FEATURE: Fabolous, The Gift and the Curse
XXL: While other rappers make self-proclamations, you’ve avoided them. Why?
Fabolous: I think maybe that’s why I probably [get overlooked]. I kinda strayed away from that, maybe that’s needed too, because you have to make your claim sometimes. You have to make your claim where— you know how T.I. said he’s the King of the South, or Lil Wayne said he’s the Greatest Rapper Alive, Jay said something too. Everybody makes their claim.
XXL: So where does Fab fit in?
Fabolous: I dunno, I gotta analyze these statements, because some of them are just self-proclaimed [and] some of them is ones that are lived up to. So, I don’t know because you can call yourself anything. I can say whatever. I can say “I’m the flyest nigga to ever do it.” Certain people would agree with it, certain people would say, “Nah.” It’s really whatever you wanna say that’s why I never hung on those titles either because a nigga can say whatever he wanna say.
XXL: It’s funny I was listening to that old DJ Clue freestyle with you and Nore. And Nore was goin’ off.
Fabolous: Nore was hot as fish grease at the time. He said, “I shoot at your feet and make you do the Puff dance to perfection.”
XXL: That line was crazy. These were the caliber dudes that you used to have to rhyme next to in order to get attention. So you had to be nice.
Fabolous: Yeah. And niggas don’t have that at this point either. A lot of niggas in the game come in and make their catchy song. Let’s see you rap, let’s test out some of those niggas, put them on the radio rapping with another motherfucker and let’s see how you hold up against some of these niggas who are hot at the time. You go up there and you rapping for the motherfuckas from that era that really get that, but this new generation of muthafuckas, I don’t feel like they appreciate that.
XXL: What’s the difference between Fab and Loso?
Fabolous: With Loso’s Way – with this project, Loso became an alter ego for me. Fab is cool and rolls with shit, Loso came from me just kinda being tired of being cool. It’s certain niggas that I never really had no beef with, but sometimes the cool nigga don’t get what he deserve. Nas said in a line, “The one that’s murdered always be the cool one.” Loso became for me, this nigga that’s gonna get his point across, say what the fuck he wanna say, spit his shit. Fab is the guy you may just hear, and you just see is on his cool shit, he’s on his fly shit, he fuck with the bitches, he makes songs for the ladies.
XXL: So what’s changed?
Fabolous: A lot of the music on Loso’s Way became personal for me. Before I used to just make music, and my goal was to make good music. Now I went in and I actually put more of my personal feelings in this shit. The intro to the album [“The Way”] is kinda me being pissed off and me talking about all the shit that’s been going on in my career and maybe not getting the recognition for it and waking up to it.
XXL: Recognition from who?
Fabolous: It’s me getting pissed off a little bit, me talking a little bit to the industry. Even down to XXL. I fuck with XXL. I just felt like [XXL] never gave me the recognition due and not to take no jabs at anybody, but I’ve seen many covers before that I felt like if this person is on the cover, I damn sure should’ve been on the cover. I don’t wanna say anybody names, because next week I’ll have a YouTube video thrown at me.
XXL: Yeah, that does sound personal, so why air it out now?
Fabolous: I didn’t really wanna share that shit. I always wanted to keep my personal thoughts [to myself]. But it’s a gift and a curse, you can get personal with these people and then they feel comfortable and then they want more too. After you gave so much, your life becomes a public spectacle where they’re open to everything you do. Eminem for example, you knew Eminem’s wife, his child. But then he was pissed off because everybody fucks with him. He got to a certain level of fame and then he opened the doors to people knowing your mom, and your kid. But if he didn’t let that out then people wouldn’t relate to him in the same way. So it’s the gift and the curse.
XXL: But now you’re on Twitter; that’s a start.
Fabolous: The Twitter thing was good for me, because it gives muthafuckas a little bit more of my personality. Before like I said I wasn’t really giving niggas much. So people see my Twitter and be like, “This niggas is hilarious. He says some shit that we never even thought Fab would say.” But real niggas who know me, know my comedic side.
XXL: Last year you ended up on “You Ain’t Got Nuthin’” off of Wayne’s Carter III; there is a funny story behind that track isn’t there?
Fabolous: That’s so crazy. I [recorded] that verse a year before Tha Carter III came out. So now [the producer Alchemist] came to me and was like “Yo I gave it to D’Wayne for his album.” I’m thinking he just talking about the beat and he’s like “Nah he wants to keep you.” I was like, "Aww this nigga setting me up to get bodied because my verse was so old." I listen to it ‘til this day, niggas come up to me like, "Yeah nigga you might have killed that shit the best." And they don’t know the back story behind it. They don’t know that it's something that everybody rapped [on] after me.
XXL: If you had to make a record right now with four other MCs, no hooks, just bars, who would you pick to be on the record right now?
Fabolous: Me, Jay, Pusha T, I wanna say Em and I’ma go with like a wild card option between Kiss and my wildcard is gonna be Joe Budden.
XXL: See that’s the thing. You’re totally in this rap/R&B lane which has worked great for you, but you’re also cut from an MC’s cloth.
Fabolous: I come from an era of hip-hop where you really had to be nice. I’m from that era of hip-hop. I’m really listening for if niggas is nice. The last new nigga that I heard that I felt was nice was Drake. Are you nice? Or are you just rappin? Or do you just got one of these dumb ass songs that anybody can make a dance to. That’s entertaining, that’s hip-hop, you get kids involved and that’s cool, but I come from a different era where it's not just about you making a good hook over a good beat. I wanna actually dig something you saying. It gets boring for me to say the same shit over and over again. The challenge for me is saying the same thing, but making it wittier metaphorically and make it in a way where a nigga hear it different.—Rob Markman