Over the past year, no one rapper can say they’ve polarized the Hip Hop industry quite like Waka Flocka Flame. The Brick Squad 1017 artist dropped his debut Flockaveli last October to the chagrin of many. His chant-like hooks, unapologetic boasts, and choppy, threat-filled verses made folks uneasy and quick to blame him for the demise of the culture. Even off-the-mic, Waka was learning that success brings scrutiny - from the police as well as the corner boys.
Before Flockaveli was even released he was shot and robbed at an Atlanta car wash. There was a scuffle with Young Jeezy’s camp at Atlanta sneaker spot Walter’s. The police raid on his home last winter, where he was charged with gun and drug possession, and probation violation. There was the stop in Charlotte where he was shot at in an attempted robbery for his million dollar chain. The Blood gang affiliations. Two reported arrests in the last month. It would seem like the 24-year-old rapper just can’t stay out of trouble. Despite the ongoing controversy, under CEO Gucci Mane’s guidance, and his own hit-making skills, Waka Flocka has, in less than 12 months, become a top name in the Rap genre. Even still, how much drama can one withstand within such a short amount of time? How can an artist like Waka appreciate the journey when it seems more and more like a curse?
At a Ferrari Boyz listening event in Atlanta last week however, Waka is smiling, maybe even the slightest bit effervescent, as if he’s still enjoying this rapper’s life. He reclines comfortably in the back corner of a neighborhood sports bar. Waka Flocka’s uniform this afternoon is a tilted ‘Queens’ camouflage hat, three diamond chains, and two diamond watches- everything is gleaming. He speaks to HipHopDX about his collaboration album with mentor Gucci Mane, putting J. Cole on his sophomore solo album, and why it's still "fuck dis industry."
Waka Flocka Flame Explains Life After Rap Retirement
HipHopDX: You’ve said primarily, that you got into Rap to feed your family, what are you planning on moving into after Rap?
Waka Flocka Flame: After Rap, I’m [going] in Donald Trump's lane. I’m trying to own people’s blocks. I’m trying to own the whole block. I’m trying to own real estate. Even where we are now, this my hood, I’m trying to own it.
DX: You did a radio interview once where you spoke on negative blog comments and seemed annoyed by them. Do you still read at the comments?
Waka Flocka Flame: Nah, you know what? It’s not that I’m annoyed by them but it’s just that… Just when you check me, I do some funny shit but at the end of the day I walk a straight line, you follow me? So when you go against that and you play with me, that shit [is] personal. That shit can change. That could be your last comment on somebody, know what I’m talking about? It can get real serious. But I ain’t that kinda guy though, you know? I’m a nice guy. You can tell by how I look. [Smiles]
DX: What’s your reaction to the negative words now?
Waka Flocka Flame: I always be like "Fuck it," and let it roll off. I ain’t worried about ‘em. That what they’re here for. They’re critics. They criticize people’s lives for a living. So I can’t get mad at them.
DX: This past year has been crazy for you- a whirlwind and it seems to have caught up with you where you’re talking retirement already. Do you feel like Juaquin is lost in Waka’s shadow sometimes?
Waka Flocka Flame: I agree with that. Damn, that’s crazy that you said that. Sometimes people think the Waka Flocka…the [rapper], [the one] that people criticizing... It helps me live my life. At the end of the day, Juaquin and Waka Flocka are two different people, nahmean? I know who I am at the end of the day. But it’s good though. It’s nice to know what people think of you.
DX: How do you keep the two separate? Is it difficult? When you lay down at night, and you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, do you even see Juaquin anymore or do you see Waka?
Waka Flocka Flame: Um, that’s for a crazy man to answer. That’s crazy to even think like that. [Laughs] I never even think like that.
Waka Flocka Flame: Nah! [Laughs]
DX: So what’s going on with you wanting to retire?
Waka Flocka Flame: Um, the words [you just used] are so explainable, I don’t think I can explain no more, ain’t it? That’s just how I feel. It’s over with.
Waka Flocka Flame Explains His Writing Process
DX: How often do you write?
Waka Flocka Flame: I never write. I jot down.
DX: Okay, how often do you jot down?
Waka Flocka Flame: Everyday.
DX: Did you jot today?
Waka Flocka Flame: Yup.
DX: For what project?
Waka Flocka Flame: I don’t know yet. Just jotted it down. It might give you an idea for a whole song.
DX: So you jot before hearing the beat.
Waka Flocka Flame: I jot first. Or sometimes I just go in the booth and just go in. Like for that Ferrari Boyz album [with Gucci Mane]? I ain’t write, not one time.
DX: Who inspired you and Gucci to do this joint project?
Waka Flocka Flame: The fans.
DX: So they decided for you.
Waka Flocka Flame: I go off of fans, period.
DX: What are your favorite five songs on Ferrari Boyz?
Waka Flocka Flame: Favorite five? “She Be Putting On” “Young Niggaz,” “Stoned,” “Homicide/Suicide,” “Feed Me”. Shit, I got another one “Blindfold.” “Suicide/Homicide” is probably my favorite out of those ‘cause the shit I said on there was hard: "You decide to / Tuck in yo’ pride / I ain’t waiting / Ain’t got no patience…" [Laughs]
DX: What’s your process for recording your second LP, Triple F Life: Friends, Fans and Family?
Waka Flocka Flame: What’s my process? I have to get some blunt fillers, a lot of french fries, lot of water and 808 Mafia [producers Lex Luger and Southside] and I’m good.
DX: How much of it is done?
Waka Flocka Flame: Eighty percent. The album is gonna be nothing but Southside and Lex [Luger]. Another producer on there is down with the camp. I’m going all camp on this one.
DX: You any features picked out yet?
Waka Flocka Flame: A couple.
Waka Flocka Flame: I got a couple.
DX: You’re not going to say who?
Waka Flocka Flame: Nope. [Laughs] I got some good ones.
DX: How’d you get on for the Juice remake with Soulja Boy?
Waka Flocka Flame: Umm, I never… I never joined that…
Waka Flocka Flame: Internet.
Waka Flocka Flame: [Nods] If I’ma do a movie, I’m a lead character. I could never be a role. If I’m a role, it’s gotta be to Tom Cruise or somebody. Follow me?
DX: How much acting have you done?
Waka Flocka Flame: None.
DX: [Laughs] You feel like you can do it?
Waka Flocka Flame: I know I can do it. I’m in an industry full of fake people. You gotta act fake with them, nahmean? So they don’t box you out. ‘Cause they scared of the real.
DX: So you feel like you already got your practice in.
Waka Flocka Flame: Yup.
Waka Flocka Flame Explains Meeting J. Cole, Guarantees Collaboration
DX: On J. Cole’s “Cost Me a Lot,” he says you were both backstage at a show and talked about the sociological reasons behind rappers wearing diamond chains, is that something that really happened?
Waka Flocka Flame: Yeah.
DX: Was that your first time meeting?
Waka Flocka Flame: Yeah, that’s my homie.
DX: So you got to be cool off of that conversation.
Waka Flocka Flame: Yeah, he gon’ be on my album. Guaranteed.
DX: So what’s the sociological reason for all of this? [motions towards Waka’s jewelry]
Waka Flocka Flame: It comes with the job. My jewelry means something to me though. I like to flex. I gotta flex on the opponent. It’s like golf sticks, my golf stick gotta be 14 karat gold, let you know I’m winning over here. I did more than par; I did nothing but birdies, nahmean? I did this in a year.