As one of the most trusted voices of subconsciousness for Hip-Hop artists, Anthony Hamilton still holds rank as one of the most consistent developers of the rhythm and blues circuit. Gearing up for his sixth solo album titled The Point Of All, Mr. Hamilton shows why his outlook on life allows him to be the best musician, husband, and overall human being possible.
But akin to the album’s first single with David Banner and the President-elect Barack Obama, he just plays it “Cool.”
TSS: So the name Point Of It All sounds pretty serious. Has Anthony Hamilton reached his breaking point?
Anthony Hamilton: The Point Of It All is me getting to a place where I’m starting to realize, not only am I in a relationship and been going through things but the WHY? of it all. Why am I going through it, what made me tick, what made me mess up, what made me do good. You know, what made her change, what makes love: love. All these things, raise curiosity. But we’re doing it to a different tempo this album. You don’t always have to be contemplating things to a slow groove. So we’re picking up the pace with this one. Just like the first single “Cool.” It’s very important to me for people to enjoy Anthony Hamilton and get the best of what I’m saying.
I’d say it’s like one of those Kanye West Graduation albums. You know like the same but different all the well. Not saying that was my intention but now that I’m thinking of it that’s what it is.
TSS: So will fans of the “soulful” Anthony Hamilton be disappointed? You’re not completely flipping out on them are you?
Anthony Hamilton: Aw naw! They gonna be extremely pleased with this one.
TSS: So what made you up and decide to work with David Banner?
Anthony Hamilton: Oh you know, that’s my nig. We both country as corn with polyester and polyurethane draped around it. We had been talking about collaborating forever and we finally made it happen.
TSS: It seems like everytime you work with a Hip-Hop artist, the song has a meaningful or serious tone. You ever get offers to do to more explicit material that you ever turn down?
Anthony Hamilton: Oh yeah. But I didn’t reject those particular artists per se because they are very talented, but I have to watch what I put out because I am a father, so I have to represent myself the best way possible.
TSS: You know how you said you went with a new sound for the album, it seems like more and more R&B artists are switching their sound and basically crossing over to Pop. Did you feel pressured to do that or was it something you planned on for awhile?
Anthony Hamilton: You know what I feel pressure doing? Choosing from the 60-70 songs! I wish I could put ‘em all one album and charge it for $30! [Laughs] But I can’t do my folks like that, I have to give ‘em the best album possible. But I didn’t have to rush this album. Most of the time, I’m in hurry when recording it but I was able to take my time and I really feel strong about this one. I have a song called “Diamond In The Rough” and it’s about a woman you would probably walk by because it scares you to talk to her but she’s beautiful and just because she may be going through some difficult times, she’s still doing good for herself without you. A lot of women need to hear that one and know that things will work out for them in the end. Even if they have to go to a strip club or whatever it takes to make the next level possible.
We all do things we’re not particularly proud of. You know guys sell drugs. It’s not the perfect way or the American way but sometimes you have to do things to get to the other side. And I want the listeners to know that it’s O.K. to get to the other side and let those things go.
TSS: Any more features on the album?
Anthony Hamilton: I didn’t do any duets this time but Tarsha’ McMillian Hamilton is on “The News” which opens up the album and it’s one of those soulful Curtis-Mayfield-openers [Sings] Heeeey heeey [Laughs]
TSS: How’s the married life going?
Anthony Hamilton: It’s been good because it’s important to me to be good at it. Still not perfect but I’m working on it. I think by the time I turn 60, I’ll be the flawless husband. But I’m learning what’s wrong. We both are. But it’s worth going through. It’s a sexy moment right now.
TSS: And you guys released her album this year too right?
Anthony Hamilton: Yessir. It’s available on iTunes right now. It’s called The McMillian Story.
TSS: Would you say working with Al Green enhanced your musical proficiency, allowing you to release quality albums for yourself and the people in your camp?
Anthony Hamilton: Man. There’s been people who sampled an Al Green album and have been influenced. So me being in the studio with him, singing at the same time, I’ve been truly blessed. I’ve sang with Bill Withers on stage who hadn’t sung in 20 years but he said “If Anthony Hamilton sings, so will I.” For people to have that sort of trust in me and to appreciate what I’m doing, just makes me more humble. Even though I don’t win the Grammys and don’t perform at all the awards, my life is great and I want people to know I am appreciative of their support and to the people who paved the way for me, like Barack Obama when he did his first album–
TSS: Hey! That’s the one winning the Grammys right there!
Anthony Hamilton: I know. He did a duet with Bill Clinton. I was there executive producing [Laughs]
Anthony Hamilton: But it’s just good to experience a change in the world. And not even it being about a Black president. It could’ve been a Japanese, Hispanic — whatever. We just needed a change. And I’m a fan of the White man [Laughs] like everybody else but they need to take a rest because they stressed out!!! We all the same team but with different positions. So it gives the other positions a shot. So I feel really good about it and gives everybody a chance now. You know when you were young and your grandmomma was like “You gonna grow up and be the President baby..” It just makes the fairy tale a reality!
TSS: And I see North Carolina represented as well…
Anthony Hamilton: Well yeah, I was out there having voter and registration drives, I was on the radio. It was my first time voting. I had been brainwashed to the whole “If you’re Black, then it don’t matter…” But what really messed me up was when I went to New York and you had the Muslims; 5 Percenters, Christians, the “I’m just a free spirit, I don’t know what to believe in’s.” So you have all that coming together. And my Southern lovin’, country self, I was able to muster through all the bull and come back to reality and realize that I do matter. My son voted this year as well, so me and him made history together.
TSS: So yeah, you’re soulful and grounded but what makes Anthony Hamilton mad? What’s the Point where you had enough?
Anthony Hamilton: STRIP CLUBS THAT AIN’T GOT NO CHANGE!!!
Anthony Hamilton: [Laughs] I’m just kidding. But seriously, you know what pisses me off? People that treat people bad and less than. You know there’s people who work at restaurants or hotels and when they get treated bad, it really makes me get upset. Like they’re there to work not really for you perse. Not knowing what their spirit is up against and just having no regard. Like I know Shakir [Stewart]. I just hugged him like a month ago; we were at a Doug Morris function and I introduced Mark Batson to him. And for him to be at a place where he felt he couldn’t go to anybody just eats me up inside. People just so much pressure on you to be perfect; I just hate when people treat people bad because you never know what they’re dealing with. So that’s where I am with that, and I mean it. If you think you’re gonna hang with me and treat everybody bad, you gotta get off my bus, all that. Same goes for my family, you gotta go home.
TSS: Understood. So with record sales down, are you doing any extensive touring to compensate or anything?
Anthony Hamilton: I’m not trying rob nobody outta where they are in life. If they need the album, they know where they can get it. If not, they’ll get it when they can or burn it, or download it. As long as they listen to it. I’m not really trying to chase every dollar — that’s not my job. Some artists can do that if they feel like it. My job is to make good music and I’ma tour, I’ma eat. I get $35 a day for per diem and I can make a great life off of that. I don’t have to be the richest cat. I can hang with Jay-Z, 50, or Jermaine and then go home and be cool with my Dodge Durango and be “Cool” in my beautiful house. I’m not in competition with anyone else’s life but I feel like at the end of the day, we all wanna make a difference. But I’m doing good. And there’s some days where I work my tail off. Like I’ve been talking to people all day and through the evening and afterwards, I have to go a function where I have to dress up and smile the entire time [Laughs]. But it’s all great to me.
TSS: Okay, lastly, you just expressed how your love for the music is genuine. But that may not be the same for everybody in the industry. How strong do you perceive R&B to be today?
Anthony Hamilton: You know what, I’m not hating on anybody. I like T-Pain and what he’s doing. He brought back the Roger Troutman so people don’t forget. People starting to inquire what “old music” was! And I like what Jazmine [Sullivan] is doing…Nikki Costa, Tarsha’ Hamilton. Just a lot of people making great music that need to be heard and embraced. I think a lot times, people get caught up in judging and trying to figure out what people are doing and they miss out on a great song.
So I rather a great song catch my hear off the strength of the music instead of me having to judge and decide if it’s good or not. I don’t join into the hype. Whatever I like, I like, and I like a lot right now. There’s a place for everything though. I do think we need more grown up and sexy music, and I do feel the music on the radio should change tempos on the radio, I will say that.
TSS: To something like that Anthony Hamilton, Point Of It All tempo huh?
Anthony Hamilton: [Laughs]
TSS: Anything special you want to say to your fans?
Anthony Hamilton: I appreciate everybody’s support from the past to the present.
Anthony Hamilton’s The Point Of It All is in stores today, December 16. For more info, visit www.myspace.com/anthonyhamilton.
“Diamond In The Rough”
“Cool” Featuring David Banner