Interview: Flo Rida
Thu, 20 Mar 2008 14:18:57
You knock on enough doors and eventually someone has to let you in. Flo Rida, the newest edition to Florida's rap high council, should know. Early in his career, he came out to Los Angeles without a contact to call on and ended up traversing the city, hitting up record labels for a chance to audition on the spot. No one wanted to hear him at the time, but that didn't mean he was going to keep quiet.
After years of perseverance, Atlantic Records finally cracked the door an inch, and he took the opportunity to kick it wide open with his monster first single, "Low." The song, featuring hit-machine T-Pain, spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard 100, and set a new record for digital downloads in a week with over 417,000 copies sold. We sat down with the rapper as his debut album, Mail On Sunday, hit shelves to the delight of fans everywhere. He talked to us about his dirty days hyping for 2 Live Crew, his insatiable drive to succeed and how you can't leave your bags unguarded in a place like Beverly Hills.
The single "Low" is everywhere, even setting records on iTunes. How are you feeling about the success?
I feel really unbelievable right now, like I’m dreaming. With all the grinding that I put in and the hard work, I expected something to happen, but I didn’t know it would be to this magnitude.
Some rappers will never see numbers like you’ve got, and this is just your first outing. That’s crazy.
It’s a blessing, and I thank God for it everyday.
This definitely isn’t an overnight success story. You’ve definitely been on your grind for a while. I read that you used to run with 2 Live Crew back in the day. What was that like, and how old were you?
That was a situation where my group Groundhogz opened up for Scarface, and someone who was down with Fresh Kid Ice saw me perform. They were going over to Hawaii and they needed a hype man, so that was one of my first big gigs. From that point one, he would call me to hype for them on tours.
What were those tours like? I can only imagine.
I’d be up there and the ladies would damn near be trying to perform oral sex on me [laughs]. It was crazy, man.
Sounds crazy to me. When did you first link up with Groundhogz?
When I was around 8th, going into the 9th grade. I had another dude I was rapping with at the time but he went off to college. I got with Groundhogz cause a couple of us were working on the same projects. So one day, I just auditioned for them and they made me part of the family. From that point on we’ve been doing our thing.
You moved out to California at one point in your career. What prompted that move?
My first time out to Cali was me chasing the Hollywood dream. I went out there to the Beverly Center thinking that no one would take my bag off of the bus bench, cause it was Beverly Hills. Thing was, the police confiscated the bag cause they thought it was a bomb. Then I went over to Death Row, but they weren’t taking auditions at the time. So I went to different record labels out there, and ended up being on the streets for a couple of days. But the second time I went to LA, it was a situation where one of the guys in my group was cousins with a guitar player in the Blind Boys of Alabama. He knew Devante, so we got a demo together and he gave it to Devante when they were writing together. Devante loved the demo and called me one day when I was at home just writing on the couch. He was like, “I want you to come out here. I love your music, and I want to sign you.” The next day, I went out there and I stayed for three years with him. With Devante’s work ethic and his creativity, I learned a lot of things from him. When I came down to Miami to get a deal, it was a situation where my manager said that different A&Rs were coming in the building for Rick Ross, but heard my stuff and wanted to put a face with my demo. At first I was hesitant to leave Cali cause I thought I was close to getting a deal out there, but I came back home and four months later I had a deal with Atlantic.
It’s not a guarantee that you’ll ever make it in this business. Was your family always 100% behind you?
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