I loved plays, I loved films, but I had no desire to act until I had just put out my album 'Like Water for Chocolate.' Creatively, I felt like I'd hit a ceiling, and I needed something else to express myself, and I just decided to take acting classes.
One thing I have throughout my career, it felt like I did my best to align myself with quality artists, quality work, and it is a situation of steel sharpening steel.
I learned a long time ago to be honest when I'm talking to other artists. Up-and-coming artists used to come and say something, they would have a demo reel, and I would try to tell them the truth. I don't go up and say something unless I really feel it.
It was incredible to have J Dilla in your dining room making beats - it was one of the greatest experiences I've had.
Technically, my first acting job was in one of my videos for a song called 'Retrospect For Life,' which Lauryn Hill directed and featured an actress by the name of N'bushe Wright, who played my girlfriend who was about to be pregnant. I remember being so nervous about it, but now I feel like I can conquer the world with it.
Doing acting opened up other creative outlets; it made me feel freer as an artist.
After you make good, quality music, then it's your job to go out there and promote it and to market it and to get it out there to the people.
One thing I always loved about hip-hop music was the raw, boom-bap element - it felt powerful and manly.
I come from playing sports. I compete, so I gotta be better than I was last year. I gotta get better, and that better gotta come from just growing. From learning new stuff to working on it, experience it in life, and failing.
Everything I'm saying shouldn't be taken so serious. I'm playing, but at the same token, I'm acknowledging that I'm not always the perfect man; I'm not always doing the right things. That's who I am. I'm working to be better.
I think you really have to remember what you loved about making music in the first place. Ultimately, people can be like, 'We've seen this dude in many movies,' but if they hear a song and they're feeling it, they can look past all the personal things and not hold it against you that you're also an actor.
It's our responsibility for the village to say, 'Hey we're going to create these programs,' whether it's sports, creative arts, music, we need some things to give young people positive things to do, and that's including jobs.
People that I care about, that I consider being friends of mine, most of the things I discuss with them I wouldn't discuss in public because it's a real relationship. It's not a relationship for the public, you know?
The impact of a conscious artist is necessary, and it ripples through the world.
Oh man, I love what the South brings as far as the soul, and I really have noticed from even the early days of listening to OutKast and Goodie Mob that Atlanta and the South has a diverse sound to it. You have bounce music. You have soulful musicians. You have artists with vocals who try to do different things.
I came from the South Side of Chicago wanting to be a rap artist and make videos.