or the first time in his career, Fabolous appears to have had almost a year to breathe. After his Just Blaze-laced banger towered the Hip-Hop charts, it failed to match Fabs previous work in reaching Top 40 radio. Meanwhile, the Elektra Records star was stranded in an Atlantic merger, where his marketing strategies fell casualty to a real-life version of Office Space. As he readies his first effort on Def Jam, From the Bottom to the Top. If the bottom refers to the Brooklyn MCs first effort sitting at Gold instead of Platinum status, hes on enviable ground.
But while Fabolous can stomach the opinions on his last album, he refuses to let sneaker addicts laugh over accusations that he brought bootleg Jordans on Bobbitos ESPN show. Fab adamantly states his Uptown game, while talking about who he rolls with when hes Down South.
AllHipHop.com: As far as the last album, in some peoples eyes it was seen as a disappointment, even you know despite the hit, Breathe was insane to a lot of us, whats your response to that?
Fabolous: See, I had a lot of different outlooks on it. I say a few of them [had to do with] the situation I had just merged into Atlantic. I dont want to put their name on it in an interview, but the higher ups over there at Atlantic, it was just a new, a new situation over there. Everybody wasnt settled into their positions and everything yet. So thats what a little bit of it was. It was a whole new situation, new workers, it was new people, some people getting laid off, some of the old people staying and so I came out at a time that was where really where you build, if youre building your company you dont really release something at the same time, you know what Im saying. A lot of distractions [were] going on because some people may not want to work because they feel like they may be leaving next week, you know what Im saying? They may feel like, Man, Im not running around here promoting no Fabolous album or whatever. Im not just saying that they was just doing it to me, but just as a whole.
Fabolous: [Then] we put out the Breathe single, and it was a like a huge single, and like it was a street anthem. For me, it did huge on radio and then huge on video, so Atlantic started saying, You know, lets lead with this as your first single. [These days,] unless you got a super smash all the way across the board, Top 40 hit, its usually taking two singles [to sell a hit album]. Its like you drop your beginning single and then you drop like something like right before youre about to come out, just to, you know what Im saying, to keep the energy up in your project. So what they did was say that we didnt need to do that because Breathe was so big. Like it was a strong record but its not Top 40, its not like those white stations, they dont really understand that kind of record, like its too hard for them, you know what Im saying.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, no doubt.
Fabolous: I lost out on kind of grabbing the white folks out in Top 40 because we just went with that single and then, and then we said, Okay, once the albums out, we got the numbers for the first week, second week, now were trying to see what second single were gonna pull out to push, to bring us up. We picked the record I did with Pharrell. We shot the video for it, we had some problems at the video; we shoot the video in L.A. We had some problems on the set of the video where we had to stop shooting the video, come back shoot the video again like a week or two later, finish shooting the video. Then we get back to New York and theyre saying, Well, the sales are going down more, lets not. Lets push that single to maybe a third single and lets shoot the Baby record. So now we go rush to shoot a Baby record but now getting close to like holiday season, and what happens during the holiday season is that the market kind of shuts down a little bit, and its like you have to get, you have to get your joints in before, before like the Christmas or New Year season; youre done really. I just had to get out of that system because it left a bad taste in my mouth. So I went, I didnt feel right continually working, well, Ill just take a loss on this problem and well talk. And then Im going to discontinue working with [Atlantic]. I need know Im somewhere where they support and theyre on the ball. Everything is in writing. Its structured and their company, like I cant keep playing around with yall, so I made a move to Def Jam and thats how the Def Jam move came about.
AllHipHop.com: Your album introduced a lot of people to Young Jeezy on Do the Damn Thing. Previous to that, most of us had no idea
Fabolous: Nobody had no idea who Jeezy was. But I met Jeezy, just came down to Atlanta and hanging out with some of my boys at BMF and Jeezy would be around. I said, You know, if Im gonna do a record thats kind of South-orientated, Im not just gonna jump on the band wagon, – like somebody want to do a West Coast record, they go get Snoop, thats kind of like played out for me. So what I did was, I wanted to play something new, and thats when I got Jeezy. Some people didnt even understand like, like they werent on to him yet. That was like an introduction to people. [He has a] different little sound or different little voice – thats what I felt when I first heard his sound. Im not just grabbing another Lil Jon, and snapping my fingers or something like that, you know what Im saying, something different. I mean, he had his deal, [and was] working on his album, but it wasnt out yet. It definitely would have worked it both ways and it was, I seen that he was hot down on Atlanta, he definitely was doing his thing on Atlanta so it would have worked for both of us.
AllHipHop.com: Is there any connection between you and BMF?
Fabolous: I mean, just being cool, you know what I mean. I went down to Atlanta, we were both in the club, they were in a part of it. They reached their hand out to me, say whats up.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, what did you think about when everything went down with them? Did you see it coming?
Fabolous: I mean, it was hurtful to me because I know them dudes is like on the outside, like on the inner shell. I mean, like on the outer shell people might look at them and say Yeah, yeah these guys are killing people are selling drugs and you know. But I know the inner shell of the dudes and they just like genuinely good dudes.
AllHipHop.com: There was a lot of talk in Miami over Memorial Day weekend that you and Jim Jones got into some kind of altercation, or your crews clashed or something along those lines. Can you clarify that what happened?
Fabolous: I mean, it really was a real small thing. I think it was just you know how it is. Im not gonna like go into details with it because you know what Im saying. I dont want to make it look like it was more than what it is also. Im just gonna say it was nothing so that it wont come out of my mouth like Im trying to dig it up, know what Im saying? It is what it is, and it happened, know what Im saying. It goes to where ever way it want to go, thats what it is but Im not gonna say, Yo, this and that happened, and people look at it from one way and say, Oh okay, this person got played or this person got played. Im not gonna get into that. It was just a small, a small thing. He was doing a club and know what Im saying, people were drinking and having fun and sometimes little altercations happen and thats it.
AllHipHop.com: Complex Magazine ran a story on your shoes being bootlegged while on Bobbitos show on ESPN, Its the Shoes. Care to comment?
Fabolous: I heard about that. Somebody was saying that I got fake Jordans or some s**t. Anybody who knows my [sneaker] game, [knows] Ive been heavy in sneakers because [since] I was like 13 years old, I always had mad sneakers. Just to clear the air on AllHipHop, I dont have fake Jordans. Maybe somebody [thought they could tell] through a TV show. I dont know how good somebodys eyes are, [but] unless you came to my crib and actually looked at the sneaker and said Yo, this is a fake Jordan, I dont, I know too many people who bring me [fake] sneakers, like its just unheard of. I just heard the rumor, and I really didnt think it was s**t. Like I was the youngest [on the show], I guess theres a few other guys on there, but I guess they just pick me to hate on and you know what Im saying. Thats cool [if] want to hate or whatever, n***as know my sneaker game is impeccable. Everybody I know has got caught with a pair of fake sneakers, but theres no way in the world that Im gonna have a fake pair of sneakers on or on Bobbitos show, its no way. I bought some shoes off the Internet before, and when they came they were fake. I gave them to one of my men, because these shoes are hard, know what Im saying. That doesnt make any sense. I got a bedroom in my crib that I just turned into a sneaker closet; I have mad sneakers.
AllHipHop.com: It happens to us all
Fabolous: Youre gonna get caught with them, especially [buying] over the Internet. Im such a connoisseur of sneakers that when the s**ts coming, I can look at it and tell these just aint legit. I know by the stitching, the leather, whatever, you know Ive been buying Airs for so long, Jordans for so long that I know if theyre authentic or not, know what Im saying.
AllHipHop.com: I had no idea it was such a big thing like that.
Fabolous: Like I say, I been doing this just like in fact, like I will hustle or gamble in my projects, and soon as a I get a hundred dollars, I probably was going to get a new pair of sneakers and be broke, but have a brand new pair of sneakers on [at] 13, 14 years old. That was worth more than having the hundred dollars in your pocket. You got a hundred dollars like the new Air National on your feet; you were the s**t.