YN posted the full interview he did with Waka Flocka for the RESPECT cover story on Rap Radar. Here’s an excerpt…
Waka’s not your cup of tea? Well take a seat and read this piece and see if YN can’t change your mind. Trust me. Ha! RESPECT. is on newsstands NOW!
Watch For The Hook
Hate if you must, but Waka Flocka Flame is an undisputed hit machine. The hottest Atlanta rapper has had a tumultuous year of bullets, beef and big records. Beware the future.
Words: Elliott Wilson
“The chorus comes to me immediately,” Waka tells me. We’re in the back of a Chinese restaurant in Georgia. “I can make hooks all day.” He’s here for the photo shoot for his first national cover. It’s long overdue. Juaquin Malphurs has created some of the top tunes of 2010. It follows that his name is bashed constantly. Online comments in a nutshell: He’s not an MC. He’s ignorant. Stupid. A passing fad.
He’s the new representation of all that’s supposedly wrong with hip-hop.
Waka is aware of all this keyboard clatter. And with thick skin, he plays into it. He’s smarter than he’s willing to let the general public know, and he doesn’t mind all the attention and angst aimed at him.
After all, he’s moving in the actual world even more than in the virtual one. He’s been shot. Punched in the eye. Battled a BET exec. Waka has publicly declared his problems with his mentor, Gucci Mane—and he has defended his momager, Mizay Entertainment’s Debra Antney, as she stood up to waves of negative press and the loss of her former artist, Nicki Minaj. This is all in the past year.
A jokester with a huge heart, Waka lives by a philosophy revolving around three Fs: friends, fans, family. And Flame doesn’t seem afraid of a lil’ fame thrown on top. Fantastic.
You write choruses that people get energized by and sing along to—a major part of songwriting. Do you feel recognized for that?
I don’t think they understand my art yet. They recognize it, but they don’t understand it yet. They still got mixed feelings. They don’t know if they wanna accept it. Or they don’t. Or they do, but probably their friend don’t like it.
You did an interview earlier this year with Whoo Kid, and you put down lyricism. You know the Internet goes crazy whenever a rapper says, “Oh, I’m not a lyricist.” Were you just tryin’ to fuck with people?
I don’t feel like I’m no lyricist. I’m not in the booth trying to goddamn rap big words. I’m not tryin’ to show off my intelligence. Anybody could memorize big words, put ’em together. I could do that. But if I don’t use the words on an everyday basis, why use the words in my rap?
You’d rather come up with the right hook, the right melody. You sort of articulated that: You want to make big records.
I just like music. I’m a lover of making music. It could be a big record, small record—as long as I’m making songs. One day it’ll pop; that’s how I look at it.
Seemed like it popped fast this whole year. “O Let’s Do It,” “Hard In Da Paint” and “No Hands”—three huge records.
Yeah. What I did in one year—one year—a lot of people accomplish in 10 years. A lot of people don’t like that. They feel I don’t deserve what I got.
Do you deserve it?
I’m a hard-ass worker. And I’m here for a reason. This shit ain’t luck. I don’t believe in luck.
What’s the reason you’re here?
To give my family and my friends a better opportunity in life. To teach them to be rich, or financially straight. I’m an opportunist at the end of the day.
Your mom was already in the business. You felt that need to hold her down too?
Yeah. She needed a lot of help. My mother wasn’t gonna handle it by herself. She’s golden-hearted, so I’d rather help her than watch her struggle through the whole process.
But you had to prove yourself to her, right? She had to recognize that you were serious.
That’s for anybody. She don’t give a fuck who you are. If we can’t make no money, and you’re not passionate about what you do, why work with you? That’s what kind of person she is. So I ain’t never told her I rap. Other people was like, “Yo, Waka’s got some hard shit.” So she’s just like, “You got some music?” I’m like, “Yeah.”
She told me when she heard “O Let’s Do It,” she recognized it as a hit.
I let her hear, like, 15 songs. She heard “O Let’s Do It,” and she was, “I like that song. I don’t like nothing else. I like that song.” One song. I said, “Oh, hell no.” She knew, though.
So what she was doing with Gucci Mane and Nicki Minaj—was that influencing you to wanna be part of it? What was your role when that was going on, and we didn’t know about you?
I might go to the studio with Gooch. Just anything, like little shit. Or Nicki might [need something]. You know what I’m saying?
Just holding everybody down.
It was a big learning experience. I never had a desire to rap. “O Let’s Do It” made me rap. The song popped so hard. I’m like, Shit, I might as well do it!
Your mom was telling me that you grew up in Queens, and you had access at a young age to artists like DMC.I grew up around LL Cool J, Farmers [Boulevard, in Queens], his grandmother used to live right—a block from me. They used to throw a lot of house parties.
You remember that?
A lot. My uncles knew him. The Lost Boyz, my cousin Malik used to know about them. Run DMC, they used to come to my grandma’s house. One of ’em used to talk to my aunt and made a song about her, “Mary Mary.” DMX, my uncle produced for him, I met him. Slick Rick, I met him. Method Man, I met him. Mariah Carey, when I was younger, I met her. Russell Simmons knew my family. Ja Rule and them used to live up the street. I heard my mama used to know 50 Cent, like, maybe since 50 was a baby. My cousins roll with G-Unit right now.
Read the rest of the interview here
RESPECT available on newstands now!
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