It seems like Electronic dance music has been making its way into Hip-Hop for some time now. Gradually over the course of Hip-Hop's life, the "four to the floor" style of music has traveled to clubs across the world, computers in our homes, and on the commercials that play every day on our TVs. Championing this dance-inspired style of Hip-Hop and seamlessly making the transition to more dance-inspired records has been Miami's Flo Rida.
While he was bred in the MIA (and his name proudly bears his home state of Florida), it's difficult to put Flo Rida in a box as simply a Florida artist. Flo's sound is worldwide and appears to have no boundaries. From Europe to Asia to Australia, Flo Rida is collecting big checks for big shows that are paying for a lavish lifestyle that anyone would desire. With endorsements, live television appearances on "Wrestlemania", "The Voice", and Google Upfront 2102, it's difficult to see how Flo isn't winning.
In this exclusive sit down with AllHipHop.com, Flo Rida explains his move to (EDM), how he is brushing off recent lawsuits, his work with Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne, and details on his new label, IMG International Group:
AllHipHop.com: First off, how's everything going with Poe Boy? How have the international concerts been? Seems like you are always over the place, homie....
Flo Rida: Oh, man, you know it's great. It's just amazing, I actually just did a tour with Pitbull out in Canada. You know I started my new label the IMG International Group, and I brought my artist Tyler Maderos out there, who is from Canada. He came out and rocked the crowd; he actually has a lot of fans out there. I actually went out to Australia recently and did a bunch of big shows and things like that, and I just shot my video for "Whistle" in Acapulco, Mexico, and I'm just gearing up for more places to be on tour.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of international shows, can you comment on the lawsuit for $80,000 by the promotional company, Fat Butta, in Australia?
Flo Rida: Yeah, man, for the most part Australia went well, but, man, you know a lot of times anyone can come up and say anything and get everyone's attention when it comes to just being an artist. I'm just happy that none of it is true, and it's all about what happens in the end. I'm just happy it's not true, and lot of times, promoters try to jerk you and they are called "janky promoters," man.
Flo Rida: Wild Ones ft Sia
AllHipHop.com: [laughter] I guess that just comes with the territory when you're getting $80,000 per show in the first place.
Flo Rida: Yeah, man, you know that's just somebody trying to take advantage of me having #1 records, and they just want to bring our stuff in the negative, and they feel like they should pay you a certain amount of money, and they feel like they shouldn't give you a ride to the venue. Maybe they thought that I should have brought my Bugatti to Australia, and that I could have brought my own car. With that being said, I think that says a lot.
AllHipHop.com: I assumed your answer would be somewhere along those lines [laughter]. Tell me about the video in Mexico for the new single, "Whistle."
Flo Rida: Yeah, it was just amazing. It was the whole Poe Boy fam, as well as the IMG. We all went out there private jet style, and it seemed like the whole city came out to support the video. It was like the whole Poe Boy family - Billy Blue, Brisco, Wild Child, Stacy, and everyone - came out there, and we just enjoyed ourselves for two days, man. This record is going to be one of my biggest records yet. You guys will get a chance to see that video in a month or so.
Flo Rida - Whistle [Audio]
AllHipHop.com: Talk to me about what you have planned for "The Voice".
Flo Rida: Oh yeah, I'm actually supposed to go on "The Voice" real soon and perform. I'm looking forward to that, and I'm gonna bring my band and everything.
AllHipHop.com: You have a live band? How many people are in your band?
Flo Rida: Yeah, man, I have five people in the band.
AllHipHop.com: It just seems like right now you have reached the point in your career with the Google Upfront event, "The Voice", and "Wrestlemania 28" with MGK, that you are really out there. How does it feel to be on that platform?
Flo Rida: I mean, it's just amazing because I definitely work hard. You know they say, if you work hard, you can play hard, and so I'm definitely enjoying it, as well as inspiring artists signed to my record label. You look back to when I didn't have a record deal, to when I was walking 20 miles to take my demo certain places, taking the Greyhound to L.A., and living on the streets. It pays off when you work hard and when you have a passion and you believe in yourself and when everyone else might not believe in you.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think was the defining moment in your career, when your career sort of tipped the scale so to speak, and you really took your career to the next level?
Flo Rida: When I got a chance to run into my manager, Freezy and E-Class, who is the CEO of Poe Boy Records. You know those guys believed in me, as well as my parents.
Flo Rida: Good Feeling
AllHipHop.com: Ok, that's what's up, man. Now heading into the realm of the studio, you have a project coming out this summer right?
Flo Rida: Yeah, man, we still working on the name of the album and everything, but yeah, it's going to be coming out real soon.
AllHipHop.com: Ok, so you're still working on the name, huh?
Flo Rida: Yeah, we got the records, but as far as the name we still working on that. So far my boy Lil' Wayne is on the album, he was on my first album. LMFAO is on the album, Sia who is on the record, "Wild Ones", which is doing amazing, it's #1 all over the world. As well as the song "Good Feeling," featuring the late great Etta James, just to name a few.
AllHipHop.com: One thing with your music is that you can tell there is a heavy influence of electronic dance music (EDM). Can you talk about that and how that style of music has influenced your music?
Flo Rida: For the most part, I just loved music in general growing up in Miami where there's various different ethnicities, and I got a chance to choose from the music culture, from the Haitians, to the Jamaicans and the Latinos, and everything like that. So to transition over to Spanish music and everything, it really wasn't that hard, because I had to be versatile being in Miami. I might receive a beat from somebody, and being an artist without a record deal, I had to be able to spit to different types of music, so now to me, it's something that's just natural now.
AllHipHop.com: Right. Now, recently, Drake came out and made statements about electronic dance music, saying that it "lacked integrity," and that it didn't have as much soul as he would like, just to paraphrase. Do you feel like EDM has more soul than people give it credit for?
Flo Rida: I mean, anything that I do, I gotta put some soul in it. But for the most part, to each his own. You can't knock a man for what he feels. It's freedom of speech.
AllHipHop.com: Are you fan of Drake's music?
Flo Rida: Yeah, I'm a fan of Drake's music.
AllHipHop.com: Oh ok, that's what's up. One thing that's going to be really big is that you just remixed a Lady Gaga song. How did that come together?
Flo Rida: Well, I actually just did a remix to the record. You know for the most part, I talk to some people when I do records and/or we chop up the business, but on that record in particular, I just did the record.
AllHipHop.com: Will you be having more work with her [Lady Gaga] in the future?
Flo Rida: I mean, I don't mind. I worked on the album on her first album, Starstruck. If she's 'bout it, then I'm with it. We gonna see what's up.
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AllHipHop.com: As far as some of the tracks that may have more of a Hip-Hop feel than the ones that are more dance-inspired, can you tell me which ones you think that real Hip-Hop heads are going to be diggin'.
Flo Rida: It's a couple of them. I got a record with Lil' Wayne that shows the versatility of both, and then I got a record on the album that has more of an urban feel on there's that pop edge to it, where I'm singing on the record, and my rhyme pattern is definitely something of my early work.
AllHipHop.com: It's cool that you are expanding the genre of Hip-Hop to different directions beyond what people traditionally think that it is. A lot of times Hip-Hop can be about different things at times, so it shows courage to step out there, and you are winning at it, getting big shows and endorsements. Definitely congrats, bro.
Flo Rida: For the most part I think it takes courage for the newer artists, because I am one of the first artists to do it how I am doing it, and for me, it didn't take courage. It was natural, it was just for me being more versatile.