If rock-and-roll is well done, there's nothing so terribly wrong with that kind of music. But the lyrics are another story.
I pay attention to lyrics and I know what rap fans care about. I try to write for the average listener and I'm conscious of the mainstream without selling out.
When I first started making music, I was all about wordplay and how fast I could rap, but over the years, I've really gained an appreciation for melody. What's cool is that when you're singing, you have to be concise, and when you're rapping, you have the opportunity to be really detailed with your lyrics.
A right balance between music and lyrics is important. Music complements lyrics.
The songwriting style, to me, is superior... there was a certain amount of joy in it, no matter how sad the song is. You get joy in listening to these Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison sad lyrics. I'm attracted to songs that have balance between the darks and the lights and giving them all equal opportunity.
Listen to the words people say in their lyrics, and tell me, if that's some real shit, if that's real to you, you know what I mean. Listen to what they sayin', don't just bob your head to the beat, peep the game, and listen to what Im saying. Hold us accountable for it.
When I was younger, I was able to write with music playing in the background, but these days, I can't. I find it distracting. Even when the music is just instrumental or has lyrics in a language I don't understand, the clash between the voices in my head and the song can be very disorienting.
Coming up, the music of my era was very conscious. I grew up on Public Enemy, and it was popular culture to be aware. People were wearing Malcolm X T-shirts and Malcolm X hats. It was a very cool thing to know who Malcolm X was. It was all in the lyrics. It was trendy to be conscious and aware.
I'm a great believer in letting lyrics just flow out, wherever they come from.
People assume that the meaning of a song is vested in the lyrics. To me, that has never been the case. There are very few songs that I can think of where I remember the words.
I'm always writing lyrics. I have so many lyrics on so many stray pieces of paper. Everywhere.
One of my big goals as a human being is to continue to write what's really happening to me, even if it's a tough pill to swallow for people around me... I do fear that if I ever were to have someone in my life who mattered, I would second-guess every one of my lyrics.