You recently dropped The Cure 2, another dope Willie the Kid mixtape. Are you happy with how it’s doing so far?
Yeah, I’m excited about it. The Cure 2 was definitely a project that I was excited about putting together last year. I did The Fly 2 and The Crates to really go in that direction for The Cure 2. It’s really an in-your-face, a rhyme-driven project. I wasn’t really looking for no radio hits or I wasn’t looking for no single hooks. I was really just trying to take it back to the cipher and the basement and we definitely got that approach, definitely.
That was my favorite part of the mixtape, just real lyrical tracks. Are those your favorite tracks to make?
I enjoy it all, man. I enjoy making stuff for the mainstream because for me, it comes natural to make that type of material. When I’m able to just go crazy and do whatever the heck I want to do, it’s therapeutic for me, man. It goes beyond making music for a career at that point. When you sign to a label and the label got certain expectations and you have things you have to do for certain markets, that’s a strategy. But when I’m making music just for me, it’s holistic, man. It’s a therapy process for me, man.
What tracks were the most fun on The Cure 2?
The most fun, I think, was picking the beats. That was probably the most fun in the process. I was getting the grimiest, most in-your-face process I could find. I went with my trustees for that and got Frank Dukes, MoSS, and getting together with all my brothers and carving out that process. That, and the artwork, putting that together.
Is it ever hard getting beats for a free download?
Oh nah, nah. Those guys are good friends of mine. Those guys, I respect their talent and they respect mine. We talk on and off the grid. I understand what they’re doing and I understand what they do. I do records for them and I never charge them anything and they send me records and never charge me anything. I think for us all, we understand that and now if I had a major release and it was dropping and I had a budget, I would definitely pay them out of being a good dude and being fair, but as far as mixtapes, I think we all recognize the power of the underground and what it means to put some good shit together, even if it’s not mainstream.
And they’ll be the first ones you’d call when you get a budget.
The last time we’d talked you just released the Never a Dull Moment EP with Lee Bannon and the album was forthcoming. How’s that project coming?
It’s dope. We can’t stop making the music, man. We’ve been making mad music and some of the music is so dope I want to put it out. “Drunk Ass Bitch” was really for the Never a Dull Moment but we threw that out on The Cure 2. Now we have to just sit down and organize it. We make tons of music all the time but we haven’t really started pushing anything on the project. He sends me beats and I send him songs back and we go on and on with making music but I think we have to organize what we’re doing for the project.
But it’s definitely coming out. I would say we just got lost in the sauce and the idea of making the music. We just have to get the release date and all that.
You’ve always been known for working with DJ Drama, but you weren’t on his latest album Third Power. Is everything good?
Dram’s still a good friend of mine and we still keep in touch. He’s doing what he’s doing with his career and I think I just have to keep doing what I’m doing with mine for now. I think for now, everybody, me, him, Don Cannon, Sense, La the Darkman, everybody’s found a new comfort in just going in their own direction. No hard feelings. There’s no beef, no internet blogs. Everybody just needs to work in their own space right now. We’ll get back to it eventually.
Do you want to establish yourself as a solo artist more?
Yeah. I think we never gave our solo careers a chance. We’ve always been so connected to each other for such a long time. I don’t want to say we grew out of it but we all grew into a need to pursue our individual paths. That’s what was next on the agenda for everybody.
Do you have any regrets from the moves you made back in ’06 and ’07, when you were just starting to become knowing in the hip-hop community?
I can’t say there’s anything I wouldn’t do because it all got me to where I am today. I’m not one for regrets. I think everything that happened was supposed to happen. I think being so attached to Drama and the Apphiliates and Gangsta Grillz, I think what that did was give me a platform for being able to do what I’m doing now. I think it gave me a platform. I think back then, it gave me the leverage to do this crazy shit I’m doing now.
You’ve worked with a lot of big names on Gangsta Grillz mixtapes and albums. What have you learned through those experiences?
The number one thing I learned, man, was who I am as an artist. I believe in organic, natural chemistry and an organic, natural physical process. I like to identify with the artist as a person and I think that really makes for a beautiful product. A lot of times in the past, we were doing shit because it was good for business or it flowed for what we were doing as a company, business-wise. But I think in 2011, from some of the collaborations I did, like Styles P, Cory Gunz, and Jon Connor, I think stuff like that, and Krondon from Strong Arm Steady, I think those kind of collaborations and musical projects we put together, I think they speak more to what I’m saying as far as having a true bond and a true connection with the people I’m working with for the sake of the music.
Who would you like to work with next?
I’m excited to work with some producers. I can rap for three or four motherfuckers. I want to work with the RZA, Kanye West, Havoc, Pete Rock. All the producers, man. Madlib. I want to work with some producers. That’s who I want to get with.
What does it take for up-and-coming producers to catch your ear?
I don’t know, man. I just know when I hear it. Friends of mine say I’m too picky and they’ll play me a beat and I won’t like it and a week later I will. I’m real funny about beats and I’m real particular about beats. I got to a point now where I don’t even rap on beats unless it makes me go crazy at first. I don’t believe in “grow-on-me” beats. The song magically comes together in my mind before I can write it down. That’s the kind of beats I’m looking for and I got some real good friends in the business that I can turn to for beats. Every time Alchemist sends me beats it’s always incredible. I think Al’s one of my favorites right now and of course Lee Bannon. They send me shit and it always goes. And my man V. Don out of Harlem, New York. He’s got some crazy shit too. When I get beats from them brothers, I’m straight. But I do want to branch out and make some more music with up-and-coming producers and I think that’ll come as I keep making music.
What’s next for you?
I’m about to do this project called Moment in Time. It’s going to basically be, I’m not even sure what to call it at this point, it’s going to be a package where you download a link and you get some videos, rare throwback footage and rare behind the scenes footage. It’s basically going to be an interview and music to go along with it. It’ll be like when an artist went on Rap City and they showed all their videos at that time. I’m going to give a real in-depth interview about my career and videos from throughout my career.
How’s your big brother La the Darkman doing?
Oh, he’s doing well. He’s doing really well. He was doing some dates with Wu-Tang on the Wu-Tang Tour. He was just reaching out and going back to his roots with the Clan. Him and RZA’s relationship has always been great. We got some great things coming in the future with La and RZA so check out for that.
What talent should we be watching for from Michigan next?
My man S. Class Sonny. Make sure you check out for him. He’s a friend I grew up with and he had to go away, pay a debt to society. But he always stayed in touch and when he came back, I told him all my resources would be his. He’s my friend, but I’m telling you he’s one of the most influential and hardest-working cats I know. I’m not talking about the ones that are already on the radio and known already. He’s one of the fastest growing guys. Check for him.