Statik Selektah is of the hardest working people in hip-hop. From working his way through DJ'ing at various radio stations all across the country to producing mixtapes to starting his own marketing company, it's reasonable to ask if the man ever goes to sleep. With the release of his next album, What Goes Around, on Aug. 19—and before he heads out on tour with Joey Bada$$ until February—XXL caught up with Statik to speak to him about the inspiration behind the album, how it came together and which MCs would make up a perfect Frankenstein's monster of a rapper. —Marvin J.


XXL: What was the inspiration behind the album?
Statik Selektah: I wanted to make a real jazz-inspired album. A couple years ago, Kanye told me that he thinks jazz is dead, so I was like, “You know what? I'm gonna do a jazz album, straight up.”

The name of the album is What Goes Around. What does that mean?
You can apply that to anything. Obviously, the cover is a turntable with a roulette [wheel] in the middle so that speaks for itself. But also the timing of it, especially in the music business. It's funny seeing how some people fall off a little bit, but they humble themselves down. And it's funny seeing people that I really used to like, really sweat to get verses from, now they're coming to me to get onto shit. So now it's like, “I used to get you on, and you used to front on me!” But it's all good.

Do you go into a session thinking, “Okay, this is what I want to make”? Or do you just let whatever happens, happen?
Well with this album, I was on a mission to buy a lot of weird jazz samples. And after I made a beat, I'd have a lot of samples to choose from to add onto a beat; basses, trumpets, keys, stuff like that.

So what do you want people to feel when they listen to this album?
Every record I make, I want people to feel what I used to feel when I used to crack open a CD and press play. I'm tryna treat it like N.W.A meets jazz. I want it to be hardcore, but still jazzy.


What are your favorite songs off the album?
I mean, probably “Carry On” and “The Imperial,” man. They were like the two main records I was excited about. Getting Joey [Bada$$] and Freddie [Gibbs] to work together for the first time [on “Carry On”] and then obviously Black Thought spitting 54 bars [on “The Imperial”]... I actually have an ill story about Black Thought. I had to go straight from the airport to his house in a cab. And he lives in the middle of Jersey, and I had to bring my laptop, USB mic, all this crazy shit. His kids were running around in his house. It was funny. His living room is dope.

Did he come up with his verse on the spot?
The way he works is like, I don't know what he writes to, but he always just writes a lot. He has these verses in his head. And I think with The Roots albums, they're so conceptual now, that he doesn't really get to go in like that. So I think on there it was just all these bars in his head he had.

Was there anybody who you would have liked to get on the album, but just couldn't?
Well Busta [Rhymes] told me that he had me, but I couldn't get him. Every time I see Busta it's all love, it would've been dope to get him. I wanted to get Jadakiss on the album, too, but there were a lot of scheduling conflicts.

What else do you have going on?
I'm giving indie artists a chance to be a part of something big. I'm doing something called The Showoff Casino at Every week i'm going to feature different indie artists.The whole thing is like, life's a gamble, you have to bet on yourself. And there's too many rappers to listen to everything I get on my radio show, so this is kind of a way to focus the process... People can vote for you and everything there. Rappers can sign up at


There are 39 rappers on this album in total. If you had to create a “Frankenstein's Monster" of a rapper consisting of voice, flow, lyrics, look, and live performance, taking one of those qualities from a rapper off of this album, who would you choose for each, and why? So let's start at voice—whose voice would you choose?
Bun B. He's just got that classic, warm voice that you know it's his when you hear it.


Black Thought. I mean, that shit is crazy, it's always on point, it's never off beat.


Probably Joey [Bada$$], man, I think Joey's lyrics go over a lot of people's heads. People hear what he says, but people don't really break down what he says. He has a lot of triple entendres, and a lot of crazy metaphors that go over a lot of peoples' heads.


I'm gonna say Action Bronson, because he's always wearing the same shirt, the same shorts, big ol beard, standing out. [Laughs]


Live performance.
Fame from MOP, because he's always live as fuck. That's an ugly ass Frankenstein. [Laughs]