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This month, Lloyd returns with his first label-backed project since 2008's 'Lessons In Love.' His new album, 'King of Hearts,' out today, was recorded under his new label, Interscope Records, where he landed in 2010, to work with Jimmy Iovine. The new deal with Interscope allows the Atlanta native to create a more dynamic album with a long list of features from Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, R. Kelly and Andre 3000, just to name a few.
ATL beatsmith Polow Da Don handled production on the album and the public got their first taste of the collaboration on the 50 Cent-featured track 'Let's Get It In,' which premiered in January. According to Lloyd, he and Polow crafted an album that reflects his evolved tastes and experiments with a new sound. "'King of Hearts' is a very hard and bass-driven album," Lloyd tells the BoomBox. "It's all the things I loved growing up in Atlanta."
Read on as the crooner discusses his ability to snag Andre 3000 for a collaboration, his upcoming tour dates with Weezy F. Baby and what department he's a little more "wiser" in.
This is your first album on Interscope, where you are excited to work with Jimmy Iovine. Has the new label provided you with more opportunities?
There have been way more resources and that's the beauty of it. That's the reason I went to Los Angeles to work on the album, so that I could tap into more resources. We have songs on 'King Of Hearts' with trumpet players, saxophonists, live strings and there are even records where I'm playing the piano and records that have the word p---- ['Dedication to My Ex'] involved [laughs]. We just wanted to come out swinging, we've got a lot of heavy hitters on the album -- we have a lot of dangerous R&B, if you will.
Were your options restricted before signing the new deal?
Definitely. There's always a beef here and always a grudge there and a lot of times when you deal with someone who has an issue with someone else, you kind of end up in the middle of it. That has a lot to do with the reason behind me with working 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and even being able to have a conversation with Dr. Dre. It's not to say, "Forget those guys," it's just to say that this is the year for building bridges and not putting up walls for me.
So it's safe to say that you plan on sticking around at Interscope?
I'm confident not only in this album, but in the many more wonderful albums we'll create here. I'll just continue to work on growing and developing with this newfound freedom at Interscope. Having the power to work with whomever I feel is something that I really look forward to exploring.
It's been three years since your last album, what has you kept busy since then?
Three years to say the least. I've been pretty active, even with 'Bedrock,' owning it somewhat when it first came out and being a part of Drake's first mixtape. I also released a free 'Like Me: The Young Goldie' EP, which featured Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Rich Boy, to name a few. It was just about eight songs, with the track called 'Pusha,' which was really popular. I do this regardless of what's going on with the business side of things; I'll continue to be a creative force to be reckoned with. The beautiful thing about YouTube, Twitter and the do-it-yourself mindframe is that you don't have to wait on anybody. If you have a great idea, all you have to do is record it, give it back to the world and they'll catch onto it if it's worth feeling.
You have a ton of features on the new album. Were any of them difficult to land? Andre 3000 is notorious for being a difficult catch.
Andre is a sucker for great music and he loves great songs, so every blue moon he'll step outside of his world and into mine. This is the second time we've collaborated -- we did a remix to 'You,' which features Nas as well. I think it is, by far, the greatest R&B remix this side of the Maxon Dixon mixed with Patti LaBelle. Andre knows how much he influenced me growing up in Atlanta. He knows how hard I've been working on this album and he knows how much it means to me. I think he just wanted to be a part of this new transformation of my sound and my style and ultimately, the way I make people feel with my music.
What has changed the most about your sound and style in the past three years?
I've just changed as a person. There are obviously changes you see on the outside, but I think those are reflections of the core of the person who is growing. I think there is a certain rebelliousness that I've learned to bottle in my music. I try to let it all out in the music now and I try not to bleed over into the things I do outside of the studio. I use that as my relief. And when you hear songs like 'Lay it Down,' that's more powerful; it's louder, it's stronger-I'm just singing it out more. With this music, you can almost hear my facial expressions. You can hear when I'm tight enough to hit that real high note, or you know I'm about to cry when I'm singing the lyrics to 'World Cry,' which is a song with R. Kelly and Keri Hilson about poverty, injustices to minorities and war. It's about how we all really hate to see people struggle and unfortunately, be mistreated.
Why was 'World Cry a selection among so many songs dedicated to relationships?
There are many sides to the man who is Lloyd, who is the 'King Of Hearts.' The king has many responsibilities to love and to protect, and to be honest in baring his soul. He has to be someone who is the example of a man.
Have you evolved in the relationship department like you have in music?
Great lovers aren't born, they're made. The experiences we have in our lives -- the good
and the bad -- are all worthwhile, and they all build character. Obviously, the older you
get, the wiser you get. So I'm just a wiser 21, if you will. It's a wiser street run if you will.
When you're putting so much emotion onto each track, are you very careful about selecting complimentary features?
I'm naturally picky and that probably has a lot to do with the music that I chose for the album. We didn't record a lot of music, surprisingly. Usually I record a bunch of songs, then I narrow it down, do the first cut, and then go back and for a second cut, and then the final cut. This time we did about 17 or 18 songs for the album. We originally wanted to use only 10 songs, and we had the 10, but then Polow Da Don wanted to do something a little more hip-hop, a little more aggressive. So we decided to do these really crazy, dope hip-hop infused R&B records, like 'Be The One,' which features Trey Songz and Young Jeezy and 'Shake it For Daddy,' for which I have a really cool version with Snoop that didn't make the album. My original version on the album is basically me and Polow freestyling in the studio on the spot but it ended up being really cool. There's a song called 'Bang,' which is one of the last songs we recorded, featuring an up-and-coming young lady who is very talented.
It sounds like you had a lot of fun recording the album.
I did! I recorded a little bit in Atlanta, a little bit in L.A., and even a track at the Palms
Studio in Vegas, which was a big experience.
This fall you'll be on the road opening for Lil Wayne's I Am Still Music tour.
I haven't been on an actual tour with Wayne before and I can't wait. I'm excited about touring with the Martian. I really look forward to taking a trip to his world, and bringing people over into mine. Our worlds collide a lot, so I get the best of both young worlds with this.
--Written by Nadeska Alexis