Mike Epps is smart. Really smart. And while the actor/comedian, best known for movie roles in the Friday and The Hangover trilogies, is quick to point out his lack of formal education, it doesn’t take long to realize that this Def Comedy Jam veteran is equipped with 21 years of industry wisdom. We spent two days with Epps, during a hectic New York PR blitz, as he talked about everything from his upcoming dramatic acting roles to the recent Kendrick/Macklemore Grammy controversy, in which the Indianapolis native, and part-time rapper, had some words of advice for Mr. Lamar.

Mike Epps: “I think the business is intimidated by independent people, intimidated by people with real talent, you know, I think the business likes fluff, and they like, they basically like people they can control—situations they can control, people they can control. They like the commercial shit versus what’s really real.

All I can say to people like Kendrick Lamar is to stay strong, stay being you, and the people was riding with you anyway. I guess people get through with their five minutes of fame or their 10 minutes of fame, you know it’s a marathon not a race. You’ll find yourself getting to the finish line in the end anyway."