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.
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.
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.
Starting in music, where I get a chance to connect with the lyrics of a song, I learned so much about performing on stage and connecting to your audience and to what you're singing about. Singing is very emotional. Every song has its own purpose.
I can be stupid in my lyrics or say whatever I want without having to worry about anybody else's feeling or anybody being embarrassed by it or anything like that.
The Moody Blues
The thing about Sondheim is that it does get very cerebral. You do need a faculty with words and a love for the lyrics to not just pull it off, but to have an appreciation for it.
Most of my lyrics are little stories about my experiences or those of my friends.
With my own material, I like maintaining lyric integrity. I like having sophisticated lyrics, and maybe that's not down-the-middle Top 40 pop, but it reflects my style, my life, the way I speak, and the way I tell what's happening with my life emotionally, so in that way, it's authentic to me.