Let's talk about the album leak. How's the label responding to that?They're responding very well. They brought in the RIAA, and a few other organizations to try and contain the leak, and shut down a lot of the links. They contacted a bunch of the hip-hop websites, forums, and file-sharing companies and got them to shut down the links, and make it almost internet-illegal I guess. So yeah, it's very good. The release date wasn't in jeopardy, but we're still recording for the album because we don't know if there's still going to be a heavy bootlegging problem.
I understand. Do you plan on putting out the same material you had, or are you recording brand new songs for the project?Nah...the album that people got, which is what I was trying to stress, was a fake album. It was probably 6 records from that [fake album] that were going to make the actual album, and that's what the uproar was all about. The album is going to have about 14 records, so when that occured it was like "uh...we now have to see if we're going to scratch it completely." If it's a bootlegging situation, and becomes real heavy over the second month, we might have to scrap a lot of it just for my fans. I don't want my fans to feel cheated.
Do you know the release date?It's still June 27th
What's the inspiration behind "Kick,Push"?I'm looking at "what can I do to propel, not only myself as an artist, but also my company." What kind of music can I make to ensure that I get in the arenas and get in the faces of people that normally wouldn't listen to hip-hop but how can I do that now. It's not a song about rolling through the hood on "24's" with a tech-9. That ain't gotta do it. You've got to take a risk. You've got to be diverse if you want to propel yourself beyond just being a rapper and going platinum or 2x platinum or whatever. A lot of doors get slammed in people's faces because of the content of their music, you know?
RightAnd this is from a business standpoint. It's not even like a moral thing where I don't want to put negativity in the world and stuff like that. I'm not looking to the web to see "oh we don't like your album" so I'm going back to the studio to make the album that the streets will like. Nah, I'm good. Jay-Z likes my album and that's all that matters. I mean he's the nicest rapper in the world and he likes my album.
Speaking of Jay, is he still executive-producing the album?Yes, he's still the Executive Producer of the album.
What's the best advice he ever gave to you?"Don't chase the radio." He said "do not chase radio" and when he said that, I was like "oh word?...'Kick,Push'" and then the radio came to me.
No doubt. I spoke with Rhymefest awhile ago, and he's of the opinion that Chicago will never be a hip-hop hot spot, because Chicago artists don't work together. Would you agree?Yes, he's right...Chicago artists don't work together but I disagree that it would never be a hot spot, because Jay-Z and Nas never did a song together until this last concert. That didn't mean that New York wasn't a hip-hop hot spot. It's too early to say stuff like that. What people don't understand about certain situations is that somebody has to make some leeway on their own before they come back and do things with other people, because if it's a bunch of nobody's doing a song together, you'll still be a bunch of nobody's doing a song together. First, we have to make a name for ourselves individually. So, when we do that song together, I'm bringing my million fans, his million fans, Bumpy J's million fans, this artist's million fans, Rhymefest's million fans...so that's 5 million fans as opposed to 20,000 fans. I even tell my friends, "if I do a song with you now it's going to mean nothing, it's going to be dumped off some mixtapes, and they're probably going to clown you and say that you're not better than Lupe Fiasco, then it's a wrap for you. Why don't you wait till God willing, I sell 100 million records then my co-sign means a lot more or vice-versa."
Well, in that case you owe Rhymefest a phone call because he said he's been trying to get a hold of youMe and Rhymefest are cool. We already spoke on the whole situation. Also, people don't understand that everybody in Chicago are not friends, like c'mon man this ain't like Candy Land. These are grown people with their own separate movements and investments behind them.
Yup, I can respect that. Which artists are you checking for right now?This kid Sway, DangerDoom, my crew: Gemini and Shayla G, there ain't really too many people, but Sway is the one kid...we actually did a song together. That song is crazy.