You straddle the line of hip-hop singer/rapper. So what do you consider yourself?

Hip-Pop. You might turn on a Sean Kingston record like “Fire Burning” and that’s a big club/dance record. You might hear me do a record like “Take You There.” That’s dutty. There’s so much versatility to Sean Kingston. When I came out, I feel like I set the bar. There was no artist my age doing it like me–reggae mixed with the hip-hop influence.

And I started off as a rapper. A lot of people don’t know that. Even now, I consider myself a rap artist because I know I can rap with the best of them. I don’t know about no Kendrick Lamar. [laughs] But anybody else, I know I can rap with the best of them. I’m talking about pound for pound, I can rap with the best of them. But I knew that if started myself out as a rapper, I wouldn’t be where I am now because I wouldn’t be that different from anything already out. Everybody has something that they’re bringing to the game and I was just a kid who could really spit bars who was really good, but I didn’t have my own original lane. So I started singing my hooks and rapping my verses and people were like, ” Hey, who’s the guy on the hook?” Once I told them it was me, everybody said they enjoyed my sound. When “Beautiful Girls” blew up, I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know

if I can go back to rapping.”

Speaking of when you debuted, that was a weird time in the landscape of music. Record sales were declining….

Yeah, I snuck in there. I tell people that all the time because for me to go platinum at 17, I didn’t even see it happening. Now, you might be able to sell because if people like it, they’ll buy it. But in 2007, everybody was tanking and then you has Sean Kingston and Soulja Boy that really just took off. It had a lit to do with the Internet presence.

For me, bring an artist that got signed off of MySpace and being an artist who’s really involved with my fans on there, all of that stuff helped.

Do you think you would be as successful if you debuted before the internet?

I don’t know about that. I don’t know. With the Internet, it’s instant. You can post a vlog and show your personality. Even a person who is a hater in the beginning may change their mind after seeing a post of yours. People like different things. I’ll post a picture on Instagram and it’ll get 8,000 likes. If I post a picture of Maliah clapping her ass it’ll get 30,000 likes. It ranges and that’s what unlike about it. People in there want to see different things and you get to express your personality.

Because a fan might buy a single from an artist and think it’s cool and like the song. The thing is they know nothing about the artist. Social networks set you up to know who the artist is. You know his background and know if they’re a jerk or not.

What do you think about the image big guys have now in media and entertainment?

It’s better now because you got Rick Ross. Well, first, it started with Heavy D. Heavy D was killin’ it. He was dancing and doing all that type of stuff. Then you had Biggie. Big wore the Coogi and the Versace with Jesus pieces and that’s where we are in 2013, wearing Jesus pieces. All of that was Biggie. Biggie was one fly guy. Now, Rick Ross, I feel like he is fly. Fat Joe and other guys who just know how to carry their size well. Me? I feel like I’m one of those guys because every time I step out, I try to make she that even as a big dude, I’m fresh. I don’t care. Not everybody is built skinny. I’m good with my size. I have confidence.

Girls still liked me and I was getting girls before the music sh*t. I probably wasn’t getting type of girls or the quality of girls I’m getting now. [laughs]

You started working on music when you were eight and debuted when you were 17. There’s an intern suing Diddy for making her perform intern duties like answering phones and getting coffee. Do you feel like your generation is lazy when it comes to hard work?

She’s suing him for that?! Oh, man that’s crazy! People sue for anything. I wouldn’t say they’re lazy, I’d say they just expect things to fall into their hands. They think stuff is supposed to just come to them. But it can be music, sports, or whatever–whatever you put in is what you’re going to get out of it. You gotta put that work in.

I’ve been doing music since I was right, but I didn’t think it was going to be easier for me because Lil Bow Wow was hot. I knew I wasn’t going to get signed the next day because if him. I had to put in work. And everything happens in its time.


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