In early 2000, it was easy to fall in “Love” with Musiq upon hearing Aijuswanaseing. He is the melodic and youthful sound of an emerging class of soul. In this day and age, we call it Neo-Soul, a genre of music that forms its unique style from a combination of old school Soul, Funk, Jazz, Classical music, contemporary R&B and some elements of alternative Hip-Hop.
After recently switching record labels from Def Jam to Atlantic Records, Musiq Soulchild is releasing his forthcoming album, Luvanmusiq slated for March 2007. He has shined on beloved hits such as “Justfriends”, “Halfcrazy” and “Thereason”. His current single, “Buddy” has been well received and is currently topping music charts. In a special interview, this soulful artist sets out to prove that what he does is more than just “Musiq.”
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: You have added “Soulchild” back to your name after dropping it in 2002. What is the significance behind that?
Musiq Soulchild: Ahhh..I’m never gonna hear the end of this. Well the thing is Musiq Soulchild is actually two ideas that I’m working to. Musiq Soulchild is a name in and of itself, it’s like first and last name. But both names have two different purposes. The whole thing with me dropping the “Soulchild” was to put more attention on the “Musiq” part. So I can explain what that is, and then later I was gonna do the same thing with “Soulchild.” The thing that happened was, it kind of backfired and confused people. So, I figured, I say you know what, I’ma wait on that. Lemme just bring it back so that the people know that the name is Musiq Soulchild. It always was Musiq Soulchild; it’s just a first and last name. That’s all that was. Hopefully later on, I’ll be able to explain to people what was really good with the name and everything.
AHHA: A major change in your career now is that you switched record labels from Def Jam to Atlantic. How do you feel you benefit by signing with Atlantic Records?
Musiq: Well, for one, I think how I’m gonna benefit from signing over to Atlantic. The answer to that: finds its origin in the reason as to why I went over to Atlantic, and the reason that I went over to Atlantic Records is because Kevin Liles, when he was over at Def Jam, he’s the one that signed me. So I was like his baby project and everything. But when he went over to Warner Music Group, basically he still wanted to be involved in my career. Like, intimately involved in my career, and I guess he figured he could do alot better if I was closer to him, and Atlantic Records is under them. Warner Music Group is the parent company of Atlantic Records.
And he approached me, he was like, ”Yo, how you feel about, you know what I’m sayin, being over here with me?” I was like, “It’s whatever, you know what I’m sayin’. You da homie; you put me on.” So, he was like, “Well, you know what I’m sayin’, I just wanted to know.” So he had a couple conversations with L.A. Reid and Mr. Shawn Carter, and one thing led to another. It’s like two things happening right now.
[Trey Songz walks in to show Musiq Soulchild some love]
Trey Songz: I came to holla at my boy.
Musiq: But yeah So Kevin Liles figured he can be, he still wanted to be instrumental in my career. So he figured the best way for him to do that is to have me over there, closer to him, so he made arrangements. It’s like the first time ever that I think, you know don’t quote me on it, actually you can quote me on it, but I might be incorrect but I never heard of nothin’ like this ever before. What happened was, the arrangement, was like an NBA trade-off. Def Soul, I mean Island Def Jam got Fabolous and Atlantic Records got me. Yo, it was nuts but it’s fresh though. It’s fresh though.
AHHA: How is your relationship with them right now? It’s on good terms?
Musiq: Oh no it was good. It’s still good. It was nothin’ about it wasn’t like on no bad blood type stuff. It wasn’t crazy like that. We still good, yeah.
AHHA: Is there a reason behind why your album titles lack any form or grammatical structure like Aijuswanaseing and JusLisen, as well as your song names like “HalfCrazy” & “Dontchange”? You don’t put spaces between your words.
Musiq: [laughs] I used to text people like that too. And people used to be like “Yo dude, spaces B, spaces!” I used to be like, man, I ain’t got time for all of that. Plus, them characters be costin’. But, ey, I know I’m supposed be the celebrity type dude or whatever, but ey man, if I can, it’s just conditioning of not having nothin. You learn how to make good of what you got. But that’s basically you know everybody got their signature. That’s part of my signature. That comes from, that’s like some funk stuff. You know, from George Clinton and Prince and like Sly and the Family Stone. When they put, Thankyouforlettinmebemyself; how they wrote that out. Even Outkast be doin’ this. It’s a funk thing. It’s either you get it or you don’t. It’s funny when people ask me that question, so what’s the meaning behind the way that you? I’m like, dude that’s, I was just tryin’ to be fresh; it’s not that deep.
AHHA: An interesting thing I noticed is that your first single “Just Friends” from your debut album AiJusWanaseing mirrors your current single “Buddy” on your Forthcoming album LuvanMusiq.
Musiq: I mean, yeah, it’s like if “Just Friends” was a movie, “Buddy” would be the sequel. Actually, I can’t take full credit for it. That was a Kevin Liles call. He was like “Yo, this is the one right here.” And I was like, “Word, you think people is like [gonna like it]?” [Kevin Liles said]“Yeah, this is the one, trust me.” I was “Aight, fo’ sho.” And he put it out, and people just picked it up. It’s just amazing to me, how, if the DJ’s don’t dig it, it don’t make it b. And the DJ’s ate that thing up. So I’m very, very, very grateful. This ain’t no industry stuff talkin’ just like kiss the DJ’s ass. No. This is for real. Cause I could not have this success that I have right now. And the DJ’s showed mad love man. So I couldn’t ask for a better way for that record to be received. And for people to just jump on it like that man, it’s a beautiful thing. Like, that’s a very touching thing. Especially in light of the industry now-a-days man, it’s easy to be forgotten. And for me to still have credibility, that’s wassup.
AHHA: Do you find it difficult to be both friends and lovers with a woman?
Musiq: No it’s not, I mean… let me say it myself it’s not easy. However, it’s possible. It’s all about both people that are involved with each other. Like I always say, just havin’ a realistic perspective on things. If me and some girl was goin’, let’s say me and you was going together. I just met you at, I dunno, at a pizza shop or something’. I thought you was fresh lookin’ and everything and I holla’d at you. The conversation was cool. You seem like you got some type of intelligence. We can actually talk about stuff. That’s gonna make me wanna talk to you some more. Like, if we ain’t got nothin’ to say, I ain’t gonna wanna talk to you about stuff. And more than likely, I’m just gon’ wanna be physical because that’s pretty much all we really have. But if we could be physical and we could have other things… like, we could do things. We can go see a game together; we can go see a movie together. We can do some different stuff. Anything.
It’s stuff that you might like to do that I find interesting. There’s stuff that I like to do that you find interesting. Whatever it is. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Let’s stop actin’ like these things don’t go on. So, I just like to apply those realistic things that everybody go through in song form. Basically, all of my songs are like that or at least I do my best to have all of my songs be that way. Havin’ a realistic perspective, a realistic approach towards certain topics.
AHHA: I know every girl out there wants to know if you have somebody special in your life at this time.
Musiq: Yeah, and her name is music. [laughs]
AHHA: That was slick.
Musiq: I mean, the reason that I don’t like that term is it’s to imply that the girls that I’m seein’ ain’t special.
AHHA: The girls? Ok cool.
Musiq: You know the girls that I see; I felt that they were special enough to care about enough to get involved with. Now, the word “involved with, can mean anything. It can mean that we physical. Yeah, some girls I am physical with. Some girls I’m not. It’s just whatever, they represent whoever and whatever they represent.
AHHA: Do you have a monogamous relationship right now with one specific person?
Musiq: Nah. I have this one relationship where I’ve known her for like four years. But the amount of time that I’ve seen her, it’s been like maybe a couple of months. If you put it all together, I don’t really see her that often. But when I see her, we just pick up where we left off. Especially, in the business where I’m in, it’s very challenging to maintain a committed relationship. It’s not impossible. It just takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment. I don’t have that type of energy and focus right now, and I’m realistic about it.
It might not be the nicest thing to hear, but I would much rather tell you that now and you feelin however you feelin’ about it. Rather than tryin’ to put all types of stuff in ya head and think that it’s goin’ somewhere and it’s not. At least we both on the same page. So we have real, and I’m gonna always keep sayin’ we have realistic expectations.
AHHA: Now, I know you’re from Philly, so I gotta ask you this question. We switchin’ topics now to food, do you think Philly cheesesteak is better than New York pizza?
Musiq: Hell Yeah! Aye, no diss on New York though. Y’all got some stuff man. I mean I can easily say the same thing about Philly. You got some places, just cause Philly is known for their cheesesteaks and stuff you think every place is the move. Nah, every place ain’t the move, but you just gotta know where to go.