It makes sense that Fabolous would release a mixtape inspired by soul music. With songs like Trey Songz’s “Saw Aah” and the Ne-Yo-assisted remix to “You Be Killin’ Em,” the Brooklyn native is no stranger to adding a verse to the smoothest of R&B cuts. Dropping on April 21, The S.O.U.L. Tape features a compilation of producers who flipped strictly soul beats for the Bed-Stuy spitter to jump on. XXL caught up with Loso to find what inspired his soul moment and when fans can expect Loso’s Way 2. — Nicole LoPresti
XXLMag: Let’s talk about The S.O.U.L. Tape and how it came together.
Fabolous: I started kind of doing this freestyle off of Kanye’s “Devil in a [New] Dress.” I felt like I had never really did most music over soul-influenced or sample [that] kind of music. And, from there, that led me to say, “Well, you know, maybe I should do a whole tape like this.” You know test out things I had— things I wanted to say. Soul beats kind of express that. That’s where the thought came from it, at first, just doing that freestyle. It’s rapping from a different perspective. It’s different from what I usually rap about. Not saying that now I’m coming back as a conscious rapper, or some deep thinking rapper, but I just wanted to get a different approach and talk about some of my thoughts, ideas, things I’m going through.
XXL: What are some of the samples you choose?
Fabolous: Most of the producers came to me. Like, I told them I wanted to do a soul tape. They were like,”Oh, alright I’m gonna send you a couple soul and sample beats, and they would send them in. I would just eenie meenie minnie moe, not really. [Laughs] Just pick them, and start making songs off of them.
XXL: Who are some of the producers you have on the tape?
Fabolous: I have Cardiak who made “Start It Up” and I have a couple new guys, too. I didn’t go to anybody and say, “I want something specific.” I kind of just put the word out there and they gave me some beats.
XXL: Were the producers you usual work with surprised that you wanted specifically soul beats?
Fabolous: Oh yeah. Some of them, when I asked the first time, they still sent other kinds of beats. They thought I just called it the S.O.U.L Tape, like, for whatever reason. And I was like, “Nah, there’s more meaning,” and they were like, “Oh, like the freestyle you just did?” It’s just something that’s a different kind of listen, you know? The 808s & [Heartbreak], I didn’t want to go that way. Some of the soul beats on here, they have a little bounce and hop to it as well.
XXL: You’re known for starting trending topics. Didn’t Twitter approach you about doing a book?
Fabolous: They did, but I’m focused on writing music right now. In some ways I’m all for it. In some ways I’m against it. People get sensitive over Twitter and trending topics. It’s something I’ve talked about, but when it came to me, I thought the offer was funny.
XXL: Is Loso’s Way 2 still due later this year?
Fabolous: The album, we just started on that. I really just got a lot of beats on that, picking beats out or whatever. Then I lock in and attack the beats, like a monster in a cave. [Laughs] I drag the beats back to my cave.
XXL: So no deadline for the album?
Fabolous: Not really. I usually have deadlines but I don’t. They tell you what time you need to do something, and it’s like, “Okay, I work toward that time, but if it’s not ready, it’s not ready.” But I’m definitely not the type that will just let something not come out. There’s a couple [of] albums right now that people have been talking about for a year…
XXL: You didn’t like that it wasn’t the same?
Fabolous: Yeah. It didn’t have the same feel. But on the actual tape, there’s the closest guys that I’ve been working with forever: Red Café, Freck the Billionaire, and a new artist that I’m working with by the name of Broadway, who’s really dope and raps and sings. He’s very creative. He’s a writer as well. Aside from the usual suspects, we got Trey Songz on there, Lil Wayne on there.
XXL: How was the collaboration with Wayne come about?
Fabolous: We didn’t record together. The song with Lil Wayne was pretty much already done, and uh, I just came in. The Trey one, I did this song and I had this idea and sent it to Trey and he put his thing on it after that. Lloyd Banks and Vado are also on it.
XXL: How’s touring?
Fabolous: I get a lot of dates, spot dates all over the place. I’m getting a lot of overseas dates, so, which is great for me because I like to travel and see how my music is responding in other places besides here. You know, I’ve been doing this for a while, so I understand. I got to go to Ghana, Africa and I got to go to the Dominican Republic. You know, just across the world and see their response to my music. Not even just my music, but to hip-hop music. Hip-hop has grown and become very universal. I love to— me and Rick Ross have a show together in Angola, Africa and just to see them say, ‘I think I’m Big Meech…’ You know? Without even hearing my song, it’s just something great to see. That hip-hop is that popular.
XXL: As a fan, who do you listen to? Or do you kind of zone out to your own music?
Fabolous: I like to hear what’s going on. A lot of rappers nowadays will say they don’t listen to anybody, but I like to hear what’s going on. I don’t think it affects my music. I still do what I do. I just listen as a fan because I love hip-hop. I mean there’s no other feeling than when you hear a great hip-hop song. You feel good. If you lose that as an artist, you lose a part of your passion. Part of the passion for me was hearing great music from the very start of it, now I’m one of the people who can give that passion back to somebody. But I still love the process of hearing something new and it being something hot.