So you’re performing in Brixton on Monday, what happens at one of your live shows?
Craziness. A lot of energy, a lot of energy from myself and the crowd
How do you feel in front of a crowd?
I feel at peace, you know. It’s a way to express yourself, a way to vent, put all your emotions out on that stage
Where was your first ever gig?
My first ever was at a hole in the wall place, in a small city, in a small club in Los Angeles
I was probably terrible.. But it was a growing experience, a growing process, and you know, you never forget those moments
Who was the first person to tell you that you were good at music?
The first person to tell me was probably this guy named Dave Free, he’s my manager now, since I was like tenth grade...yeah
How did he discover you?
Through a mutual friend, it was all in high school, rapping and stuff. And then a mutual friend told him about me and we decided to start doing music and we’ve been doing it ever since
How did he help you to develop your sound?
He really just allowed me to experience different things in music, and listen to different people, he got a broad playlist in music everybody from west coast, to the east coast. And basically we just started developing there
You said in an interview before that your mum told you that whatever you do, you just gotta do it really, really well. What does she make of your success now?
Oh yeah, she loves it. She sees that I took heed in what she was saying because you have people that’s calling me the best at what I do, and you know l pride myself in that. She always said that whatever you do make sure that you're the best at it
What kind of a son were you when you were younger?
I was a good son, respectful, I never disrespected my mother, I never disrespected my father intentionally. Probably some of the things I did, outside of the house were a little bit outlandish, but as far as verbal disrespect or inner presence disrespect, never, so, I was a good son
What are your earliest memories of their music?
A lot of oldies, gangster rap was played in my household, which really inspired my sound today from new melodic driven, aggressive type feel
What track or album have you listened to more than any other?
That’s hard, that’s tough. They played a lot of 2Pac All Eyez On Me, Me Against The World, they probably played that track a hundred thousand times in our house
How did the collaboration with Drake happen?
I went on his Club Paradise tour and we really built a bond, a relationship, since the first time we met. He put me on his album, which was the interlude, red light interlude, we always said it was gonna work, it was just about finding the right song, that was the right song
What happened in your first meeting with Dre?
I was very excited, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was more excited, cause I knew that this was my shot, everything that l've worked for, everything I’ve built up to came down to that moment
What happened in that moment?
That moment I recorded my first song with Dre, which was Compton, which is the last song on my album
Do you speak to him on a daily basis?
Yeah I talk to him
And what’s he up to at the moment?
At the moment he’s just working his Beats by Dre. Doing a lot of promo and press for that, getting buried in life right now
Can you see yourself moving to projects outside of music like he does with Beats?
Yeah definitely. You know when you conquer one thing, you want to move on to the next and be able to challenge yourself? He inspired me to want to do that, once l get the years behind me, of being exceptionally great at music
Are you creative in other ways outside of the music?
Yeah. I'm very hands on with the whole visual and concepts beyond the music
Are you a competitive person?
So where does success lie?
Success lies in challenging myself, thats where l get my success
And how will you ever be fulfilled?
Probably when l see that my music has touched more people than l can possibly imagine, and that point in time will come
What do your lyrics say about you as a person?
My lyrics say that I have morals, say that I have confidence, say I have weaknesses, say I have strong points, say l am a human being
What are the morals that you live by?
Treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s the number one, that’s something that my mother always told me. That’s the one piece of advice I would give everybody and the world would be a better place
Can you tell me about the picture on the front cover of the album?
The front cover really represents the lifestyle that I’m used to, the coming up, seeing a lot of parties, a lot of good times, a lot of bad times and really I blanked the eyes out so that you see the innocence, the little boy that’s in there, which is me. No matter what he is around, you still see the vulnerability in this kid, you know that he wants to figure out whats going on around him
Do you think your music comes from a positive place?
Yes. My music comes from a positive place, only because I was once in a dark place before in my life so, to actually get to that positive space you have to come in this negative world, where you’re striving to do something better for yourself
How did you allow those negative situations to not affect you, or jade you?
Just knowing something was bigger than me, something was bigger than just Compton, something was bigger than the trouble we were getting ourselves involved in, I knew something was more, and l wanted more for myself. Not only for myself but for the people l care about
Are you still based in Compton now?
No, I’m a rolling stone. I don’t have a place to stay. Im roaming the world
What do you do with all your stuff?
My mother has all that stuff. I’m in the world now, I like to see other things. Cause for so long when you're in Compton, its all you think that exists, so when I finally got out to see other places, like London, it makes you want to continue the travel
When you're travelling what are things you have to have with you at all times?
Fresh pair of drawers, fresh pair of socks
How have you been enjoying London?
I love it. Y’all weather’s a bit gloomy right now, I like gloomy weather, I work best and do most of my album under gloomy weather, so you’ll hear a lot of dark tracks in there
How are British fans different to your US fans?
There's a little bit more excitement with British fans, a little bit more energy, I think you guys just appreciate a little bit more
Out of all the tracks you have written, which do you feel the most proud of now?
The most proud of is tough, I've written a lot of tracks. If it had to be from this album, any one off this album really, sing about me, l’m real, Compton
From the previous mixtapes, are there any songs that you’ve written that you find difficult to listen back to now?
What’s crazy is that l don’t listen to none of my older music, just because I always wanted the team to grow. I don’t wanna get caught back in that time, or critiquing what i should have done or what sounds right
Who will you collaborate with in the future?
I’m really tight on collaborations, I always say Erykah Badu, that’s it for now, that’s always in the back of my mind