Waka Flocka Flame talks 'Flockaveli II,' why he says he isn’t African-American
“Before I say I’m Black or Christian or Muslim, hold on. Let me find out who I really am,” Waka said.
If there’s any question that his time on Love & Hip Hop or his vegan lifestyle would make Waka Flocka Flame leave behind the sound that fans fell in love with, check “Trappin My Ass Off.” With its hard-hitting drums and guttural yells, the energy doesn’t sound far off from his debut Flockaveli – making it the perfect choice as the single to its sequel Flockaveli II.
“I put that record out to let people know how underground this album is going to be,” Waka said during a recent visit to the REVOLT studios in Manhattan. “I ain’t tryna go to radio.”
With anthems like “Hard in da Paint” and “O Let’s Do It,” and the Top 40 hit “No Hands,” the original Flockaveli established Waka as a leader in the new school of head-bussas. Now, almost eight years later, the Bricksquad general is finally ready to deliver Flockaveli II after multiple delays. During a recent visit to REVOLT, Waka Flocka Flame spoke on the long-anticipated sequel, Drill Music, and why he doesn’t consider himself African-American.
With Flockaveli II set to drop early next year, how does it feel to be this close to an album release for the first time in five years?
Shit feels regular. It’s like attacking it like a mixtape. You throw a wack ass mixtape out and niggas is not fucking with you. The only thing different from this and a mixtape is that this is all me. When I think of an album I’m thinking of solely you, not features. I didn’t get Migos or Yachty because they were hot. I want people to hear Waka. They fuck with me, not the features I get.
You’ve chosen to go the independent route for Flockaveli II. What does being an independent artist mean to you?
Being fully independent means that you’re the label. It’s basically the same shit I been doing, but now I know I have a direction. I figured out what people call the machine. I can’t answer to just anybody. I hate answering to a nigga that ain’t been through my struggle. You can’t plan hip hop. Hip hop can’t be planned. It’s our rules. Not their rules.
Why is “Circles” a special record for you?
“Circles” to me is just celebrating pain. I tell niggas that when I hear “Circles” I see confetti drop. There’s mad shit a nigga been through that most people couldn’t even imagine. The average Joe would be psychotic my nigga. They’d be calling me a clone and shit. I’m telling you, the shit will fuck with your mental. By just staying strong through all of that shit, I’m here. I’m not worried about these niggas man. They can’t take me off my pivot.
What keeps you motivated?
Failure. Failure keeps me motivated. Being a failure? Nah, bro. I can’t go through that. That’s what keeps me motivated.
What made you go back to your trap roots for Flockaveli II?
I want that man music. I call it man music. Gangsta music. I want to be a fucking man when I hear this album. I want to grab my nuts when I hear my music. I don’t want to dance. I ain’t got rhythm. That’s what my wife is for.
One of Southside’s first major placements was on Flockaveli. Since then he’s gone on to work with JAY-Z, Kanye West, Drake, and many others. What are your thoughts on his progression?
That’s Sizzle. That’s little bruh. Southside is about living. He’s unpredictable. He should’ve been doing this eight years ago, but he didn’t want it. Back then he’d say he was too young or that these niggas is too fake. But I would be like, “What? Your beats is hard as fuck.” He’s so not wanting the fame and the notoriety that he’s teaching other producers how to do it. That nigga was bound to be who he is though. He couldn’t run from it. It’s so many people he made famous, or helped get to where they are, that he couldn’t do anything, but step into his own shoes.
What are your thoughts on your wife Tammy Rivera’s new music?
That shit fire. Tammy got that woman-to-woman music.
So you have the man music and she has the woman music.
She got that “Girl, you gonna feel me” music. It’s so soulful with a lot of love. It’s a lot of women salute shit. That’s what Tammy is on hard.
Do you feel you’ve had an influence on the Drill scene in Chicago?
Mad niggas have asked about the Drill scene and what I think about the music. I hear, “You’re the Godfather of Drill.” Me saying something about it or keeping it real kind of sounds like hating, but niggas know what Drill music comes from. I just wasn’t the one to forefather the sound, but of course that shit is on me. Niggas know where that shit comes from bro. A gang of niggas with dreadlocks on camera – that was Waka Flocka. It wasn’t cool at the time, and I broke the door down for that style of music. Even hearing people rap like, “I’m in the back yeah, yeah, pow, what, yeah” – all that shit. I be hearing niggas say they created the “yeah.” I could’ve as easily said I created it. I been doing that. I did it for a whole CD, because I couldn’t rap. Same shit. Or I hear niggas say they created “squad.” Be for real, but it is all good though. That’s what made me want to come back on the mainstream thing.
Do you want to clear the air regarding your statement on not being African-American?
People want me to clear up a statement saying I’m not African-American or Black – I’m not. Why should you say I’m African-American? Do you hear people say they are Mexican-American or Indian-American or Cambodian-American? Why do only people of color have to say they are things like African-American or Black? Saying those words make you feel like a slave. You feel like you come second, so just to stand up to a title that makes you feel like you come second is crazy. I guess I was talking with so much passion and anger, because it made me mad that someone from my community would ask me some stupid shit like that.
What I really meant to say was that I’m not a Native-American. I’m an American native. It’s a big fucking difference. I’m a human being. How can people chastise me or say that I want to be European? I have European in me. I have Native-American in me. I have a little this and a little that in me. Why should I connect to one thing and not everything? Or why should I not let it go and learn the truth? And that’s what I wanted to do. Let all of that shit go. Don’t call me White. Don’t call me European. Don’t call me none of that shit. Before I say I’m Black or Christian or Muslim, hold on. Let me find out who I really am. Let me love myself first. After African-American what are you going to be called? Are you going to keep accepting titles?
Should an artist’s music reflect his or her political views?
You can’t politic with music, because it is entertainment. Politics aren’t entertaining. They are boring, so to hear a nigga be political in raps is hard. It’s like, you don’t have a degree in this or I just read about this. Niggas could chastise you in other ways. I feel like music is music. My music is just as violent as the news. It’s just as violent as a movie. It’s just as violent as a commercial or as a cartoon. They are doing more in cartoons. They’re banging niggas in the head and killing them in cartoons. It’s subliminal. It’s basically saying murder and violence is cool, but I’m bad for it? You putting it on the news. Every five minutes a nigga is going to jail or dying, but you don’t talk about a girl that’s 16 with straight As, who is on the honor roll. You ain’t talking about Benny the electric man that has been working for 20 years.