XXL Q&A: Affion Crockett
How long have you been doing comedy?
Roughly since about 1994. I started doing stand up. I did Def Comedy Jam in 1995.
What got you into it?
Def Comedy Jam. It was the first time I saw hip-hop comedians that were actually looking and sounding like me and my generation. Before that, all I had to look up to was Eddie Murphy when he did Raw and Delirious. But I never related being a comedian from that. I just was a fan of his and I never thought I could do what he did.
How did you link up with Nick Cannon to do Wild ‘N Out?
Me and Nick had a lot of mutual friends and Nick, he also was a dancer back in the day. He don’t tell a lot of people that. We had a lot friends from the dance world and comedy world. When he wanted to get the Wild ‘N Out show poppin’ on MTV he knew it was something that was tailor-made for me.
Between the Wild ‘N Out and Def Comedy Jam era, what did you do?
I was doing commercials. I got back into dancing. I went on tour for a couple people. I used to back-up dance for Tyrese.
After Wild ‘N Out, your YouTube spoofs started popping up. Did you pay for those yourself?
Did you ever think they would garner the attention they did?
I didn’t just say, ‘I’m gonna bank roll all my joints because I believe in them.’ It really kinda happened on accident. I had a lot of ideas on Wild ‘N Out and when we stopped doing the show I was like, ‘Man, I want to get some of these ideas out’.
You’ved spoofed Jay-Z and Rick Ross among others. How have the artists that you’ve spoofed reacted to them?
The artists for the most part, they love what I do. I think it’s different from me because they already knew me from Wild ‘N Out. I was always the guy from the show that would battle a rapper. I would joke ’em down and sometimes they would hit me with some good ones.
What’s your favorite impersonation?
I don’t know if I have a favorite. I can tell you the audience’s favorite. though. It’s Jay-Z.
Speaking of, what artists are you bumping when you’re stuck in that LA traffic?
Big Pun never leaves the CD changer. He’s one of the most underrated rappers to me, in my opinion. Anything that Talib and Hi-Tek have done or Talib and Mos Def. Little Brother is incredible. The Foreign Exchange is incredible. Cory Gunz is my Favorite young dude right now. He’s killing it. Kendrick Lemar, lyrically, I like where these dudes are going with it. I’m waiting on J.Cole; he’s from my hometown, That’s my little brother right there. Of course, Rakim, Nas. I’m really into lyrical dudes.
What advice can you give aspiring dancers and/or comedians who are pursuing their big breaks?
Study, man. You gotta study. Now that we have the internet access, anyone with a laptop or a camera feels like they can do sketch or they can get famous overnight. That might be cool if you blow up overnight. But, if you don’t have no foundation or skills to back that up then it’s not going to last you very long. Respect those that came before you. See what they did right and wrong and then learn your way in that. Be persistent, keep moving forward. Just respect the craft and really bring some artistry to all of it, whether its dance, rap, comedy, whatever. Study the game and just don’t rush to be famous.