a big inspiration. He’s the reason why I do it. I’m here to support my guy. Support his movie What Now? It comes out Oct. 14. Let’s make it do what it do for this kid.