The Young Money artist has transitioned into solo stardom, but platinum records and world tours aren't enough. Now he wants your respect.

This feature appears in Complex's December 2012/January 2013 issue.

Develop yourself.
I was still a kid when I dropped “Coconut Juice.” I didn’t know what I wanted to do or who I was as an artist. I hadn’t found myself yet musically. I saw an opportunity to have my own video and make money. That record was put on a big platform and that’s what got out to the world, but that wasn’t my lifestyle. Doing something that I didn’t want to do made me grind. Four years later, I’m comfortable with the music I make. I have my fan base, and I’m one of the youngest trendsetters.


Not a lot of people are leaders. That’s fine. You need people to follow.


Stick to what you know.
I’m capable of making other shit but I know the type of music I love to make and what fans want to hear from me. I don’t want to go pop. I built my own sound and I’m not going to drift away from that. Making music is like being the president: You can’t tell people you’re going to make health care free to get them behind you but, when you get that role, you don’t do it. What I’ll do is make smarter records, collabing with the right young artists, like A$AP and Wiz, whom I relate to. 

Go the extra mile for style.
I don’t shop anywhere but Paris. I don’t do that just to say it. The selection is better out there, rarer. Nobody wants to wear the same thing as other artists. It’s personal style. I do all my own shopping and pick out what I like to push the game. I got my Reebok sneakers coming out. I got the clothing line, Last Kings. I know what I’m doing, and that’s why I’m threatening to people. People think I’m biting, but they don’t see what I’m doing. I don’t worry about that.

Lead the pack.
Every day I do something I’ve never done before. Average people’s lives don’t change as drastically as stars’ lives do. They have the same routine: They get up and go to work. Not a lot of people are leaders. That’s fine. You need people to follow—that’s how you get more fans. You’re never going to please everyone. People hated on Jesus! There are people in the world who don’t believe in God! So get into your own zone and you’ll please people that fuck with you and respect what you do. 

As told to Ernest Baker (@newbornrodeo)

RELATED: The 100 Greatest Lil Wayne Songs
RELATED: Nicki Minaj's 25 Sexiest Butt-Shaking GIFs
RELATED: The 25 Best Drake Hooks