Fabolous Keeps Strategy a Secret, but Explains Concept Behind ‘Loso’s Way’
Rapper Fabolous stepped on the scene in 1998 with the support of DJ Clue and by 2001 he had taken the world by storm. The Brooklyn MC has released 3 platinum records and one gold, and is one of the only NY rappers with both respect in the streets and crossover appeal for the clubs. We sat down with Fab and talked about his new album, 'Loso's Way,' the secrets of his success, and set the record straight about a couple of things in his past.
The Boombox: What inspired you to go with the Carlito's Way theme for your new album?
Fabolous: I felt like some of the dopest hip hop projects had their own theme. I think people escaped from that, and started to go into the studio and just pick their 15, 16 hottest records and just slap em together. I just wanted to bring that back. I was always looking for a theme and then one day I was watching 'Carlito's Way,' and the lightbulb popped up in my head.
The Boombox: So how does that theme translate?
Fabolous: It's in the lyrics and some of the scenarios. [Carlito's] girlfriend was trying to talk him out of being in the streets and saying that he can't be in the streets and not be in the streets at the same time. I got a song where I touched on that called 'Last Time' featuring Trey Songz. Another joint was this situation where the girl told Carlito that she was pregnant and now he was gonna become a first-time father. I went through that experience as well, this past year, cause I just had my son, which was a new experience for me. So that was a record I did called 'Stay,' featuring Marsha Ambrosious, and it describes my feelings about fatherhood and coming into being a father.
The Boombox: Who would play [Carlito's nemesis] Benny Blanco?
Fabolous: It's so funny, I looked at him, he was the kid coming up that Carlito didn't wanna respect and it caught up to him in the end, his ignorance became the death of him. Maybe I have that ignorance somewhere that I haven't seen yet, hopefully it doesn't catch me at the train station and shoot me..
The Boombox: So there's no young rapper waiting in the wings that you've been holding down?
Fabolous: Not really. I mean, I'm different in that, if I see talent I recognize it and I'll say somebody's dope. People around me know that I'm adamant with whoever I like and whoever I don't like as well. But maybe, because I haven't seen somebody come up to me and say 'this person is the next you'...because that's a different emotion. So, maybe that's why I haven't felt that yet. If somebody came up to Eminem and said 'Yo, Asher Roth is the next you,' you gotta see his facial expression, the answer that he gives...I haven t had that.
The Boombox: So what's the short film about?
Fabolous: It touches on some of the situations that happened within my career with a 'Carlito's Way' kind of feel. You seeing what's going on with me lifestyle-wise, with my girl and friends and becoming an artist. I was finally able to touch on getting shot, cause I wasn't able to talk about it or illustrate it in any way cause I had a pending case with a gun charge, Now that's over and I can speak on it. I was able to put scenes in the movie that kinda explain a little bit what happened without actually being a snitch, and I could just tell you the whole scenario.
The Boombox: What was that story with that bus driver and the weed?
Fabolous: That was a completely made up story. I didn't take a tour bus. That's like me saying 'Yo, uh, Rick Ross just flew me a hundred keys of cocaine from Columbia,' and they just put that story up. It was really just a media-driven story. I've never even been questioned by police or any authorities about it. Once they had a celebrity name it was print worthy and they just ran with it.
The Boombox: Why didn't you work with Just Blaze this time around?
Fabolous: I reached out to Just, he gave me two joints that I thought were great joints. One of them I thought was a great joint but I didn't feel like it fit within the scheme of the whole album, and the other one was a good joint where I just didn't make the record that I wanted to make of it. And it's not his fault or my fault, well maybe it's a little bit my fault, it just didn't connect the way I wanted it to. But...like you said, Just has been, I think, on every project that I ever put out, so this is gonna be the first one he's missing and I gotta ask ijm about that. I'll ask him how he feels and maybe we can do something somewhere along the line....
The Boombox: Yeah, that's always a good combination.
Fabolous: Actually, I did a song with Alchemist for the album and Just Blaze actually did the scratches. I was talking about it in the studio and Just does his share of DJing and that kind of thing, and he just went in there and did 'em himself, so he actually had some kind of input, he just didn't make a beat, you know what I mean?
The Boombox: So what is your strategy, how are you one of the last NY rappers who still sells records every time out?
Fabolous: I don't know if I want to give away my strategy, kid! I just found my lane and I just stick to that. I try to do different things musically but I don't try to be in somebody else lane too much. I think people appreciate you for what you do. I feel like I know what I do well, and I know what I want to try and I'm I'm able to say, even if I tried something and it doesn't work it doesn't work. I'm not so big-headed where...say I try acting and I suck. If I suck, I suck, I won't act, you know what I mean? Certain guys they get on this pedestal and, maybe they have too many "yes-men" around them and they get them into things that's really not them. Your level of success only grows as big as people let it grow. If they accept you for what you do, then, that's how big you get.
The Boombox: What's next for you?
Fabolous: I love making albums. My last project came out two years ago, so I kinda want to return to making more music rather than...I would love to dip my feet in the pool of acting, but I want to get it in musically as well. The sales thing and the slump of the music industry doesn't change my hunger or my spirit towards making music. I love to make music, I love the reaction that people get when they hear new music. I love the reaction you get form creating music. I'm looking to do a project later in the year with Ne-Yo which would be kinda like a 'Best of Both Worlds' project that we've been talking about putting together. Musically, I just want to grow in that way, and of course introduce some new talented guys that I've been working with, Street Family, Freck Billionaire, Red Cafe, Paul Cain. And just grow musically as well. I feel like it's my time, I feel like I put in a lot of legwork to get where I am. This is my fifth album, there's not too many artists in general that have gone that long and are able to still be relevant. There's a lot of people who put out albums, I don't know if it's a lot of people that have that anticipation, and that's the key thing, building that anticipation where people actually want to hear what you have to say.