FEATURE: The-Dream, Got To Get It 2.0

[Editor’s Note: These are the outtakes to the edited interview that appears in the July 2009 issue of XXL.]

XXL: What did you think of 50 Cent rapping over your song “I Love Your Girl”?

The-Dream: I only heard it one time. I felt like it was him just… That’s what hip-hop is about, you know. Getting your mixtape thing going on. I didn’t really put that much thought into it because at that particular time, 50 didn’t even know who I was yet, so I could’ve been like one hit and be outta here. Like, “Dude’s probably not gonna be around this year, but I love this song.” [Laughs] I think everybody has a bigger picture now. So I was flattered.

XXL: Your candidness makes people compare you to R. Kelly. What was his influence on you?

The-Dream: R&B was the genre, again, but the stories, he basically has it made up in his mind that it’s this way and this is how it should be or this is how I should cater to you under these circumstances. I don’t want to give him as much credit as my grandfather ’cause my grandfather was just like I am and was, like, you go to work as a man and the point is to provide. That’s your job… [R. Kelly’s] music was basically just selling the fact that lemme be candid and lemme be as honest as I can be and in the end they’ll love me more.

XXL: Do you want to be better than him?

The-Dream: Oh, of course. I think naturally you want to be better than everybody. Naturally. It depends on whether I got that type of time or not. Nobody’s really looking for an R&B artist like me until I’m 28, 29 and it’s because I knew so much about the other part of the business. R&B used to be this old Levert shit, hair hanging out the shirt, you know, 40-year-old shit my mom usually like.

XXL: Two stepping.

The-Dream: Right, two stepping. She’s like, “That muthafucka’s smooth!” Now, the shit is switched up. Now, everybody like the young-acting muthafuckas. So it just depends on how much time and how many albums that I can even fit. In Kelly’s case, he started out with the group so he had been on for so long. I may not be able to do it so many years. I may only have like one or two more albums that I really wanna do and then just let it go.

XXL: Do you have a favorite R. Kelly song?

The-Dream: My favorite R. Kelly joint would probably be… you know what, my favorite record is probably [starts singing “I Wish”]

XXL: I think your attention to melody is what makes you unique. I feel like it’s definitely one of your—

The-Dream: Strong points.

XXL: Yeah. But do you feel like maybe you get flack for your voice?

The-Dream: No, that’s funny because most of the times records where I’m really singing I choose to take them off the album. There’s two of ’em—“You Ain’t Shit and “Nothing But Love” is the other one. That’s the one that Mary wants.

XXL: How are guys like you and Ne-Yo able to write so well from the female perspective?

The-Dream: I think it has a lot to do with my relationship with my mom, who passed in ’92 from cancer. I think me losing her made me try to just understand more about the opposite sex, you know. So I think a lot of my songs come from some type of place where, I get what you saying, I hear you, you need this, you need a guy that does this, that and that, and try to keep it in my mind, not even as just songwriting, but as a real thing in life. And actually be thoughtful, compassionate and show a certain type of emotion and understand that that’s not a weakness.

XXL: How was your parents’ relationship?

The-Dream: My father, I only met him three times in my life. My mom, I just recently found out she was married. I didn’t know she was married to this guy that I just considered her boyfriend all the time. That’s probably because my grandfather didn’t put that much into it, so I didn’t have the father figure. It’s more so my mom and my grandfather and their relationship was he would tell her stuff and she wouldn’t believe it and then it’d happen to her and she’d call crying.

XXL: What things do you think you teach men, if anything, in your music?

The-Dream: Nothing yet. It’s all a big trick. I’m teaching opinion, in that it’s okay to love from a man’s perspective. I think those are the basics but as far as what I think about relationships or even to be able to talk in this particular way… It’s kinda like somebody gets to see the whole thing instead of y’all getting these shallow ass answers and shit. I remember reading shit from people and I’m just like, you can’t be thinking like that right now. You can’t not have no political point of view whatsoever.-Clover Hope

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  • yoprince

    i just wanna let ppl know that if you never gave homie a chance just b/c of his singles and rap remixes… you should listen to his albums.

    whenever i get ppl to listen, they enjoy. he’s a great writer and has a great understanding of how to manipulate his voice… and he’s singlehandedly making r&b music fun again after everybody swagger-jacked “neo-soul,” maxwell, d’angelo, and such…

  • Mutada al sader the king

    I’m glad XXL took him to task over the R-Kelly thing. Anyone who knows R&B and has listened to Kellz albums over the years understands that Dream is an R-Kelly clone.

    Songs like, Put It Down, Sweat It Out,Mr. Yeah,Kelly’s 12 Play, and Fancy are all strait rips of Kellz, vocals, subject matter, singing style and production.

    I will say this… I really like what the Dream does. His voice is not that great, he uses way to much pitch correction.. But he makes good songs and most importantly good albums.You can listen to a Dream album and really only needs to skip 3-4 songs.

    So I aint mad, there are some clones are good, Robin Thike (Marvin), Glenn Lewis ( Stevie) etc

    • Gorilla Gibbs

      Fancy? I thought that was his most original piece to date? everything else is definetely a Kelly rip though

  • $ykotic

    The bad part is they ain’t checking for Dream when they should.

  • Mpho

    Yo, The Dream album is fiyah, the only track i skip on that Love vs Money is the Kanye West joint. I was really suprised with this cats ability to make hot joints.. And i ain’t never heard nobody saying negative things about him after i’ve made them listen to a few tracks, maybe the only complaint is that he sounds like Kelz a lot, but that would be a compliment rather than complaint, so yeah.. The Dream runs this R&B shit for the youngn’s now, i thought Trey Songz would, but i don’t know what happened to the boy, he got better vocals than Dream, but can’t make hit records :(

  • carol

    I myself is surprise at Dream going with a wh#re that goes with anyone that makes music. Vanessa Millian music stinks, she trys to go with any man that is out there. you see Jay-Z and Sean Diddy didnt want her, nor 50 cents. they know a low life when they see one, to bad Dream wont wake up from his dream.

  • carol

    I wouldnt even buy Vibe magazine today when I seen Dream & Vanessa on the cover. that a low life showing her body like that. but a lot of man had her anyways, she is like a piece of cake everyone had a slice. Dream I guess is a new kid on the block so he is phase by her. you see Kayne W. Jay-Z, Sean Diddy, 50 cent Ne-Yo and much more dont want her. Dream look very stupid thinking he has a surprise package. she is like a garment at a store, everyone tried it on. Dream your late. WAKE UP

  • http://Daboxstudios phillyflu24

    Dream man wat else can you say his name is dream cause ya’ll sleep so wake up mf’s

  • Mp

    I love The Dream and who gives a what if he sounds or anything like R kelly…The Dream is making a name for himself and will be a star…he has great hits already…You all will soon find out that he will win grammys and stomp on your grounds…enjoy listening to his hits and love his music because he is preaching to the ladies and getting the men to listen..and realize what we are worth.