I mean, it shows you how judgmental and like sometimes ignorant hip-hop can be.  It’s a beautiful genre and it’s an amazing way to express yourself and for people to relate to each other.  You don’t see people doing that with rock.  I think [the discussion] has a negative standpoint to it.  It is what it is. Anybody out there working hard, I encourage them to keep going. 

What if they’re not working hard?

If they’re not working hard, I guess they don’t want it.  It’s important for your work ethic to be higher than your talent level. That’s an amazing statement.  A person who has more talent and doesn’t work as hard as a person who is less talented, will not get the farthest. If you lay around with incredible voice and talent and don’t use it, that means you don’t want it. 

How do you feel being followed by gossip blogs? 

Even though artists want to be looked at for their music, at the same time, you know people want all of you in this business. They want to know what you are doing behind the scenes. With me, it is what it is.  I tell people just continue to be yourself.  I try not to read comments that are written under the stories and even on my music. Every human being wants a compliment and to feel good about themselves. Some people read comments on posts, YouTube and that is something I try to stay away from.  At some point, you do that, you’re pretty much looking for a bad comment. 

Which other new rappers do you like and want to work with that the general public may not know yet?

Kendrick Lamar, he’s a great rapper out of California. The general public doesn’t really know about him yet, but they will.  We became friends off me Tweeting his album was dope...We’ve been friends for about a year.  He’s a good guy and incredible artist.

Does any other musical genre aside from hip-hop interest you?

Definitely alternative.  I love melody in general.  That’s how come my mixtapes and albums have a good feeling and vibe because of the melodies I use.  I love alternative music like Maroon 5, Passion Pit, and Arctic Monkeys.  It’s a genre I would want to try in the future.

If you didn’t rap, what would you do?  And you can’t say fashion.  I know you’ve got your fashion line.

[laughing] Wow, you’re a veteran of this journalism thing.  Good question.  Kudos.  Usually, I tell people fashion if they ask me what I’d do besides hip-hop because before I got into rap, I was interested in taking courses in fashion design.  I got into hip-hop and that kind of went away.  Something I might take up...maybe basketball.