You bring up a really good point, when you say that you have been successful on the charts of several different genres. What do you think it is about you and your artistry that makes it work like “magic”? And without disrespecting any other artist out there, the fact of the matter is this: there are relatively few other artists that have been able to do what you have done. Why not?
I just think people feel that it’s genuine. And they don’t feel that I’m stretching. Every since I came into the game, my music has been diverse – from one extreme to the next. You know, I’ll hit you with “Country Grammar,” “E.I.,” “Ride with Me,” “Batter Up,” “Hot in Herre,” “Dilemma” – and none of those songs sound alike. But I made it successful. And my fans appreciate what I do. And they expect that from me. That’s not going to work for everybody. But if you want high reward, you gotta take high risk.
Although you are financially secure, and you do not ever have to record another album, what drives you to keep producing and creating music? What expectations have you placed upon yourself for this album’s success?
Man, for the love of music. The same reason we all get into it. You get out of it what you put into it. I love music. Even if I’m not in it, or it’s not as successful as it was in the past, I’m still going to make music.
Where does this passion come from?
It comes from my family. My uncle was into music. My father was into music. My uncle and my father had a band together. And it kinda came through that. I was always around music. My uncle used to have me and all my cousins singing Jackson 5 records! [laughing]
Now, it is one thing to have a love for music, and another to dedicate your life to it. When do you think you made that decision?
I’ve always wanted it. But being from St. Louis, that’s not really part of your thought process. You don’t know if it could be real, because you haven’t seen anyone else do it. It might’ve been different if I was from New York. My whole life would’ve probably been engulfed, because that’s the heartland [of hip-hop]. And it would’ve been different if I was in LA, because they have a deep music history beyond hip-hop. But being from St. Louis, it has you wondering: “Is this really going to happen? Can this really happen?”