Read on as the dreadlocked rhymer shares his love of Shakespeare, tells the story of his rap sibling and explains the concept behind his 'Tony Montana' video.
What can people expect from you in the video, being that it's the first time your officially showing off visuals for a song?
The concept of the video, [it's] me going from Atlanta over to Santo Domingo, it was a robbery going on and I'm supposed to come over and see what's going on, like who was behind the schemes and who's all involved in the robbery. I come over and meet the modern day 2011 Tony Montana. It's more of a movie than a video.
Was this the first time you traveled to the Dominican Republic?
That was my first time being in D.R. We had to go to D.R. to make it feel international. It's an international record. We wanted to make the Spanish community feel like they were a part of the whole movement.
The song's been out for awhile. Do you feel like you should've released a video to support the track earlier?
To be honest, I think it's long overdue. But it's always timing. Timing is everything. Only time will tell how big the video can actually be. The song's been out for five months now.
Watch Future's 'Tony Montana'
Why did you come at the track with that particular vocal tone and sound?
It was the energy of the track and what I was going through at the time. It's an aggressive song so that's why I got an aggressive tone. And then just feeding off that 'Racks' energy and wanting to come back with another smash hit. That's what really influenced the record. I was trying to be creative and reinvent myself all over again. I wanted to mention something white so I got the 'Tony Montana' idea and used it as a metaphor. Nobody had did a song called 'Tony Montana.'
How do you feel now moving from YC's song 'Racks' and now having your own project on the forefront?
It feels good. I put a lot of work in so I want to make sure my work is paying off. Right now I'm in a position where I can see my work right before my eyes. It makes me want to go even harder and stay in the loop and be a part of this industry forever.
Some of these producers you're collaborating with are new to hip-hop fans. Why do you like to go the unknown beatmaker route rather than go-to guys?
I love working with new producers. I got a brand new movement so I wanted the sound to be new. Everything that comes from me is a new sound that you never heard. And then it's a win-win because I can help a new producer who's not signed and get him in the limelight. I get a kick out of helping people at the end of the day because that's where you get your blessings from.
How did you link up with L.A. Reid to get signed to Epic Records?
About five years ago, my brother, Rocko, had the song, 'Umma Do Me.' It was a lead single. And we went up to L.A.'s office. We had a mixtape called 'Swag Season' and then 'Umma Do Me' was on the radio, so L.A. signed him. My bidding war started like eight months ago. I kept dropping mixtapes, kept dropping mixtapes, tryna get the number up there. I did like six mixtapes by the time I met with L.A. Reid. I already had four or five songs on the radio when he just got in [to Epic Records] and 'Tony Montana' was already taking off. I took the meeting with [L.A.] and I was already going back and forth with another label. I walked in L.A.'s office and he never let me leave. We knew it was destiny, destined to take place.
Who are you inspired by lyrically?
I don't look at anyone lyrically. But I look at someone from their business and what you offer to the game. I'm into movements. I like the way 50 Cent moves. I like what Jay-Z did for the game. I like Kanye, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix.
What are you doing to prove to people that you're more than just the 'Tony Montana' song?
I'm showing how creative I can be, like it's not just a club song. It's a metaphor for a lifestyle, it's a movie. I paint real pictures. That's what I feel like hip-hop is about, painting pictures. It comes from graffiti. And that's what I do best on tracks -- I know how to paint pictures over and over again. From how I feel to me coming in, in the studio, and me speaking words for the first time and 'Tony Montana' coming out. Or a rap to come out. These are my real thoughts and they come from pictures in my head that I be able to put on wax.
When was a rap career something you envisioned in your future?
I was a hustler. I wasn't working a 9-to-5 job but I was working. I've always been intrigued by words and how they rhyme. From being in school hearing Shakespeare to realizing you could say words to a girl to make her feel like you love her. And you can express your feelings through your words. When I realized that, like I could go to the studio and express myself and put certain words down and lyrics. God gave me a gift and recognized how I could put words together and how powerful those words can be.