Hip-hop is the streets. Hip-hop is a couple of elements that it comes from back in the days... that feel of music with urgency that speaks to you. It speaks to your livelihood and it's not compromised. It's blunt. It's raw, straight off the street - from the beat to the voice to the words.
Calling Michelle 'Obama Barack's baby mama?' Tell me, is that acceptable? But the Obamas aren't the only targets. Fox's pattern of race-baiting and fear-mongering regularly focuses on black leaders, black institutions and ordinary black people.
I want to sound like an instrument. I want my voice and my words to marry the beat. I go with the rhythm of it and the words start to come to my mind and those words could be based on things that's been on my mind for the past year, the past month, the past week, whatever; I write it.
I think hip-hop could help rebuild America, once hip-hoppers own hip-hop... We are our own politicians, our own government, we have something to say. We're warriors. Soldiers.
Some people say I'm conscious, some say I'm a gangsta rapper - it's just me doing me. I'm stomping in my own lane. I'm doing what I do.
I think if I heard someone else talking about their life, describing all the problems I've had, they'd look like they were through. Done. But there's something about me - I'm smiling. Those things are really not bad enough to put me in a slump. I'm smiling with the opportunity to wake up every morning.
I don't want any title. I just say what I say, and hopefully somebody gets it, man. I'm not perfect, and I'm just here and trying to make a dollar, and being real at the same time, you know?
When you're a teenager, you want to meet a lot of girls - you want to get the most girls. You don't know anything about respect; you don't know anything about being faithful and loyal to your girlfriend.
When you have a daughter, you want to protect her from the things that I've seen out there, you know, the things that's out there that ain't good for her. It's a crazy world we live in.
I wish the music business was a much easier thing, but you know what? Nothing easy is worth anything. So it is what it is. There comes a time when things can work out and everybody can be happy. And that's what it's all about in the end - everybody being happy and working it out.
DJs play a big responsibility of what hip-hop is doing... At the end of the day, it's up to us to control and to own hip-hop. DJs need to challenge us rappers. They got so much power, they need to challenge us.
Unfortunately, man, a lot of places in America have to deal with unnecessary violence. Somebody like me who knows it firsthand and could relate... I had a best friend killed, plenty other friends killed. I been through it. I seen it.
I definitely have plans to do more collaboration albums in the future. I'm a big fan of Common. I'm a big fan of Scarface; I'm a big fan of so many people, from Jeezy to... well, there are a lot of people's music that I respect. I don't know who I will collaborate with, but there's a great chance of something happening.
GaGa is one of my favourites. Her voice is incredible and she's fearless and she's ahead of the game. She's ahead of the entire game, and I admire that.
I never stood for any president in my life, never voted, before Barack Obama. It changed my life to vote. It starts there with me. I never cared for politics before Barack Obama. I never thought it mattered to people like me.
The things that I have said when I was young and curious about whatever the subject matter was, I respect those - those are growing pains. Even if you make mistakes, I go back to those things, my not-so-great moments because those are my truest moments; those are my human moments. I'm not even mad at the things I said that were a little dicey.
My earliest memories of rap music was mixed with my earliest memories of reggae music. They were big sounds around the way, heavy bass lines, strong messages, definitely.
'Stillmatic' is the rebirth of 'Illmatic,' my first debut album to come out in 1994. 'Stillmatic' is me coming full circle in my career and with everything, and just bringing pure hip-hop back.
I see N.Y. hip-hop like I see N.Y. streets. N.Y. streets are grimy; it's a grind. N.Y. rappers are hustlers - whatever sound is in, we can adapt to that; there's nothing wrong with that.
I'm not talking about Russia in my music. I've never been to Russia. I'm not talking about Africa, Switzerland, China. I'm talking about me being American and growing up in a crazy world and helping to reflect all different sides of life.