Waka Flocka Flame Feels ‘Flockaveli II’ Will Solidify Him as the Godfather of Hip-Hop
Nine years ago, a young man by the name of Waka Flocka Flame burst onto the hip-hop scene with the energetic track "O Let's Do It," which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The Queens-born, Atlanta-raised musician's raps could've easily been mistaken for Southern trap, but paired with his rowdy tone and comedic (albeit violent) bars, Waka had a sound that was previously unheard.
Waka insists that he is in fact a trap music legend. "I’m the creator of 808s," the 31-year-old artist tells XXL during a recent phone interview. To his credit, Chicago spitters like G Herbo admit the "Trap My Ass Off" rapper created a wave with his amped-up street tracks. He made his lifestyle sound fun, when in actuality it was a road with a dangerous path.
With nearly a decade-long discography under his belt, Waka Flocka is now a seasoned hip-hop artist with a résumé that extends way beyond the genre that made him a star. He's currently working on Flockaveli II, the official follow-up to his 2010 debut LP Flockaveli. The landmark album contains some of his most memorable tracks to date, including "Grove St. Party," "Bustin' At 'Em" and "No Hands," the triple-platinum banger with Wale and Roscoe Dash. While Waka's reuniting with the latter artist on his upcoming work, he insists that he's not retreading old ground. “No, we are not gonna do another ‘No Hands,’" he says.
In recent months, the man born Juaquin James Malphurs has delivered a handful of tracks and videos, including "Circles" and "Big Dawg." Back in October, the rapper stated he'd actually lost the first three versions of Flockaveli II after misplacing his hard drives. Fortunately he's held on tight to the fourth drive, and while there's still no set release date, he says his third studio album is set to drop soon.
XXL caught up with Waka Flocka Flame to go in-depth about Flockaveli II, why he's a big fan of 6ix9ine and how his time making EDM records has strengthened his raps.
XXL: What should fans expect from Flockaveli II other than what's already been released?
Waka Flocka Flame: I’m coming to fuckin' put my foot down. When Flockaveli II come out, muthafuckas gon be like, “Nah, that’s the Godfather.” Literally. That’s literally what people gon say. Flockaveli II is just attitude, man.
Do you have a specific song you’re excited for fans to hear?
Yeah, “Big Homie Flock."
It's just me. They gon be like “Hell yeah, this that Waka Flocka shit we want.” I always see people [and] they be like “When you gon put some Waka Flocka shit out, and not that EDM shit?” That’s what they always say.
I had to run the bag up.
Are there any features on Flockaveli II?
Only me and my artists. This ain’t a compilation CD.
Tell us about one of the new rap artists on your roster.
Bob Lennon—he’s like a mixture of Bob Marley and John Lennon. His music sounds like art, like culture. Never met an artist that could do a whole song in one take, every verse. He literally remembers the whole record in his head and he go record it and don’t listen to himself when he record it. Just the beat.
Which producers are you working with this time around?
I got a new producer, Luney G. I got a producer [named] Supah Mario. Lex Luger, Zaytoven, Southside, DY and Cicero.
Nice. It's dope that you’re still working with Lex Luger. What does that music sound like?
Like some gutta shit. This album, this is not radio music. I’m changing the style of radio music when I drop this.
What songs do you have with Lex on the album?
I got this record called “Flava,” “Trap Harder, Think Smarter”—that’s my shit. That’s my favorite Lex record. That shit’s hard!
The first Flockaveli made you a fan favorite. How does the Flockaveli II compare to the first one?
I’m not comparing them. I’m not trying to remake records. I’m not doing none of that. I want people to compare it. I wanna hear what people opinion is. I just know on Flockaveli II I’m snappin. Flockaveli II got a better delivery, better wordplay. It’s grimey.
The EDM lane has been treating you very well. What is the difference between EDM rap and hip-hop?
The concepts and delivery. [EDM likes] concept records, so I actually learned how to just stick to making concept records. EDM taught me how to rap.
How are the shows in comparison? EDM shows can get pretty crazy, but then again, your shows in general are, too.
Nothin' fuckin' with the hood clubs.
Which genre do you prefer?
Rap all day!
When it comes to new artists, who do you feel is taking over right now?
His energy—he's happy, havin fun, not giving a fuck what anybody say. And everything he know people hate the most, he’s just throwing it in their face and capitalizing off of it. To see a young teen do shit like that, that’s ill.
On a more personal note, what are your goals for 2018?
My goals for 2018 are to drop some dope music, launch at least two of my tech companies and watch my wife blossom as an artist. Watch her put an album out and just live and be happy. I feel like my wife’s gon' help bring R&B back. Real R&B. 2018—dope music, family smiling, companies launching. And I pray my water company takes flight.
You have a water company?
I partnered up with a guy that created the best water in the world. We have H12O6 in a bottle. Our water is called Vitale Life Structured Water.
That’s dope. And what about these tech companies you’re launching?
It’s kind of a little quiet, but they coming. I know one of them you are for sure finna use.
Which one is that?
It’s pertaining to merchandise, and things that people love buying that they can’t get their hands on at the time they see it.
You also have your weed strain.
I have my own weed farm, [too].
In Michigan, right?
Yes. I have Flockaveli OG, I have Thunder OG. We got gas. No numbers, man.
Most of your fans know that you’re vegan, and in past interviews you’ve said that you embarked on that journey because you had gained some weight. Why did you decide to make it a lifestyle?
I actually stopped eating vegan—I’m eating pescatarian [now]. Only for the fact that I was missing shrimp and lobster tails. I’ve been eating pescatarian [since the last] half of 2017. For the month of February I’m going on a strict diet, and I’m just going back clean.
I don’t wanna be called vegan; the word vegan scares me. So I kinda ran away from that name and that culture and what it stands for. When you say you’re vegan, you try to [act] like you’re better than people, and you’re chastising people. So I just stepped back from that, and now I became what you call a conscious eater. I said, “Let me create my own way of eating now.” And a conscious eater is a person that’s conscious of the things they put in they mouth, and to just to elaborate on that, it’s a person that, in detail, knows exactly what the product is made of that they put in their mouth. They know exactly what these products are doing. And I’m a conscious eater now.
Are Tammy and Charlie pescatarian, too?
Hell yeah, they love it. They on some “eat clean, we gotta know where it came from.”
Who cooks more?
Oh, Tammy—she’s an ill chef. I never in my life tasted nothing that was nasty Tammy cooked.
What’s one of your favorite pescatarian meals?
Stuffed shrimp pepper. Tammy be making these stuffed shrimp pepper [whistles]. Them muthafuckas so good. Oh my God. Damn, I’m about to call her and tell her to make that.
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