Just dropping his debut EP Downtown: Life Under The Gun , August Alsina took some time to get personal with XXL. Telling everything from the inspirations behind the project to unveiling an admiration for Lauren Hill, August makes it clear that this was undeniably the life he was built for. During the chat the New Orleans Native also spoke on how it felt to have hometown superstar Birdman on one of his records. Telling that it was an extreme honor, the singer reflected on growing up listening to the YMCMB mogul stating “that’s all we knew”. Learn a little more about the “Downtown” singer below.—Miranda Johnson (@randa_writes)
XXL: How did you come up with the title Downtown: Life Under The Gun? What does it all mean?
August Alsina: I’m from downtown, I’m from New Orleans. Life Under The Gun, it just comes from what goes on out here in these streets. Like a ratchet to your face with shit that’s going on. The EP just gives you a chance to know me and walk with me through my hood.
What’s a song that you’re really excited about on the EP?
I like “Don’t Forget About Me.” But I’m really excited about “Ghetto” featuring Rich Homie Quan.
The “Downtown” video was pretty intense and you say it’s based on a true story. Tell me a bit about that.
I did it just kind of to give people what really went on. Like a real life situation, I lost my brother a few years ago and those are my real nieces in the video. I wanted to give a visual that would bring the song to life.
Who’s your inspiration?
My brother, I know you were probably expecting me to say somebody musically but nah. And my nieces, God alone, and my team.
Do you have an icon that you look up to?
I love Lauren Hill a lot, I love her a lot. I like Lyfe Jennings too.But definitely Lauren Hill.
How did you first get into music? When you were younger what did you see that made you want this career?
I saw Lauren Hill on Sister Act 2. And she was singing some shit and I was just like Jesus man she sounds so awesome and I was like man I want to do that.
How did it feel to have Birdman featured on “I Luv This Shit”?
Oh that’s cool. Being from New Orleans and just as a youngin that’s all we knew. All I knew was the Cash Money movement.; Juvie, BG, Soulja Slim, Baby, Wayne. It’s just cool to have him see what I’m doing and be a part of it. I fucks with Stunna.
Do you have a dream collaboration? Who’s someone you want to collab with?
I really like Kendrick and if I could bring Pac from the dead I’d definitely get a verse from Pac. But I like what Kendrick is doing for hip-hop.
What are you working on now?
I’m about to drop the “Ghetto” video with Rich Homie Quan some time this month. I also got a record with B.o.B & Gotti and something with Problem.