Do you remember the first time you were discriminated against because you were black?
The first time I opened up a Superman comic book. The first time I saw Flashdance, with the light-skinned, beautiful bitch who’s chasing after some white cat, which…I don’t have nothing against interracial relationships—love ’em, actually.
Wait. On “These Are Our Heroes,” you mentioned Tiger Woods…
A lot of times, when people look at me, they look too deep into it. Tiger Woods standing up for this white lady who said something about him being lynched is a coon move to me. God bless the brother. I like to see him doing his thing, but that’s a flaw to his character. That’s an issue I would have with Tiger Woods; not who he is married to. I don’t even know who he’s married to.
I’m asking because you shouted out him, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Taye Diggs. They’re all married to white women.
I saw Cuba Gooding do a hand spin or some shit on an awards show—that’s very coonish to me. I can’t remember what Taye Diggs did, but I didn’t know he was married to a white woman. You know who my hero is? Richard Pryor. He was married seven times. My favorite wife of his is Debra, one of the white girls.
What will it say about the record industry if Def Jam drops you, 10 albums deep, over a single word?
That starts a revolution. It sparks something within the hip-hop community, within the streets, within the people outside the streets. It raises an eyebrow to the situation, you know? Nobody wants to deal with the word “nigger,” because what comes with the word “nigger” is a whole history where you show so much injustice, and you show so much that has not been fixed yet. So it’s a scary thing. But it’s also uncomfortable when I’m dealing with it. Like, no one can tell me what to do. None of the black leaders, none of these motherfuckers, record companies, none of them can tell me what to do. Because you can’t stop what I want to do, you understand?
OK, on to your music. I’m not making this up: On the flight from New York, the person next to me asked why I was going to L.A. I said, “I’m interviewing Nas.” She said, and I paraphrase, “I like Nas, except when he rapped like he was a drug kingpin.”
Oh, that’s great, man. If you have a catalog, you go back to certain records guys did, and one record is for [one] crowd, another record is for another crowd. It shouldn’t all be the same thing; it should be all different dimensions of yourself. I was talking about coke on my first album because that’s what I was around. On the second album, you had to take it to the next level—that Escobar lifestyle with the hot shoes; a nigga was dressing up the way I always wanted to be. I kept it thorough with who I was. A lot of fans aren’t into gangster rap. They are going to listen to shit they like, and that’s cool.