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I believe that people enjoy that about me. So that’s all you’re gonna get when you hear Tha Carter IV is just more of me. And like I told somebody, when I was tellin’ ’em about this, I told ’em I don’t have to be a situation rapper, which I would love to be. I would love to tell stories like Biggie. But I just don’t know how, ’cause my mind just… I’m here and there, everywhere with my music and with my thoughts period.
What is good about me is that I’m an interesting muthafucka. I’m Dwayne Michael Carter period! Whether I’m a rapper or not, I’m interesting. And that’s what my album’s gonna be about: me and how interesting I am.
I know you picked up the pen and pad again while you were away. Did you pull a T.I. and actually physically write out the new album before recording?
No, no. I mean, I was only writing when I was locked up. And I came home and I used most of the stuff that I wrote that was able to be used. But, of course, some of the stuff that I was thinking in there was without hearing what was going on out here. So when you apply them thoughts to what’s actually going on, that shit sound crazy. [Laughs] So I scratched a lot of that. But, nah, I ain’t writing. [Laughs] I’m writing phone numbers down… Business phone numbers! I ain’t mean no female phone numbers! I got a girl, ya dig! She’s 12. Her name is Reginae. Go ’head.
Your daughter, you mean. It must be good to come home and get to spend more time with your kids.
I’m bowing out gracefully, too. I’m bowing out still on top. I’ma make y’all want me when I retire. I’ma make y’all be like, “Nooo!”
I ain’t leaving out this bitch when y’all be like, “Yeah, it’s about time, dawg.” Carter IV might be my last one. I’ma make y’all be like, “Fuck!” Yeah, nigga, I’m gone.
Nah, man, you know they ain’t gonna let you leave.
Nigga, I’m about to be 30 years old. I’m 28. I’m not about to be rapping at 30. You trippin’, shawty.
Do you remember, last time we talked, in this same studio, you said you were gonna do six more albums? Six Carter albums?
Yeah, I was gonna do six. I went to jail, nigga! Shit fucked—man, Carter IV would’ve been out! Nigga, we would’ve been talking about what we were gonna do about Carter V. Next year, bam, Carter VI would’ve been out, when I’m 30. Bam! We had that shit planned out… [Laughs] I’m fuckin’ wit’ y’all, man. Y’all know a nigga ain’t going nowhere ’til he ’bout 31. By 31—I’m gone by 31, shawty.
Thirty-one? I don’t believe that, man. Mack and them are not gonna let you hang it up. I see Baby still doing it.
Well, I’m not Baby. [Laughs]
Honestly, this is the real truth. I honestly think it’s unfair to my kids. I’m super dedicated into what I do. Like, it’s no questions—it’s hands down, I do this. I live this. I don’t have a day out my week that I do something else. I do this every day of my life, and I’m not about to stop, ’cause that’s the only way you can succeed in this business, is to do it the way I do it. I want to succeed the way I want to succeed. You can succeed. You can put out a hit… But to do it the way I want to do it, to be comfortable to do what the fuck I want to do, you’ve got to work like no other. Like I said, it’s unfair to my kids. So about 30, 31, 32, I gotta get ready. I got three boys and one daughter. She’s gonna be a teenager, and they gonna be growing. They gonna be five or six. It’s time to get them. Let them niggas know what being a man is about, what being a little boy is about. I’m not trying to have no nanny do that or no uncle or no shit like that. No stepdad or no shit like that. I was raised like, Don’t let no other man take care of yours. Even if you gotta take the sacrifice of quitting what you love the most. Like I said, I’m finished at about 31, 32. That’s it, shawty.
Clearly, at this point, money isn’t an issue.
Yeah, I’m rich as fuck, dawg. I ain’t gon’ front. Ain’t no lie. Like, I’m good,
like, financially, like, I’m… Thank God, I’m rich as shit, my nigga. Like, I ain’t gotta do this shit again. So that’s why I said—I’m wealthy. There’s a difference, you know what I mean? Like, I’m wealthy, so I’m good. I’m gon’ do that. I’m gonna be a wild, adventurous, spontaneous-ass dad. Y’all gon’ beg for me. Like I said, y’all gon’ beg for me. And I might come give y’all a reunion album or something. An anniversary or some shit like that. An “Okay” album. An “Okay, I’m back” album, when I’m 33 or something. Here, man, you can have it. Then, my nigga, you know what I mean, I’m goin’ back to snowboarding and skateboarding and shit, with my kids.
When Shaq retired last week, you said on Twitter, “I only hope that my legacy is as amazing as Shaq’s.”
Just, like, it’s anywhere close to Shaq’s. Yeah, I meant… I said that because he was able to flip it and do so much more than just play basketball, you know what I mean? And he was also the most dominant at that when hewas. That’s just amazing to me. I mean, the nigga sold a million records, you know what I mean? Nigga ain’t ever put out an album that ain’t never went platinum, that it didn’t go platinum. And his movies was, like, the best sellers. And this nigga’s a police, know what I mean? Nigga do this, nigga. Like, I would love—I don’t wanna be no police… But I would love for muthafuckas to be like, “Nobody did it like that nigga.”
You’re expanding your portfolio, too, though. You have some new business ventures. A credit card? A Young Money clothing line? Can you elaborate on that?
Yeah. It’s not a Young Money clothing line; it’s my own personal clothing line. It’s called Rebirth. I got a little clothing line coming out. I just figure that I… I’m funky. I got that from my stylist, Marisa. I’m funky, like she say. I wear a whole buncha items at one time, you know what I mean? I be figuring you at least want one of them items. Like, “Damn, I’d love to have that safety pin he got on,” you know what I mean? Anything. I got on these types of shoes, these shorts, this sweater… A year from now, I want all these items to be mine. Rebirth. I want—I just figure people want to be funky like me, so I got my clothing line. And, yeah, I got the credit card coming, too. The debit card, the Young Money debit card.
And, of course, you’ve already made a big mark as a record executive. What’s it been like watching artists you’ve signed to Young Money blow up? Nicki’s success, for example, happened so fast. Has it been surprising to you?
It’s not surprising, because it’s the plan. Umm. But to see it, to actually see it, is. That’s like saying, you know, that the sun rises at whatever time. But to actually sit there and watch it is still amazing every time, you know what I mean? So that’s what that was kinda like. I knew she was going to do the things she’s doing. And the person she is—the things she hasn’t done. I still know what she’s going to accomplish. And the things that she has yet to do, that she hasn’t done. So it’s still beautiful. It’s glorifying, but at the same time it’s unsatisfying.
Yeah, because she’s not finished. She’s not finished. She’s only breaking ice.
So you’re already thinking of where she’s gonna be two or three albums from now.
Yeah. Think… I put my neck out there for my artists. I’m like one of them coaches or one of them owners for my team. We gon’ win the championship, fuck y’all. But, uhh, think two, three years from now, think Beyoncé. And I don’t mean R&B. I mean music period. ’Cause she’s like me: She do whatever. She’ll have the hottest R&B song, the No. 1 R&B song, the No. 1 pop record, and she’ll have the No. 1 hip-hop record. That’s just what Young Money artists do. Not just her. And that’s what I see, and that she’s definitely not there yet. So that’s why I say it’s unsatisfying, ’cause I know what she’s going to be. Think 20 dancers onstage, think two-hour show, you know what I mean? Think her own people coming out under her. She’s not doing none of that yet. She’s just breaking ice.
What is she like in the studio now?
I honestly, I haven’t been in the studio with Nicki in a long time. You know, Nicki’s popular now, you know, so… But, nah, she works in New York. And I, umm, H-A-T-E New York. So, yeah.
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