Studio Session: An Interview with James Royo

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For every great producer there is a great engineer. The art of mixing, recording, editing, and arranging a song is one that takes extreme time and patience. With the push of a button, an engineer is in control and one of the key players in how fans and consumers listen to music in the clubs, on the radio, and in their homes. That is why when you’re currently one of the biggest music producers in the world, like DJ Mustard, you need the right person behind the boards to help craft a particular sound and turn your product in to a global hit. I first encountered James Royo around 2009 when we both worked at Studio Center Miami in Miami Lakes, Florida. Although we don’t personally know each other, I have followed his career over the years via social media and have always admired his success and accomplishments. Currently, Royo is deeply immersed in hottest sound in hip-hop, yet incredibly humble and knowledgeable in his craft. I hope you all enjoy this interview!

Finally got to meet James Aug. 19, NYC

Finally got to meet James
Aug. 19, NYC

Congratulations on all your success, James. For those who don’t know you, can introduce yourself and you give us a timeline on your career in the industry and how you ended up primarily working with DJ Mustard and Y.G.?

My name is James, I’m 28 years old. I’ve been doing music for about six years, starting in Miami, and then I moved out to California about two and a half years ago. I was doing a session in Burbank at The Boom Boom Room [Will Smith’s studio] and became cool with the studio manager, Ed, who saw I was hungry and kept calling me for random sessions, without me knowing much about Y.G. or Mustard. I always give it my best work and those guys liked my sound, and more so on a personal level and we got a good vibe going, as friends almost, and that’s how the whole thing started. They started calling me for sessions; I think my first DJ Mustard session was for Bow Wow’s “In Da Club.”

Mustard Tweet

We’re midway through 2014, and it doesn’t seem like you and the team have any plans on slowing down. How does it feel to hear the music you are a part of all over the radio and clubs and overall impacting the current state of hip-hop?

You know, it’s a great feeling. It’s obviously what we all dream of being in music; to be the most popular in the industry and have everyone want to work with you and respect you. It’s a great feeling when people appreciate your music, and I got lucky that I linked up with people that were going in the right direction and I wanted to be a part of it. Like I said before, even before the music, it was about the people and the relationships that I had with Y.G. and Mustard. They are real good people, and they believe in karma, and know what’s right and wrong, and that’s the kind of people I like to work with; the rest takes care of itself.

Obviously DJ Mustard is having an incredible year and Y.G. finally got the support of Def Jam and put out one of the best albums this year [My Krazy Life], but what you do is a key part of their success. With that being said, how have things in the industry changed for you and what types of opportunities are now being presented?

Well, my life has changed dramatically. I started at the very bottom and was able to work my way up to be the engineer for the top producer in the game right now. You know, I’m not only the engineer, I get to mix all the records too, which is very very fortunate because it’s a very hard circle to get in to. Luckily my brothers Mustard and Y.G. really believe in me and have given me the confidence to know that I can mix with the best of them. We’ve had our records mixed by the top engineers and then I’ll mix it too, but we’re happy with my result in the end. A lot of that has to do with confidence and having people tell you that they believe in you and you’re just as good as other people that you might look up to. Sometimes experience doesn’t matter, it’s about putting your heart in to all the records and I hope people can hear that when they listen to the songs.

James with Y.G. in the studio (beginning at 1:45)

Of course experience is what makes someone great at what they do, and I think your track record speaks for itself; when you’re in a recording session or mixing someone’s single, how do you approach that record?

I definitely approach every song pretty much the same, I don’t change it based on who I’m working with, whether it’s a big artist, small artist, male, female, etc. – I mean, you do have to change it a little to fit the artist, but you don’t want to go too far from what they are trying to do. Basically, I just try and make the song the best way that I can and record everything as clean and properly as possible. But you never know, you can do a song with a big person and you think it will be big, but it’s not, then you do a song with a regular person and that one blows up. Just do your best work, because someone is always listening.

10405288_898052786877083_4583568388004407034_nIs there a particular song you are most proud of that you worked on?

Honestly, all of them. There are songs that people will probably never even hear that I’m proud of and they are great songs. Like I said, I’m proud of all the songs. When a song first gets big like “My Hitta,” which went platinum, that to me is a special record and was a cool experience.

Speaking on “My Hitta” and your experience mixing the other singles including “Who Do You Love” and “Left, Right,” can you talk about the process of making My Krazy Life? You know, the way the album was conceptually done and sequenced, Sickamore and Y.G. really put together of the top albums of the year. 

Like you said, Sickamore, Y.G., and Mustard had a vision and my job was really to just help make that vision come to life and make it cool, creative, and entertaining as possible. At the same time, not stray from their vision, which is straight vision that doesn’t have to be complex. Sometimes it is better to keep it raw and try and polish it so that it can go platinum.

… And they were able to find a great balance between street and commercial without taking away from the story telling aspect.

Exactly. Y.G. is just doing the music he knows how to do and it was just put together really well so that everybody can really appreciate it. If you go back and listen to Y.G.’s mixtapes, you know he’s been doing this music for a long time and that’s his style. The thing about it is that he didn’t have to go out and find a sound, he just gave his life story and did him, and it worked.

Besides having a relationship with Mustard and Y.G., to have a relationship with MixedByAli too, especially when TDE is at the top of hip-hop, I’m sure you’ve been able to take away some incredible knowledge just sitting with him in the studio as well. 

Absolutely. Sitting with both Ali and Terrence Martin, who know exactly what they are doing in the studio, just helps you build your confidence. Right now, everybody’s winning and it’s just a fun time and it’s happening naturally.

Every year there’s always the “go to producer” in hip-hop and right now it’s DJ Mustard. From someone who works with him on a day-to-day basis, how do you guys make sure that the sound you are creating stays relevant and not overdone?

You always want to be careful not to over saturate, but at the same time, this is the sound the Mustard has created for years. For as long as I’ve known him, this has been his sound and he’s sticking with it, and the industry is coming to him. Of course now we’re trying to progress it, and we’ve been working with a lot of producers, musicians, and writers across the board to make the highest quality music possible and put our everything in to it.

DJ Mustard & James Royo

DJ Mustard & James Royo

You know, if DJ Mustard is serious about this “10 Summers” campaign, that’s a nice career for you, too! 

Yeah! “10 Summers,” that’s the truth right there. The album is coming out soon and that’s what we’re looking forward to. It’s incredible; it has all the hottest rappers in the country, so that’s the main focus right now.

Note: DJ Mustard’s “10 Summers” will be available August 12th

Everybody wants to be a part of the music industry these days, and I’m sure people ask you all the time to either listen to their music or pass it off to the artists your work with, but what would be your best advice to someone trying to make it in this game?

Make everything your best work and try to make it the best song you’ve ever heard. Don’t be scared to have the engineer try stuff, take out certain sounds in the beat, etc. I arrange a lot too – I help Mustard – we all help each other. And you know what? If it’s wack, hopefully the people in the room with you will tell you. Once you make a decision stick with it!

How can people get in contact with you if they are interested in your production or having you mix their song?

You can reach me on Twitter at @djiknoso

James Royo’s Credits:

DJ Mustard Feat. Y.G., Jeezy & Que – Vato         T.I. Feat. Iggy Azalea – No Mediocre

Jason Derulo Feat. Kid Ink – Kama Sutra             Trey Songz – Na Na

Jeremih Feat. Y.G. – Don’t Tell ‘Em                      Ty Dolla $ign Feat. Joe Moses – Paranoid

Keyshia Cole – She                                               Y.G. Feat. Drake – Who Do You Love

Kid Ink Feat. Chris Brown – Show Me                   Y.G. – Left, Right

Teefli – 24 Hours                                                    Young Dro – Strong

Wiz Khalifa Feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Snoop Dogg – You and Your Friends

DJ Mustard Feat. Ty Dolla $ & 2 Chainz – Down On Me

Y.G. Feat. Young Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan – My Hitta

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 50, New Generation

“The rap game is all fucked up now, what are we gonna do now?
How we gonna eat man? 50 back around”

– 50 Cent (“Back Down“)

During the summer of 2010, I was given an opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to intern for 50 Cent and his record label, G-Unit Records. Although many who know me well know about my time at G-Unit, it’s an experience I rarely discuss in great detail, simply for two reasons. One, I would rather show you what I learned rather than tell you. Two, when 50 Cent talks, you listen and absorb. Confidentiality is also important. With that being said, 50 Cent’s headline making antics over the last two weeks do not surprise me. After all, all press is good press, right?

Me and 50 Cent (Summer 2010)

Me and 50 Cent (Summer 2010)

Despite being a commercially successful, worldwide superstar, from a music perspective 50 Cent is a new artist in 2014. The days of gorilla style marketing that fueled early 50 Cent and G-Unit records no longer exist, and rap feuds that 50 loves to engage in have taken to social media, leaving 50 Cent no choice but to reinvent himself as a dominate artist. This means constant promotion, a strong online presence, and one or two solid radio singles. Despite the rapid, uncertain change of the music industry and how listeners consume music, 50 Cent is always going to do things his way and continue to leave people talking. Recently, we have seen this with his shift to taking the independent route and leaving his recording home of over a decade, Interscope Records, a headline making first pitch at the New York Mets game, and reuniting with his G-Unit brothers Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck at New York’s Hot97 Summer Jam concert on June 1st.

50 Cent, Young Buck, Tony Yayo & Lloyd Banks at Hot97's Summer Jam (6/1/14)

50 Cent, Young Buck, Tony Yayo & Lloyd Banks at Hot97’s Summer Jam (6/1/14)

Leading up to his fifth studio album in five years, Animal Ambition (released June 3rd), 50 Cent decided to release both songs and visuals weekly for a majority of the songs off the album. In the June 14th issue of Billboard Magazine he said, “When I hear a song on the radio for the very first time, if it’s an artist I like, I know I would go to YouTube to hear it again. I enhanced it and made it better by having the visual already connected to it. Gain the audience, then sustain the audience instead of spending every marketing dollar to keep the audience in place.” Although 50 offers a logical explanation, I personally believe that he crossed the fine line between accessibility and oversaturation, leaving me to purchase a physical copy (yes, I still buy physical copies of CDs) more as a collectors item rather than for the interest of putting in the CD and listening to it. Of course, music and media streaming has played a role in this as well.

“I been patiently waiting for a track to explode on
You can stunt if you want and your ass’ll get rolled on
If it feels like my flow’s been hot for so long
If you thinking I’mma fuckin’ fall off, you’re so wrong”

– 50 Cent (“Patiently Waiting“) 

Often times consumers say to their favorite artist, “we want to the old so-and-so back” or “we want this sound instead,” and that is what 50 Cent did – sort of. As a long time fan, and one with an obvious bias to all things 50 Cent, I question how long 50 Cent has been sitting on this music. In fact, most of the personnel on the album have stated that the music was made four-five years ago. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing considering 50’s grimy, hard-hitting street content is what fans have always gravitated to. I do however,  question if and how a new, younger, audience will relate to this content enough to buy in to 50 Cent the rapper like many of us did back in 2003.

50-cent-animal-ambition-cover

Overall, 50 Cent’s Animal Ambition had a poor rollout, which most likely will result in this being his lowest selling album to date. This is not to say 50 Cent and his staff did not put in enough time or energy, because I know they did, perhaps the release of the album could have been handled differently. The Trey Songz assisted, Dr. Dre produced single “Smoke” (a song originally made for Dre’s “Detox”) is a perfectly capable single for commercial radio, but has not gained enough traction to earn the “hit record” status. Other songs off the album including “Pilot” and “Twisted” would be great radio contenders as well, but with the reuniting of G-Unit and new music from the group on the horizon, this may be 50 Cent’s “throw away” project.

In the end, not everyone can withstand a career of longevity and success the way 50 Cent has been able to. With the reuniting of G-Unit, 50 and the gang not only have the task of recreating the energy that once filled the air of New York City and fans all over the world, but translating their hard-hitting grassroots approach to conform to 2014 standards. So far in the 10 days they have been together, they have already flooded the Internet with four freestyles and planning for a new album by November. How about G-Unity as the title?

G-G-G-G-Unit!

 

Class Is In Session

10-Spot-Post-Final-620x347

“Immaculate, this scatter rapping, no passing my blunt


Don’t you put me on freshman covers, I’m posing with lunch


Think they worthy of presence presently passing ’em up


No competing with bleachers jogging I’m running a muck” 

– Isaiah Rashad (“Soliloquy”)

Well, it’s that time of year again and everyone’s favorite debate can now begin; who should grace the cover and make the 2014 XXL Magazine freshman list? As the years go on, I find this list to be irrelevant, simply because of the over saturation of rappers and how rapidly new ones emerge on the scene. Additionally, at this point, there is a something for everybody and there really is no need to complain about the artists you don’t like. Just remember, having millions of YouTube hits and Twitter followers does not always translate in to mainstream success!

Both in 2012 and 2013, I got 5 out of the 10 correct, so I’m hoping for a better score this year! Feel free to share your list with me: You can post your list in the comment section at the bottom of the page or Tweet me @BreezyOnTheBeat! As always, I will update this page once the official cover is out!

Predictions for Cover:

August Alsina – August had a strong single and radio rotation with his single “I Luv It” featuring Trey Songz and Chris Brown, he also has a great sense of melody, and signed with Def Jam this year. His debut album, Testimony, is scheduled to be released on April 15th.

Sage The Gemini – Say what you want about Sage, but with two big singles (“Red Nose” and “Gas Pedal“), and girls twerking all over Vine, you can’t deny the impact his music has had in the clubs and on the radio this year.

Troy Ave – Acclaimed as one of the leaders of the new New York City hip-hop, Troy Ave has been putting in a lot of work this year in order to make himself a staple in the industry.

Ty Dolla $ – The Taylor Gang representer from the West Coast has had a great year so far with his own singles, as well as producing and writing for others including Chris Brown (“Loyal“) and Jennifer Lopez (“Girls“). His recently released Beach House EP has been well received thus far.

Chance The Rapper – The Internet has spoken.

Lil’ Bibby – With a co-sign from Drake and an impressive debut mixtape, Free Crack, Lil’ Bibby is one of this years leaders of the Chicago hip-hop scene.

Isaiah Rashad – TDE’s latest addition has been a nice fit to the crew and slowly proving that he can hold his own in a room full of superstars.

Young Thug – According to DJ Drama’s interview with The Breakfast Club, Young Thug declined to be on the cover.

K Camp – Atlanta’s K. Camp has been creating a strong buzz with his singles “Money Baby” and “Cut Her Off” featuring 2 Chainz; he recently signed a deal with Interscope as well.

Rich Homie Quan – “Type of Way” was a major his this year, he is featured on YG’s breakout single “My Hitta,” and he helped Michigan State win the Rose Bowl. Don’t feel any type of way when he’s on the cover Just work harder! 

Vic Mensa –  #SAVEMONEY

Perhaps a trip to the XXL office?

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Fat Trel – MMG’s latest signee has had a strong buzz over the last few years and with the help of Rick Ross, Fat Trel should have no problem being at the forefront this year.

Honorary Member: Doe B. (RIP)

Honorable Mentions:

See you in 2015!
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Update: I didn’t do so bad!
2014-freshmen-class-630x839
2014 Freshman Class
Chance The Rapper. Rich Homie Quan. Isaiah Rashad. Ty Dolla $ign. Lil’ Durk. Troy Ave. Vic Mensa. Lil’ Bibby. Jon Connor. Jarren Benton. August Alsina.

Thinking Outside of the Box: An Interview with Billy Mann

Billy_Mann

Billy Mann

Resume:

Singer/Songwriter/Producer

 Founder/CEO of Green & Bloom/Top1ine & Chairman of management firm Manncom

GBTopline Logo

Former President of New Music A&R International and President of Global Artist Management at EMI Music

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Billy Mann is an executive you want to know. While many of the industries power players are in front of the camera promoting their labels and brands, Billy is quietly doing that same. Prior to the formation of his companies Green & Bloom/Top1ine & Manncom, Billy Mann was writing and producing for P!nk (“God Is a DJ,” “Stupid Girls,” “I’m Not Dead” and “Nobody Knows”), Robyn (“My Only Reason”), Backstreet Boys (“Poster Girl,” Panic,” “Love Will Keep You Up All Night,” and “Unexpected Sunday Afternoon”) Celine Dion (“Treat Her Like A Lady” and “Amar Haciendo el Amor”), and more. Additionally, during his time at EMI Music, Billy Mann was responsible for helping to launch David Guetta‘s worldwide career. With so much accomplished and experience behind him, having the ability to talk with him was an honor. The information being shared is something that I believe will benefit aspiring artists of all genres. I hope you enjoy this interview and acquire the same amount of knowledge as I did. Please let me know what you think! Leave a comment or send me an email.

Interview Breakdown:

Explanation of Green & Bloom/Topl1ne and Manncom  (0:08 – 3:00)

Talking about his artist Alex Aiono & the struggles aspiring artists are facing (3:01 – 5:34)

What to look for in an aspiring artist (5:35 – 7:38)

How important is it for executives to think globally (7:39 – 10:33)

The importance of publishing and other business aspects of the music industry (10:34 – 15:48)

How Billy learned the music business and his thoughts on music business programs in schools (15:49 – 18:29)

Conclusion (18:30 – 19:50)

21st Century Soul: An Interview with John Legend

John Legend Flyer

This past Friday (March 29), I had the opportunity to talk with 9-time Grammy Award winning singer John Legend. Along with Julia Klein of Slope Media Group, she and I traded off questions to Mr. Legend ranging from his college days at The University of Pennsylvania, philanthropic endeavors, his passion for music, and of course his new album Love In The Future, which is due out on June 25th. One of the things I hope you conclude from both reading this article and listening to the interview is that John Legend credits passion and luck to where he is today. As he mentioned to us, “You’ve gotta meet the right people, you’ve gotta have a roommate who’s Kanye’s cousin and that helps.”

John Legend Breezy

Going into this interview I wasn’t the biggest fan of John’s music, but I certainly have great respect for him and his talents. After about 15-minutes of speaking with him, followed by about an hour or so lecture and performance, I now know that John Legend truly enjoys sharing his voice to his audience through teaching. As a committed philanthropist, John Legend is on the board of Teach For America and the Harlem Village Academy. He also spends a lot of time trying to improve inner city schools and education reform. I guess we’re all just ‘ordinary people’…

The promotion for your new album Love In The Future is now underway. Last week you released two new tracks; the first being the Hit-Boy produced “The Beginning” and the official single “Who Do You Think We Are” featuring Rick Ross. What has the initial feedback been on these tracks?

It’s been great. Only time will tell with these things because a lot of it is determined as things get to radio and they kind of build an audience from week to week so we’ll see how it goes, but so far I’ve almost seen nothing but positive feedback and so I feel good about it. I feel very proud of the songs themselves, I feel very proud of the album and I think it’s going to be my best album yet so I’m excited.

Personally, I think “Who Do You Think We Are” is an incredible track. The passion and soul you incorporate with the Jean Knight sample is really something everyone could enjoy. On top of that, Rick Ross’ vocals glide right over the beat. Obviously the chemistry between you guys is undeniable from “Magnificent” to “Sweet Life”, “Rich Forever” and Meek Mill’s “Maybach Curtains.” With that being said, can you explain your relationship with Rick Ross and when are we getting a collaboration album! 

Well, Rick and I aren’t close friends who call each other up and hang out, it’s more of a professional relationship, but it’s one of mutual respect for each other as artists and the recognition that we really do sound good together. So we’ve done a lot of those tracks and we have similar musical sensibilities, I think. When it comes to bringing hip-hop and soul together, our voices just work really well together. And, it is often been kind of discussed the idea that we could do something together as a full album and I think that it is still possible.

Love in the Future, new album is coming out June 25th, and the title has a few meanings. Of course you’re getting married so congratulations on that, and on top of that you said it’s about the style of music that’s on the album which you called a 21st century soul album. So what is the meaning behind a 21st century soul album and what can we look for?

Well you know, when I went into this project the main thing I talked about with my collaborators was, everyone knows I do kind of a vintage soul sound, everyone compares me to singers that came like 40 years ago. How do we keep that but still move the music forward? That was really the mission musically and creatively, thinking about how to make a really beautiful modern soul album that was the goal.

In regards to your 2008 album Evolver, you’ve mentioned that during that time period Kanye wasn’t really around to be fully invested in your project…

Kanye’s been more involved in this album then any of my other albums.

Kanye/John

Does it feel like the Get Lifted era again?

I think there are some elements of that, but he’s actually more creatively involved in this album then Get Lifted. Once again, he was involved in those albums, but this time less as a beat maker and more of a creative advisor or executive producer.

I wanted to take a moment and reflect on your career, specifically as a member of G.O.O.D. Music. When you see everything from Consequence acting crazy on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop to G.O.O.D. Music affiliate Travi$ Scott on this years XXL Freshman cover to Big Sean & 2 Chainz becoming hip-hop superstars, what are you thoughts on the evolution of G.O.O.D. Music and where it is now? 

GOOD Music

Well, I think Kanye has great taste and he is a great executive producer and a great creative mind, and so he’s been good at signing some really talented people. Some of those people are more unofficial G.O.O.D. Music members, like 2 Chainz, but either way, Kanye knows talent and he knows people that have something special and he’s able to help them become even better than they were without him. I think those two things; the ability to help them get better and ability to find them in the first place, are two things that make a great label executive.

Signed "Cruel Summer" CD

Signed “Cruel Summer” CD

What’s next for you in preparation for the album?

We have a video for “Who Do You Think We Are” that we shot last week, and that will be coming out in April. The video is awesome. Then we’ll put out another single right before the album comes out and we’ll keep on moving. We’ll be touring in Europe over the summer doing festivals, then we’ll come back to the States and do a U.S. tour in the fall/winter and I’m excited to roll this out.    

Update: John Legends album “Love in the Future” will now be released on September 3rd, 2013

Trouble Man: An Interview With T.I.

Below, is the transcribed version of my interview with T.I., which I conducted on my radio show on 92 WICB.

20121024-ti-picture-x600-1351091224 I feel like I know you; Not only have I grown up listening to your music, but you’re show on VH1 ‘T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle’ is now on it’s 15th episode of the 2nd season. How has the show benefited your family?

Well, I think it has allowed us to do something together. You know, some families it’s football, other families may own a restaurant, but this is our thing and it allows us to have stuff to do. We all own and appreciate it, because everyone contributes.

Who has more fans, you or your son Major? MajorMajor might have me.

All your kids are characters; on the next episode King starts his own pajama line.

Right on, he thinks he’s Hugh Hefner.

On December 18th, you’re releasing your eighth album Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head; what’s the concept of the album and what can fans expect from it?

Interviewed T.I.

Well, Trouble Man is just me accepting the fact that trouble has been a huge part of my life, for a majority of the time I have been on this Earth and accepting that fact, and the music that I’m making now is inspired by that. This is a project I’m extremely proud of; I put a lot of myself into it. It’s upper echelon and something I think the fans will enjoy on December 18th.

The way you’ve described some of the records on the album such as “Can You Learn” featuring R. Kelly, “Guns & Roses” featuring Pink, and “Sorry” featuring Andre 3000, it seems like this album was both a learning and growing experience for you, given the trials and tribulations you’ve experienced. With that being said, what lessons have you learned through the recording process?

t.i.sorry_

I won’t say that the recording process was the learning experience; I would say the circumstances I endured were the learning experiences. I think the album is a platform for me to project and apply the things I’ve learned throughout the years. One of the things I’ve learned is that the things we worry about on a daily basis aren’t really that serious. When you are taken away from everything you love [friends, family], it just seems like the daily stuff is taken for granted.

In a recent interview, you mentioned that you’re expectation for Trouble Man is to make this album as significant to the culture and the time period right now. How you do view the current state of the hip-hop culture and how will your album relate to it? 

I think it’s going to be separate and apart from it [the culture]; it’s going to stand-alone. There isn’t much out there to compare it to; it’s a cohesive body of work. The Kendrick Lamar album, I think it can live up to that standard. It’s not just a collection of songs thrown together; it’s a cohesive body of work that I think can and should be judged on a different standard.

Maybe the closest thing to being current are the guest features your have – Meek Mill & A$AP Rocky, both who are fairly new to the game. Of course, Meek Mill being one of your mentees, and A$AP, who has really dominated over the last year and a half or so.   

I have a lot of respect for the cats out there who are putting in work. Don’t get me wrong, I salute the A$AP Rocky’s, Meek Mill’s, and Kendrick Lamar’s of the world, or even the Big K.R.I.T.’s., you know what I’m saying?

Following Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, you plan on releasing its sequel, Trouble Man: He Who Wears The Crown; besides the fact that you recorded over 120 songs for this project and need to release them, is the purpose of the subtitle to reiterate to the fans that after all these years and a few ups and downs, you still remain the King of The South?

Well, I mean I think that I remain a king, period; a jurisdiction. I’m a ruler of whatever ground I’m standing on. It’s not necessarily me waving a flag or making a statement that hasn’t already been made before. I think that it’s really just saying that I accept the responsibility. All the things I have, and the opportunities I have been given, it’s up to me to hold myself to a higher standard of performance and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Besides your work on Trouble Man, and its sequel, what’s going with the Hustle Gang? Can we expect a compilation album in the near future?

Hustle Gang - T.I., B.o.B., Trae Tha Truth, Iggy Azalea & Chip

Hustle Gang – T.I., B.o.B., Trae Tha Truth, Iggy Azalea & Chip

Yeah, absolutely. I think that once we get into the top of the year, it’s going to be time to start putting that project together.

Any final comments? 

@TIP on Twitter, @TroubleMan31 on Instagram, GrandHustleGang.com for all your t-shirts and sweatshirts, and make sure you get the album on the 18th; it will be in stores.

I hope you all enjoy the interview. T.I. – T.I.’s eight studio album, Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head will be available in stores and online on December 18th. To listen to the audio version of the interview, click here