You guys have this “King of New York” blah, blah, blah. I’m not trying to get caught up in that, but as someone who’s read the interviews and studied the game from studying other people you have to know a moment like that comes once in a lifetime.
You have to capitalize on it…
See that’s the thing: You have to capitalize and do stuff on it but at the same time you ride the line of being corny.
Well, it’s how you capitalize on it. You don’t necessarily make responses for everybody but while you have all of these people’s attention—like Kendrick getting pulled over by TMZ—now that you know shit like that is happening, you might want SZA there.
We definitely aware of that type of thing. I don’t remember a verse getting that much attention. It’s hard to think of somebody who did a verse and garnered all of that. Phil Jackson responded. That’s crazy. We touched people we ain’t never touched before as far as media-wise—ESPN, the sports shows, talk shows; it was crazy to me. You just gotta bask in the moment and try not to make it look too corny. Everybody’s responded and doing their whole thing. You don’t want to feed into it too much. Even the way it happened, how it came out: me and Kendrick had a conversation. I was just talking about how everything is so friendly right now; everybody’s hugging and friends and on each other’s records. Like, where is the competition? I told him, Watch: the first dude to do something to change it, that’s going to shift the game back because everything is one way.
Like, when ‘Pac and B.I.G. died everything was soft; the majority of music was softer at that time. Then you had DMX come. From DMX, Jay [Z] had a harder album at the time. [Sings a bit of "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)"] That whole thing was hard. Then you had the LOX, then everything got hardcore and that’s when Ja [Rule] came doing the records he was doing, songs about the chicks, then Jay Z doing “Excuse Me Miss” and Snoop Dogg doing “Beautiful”—everything was like that for a second. Then 50 Cent come and he takes it back to the street, but clubs at the same time—his biggest song was “In da Club.” To me, that’s how a lot of people in the South, Atlanta mostly, really flourish because they do club music; that’s their thing, that’s their culture—and 50′s record was “In da Club,” 12 million records sold. That’s kinda how I see it. It’s usually a person who comes and changes the game and switches it for a while. That was the conversation with me and Kendrick—and then he comes out with that verse.
Was [the conversation] before he made the verse or before it was released?
This was before he actually made the verse. He was overseas when we were having that conversation. We were on the same wavelength. He was like, “Yeah I’ve been thinking about the same thing.” But I didn’t know he was really gonna go that far with it.
So he recorded it overseas?
He came back. He had like two days off and he flew back and he recorded it then and he took back off.
And it came out when you were overseas.
That must’ve been surreal to look at Twitter [and see what was happening]. It was probably like 6 in the morning or something like that [over there].
What’s crazy, the way it went, we didn’t know that it was coming out; we didn’t know he was gonna release it. We had just sent the verse and Big Sean called Kendrick and said “you’re crazy.” I think Kendrick even asked him: Are you sure you don’t want me to put another verse? He was like, “No, no. I’ma keep it and just put it out.” One day, he just dropped it out of nowhere. We didn’t have no warning and then just to see how crazy it went. I ain’t sleep for like two days, I think. I’m watching everybody respond, seeing what everybody was saying. It’s funny. Even the New York line, that was so misinterpreted. [Laughs]
That just goes to show how stupid people are.
That was a moment, though. That was a little moment.