‘Ya favorite rapper a liar with great promo!’ reads Waka Flocka Flame’s Instagram bio. As soon as it was confirmed Waka would be rolling through Highsnobiety Berlin for an editorial shoot and a quick chat amidst his busy schedule, I knew I had to ask him about this statement, which ended up being far more revelatory than anticipated.
“First of all, they’re all standoffish, they never do pictures with people,” he explained. “It wasn’t the same vibes as the music. It crushed me you know? Like damn, you wack. I can’t believe I listen to your music, f*** you.”
After being disappointed at the realization that many of his rap heroes didn’t live up to his expectations, Waka decided to keep everything as real as possible in his career and in life. In recent years, his outspoken tendencies have occasionally gotten him into trouble, and has often taken away from the fact that he is an incredibly prolific musician. He has been in the game for over a decade now, successfully breaking into the mainstream with his 2009 singles “O Let’s Do It”, “Hard in da Paint”, and “No Hands”.
Since sitting down with Waka a few weeks ago to discuss his Brick House Boyz mixtape, he re-released 11 digitally remastered mixtapes spanning 2010 to 2017 – Twin Towers 1 and 2, his collaborative projects with the late Atlanta rapper Slim Dunkin, and 9 installments of Waka Flocka Myers. This just serves as a not so gentle reminder that the Atlanta-based rapper is on his grind more often than not.
When asked about the making of his latest project The Brick House Boyz, Waka Flocka Flame very simply replied “I went to the studio, knocked it out in three days.” Working with Big Banks, who he says is the Nate Dogg of Atlanta as well as producer Zaytoven, Waka sought out an “underground vibe” for the mixtape.
As is to be expected from Waka, most of The Brick House Boyz goes incredibly hard, but his favorite is closing track “Today” – a soothing, melodic banger oozing with positivity and preaching self-improvement. The conversation naturally ventured into wholesome territory, with Waka waxing poetic about what puts him in a good mood. “That good energy vibe,” he said, posted up relaxed on the couch. “What makes me appreciate life is when I walk in a room I’ve never been in and my stomach don’t hurt. That comfortable feel.”
Speaking of his stomach and appreciating life, Waka Flocka Flame has been trying to take better care of himself, especially since the tragic death of his younger brother in 2013. He’s a huge proponent of “conscious eating,” as well as completely obsessed with water – he tasted too much chlorine in the filtered water we offered him, so opted for organic lemonade instead. Surprisingly, Waka said his lifestyle changes haven’t really affected his music.
“It ain’t changed my vibes with music, but it definitely calmed me,” he told us. “I’m more calm with meditation and all that. It’s weird as f*** though, I’m still hyper as shit. But now I’ve finally learned how to dial into my other Gemini side.”
That Gemini duality is definitely present on The Brick House Boyz – the aforementioned “Today” and “Cold in the Streets” both show a softer side of Waka, who despite his hardened appearance and reputation, really just wants to inspire positive change in others. But of course he still needs to flex, and tracks like “Expensive Fabrics” and “I’m the Type” do the trick.
As for life post-mixtape, his long-awaited Flockaveli 2 album is apparently still in the works. He’s set to slow down his touring schedule this summer, spend more time with his family, and try to be more supportive of the new wave of SoundCloud rappers like Lil Pump. “Not just being so arrogant, stuck in my world. I had a lot of opinions on younger artists, I actually had to check myself like ‘Yo, hold on, let me step back and actually see what these kids created.’ So, that’s the plan.” Although he has plenty of major Ws under his belt, it’s clear Waka is committed to learning from his mistakes and staying positive in the process.
For more of our interviews, check out our Q&A with producer Zaytoven right here.
- Photography: Ahmed Chrediy