I always feel like it's two key ingredients when it comes to following your dreams, making something happen that the average person deems difficult. If you truly believe it, that's step one. Step two, is, you know, the hard work that goes along with it.
Usually I start with a beat, I start making a beat, and my producer side is making the beat. And on a good day, my rapper side will jump in and start the writing process - maybe come up with a hook or start a verse. Sometimes it just happens like that. A song like 'Lights Please' happens like that.
I struggled with being a broke college graduate, and while all my friends were getting career jobs, I was working horrible part-time jobs. That's why now, even when I get tired, I think, 'This is what I asked for.'
I just feel like, with rappers, there's so much complacency. It's like, 'Oh, I'm a rapper. I'm successful. I make money. That's all that matters.' But there's a lot of stuff going on in the world. Whether or not you're aware of it, it's happening.
One day, I'll be listening to a bunch of Ray Charles, the next day it's nothing but Red Hot Chili Peppers. The next day it might be Tupac all day.
I want people to follow their dreams, yes... but I'm not interested in telling young black kids how to be rappers... I want to show them that there's so many other paths you can take, besides a rapper or basketball player.
Barack Obama would not be President if he were dark skin. You know what I mean? That's just the truth. I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin.
My real dream is to have a whole, like, buy a whole piece of land. Imagine, like, a long driveway. Like, a cul de sac-type street, with maybe, like, seven houses. Me be right here. Have my mom be able to be right here. My brother over here. My girl's grandmother and family right here. Friends over there. That's my real dream.
I worked in ad sales. I would call up local businesses and try to get them to buy ads in the paper. The whole time, I felt like I was just scamming people.
I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think something's not good enough, and I won't stop until I feel like I've made it. I'm never satisfied.
As much as it might look like, to someone else, that I'm successful, I never feel like I'm anywhere. The further I go, I still feel equally further from my eventual goal. Because as I grow, I get more goals. I'm never content.
I was a super-duper Tupac fan, and I realized later, when I became a huge Nas fan and a huge Eminem fan, I was drawn to the storytellers. They all told stories in different ways, but they were all like the best storytellers.
Rhyme patterns are nothing without meanings to the words. A lot of rappers can do those flows, but the raps aren't really about anything - which is cool sometimes, but to have the flow and the message is one of my favorite things.
I feel like I'm a New Yorker because I really know the city. I actually tell the drivers where to go - I have this bad habit, I always question the drivers. I do that all the time because I feel like I know the best way, when really it's like, 'Yo, man, shut up. This dude does this every day of his life.'
I'm the same kid who used to hop the trains with headphones and just go to downtown Manhattan, walk around and listen to music or walk through the city. The fame restricts that. It's a small complaint in comparison to the benefits I get from it, but the restrictive part is what I don't like - and the fact that it's not reversible.
I feel like the reason people feel like they know me is because I'm giving you myself in the music. There's where the connection comes from; you can't Twitter that.
I met Will Smith twice. I didn't talk to him for too long but I was trying to let him know that my age group grew up watching him - he was the coolest guy on television and the coolest guy in movies.
I'm half-black, half-white, so I basically put it like this: I can fit in anywhere. That's why I write so many stories from so many different perspectives, because I've seen so many.
I was a class clown. At 12, I was definitely clowning. I was making all the jokes. But I was smart, so the teachers didn't know what to do with me.
There was the time I bought three cars in the span of three or four weeks. It was crazy; it wasn't greedy. It was mine, my girl's, my mom's. I got Benzes for my ladies. But I felt crazy. You have to understand I come from a world where we're very modest. But that's not greedy. That's nice, right?