As Statik Selektah prepares to unleash the first track from his forthcoming album 8, the recent Roc Nation signee is candid about where he is in his life and credits longtime friend DJ Khaled for inspiring the upcoming project. 2015’s Lucky 7 was intended to be his last solo record, but watching Khaled rise to his elevated position in the industry changed his mind.
“I’m really inspired by just life right now and being a dad … and Khaled,” Selektah tells HipHopDX in his thick Bostonian accent. “Khaled doing what he’s doing, he’s on his 11th or 12th album, and we started doing albums right around the same time. We’ve been friends for over 10 years, but he really inspires me and not many people do that. When we compare the music, it’s not the same. He’s more the crossover king with his Hip Hop, but with my shit, it’s like the balance. I make the grimy shit, he does that and we bring together all-stars.”
The lead single, “Man of the Hour,” was initially going to drop on June 30, but once he learned (along with the rest of the world) that JAY-Z was releasing 4:44 that day, he moved the date to July 7. In the two years since Lucky 7, it’s evident the new father is creatively motivated in a different way and ready to begin another chapter. He just wanted some time to regroup.
“I needed a break,” he explains. “I felt like I put so much work into Lucky 7. The album dropped, I was on tour, my daughter was born a couple weeks later and I had enough. I’ve been doing this shit for so long — at that point it was eight years since my first album — and I was sick of recreating the same kind of records. On this album, I don’t have that feeling. I feel like I’m starting a new wave — not a new wave, but a new cycle in my career.”
Part of that cycle includes a collaborative album with Atlanta trap god 2 Chainz. While he admits he wishes he would have kept quiet about the album until 8 was out, it’s a project he’s clearly excited about.
“The album with 2 Chainz is amazing,” he says. “I tell people not to expect anything specific. It’s a unique project for both of us, but it’s definitely something that’s never been done.”
Considering 2 Chainz is from the South and Selektah is traditionally an East Coast player, it’s slightly difficult to pinpoint exactly what a fresh collaboration between the two artists might sound like. Although they did get together for 2016’s “Smoke Break,” he promises fans will get to hear another side of 2 Chainz, one most people might not be familiar with.
“He’s a Hip Hop fan,” he explains. “Anyone that’s been following him since Playaz Circle and all that, they used to have Buckwild beats on their albums. He’s always been a real fan of Hip Hop. He studies the craft and if you listen to him rap, even if it’s on a trap song, he puts a lot of work into his punch lines, entendres and all that. He’s an MC, he’s a lyricist — he gets overlooked for that a lot of times because he will be doing it on a Jason Derulo record or a trap song, but it’s like he’s still rapping with the best of him. On the project we got, I got him really shining on some Hip Hop, New York-style production.”
As he spoke, he never shied away from whatever topic was thrown at him, including the passing of Prodigy who he learned had died the day of the interview. Like many other Hip Hop figures, he was deeply saddened by the monumental loss. With everything he has going on, it was presumably hard to get a moment to really process what had happened. After all, Selektah is still at the helm of his Shade 45 radio show, Showoff Radio, touring and making albums with people like Nas and the aforementioned 2 Chainz. But he still has one person on his radar who he’d like to work with — JAY-Z.
“I really wanted to be on this album [4:44], but I guess it’s too late,” he laughs. “He’s always been number one on my list, but it’s just an honor I’m signed to his company. I’ll keep him on my wish list. I gotta bunch of stuff with Nas done and I’ve been working with … I can’t say too much. I get in trouble when I do these interviews [laughs] ’cause I say one little thing … let’s just say I gotta lot of stuff coming out.”