In their conversation, Weezy revealed that he doesn’t really remember anything about his Tha Carter III album (which just turned 15-years-old on Saturday), or his other Tha Carter projects. He then discussed how he approaches his albums and mixtapes differently, still being driven to be known as the best rapper alive, and having motivation to show the new generation of rappers why he is still “that dude”.
Tune also talked about working on around 20 verses every day, wanting to perform live at a Super Bowl halftime show, skateboarding, listening to no one else but himself, why he will be working forever, how large his vault of unreleased music is, having interest in participating in a VERZUZ with himself (album songs vs. mixtape tracks), and confirmed ColleGrove 2 with 2 Chainz is finished, but they are waiting on samples to be cleared first before they release it to the world!
How do you view Tha Carter III 15 years later? What role do you feel that project plays in your catalog?
I’m going to be so honest with you: I don’t know Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter One from Tha Carter IV. And that’s just my God’s honest truth. You could lie, you could ask me [about] such and such song, I wouldn’t even know what we talking about. So it holds no significance to me at all.
Even with the highs and firsts you had in 2008, it’s not any different to you?
Nah, I don’t even know if that’s when Tha Carter III came out. That’s how much I don’t know. I work every day, bro — every single day. And also, I always look at it as the curse part of the gift and the curse. I believe that [God] blessed me with this amazing mind, but would not give [me] an amazing memory to remember this amazing shit.
So you have Tha Carter series, plus mixtapes like The Drought, The Dedication, No Ceilings, Sorry 4 the Wait — a lot of different project series. How do you differentiate creatively?
All of them have their own approach. If it’s a Tha Carter song, I approach it with a Carter song effect. Some mixtapes I [rhyme over] all the songs that are recently out, that are hot songs. And I approach those the same way the original artist approached them. I just say different words. If it’s a mixtape with DJ Drama, then I know Drama’s going to want a lot of original songs. But the way I approach those, I say whatever the hell I want, because I know that’s what Drama wants.
I’m assuming there’s not a favorite project series.
Oh, yeah. Not a favorite at all. My favorite song is the last one I record. And then I will forget it after the next one I record.
How much are you driven by still wanting to be known as the best rapper alive?
Every single action, every single word, every single approach. The reason why I’m still only listening and working on my own shit is because I’m in it. I believe once you start trying to listen to everybody else, you ain’t in it no more. You just happy to be here. But not me. I’m in a gym working on my own game. I don’t care how high you jumping. I don’t care how fast you run. You can’t even stand next to me with that shit.
Keeping with that basketball metaphor, Michael Jordan doesn’t get to play against Kevin Durant or LeBron James at this point, but you get to go up against rappers of the new generation. How motivated are you by showing the next generation you’re still that dude?
The motivation isn’t to show them that I’m still that dude, which I am. The motivation is to show them why I’m still that dude. That’s the motivation, because I want them to hopefully get something from that and they continue to still be whoever the dude or woman they are.
I saw that Teyana Taylor and NLE Choppa recently gave you gifts: exclusive Air Jordan 1s from Teyana, and a slew of things — including a chain — from NLE Choppa. Do you often get gifts from other artists?
Not often at all [laughs]. And you know what? That’s a sign of the new age. Their humility level was out of the stratosphere compared to what ours was. We had this bravado: “I’m better than you. My clique better than your clique.” You ain’t had no artist saying, “Hey, man, let me give you this.” I ain’t going to lie, the Ruff Ryders always had something to give you when you come to New York, so they was cool. But other than that, they ain’t giving you no damn gifts and shit.
What other traits have you noticed from interacting with younger artists that are different from prior generations?
You can get comfortable quick as an artist these days because of social media. You can work your ass off and put a song out and people like it, and all of a sudden somebody comes and eat a pencil and that person gets a billion likes more than you. It’s a different world. When we was doing this, we had a sense of knowing that this is what we are doing and you’re liking it or loving it because you like it or love us. These kids know that whatever they doing, you could just swipe left or swipe right and there’s another person doing it too. So it is a lot they have to deal with.
How many songs are you knocking out in a day?
I work on multiple songs a day. I probably look at 20 verses a day. I’m on my bus right now. I have a studio set up on this bus. We have a studio bus behind me. In every hotel we get to, before I get to the room, my two engineers set up a studio in the bedroom. And I told you, we already have a studio booked in that city if that city has a nice studio, meaning I don’t stop working.
Even on tour.
What? Yeah, even on tour. What? I’d be at my kid’s graduation with a studio if they had one [laughs].
Has there been a particular instance when an artist said something about your influence that really touched you?
I would say every time because it’s unexpected. But the most recent would be the homeboy NLE Choppa. People got to see him give me the chain, but when I went to shoot the video with him and [talked with] him over the phone, [I realized] that kid is very different. It’s amazing to see a person like him. But other than that, 2 Chainz did a whole song about me. Then I saw something else where someone’s filming themselves rapping a song and it was a whole ode to me, but it was rapping it to “A Milli” the way I rap “A Milli.” And speaking of “A Milli,” you see Tyga shoot a whole video referencing videos I’ve shot?
What are some things that are still out there that you’d still like to accomplish as a musician?
Oh, man. I’m so fucking far from that. What? The Grammys just started to say what’s up to me. Every time I meet a fan, the first thing they going to tell me is the things that I haven’t accomplished. And I love it, because I be like, “You’re right, man. I’m pissed off about that too. I’m trying to get that too, man.”
So when you say “far from,” what is it that you feel like—
It’s a bunch. That’s a whole ’nother interview, man. There’s a whole bunch of things I haven’t done that I’ve seen other folks do that I’ve said to myself, “Man, I’d kill it if I had that opportunity.” Super Bowl, hint, hint.
How would you feel about doing the Super Bowl?
What? “How would you feel?” I’d kill that shit. We wouldn’t even worry about the game after that. Everybody knew that one kid [who] was watching the halftime show, but that’d be one of the first Super Bowls that they’ll be like, “Both teams were out on the field watching the halftime show.”
You’ve been performing at big venues for a long time. Was there a point where you missed intimate venues and wanted to get back to this kind of tour?
Yeah, that was the whole reason. Just for the simple fact of embracing my fans. They love the fuck out of me.
I see there’s talk of a ColleGrove 2, a sequel to your collab album with 2 Chainz, coming out. I was wondering if you could give an update on where things are with that process?
We’ve been finished with ColleGrove. Me and Tit [2 Chainz], every time we get together, we record. We got, like, 39 million songs. But he been putting it together. He was just waiting to get certain samples cleared. He’s very persistent. So sometimes when things don’t get cleared, he’ll go to the umpteenth to get it cleared. So shit, once he say when, that’s when we going.
I saw that your videographer Phil gave you a pro skateboard in December. Have you actually used it?
Oh, yeah, that’s my pro model. All my homies skate the pro model. We all skate.
Would you ever enter a skate contest, given that you’ve been skating for so long?
Oh, no. Hell no. That’s what I have a skate team for. And that’s what it was all about anyway, just giving back and opening doors for those kids. They do this shit the way that I rap.
You don’t feel like you’re quite of their caliber?
Nah, we ain’t entering no competitions or nothing. Also, there’s different forms of skating. There’s competition skating, there’s vert skating, there’s street skating, and there’s training skating. I’m a street skater. So my whole platform in skating is putting out a video.
Who are you listening to these days?
When it comes to rap, I don’t listen to no one. I just don’t have time to, because I’m trying to get better every day. I tell my own artist that, too. When you find a favorite artist, you’re going to start sounding like them. It took Birdman and them to pull my ass aside and be like, “Bro, I’m tired of every song you doing sounding like damn Jay-Z. You’re not Jay-Z.”
How did you take it when he said that? Is that something you were cognizant of?
Yeah, I was glad it was working [laughs]. That’s like, “Oh, good, it’s working.”
How much longer do you see yourself rapping? Do you ever think about retirement?
When you work the way I work, it gets strenuous, and it might flash. And even when you say it, I don’t think you actually mean stop working or doing music. You probably just mean you want to retire from everything else but the music [laughs]. When you’re an artist — a real artist like myself, I was born this way. So I don’t think that the real true artists and pioneers, they never retire. They died doing this.
I saw DJ Toomp talk about a memorable studio session with you, 2 Chainz, and Benny the Butcher. What do you remember from that session?
That was a rap session. That was one of them “Cash Money flew to New York and we done ended up in the same studio with Dipset [or] Ruff Ryders [sessions].” That’s one of them old sessions [you] used to see on VHS or something, where you see Fat Joe in there, you might see Jada, all them in one studio, and that’s one of them sessions.
Could you put an estimate on how large your vault of unreleased music is?
My drive goes back to 2010, and that’s just this computer. So that means that number isn’t even possible to even fathom. You probably got a million songs in one year.
I’ve seen a lot of Lil Wayne Verzuz talk. Are you interested in doing one, and which artist would you be interested in competing with?
I was interested in Mixtape Weezy going against Lil Wayne. That would have been crazy.
So you’d be onstage by yourself?
Yeah. What other artists you think? There ain’t no other artist that can stand on the stage next to me, bro. I’m sorry.