It’s only been slightly more than three days, but have you made it back in the studio yet?
I did my first song in almost nine years last night (October 14) out here with one of the artists—Don Trip, y’all probably heard of him. I was in the studio with him last night. Me and him about to do a mixtape together. We go way back, when he first signed his deal and I had come to Memphis, me and him connected. We reunited last night on his video set and we went to the studio.
How did that feel?
It’s love, man. He’s like my little brother and part of my family, so it was only right for me to go in that studio for the first time in all those years. We did a song called “Put ’Em on Blast.” When I seen people boppin’ their heads in the studio, I said to myself, ‘I still got my swag. It’s time to turn up!’ It was motivation that I still got it. It was reassurance. I knew I still had it within myself, but to see people feel the same way I feel, it was confirmation. It came from my heart, you know what I’m saying. “Put ’Em on Blast.”
“Put ’em on blast/they put me through a test, but you know a nigga passed/last night, cried/now I’m gonna put ’em on blast/Yeah, you started first, but you finished dead last/Now, I got your ass/I’m gonna put you on blast/Put ’em on…p-p-p put ’em on blast.”
You’re sounding good, man.
That’s just the chorus. I’m just talking about my situation and how I had time and how I overcame that time. Look at me now, I’m doing my thing again. They’re gonna hear it soon. But I’m about to do a mixtape, Make Love, Make Money, Turk and Emany. So, y’all with hear that soon, as well as the mixtape me and Don Trip are doing, and features on a new artist’s music.
How did you spend your days incarcerated?
I’m gonna keep it all the way, 10 times a hundred. My timing was up and down. I had times when I was stressed and times when I was depressed. There was times when I was hungry, times when I was motivated to work, times when I was inspired. It was just up and down. But my last year, it kind of put me in perspective of, ‘Okay, now I gotta do what I gotta do.’ I lost my little brother. My little brother got killed in 2010, my manager wound up getting killed 2011 and my little cousin got killed. They were all shot. I was like, ‘I gotta break that cycle and make good choices. Man, I gotta get home, get my focus on. I can’t have these up-and-down emotions. I have to stay focused to do what I have to for my family and friends because they dying out here. I can’t get out here and do the same things I was doing. I gotta be an example and take hardship and use God’s gift in spite of negativity.’
How tough is it to deal with the loss of loved ones behind bars?
It’s very tough and when it happens close to you, that’s when it really touches you. My baby brother…I had just talked to him and a couple of days later after him telling me about his mixtape called Life Without Water, it didn’t don on me till a couple of days after he was killed that nothing in this world could live without water. It was a tough pill to swallow because I couldn’t attend the funeral. I wrote a letter and my fiancée went down and read it for me, but it was still very hard to deal with it, not being able to comfort my mama and be there for my family. I done seen other mothers cry, but when your mama cry…it hurts. When she cried, it made me cry. My brother’s name was Ronald Smith, he was 23-year-old and an upcoming artist. I have a lot of his music that I’m gonna put out and dedicate to his life.
You mentioned your fiancée. What does it mean to you that she held you down and stuck by your side?
It means the world to me. She was there by my side.
Anything else that you’d like to mention?
I’m starting this foundation—T.H.U.G.G.I.N. Foundation. When people hear that, they might think something negative, but I sat down and came up with the acronym for it—Taking Hardships Using God’s Gift In [Spite of] Negativity.