No matter how dope you are, if you ain't really built, if you ain't put that groundwork in, you gonna flop. Nobody gonna fill those arenas.
My father brought a basketball to the hospital when I was born, and he already had it embedded in his head that I would be a ball player.
I was incarcerated for a little while in Baltimore, and my celly was Muslim. I was watching him pray every day, and his outlook on getting out of that situation was a lot more positive than the other dudes that were Muslim in the jail.
Wu-Tang was going through it. They didn't come from great homes or families. They really came from hard beginnings so it just made me reflect on my own situation. If Wu-Tang was able to make it, why can't I?
Nobody uses skits at all anymore, so it seems like I use a lot. That's how I grew up on tapes. Biggie tapes, Biggie albums would have skits. The Lox would have skits. Mase would have skits. All the dudes I grew up on in Nineties rap would have skits on their projects, just to make you feel like you were right there with them.
I wanna be in a movie, I wanna have a clothing line, I wanna put myself in a position where, when I'm dead and gone, or I can't rap anymore, that's still moving. Tupac and Biggie, they've been dead 10-plus years and people talk about them everyday. I'm gonna try to speak everything into existence. I know the music is my key to get there.
After the first three or four years of me taking rap seriously, it started to look more promising. I started booking shows and more people were playing my music, so I starting believing this could actually work for me.
Everybody knows I smoke, drink, and be up in the club, but I don't want that to be my entire thing. I want them to see me get up and go to the gym after a night of clubbing.
I feel like I've mastered Dave East. For a long time I was trying to figure out who I was and what sound I wanted to come with.
Deep down in my heart and what I've seen and what I've been around, there is nothing better than Islam.
The Netflix thing with Nas is more of a documentary, where we kind of… talk. We go to my neighborhood. You get to see where I'm from and all that. And then, I'm in the studio with Nas.
A lot of creativity coming from the east side of Harlem. It really built my character and who I am.
I want to put out music that everyday people can relate to.
I want to be one of the greats. I feel like the money and all that is going to come, but I want to be a name that, like, when you say Nas or Jay Z, that's forever.
Growing up in Harlem, I was always in the parks playing ball.
I always wanted to do something I knew I could love to wake up and do every day, and rap was just second nature to me, growing up in Harlem. I never really had to try.
Since the '80s, Harlem has the place to go. Before the '80s, just as far as hip-hop go, Harlem has always been a strong point, fashion-wise, music-wise, all of that.
Where I'm from in Harlem, everybody look like a rapper.
Spanish Harlem is like every ghetto in America. There's every distraction possible. To make it up out of there is really a task itself.
I've been able to provide for my family, move out of Harlem and travel the world.