These days Waka Flocka is everywhere *FLOCKA*, with a string of mixtapes (we’re fans of DuFlocka Rant 2), an upcoming cartoon with Adult Swim (here’s the much loved Pitchfork TV FRAMES cartoon that started it all), a much-anticipated album, a growing company, and a series of new viral videos on the horizon *TURNUP*. Add to that some very public Amanda Bynes defending and Miley Cyrus tweeting, and you’ve got a bonafide pop culture phenomenon *SQUAD*.
An artist with a Fozzie Bear name, Waka is serious but funny, streets-made hard yet willing to laugh at himself. He’s also an artist who has been through a lot, seen the other side, and come out ready to make music about it. In this interview, Waka talks to us about his upcoming album, being dismissed by critics, and his growth during the three short years since his debut (2010’s Flockaveli) *WAKA*. Love him or hate him, Waka’s here to stay. *FLOCKA*
TSS: First off, I have to ask you about the article written by the white woman in her 50s who gives you and your music credit for ending her unhappy marriage. Did you hear about this?
WF: Aw yeah, that’s crazy, I heard about that. You know, I’m a real empowering person, when I meet somebody I have a good effect on them, I hear that a lot.
TSS: I think that story may be the point where you know you’ve truly crossed over.
TSS: You definitely showed your Queens roots with the “Can’t Do Golds” video. Was going back and shooting a video there something you’d been wanting to do for awhile?
WF: Yes, I always wanted to go back to Queens in general. I feel like in my career I’ve accomplished a lot, even like within a year. I mean, I took off last year, toured, went around the world and seen different spots, different places and now I feel like my introduction, coming back, I’m starting to do viral videos like “Can’t Do Golds,” I’ve got a bunch more comin’ out. I feel like that’s somethin’ needed for me personally where I’m at right now.
TSS: Do you still feel like you’re from there or has Georgia been your main creative influence?
WF: Of course Queens is an influence from me being a child there but I feel like I’m from Clayton County, Georgia. ClayCo is my influence. It definitely has a different sound from Atlanta.
TSS: You’ve got a full-on professional marketing team behind you these days, you’re everywhere. The new “50k” remix with T.I.…the video for that is about to drop, right?
WF: Yes, the video’s about to drop, I get to debut it in less than three weeks. Can’t wait for the world to see that. I’m just a grown Waka. I’m still a hood motherfucker, I’m just a boss at it now, ya understand. I was that wild child and now I’m that grown man. It’s crazy, you know, like three years since my debut dropped I accomplished more than people do with five albums.
TSS: You’ve said you won’t be on the Brick Squad record, correct?
WF: Yeah, it’s just not my company. You can’t pimp a ride that’s already European. That’s just how I feel about that situation. I’m Brick Squad Monopoly. Gucci has his own company, 1017 Bricksquad. I feel like that’s just two different companies. I feel like that’s just disrespecting my fans. I been holdin’ out, you know what I’m sayin’? I ain’t put a Flockaveli 2 out. I feel like I’m a CEO. I can’t produce for another company that I’m not doin’ for mines. No hard feelings. Just that we are two different lanes. Know what I’m sayin’? I’m thinkin’ like a major, he think like a indie. So, I don’t know.
TSS: These days it seems like your personality is as big as your music career. You also do a lot of outreach. What’s up with the YMCA?
WF: I really wanted to build a YMCA in my neighborhood because when I was growing up in that neighborhood we didn’t have much stuff to do. The kids get a YMCA, maybe it’ll stop a percentage of the crime, not all of it, just hopefully a nice percentage.
TSS: You also do some animal rights work. Your voice seems to carry a lot of weight, especially at a time when many people in the rap community aren’t speaking out about that kind of stuff. What made you want to do the PETA campaign?
WF: I totally did it because I feel like there ain’t no limit to your success. Don’t let nobody stereotype you and put you in a category that they feel like you should only follow in, you can’t do certain things or you can’t accomplish certain goals. And I just… You gotta let a person know you can expand your horizons, you can’t just stand still on the things you want to do. And that’s something I wanted to do.