What would you say about the response of your first album compared to how you want the response of your second album to be?
I feel like the response to my first album shocked people. People didn’t expect me to even sell that much. It was amazing that so many supporters came out and showed love. I stayed true to my guns as far as the underground feel and the soul. One miscalculation that I made was sample clearance, you know, things that I’m able to do with my mixtapes. When you’re talking about an actual retail album, you can’t sample as much. It’s a lot of paperwork to deal with, it’s a lot of business other than just creating. And I think I wasn’t used to it and it showed a little bit in my frustration, and even on songs.
“I was trying to do something that tested my creative boundaries and, even on a production level, that incorporated what [B.B. King] does very well.”
But with Cadillactica, I’m more in tune with who I am as an artist. I know exactly what I want to do. I’m used to the hustle and bustle of how to put out an album and sample clearances, and getting them done early and just how to communicate with the label. And so, I’m excited about Cadillactica, it’s definitely gonna be growth. It’s like being reborn again.
Are there any surprising relationships that have come about since you’ve gotten into the spotlight?
I never would have imagined that I would have a song with B.B. King ["Praying Man," off Live From The Underground]. My Grandmother put me on to B.B. King and his music, so it’s kind of due to her as well. You know, to do a powerful record with somebody that’s so revered and such a legend and iconic as far as blues and just music, and [to have] it not sound forced. It wasn’t like I was tryna do a hip-hop record that featured B.B. King on it. I was trying to do something that tested my creative boundaries and, even on a production level, that incorporated what he does very well, which is blues and soul. To hear him playing the guitar on it was amazing. So B.B. King is one of those relationships that I look back on and be like, man, I can’t believe that.
Do you feel as though jazz music has a heavy inspiration in your music?
I would say blues has definitely. Just stemming from the content and really taking from a situation that may be a tad bit dark as far as subject matter in sadness and relationships. And just turning that into a song that everybody can relate to. I think that’s why a lot of people really can relate to my music and can enjoy my subject matter, ’cause they know I’m coming from a place where I talk about my real life. I think a lot of blues artist did that as well.
What are your long-term goals? Do you plan to one day produce on other artist’s records?
Definitely, producing on other artist records is one of the things that I’ve always been into. I have a problem with rapping on all my beats and so that kind of hurts a little bit with the catalog, but I’m learning. I’m getting better at just letting songs go. I already have Multi Records which is a label I’ve been pushing for years. But for me, it’s about being the kind of label where I’m not necessarily in the forefront. Really finding talent, finding the next David Ruffin or soul singer. Just producing, and creating, and being able to write for people. Because to me, that’s gonna be my transition, I look up to the Quincy Jones’ and the Barry White’s, the people that created music that became soundtracks and stuff like that. By the time I’m 40, 45, 50, that’s really what I’m doing. That’s a goal. One thing I’ve learned is determination is everything. I’ve always been the kind of person that kind of goes against the grain of what’s going on. Lord willing I’ll be able to do something crazy and inspirational.