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Problem Talks Sex in the Studio, Too $hort’s Work Ethic & Organic Rap Chemistry [Exclusive Interview]

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Compton-bred MC Problem is all about authenticity inspired by real-life experiences — it’s reflected in his lyrics, quite literally.

“I was doing the joint with Chris Brown, Tank and Terrance Martin [‘Lay Your Head Back’]” he tells The Boombox, “And this is gon’ sound weird, but there were girls there and I was watching my homie do somebody…”

“I record myself,” he explains. “So I turn the screens around and just go in the booth, but I’m watching them in the other area doing some crazy s—.”

What kind of craziness exactly? The Diamond Lane signee answers with a laugh. “I mean, they were just doing their thing. It inspired the record,” he reveals.

His DJ Drama-hosted mixtape, ‘The Separation,’ was, within itself, a separation from what had been done in regard to mixtapes out of California. The project, released in June, was the first Gangsta Grillz installment from a West Coast rapper. But beyond that, Problem, who’s been linked to countless imprints and crews since beginning his career years ago, says the title had more of a personal meaning.

“I just wanted to separate myself and us as a company,” he says. “We wanted to separate ourselves from anything that you mentioned us with prior. This is something that’s never been seen.”

“It’ll be bigger than anything you’ve ever seen and I know that,” he adds. “I believe that. I’m not saying that we’re banging rocks against pans, but we’re authentic and we’re us and that’s very hard to find in this game.”

The fact that the rhymer can tout an original track from West Coast OG Warren G made the project all the more special. “When Warren G did that production on ‘Phone’…,” he pauses, still in awe. “That was just crazy to have a Warren G track on my mixtape.”

Problem says that when working with others, it needs to be organic. The Wale-assisted song ‘Understand Me’ happened without the push and pull that’s become standard in today’s commercialized hip-hop industry. “All my experiences were natural, like, I don’t email records,” he shares. “I don’t do that s— unless we have a relationship so that one and the joint with Wale, we actually did that one out here in Atlanta. He pulled up on me and we vibed.”

“Even with [Too] $hort,” he continues. “He’ll pull up on you, smoke, pop, talk, he gon’ give you the info, then we might work, but it’s just like… That relationship is better. Like, if we’re all in town together and it’s like, ‘What you got up after this?’ ‘Well, what you got up after this?’ I like that, I ain’t with that f—in’ with a n—- ‘cause he’s poppin’. If you’re a dope person I’m with that.”

As far as his next project goes? The ‘Say That Then’ creator reveals that he has way more than a single tape in the vault, although his unyielding pickiness hasn’t allowed him to consider possible collaborators. “I work… Like, I’m a studio junkie,” he admits. “The fact that I can record myself, engineer myself and make beats, I really don’t need anybody in the studio like that, so I’m just there.”

“When I do these [festivals],” Problem says, motioning towards a stage for emphasis. “That’s the only time I’m not in the studio. But what?” he enthuses, stretching out that signature line. “I’m thinking ‘bout the next three.”

Look out for Problem to announce dates for his forthcoming Separation Tour soon.

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