The self-proclaimed G.O.A.T of Rap journalism is both a provacateur and a shrewd business man. And after each venture, high-profile job, Rap beef or controversial statement, there have been those that look to condemn him to a footnote in Rap history. Considering what he’s done for the culture that has come to dominate the zeitgeist, though, that just isn’t possible. Some take his willingness to shout from the rooftops his desire to be the best as arrogance. A bravado borrowed from an industry that has more than enough of it. Others consider him a charismatic statesman for Hip Hop in general and Hip Hop journalism specifically. Whatever you think of him, his past accomplishments at genre defnining publications don’t lie. Ego Trip changed the game forever, and his reign at XXL led to a lot more wins than losses. He’s responsible for some of the most iconic Hip Hop magazine covers in the history of the game, hob nobbed with the greats before and after they became icons, and been comfortable with having a target on his back, but he’s not resting on his laurels. In his words, “I’m still inspired, and there’s still a lot of things I haven’t done.”
So, after attending his CRWN with DJ Mustard in old tinseltown we asked him to drop by the office for a chat and he graciously agreed. He’s got a lot going on. There’s Rap Radar, CRWN, The Truth, Keep It Thoro, and of course there’s HRDCVR, the new product he’s conceiving and raising money on Kickstarter for with his equally accomplished wife Danyel Smith.
Whether you feel that he’s the actual G.O.A.T or not (though you must consider him), you have to respect the drive and ambition that’s taken him this far, as well as the willingness to jump into shark infested waters whenever he has the chance. Maybe we’ll stop doubting him one day, but even if that doesn’t happen, we know he won’t doubt himself. His longevity in this fraught space has been a marvel and even if you won’t say it, he’s got no problem doing it for you.
Elliott Wilson Explains How Ego Trip Created The Rap List
HipHopDX: Your platform at XXL gave you a ton of leeway to give your opinion…
Elliott Wilson: I was callin’ niggas out every month. Not even just The Source thing, it was whoever was fuckin’ with me that month. Whether it be this artist, or just [like] “He didn’t come through at the label…” I would just be shitting on whoever got on my nerves that month. With the constant being that I’m shitting on them from one place, but, sidebar, y’all can get it, too.
DX: That was an incredible platform, man. We’re not even sure if people can really still do that anymore in the Hip Hop space.
Elliott Wilson: Well, also, there’s no power in it because the power, now, is that everybody has it. Everybody gets to… Social media galvanized everyone, so it’s really like the masses. Like, the #Beyhive is mad. So now it’s not like this person with this platform making it or whatever, the power comes if everybody unites. Everybody cares about Ferguson, and it’s going to get an artist to go down there and check it out. Like, we all have to galvanize to do it where before you would look to certain platforms or whatever. So the power, not to sound corny but, the power is with the people at the end of the day. More so than like, “I’m at this job and I have this authority, so as soon as I say it…” I think now the authority comes from the person stepping in and being the curator of all the mass noise. That’s the power of it. That’s why my approach to social media is the way it is because that’s what I’m trying to do.
DX: We talked earlier about..
Elliott Wilson: Because you came to my CRWN [with DJ Mustard in Los Angeles], thank you.
DX: You know what, it was special. He’s never really opened up like that.
Elliott Wilson: Thank you. Thank you.
DX: We feel like Ego Trip…
Elliott Wilson: Oh, you’re going there! Ego Trip. They’re Googling Ego Trip right now! 1994, for all those watching at home.
DX: We feel like Ego Trip kind of built the whole snarky Internet rap journalism that kind of dominates…
Elliott Wilson: Say it, brotha! Say it loud! [Laughs] Who am I to disagree?
DX: How do you feel about that?
Elliott Wilson: [Laughs] We brought humor to it. We brought the voice of the people like the barbershop talk where people are really saying [and comparing]… And just being funny about it, being humorous about it and not taking ourselves so seriously. It stood out from what The Source was doing or what other magazines were doing at the time and that’s what helped build our identity and helped build my identity. And, when I went over to XXL, my approach to writing editorials over there was the same type of over-the-top, humorous, but also kind of angry at times… Really just putting yourself in it, but knowing how to put yourself in it and still not make it all about you. It’s still about the culture. It’s about the artists. And I think that, yeah, we were the pioneers of that type of style. I mean, we did a book called “The Book of Rap Lists,” which was just a… We felt every book about Hip Hop history was just like, “This is the Bronx!” And then we go here, and it was just very straightforward and very scholarly. And were just like, “That’s not how Rap fans think.” Rap fans are about, like, “Do you remember when Nice n Smooth was on MTV? Do you remember when A Tribe Called Quest was on David Letterman?” Like, we had these memories and moments that impacted us and there was no book that really housed all those feelings of a Rap fan and had the debates that we always still have to this day of who’s the best Rapper and who’s the biggest and, you know, let’s put that in a book. And, there was a book called The Book of Rock Lists that came out and we were like, “Let’s do The Book of Rap Lists.” That, to me, became an idea that the Hip Hop Internet was built off of. These lists, these topics, these debates, you know, like Jay Z vs Nas. So, yeah, I think that obviously the work I did back then was a precursor to some of that stuff.
DX: We just want to thank you [and Ego Trip] because Rap Lists allows all of us to do some interesting things. [Laughs]
Elliott Wilson: [Laughs] I heard traffic is important! I was just talking to Tommy about [that]. Shout out to Tommy (Shararth “Tommy” Cherian), man. I tried to get Tommy on camera but he refused. The big boss at HipHopDX, man. I appreciate you letting me in to your wonderful office. But, nah, somebody had to do it. But what’s good about my situation is that I could take credit for that, but then I have a brotha like yourself where even though we didn’t have an era where I could hire you at XXL, you still connect to what I’m doing now. You went to the CRWN last night in Los Angeles and saw me sit down with Mustard. And you probably came in a little skeptically like, “Well DJ Mustard has done 87 interviews and I’ve seen 12 of them and what’s really gonna happen here? Is it going to be exciting in any kind of way? Am I going to be entertained? Am I going to learn something?” And you gave me a good report, and I’m proud of that. That I could do something now that impacted the culture yesterday, and then I could say that I did these great things back then. You know, it means a lot to me. I feel like I need both things. I want to be hot now but then, sidebar, give me the legendary accolade. But I don’t want to be in the old school box, that I’m just classic. I want to be the current hottest shit – sidebar, classic, sidebar, legend.
Elliot Wilson Reveals What Makes HRDCVR Different And Important
DX: You know, HRDCVR is your newest project. What are you trying to accomplish with it?
Elliott Wilson: HRDCVR? You’re going to go from EgoTrip to HRDCVR? Just the freedom of independent publishing. Like, I don’t think that there’s a brand that exists that is worthy… That’s gonna sound crazy. I can’t say that part… Danyel’ll get [at] me.
DX: Yes you can!
Elliott Wilson: It doesn’t mean the same to say you’re Editor-In-Chief of these [kinds of] situations. So, my wife, Danyel Smith, we’ve evolved to a certain point career wise where if that doesn’t exist anymore… And, again, also from my perspective of like when I ran XXL that The Source had something I want so I’m going after them. No one has anything that I want. People do good work at times and I acknowledge their good work, and I’ll share it on social media, but nobody has a business or a lane that I want to conquer or be at so let’s create our own. Let’s create our own magazine and have it come out we when feel it can come out and see if the people will support us. We launched this Kickstarter campaign and we got a lot of love and support, and we’re excited to put this magazine together. And we were able to hire, with the money, a real, decorated creative director, this woman named Claudia (Claudia De Almeida) and show that, you know, independently we can do this. So, it’s sort of like the combination of the Independent spirit and resurrecting that part of me [that] I had with Ego Trip, but coming to the table with the business part of me. With the idea of trying to still be the biggest. You know, Danyel is one of the biggest, I’m one of the biggest, this woman Claudia is one of the biggest. We’re tired of complaining about how magazines don’t give us that feeling anymore and there’s not a place for it… Let’s be apart of the creation of something that restores that feeling. And I think that you get tired of complaining about things and you just take action at some point. And HRDCVR is a big step for me and my wife to be united and to do this, you know, to come to the table and truly collaborate on a project and with the support of the people so it’s very exciting.
DX: What’s the difference between Internet magazine culture and more traditional magazines?
Elliott Wilson: I think it‘s all great content. You know, people get caught up in is it short term or long form. And I think it’s just great content. And I think also it’s just a different perspective of things. And I think that, you know, my wife brings a different aesthetic and I think that it’s more connected to… Like, when you look at classic Vibe, classic Vibe painted a broader brush than XXL when I was running XXL. I wanted to be like the ultimate Rap, Hip Hop authority. Like, kind of one dimension in a sense. Vibe would cover everything. They’d claim a pop act and say that represents our culture like the Gwen Stefani’s or whatever. They cover politics. They cover entertainment. So I think HRDCVR is more in that vein of covering the broadness. Like, it’s culture, it’s not just the music. The music is apart of it, but it’s culture. And I think that people want great original content that documents culture and it can be short form, it can be long form. It’s just got to be quality and original and presented well. I think that’s what we’re going for. So I don’t think, like, okay, well HRDCVR’s going to have nothing but long ass stories. It’s going to have good small things and great long things and great imagery and great design. And it will literally have a HRDCVR and be something that stands out and be distinctive. And it won’t be something that you can just roll up in your back pocket. You know, some flimsy 100 page thing so you gotta move past that.
Elliott Wilson Talks Being “Older than Hip Hop” & Growing With The Culture
DX: You know, your career has be spectacular so far..
Elliott Wilson: [Laughs] So far, don’t fall off. [Laughs] What you got now, hammer? What you gon’ do now, Hammer?
DX: [Laughs] You’ve grown with Hip Hop as well…
Elliott Wilson: I bugged out one day when my brother said I was older than Hip Hop. I never looked at it that way. Like, I’m older than Hip Hop. I was born in 1971. Hip Hop was, you know… Even if you try to skew Hip Hop to the earlier age it’s still probably 73’, 74’… I haven’t really heard 72’, 71’. Kool Herc wasn’t in the park in 71’. So, you’re looking at a nigga that’s older than Hip Hop, and I wasn’t looking at it like that. And I also didn’t realize like at the time like you’re interviewing Nas and they’re looking at you like you’re their peer. You’re around the same age. You guys went to the same high schools and walked on the same blocks. So when you’d criticize them they’d want to beat your ass because they look at you like, “you’re from my neighborhood.” Like, you’re this kid that I know or I know someone like you. Or I guarantee you with six degrees of separation we can find our connection. So I think that I never looked at it in that historical context but now that I’m older, I look at it. And I think that’s why a lot of people talk about me and Jay Z or our friendship or our communication [and] it’s because we can relate to each other. We’re guys in our 40s [and] that it’s very important for us to be, respected now and [still] be in the forefront. And I look at it from that perspective ,now, like when I was coming up in the culture you couldn’t be in your 40s in Hip Hop and really be relevant and really be an impactful force. And now, those lines are divided. Eminem is rockin’ the Rosebowl and who would think that Eminem would grow to be a guy who’s 15 years later galvanizing people on stage? So, we’ve grown into this and now we’re in this uncharted area where you can grow in Hip Hop and kids aren’t looking down on me because I’m 43 years old. It doesn’t matter to them. It may matter in the sense of OG. And I had to learn to get my mind right about that, too. Like, I didn’t like that at first: “OG.” Like, first of all I’m not a street nigga so… “OG” for me means a certain level of street pedigree that I never had and I never tried to say I did. But, “OG,” ultimately when they call you [that] it’s really a sign of respect. But again, I don’t want to be just represented by my past, I’m more concerned about the present with my eyes on the future. We have the tug of war still obviously of like the new generation, and that’s Hip Hop. They want their spot. Drake is going for it. Drake wants to be, “If I’m not the bigger one then I’m on the road to getting there.” So that’s great, that’s Hip Hop, that’s the culture. But I think my connection to Hip Hop is, like you said, I’m growing with this thing. I’m very similar in age with it and there’s no limit to what we’re creating. And my accomplishments, even if I’m being competitive (and there’s no one more competitive than me) even if I’m being competitive my accomplishments help the next generation. So it’s not about stepping down and giving you the mic, it’s about whatever I’m still doing doesn’t take away your position and what you’re doing. At the same time it opens doors up, to me. And it’s going help you to probably take it further when it’s your turn. When you’re in your 40’s. And that’s the thing now. I’m still inspired and there’s still a lot of things I haven’t done.
DX: Where do you think publishing is going next?
Elliott Wilson: Just more innovative models. Kind of like what we’re doing at HRDCVR. That it’s about quality probably a little bit more than quantity, you know? I’d rather just have something great. Kendrick Lamar can make an album and that can still stand and you almost don’t want him to rush the next album if its not going to be to whatever, so I think that it’s the same way when we create things. We want to create something of quality and the new generation demands that. We have such access to everything that the only things that’re really going to stand out are things of substance, you know? Things that really connect to us, and I think whatever takes that time to do that, we gotta take the time to do it and just innovate ways to do it. I saw that someone was talking about how, like, the models of putting music out… Like, for Drake to put out “0-100” for free and throw the record out, which is something that – to me – sounds like a hit record right off the bat, something that could have been a first single off of Views From The Six. And, to just throw it out and really impact culture to me helps solidify his position. Young Thug’s movement and how he put stuff out… I think Ernest Baker was speaking on this and I agree. You know, that model’s changed and the paradigm of what an artist should do and how they should stay relevant and how they should present their product.. You know, that they have to wait for their album date and have to do… those door are getting knocked down even more. So I think it’s the same thing for us with the challenge of how we do websites, how we do magazines, how we do everything. To be innovative, that it’s about quality and there’s no set dates or models to follow that say, “You have to everything this way.” Like when I started CRWN, the one thing I did with Tyler [The Creator] was like, “Let’s do it at 1130 at night. Let’s do it at midnight. Let’s do it at a weird time.” It doesn’t have to be some afternoon panel. It doesn’t have to be at eight o’clock. At midnight, like, it just felt right. Odd Future and Tyler… Let’s get these kids in here at midnight and instead of a guy rapping on stage we’re just going to sit here and talk. But, I think part of the ambiance that made that special was that we did it at midnight. Just tinkering with the models and saying, “Nah, how can we do this a little bit different because that’s what the public demands.” Because the consumer and the audience is young and they’re so informed that they demand a new wrinkle to it. They want something new, but I don’t think it’s about building it from scratch. I think it’s about adding a new piece to it.
DX: This business is built on relationships, especially the one with your audience. Do you think audiences have changed as well?
Elliott Wilson: I think they have an opportunity to connect in different ways because of things. There can be a fan of me that’s just a fan of me from Ego Trip and didn’t really like my XXL stuff but is now reconnecting with me because of The Truth or because of CRWN. Or, there can be somebody where I just walk down the street and he knows I’m familiar and he just calls me Rap Radar. He doesn’t even know my name because even if I do outside content I say, “This is Elliott Wilson from Rap Radar,” because that’s my foundation. I think now they have an opportunity to connect with you in one… Because of doing so much and because there’s so much stuff out there to consume, I think they find their entry point in different ways, which makes it different. You’re not defined by one thing. Nobody’s really doing one thing anymore. Even if you’re like Charlemagne and you’re on Power 105; he’s got a podcast; he’s on MTV… Nobody does just one thing anymore and that solely defines them. So I think what happens now is that the audience connects with different things. I got kids that are like “When are you going to bring back Keep It Thoro.” Like, I love that show. We played the best shit. People ask, “Do you have a radio show? Where can I hear it?” What happened to the Big Sean CRWN? They’ll find that one entry point and that’s what they rock with. So, I think that’s what the big difference is that they’re going to find their thing to connect to, and, you know, I think that transcends generations. There’s a whole other tier of people that are industry people that we dealt with 20 years ago donating money [to HRDCVR] because they’re just like this is amazing. So an idea connects to different people in different ways. I think that’s what it comes down to. That’s not what we thought about when we did HRDCVR is that it gives you the idea that you can create something that the new generation hasn’t had. Like they’ve heard stories and they know about the Eminem/50 cover and the Tupac/Death Row covers, but they haven’t had the thing that connects to them now. You know. The same way maybe they haven’t listened to Hip Hop until they heard about Kendrick’s album and they went back and listened to it and it brought back that spirit. And, for me, with something like CRWN you have to do things where you’re truly connected to the people. Social media’s made it that people know what I look like. I get recognized a hell of a lot and I have to deal with people’s energy. You leave the house and you’re of the public, right? It’s like; you have to deal with that. And most energy is love. Most energy is positive because they like you and they respect what you’re doing. And even if they disagree with you on certain things it isn’t that rah, rah, I’m a beat you up type energy that we was doing a lot in the 90s. It can still happen but it’s still not that same situation anymore, that’s kind of played out. Just being, like, super thuggy. It’s not the era to do that, you know? It’s not that bullying type shit so I think that it is about connection to the people and people see you and that you’re of the people, but Hip Hops a thing where it’s lifestyle and it’s culture so I think that as much as it’s important about the work that I do it’s that I’m also there a the big events. I’m going to stay here to go to Jay Z made in America. I go to OVO Fest. If it’s something big to the culture, you expect Elliott Wilson and you expect Rap Radar there and you expect B. Dot there. And I think that’s just as important as the content that I generate.
DX: In your opinion do you think there’s a replacement for the cover or the cover story?
Elliott Wilson: Well I think the cover still has a certain level of value that you can’t take away. You know, people want that. They want to look at themselves, and they got to the airport and they see that. But, I think, again, if it’s not associated with a brand that’s viewed as cool or still impacting then it doesn’t mean as much. I think it’s still… It’s a short-term thing. I think it doesn’t necessarily pop the same way. You have to sustain it. It has to be consistent. It’s like, you expect a brand that you mess with to not just give you that one cool cover but give you a couple more. And, I think, that’s what it comes down to. You have to keep producing. I don’t’ think there’s a one-off victory anymore. And even if you got that cover from the model of that, if you had no presence on the Internet then your career is not really going to go where it needs to be. I think you need to cover all your bases, even as an artist. Like, how are you going to be an artist and you don’t have a SoundCloud page? You have to have a SoundCloud page, right? You have to shoot videos. You have to have a YouTube page. You have to have a presence, right? You have you have your songs on these sites. As long as you’re checking all the boxes I think that still adds an element that’s there. But, I think, the one good thing about HRDCVR, too, is that (again, I’m using HRDCVR Danyel’s gonna beat my ass) we’re not going to be defined by that. Where, the only value the magazine has is who they put on the cover and nobody’s looking at the inside features. And I think that wasn’t the case in the 90s and early 2000s as much. I think now some magazines the only value comes from “did I get the cover?” And, now I think it’s harder to get artists inside the book. You know, we’re trying to avoid those politics with HRDCVR.
DX: How do you avoid that?
Elliott Wilson: I can’t get into that, brotha. [Laughs] No, it’s my partner. I have a partner in all of this. An incredible partner by the way.
Elliott Wilson Pinpoints His Legacy
DX: What story were you part of or cover meant the most to you?
Elliott Wilson: Ah, I don’t know, brotha! [Laughs]
DX: Come on, now. There has to be one.
Elliott Wilson: Gimme one. Gimme one! They all have memories. [ Laughs] Nah, I refuse to be defined by one. I’ll be honest with you.
DX: We’re not trying to define you..
Elliott Wilson: I don’t view it that way. You said what is my biggest… I don’t… I mean there are highlights. If you showed me 87… I think I did about 88 XXL’s, let’s use that one chapter of my career, all right. Let’s say you put the 88 covers up there I can quickly look at you and I can probably pick out the five to 10 that are still stuck with me, and memories float from that. But if you say one, I have to say Em’, Dre and 50. And imagine that’s only one chapter from my career. So I can’t have the proudest moment of the one singular thing. It doesn’t work!
DX: Right, but your trajectory is so large…
Elliott Wilson: That’s what I’m proud of, man. I’m proud of the mass. I joked when you said “so far.” That’s how I really function. I function “so far.” The mass is what I’m proud of. Again, that I can talk eloquently about Book of Rap Lists and what HRDCVR is gonna be… Again, I’m the “anti” of putting things in these boxes of this guy’s classic or this is the new sensation. It’s Melly Mel or it’s Chance The Rapper. I’m steadfast in the middle with the motherfuckin’ spotlight on me. That’s what I want. And I’m the only one bold enough to say that I want that, and I wanna be the best. And I want to be looked at as the hottest. And I think that’s what defines it: the drive. And people talk about the editorials because that’s the first manifestation of me articulating that. The drive to document the culture and to be looked at as the best at doing it, and I realize that’s what I want to be. It’s the mass of it. That’s what I’m most proud of.
DX: You’ve got HRDCVR coming up, but what’s on the horizon after that?
Elliott Wilson: Oh, these secret things I’m working on, man! But shout out to Vitaminwater. They supported the CRWN series. DJ Mustard was the first of a three-episode agreement we reached together. Shout out to them. I appreciate their support on that. So I’m very proud that CRWN is back and up and running and seeing how I can take that. The Truth, we have to figure out what’s going on with that. We have to do seasons six. We gotta get that poppin’. Hit me up! Rap Radar, obviously still growing with that. Still flourishing. Shout out to the team over there. Keep It Thoro, you know, I want to do radio, man. I haven’t conquered radio. I haven’t conquered terrestrial radio [and] I haven’t conquered television. That’s what I’m saying. There are some things for me to do. There are still a lot of areas I haven’t put my foot in on a consistent level. Trying to figure out what the best things are. But, I think, one thing I do well that I aim to do well is doing a lot of stuff but keeping the quality level of it. There’s certain things that I’m just not going to do. And, be wise about the people that I partner with and the moves that I make. That’s why sometimes it takes a little longer than I’d like, but that’s part of what I think is important. Not just do everything. I say no a lot, too. So I think that that’s important. So, with that said, I definitely want to keep growing with the multiple brands that I have and to keep developing more brands. And each brand is distinctive and not just the same regurgitation of the other brands. It represents one separate thing. And I think that’s what I’m trying to do and what I continue to do. And just all those things are to the means of trying to be recognized as the authority. And now people say I do pretty good interviews, so that’s important. I’m on the other side this time.
DX: We’d say people tell you you give pretty good interviews.
Elliott Wilson: [Laughs] Did I do all right? I get nervous though.
DX: You still get nervous?
Elliott Wilson: Yeah. I definitely get nervous. It’s weird. It’s motherfuckers paying to see you talk to somebody. It’s new. It’s new for me too. Like when I did Tyler and motherfuckers are throwing bacon and cereal at him and shit I’m like, “Am I going to get this guy to settle down?” I don’t know where this is going to go. When Drake comes out charged and he’s pouring champagne out to the ladies in the front row.. You know it’s a loose energy. Yeah, [it’s] the element of surprise and I think that’s what keeps me on my edge and keeps me a little nervous and good.
Elliott Offers His Advice To Young Journalists & Speaks On Bobby Shmurda
DX: One more question, man. If you had to give advice to the cats coming up in the game on what not to do, what would you tell them?
Elliott Wilson: Don’t be thirsty, man. Don’t move too fast. You know, that balance of learn how to be attentive without being thirsty and just realize… It’s like “hurry up and wait.” Put yourself in that position. Keep pushing but then you have to recognize a realistic place of where you’re at with certain things. And that it’s going to take a certain [amount of] time to get to where you’re. Everything can’t be accomplished [just] like that. So it’s more about understanding the bigger picture while you’re so focused on the moment. And, I think that you have to have both things going on. And I think the people that have that are the ones that succeed. You really have to multi-task. You really have to be locked in to what you’re doing then, but then your mind is also on going to further with it, and I think that’s the thing. There’s no instant gratification. I think a lot of people think they’re going to have that instant gratification and it doesn’t work that way. Like, even Bobby Shmurda. I don’t think Bobby Shmurda sat there and said, “I’m a do the dance. I’m a throw my hat in the air and that’s going to get me a deal with Sony records,” but that’s what happened. So, you’re just creating what you think is the right thing to do and jumping on this beat that’s not your beat because you like the beat. And you’re rapping your bars and you’re shooting a video with your homies. You’re having a natural fun moment, and someone makes a Vine out of it and culturally it spreads. So, it’s knowing what you’re doing and being locked in the moment. Like, “I wanna rhyme over this beat. I wanna shoot this video with my homies,” but you don’t know where fully that it can take you. So don’t try to push everything that’s going to be exactly the way it is. Leave some room for all the other forces to guide it and then make those decisions.
DX: You think Bobby has got a future?
Elliott Wilson: I hope so. I mean, that’s the thing. He’s got his opportunity. In my opinion he’s the first artist that’s really, with credibility, been built through the Internet. It’s not like 50 Tyson or those kinds of things. Just a WorldStar thing to laugh at in one sense and not take seriously like Lil’ Terio. You know, this kids a rapper, so we’ll see. He made a hot record off a freestyle. Does he have more hot records? Well, see if he can make ‘em. He has a great opportunity. I think that I’m not gonna root against him, I’m gonna root for him. We want new stars to come up. I think like Trinidad James… The thing about Trinidad James is that he’s making better music now. Like, some of his new shit is really hot, right? He’s got this whole weight of this Def Jam and the focus on him and nobody’s against him anymore. He’s got a great record with Makonnen that we listened to in the car on the way here. So, you never know, people have to find their own comfort in it. Like, even though Trinidad James may not have been that sensation and that deal didn’t work, I think there’s still a place in Hip Hop for Trinidad James. It’s easy to say Bobby Shmurda is just a phenomenon and he’s not gonna make it. I’m gonna go the other way and say he is gonna make it because I want him to make it. And he hasn’t done anything wrong to prove that it isn’t that, it isn’t false props. Like, he did what he did and it earned him his position and now what he does with that we’re going to see, but I’m for it happening and wanting it to happen.
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