There are three types of rappers: those who take themselves seriously as entertainers, with their own unique style; those who do them to earn money; and those who just do them to gain attention. And these three categories, the first one includes rappers who know when to turn down a challenge, and a second one those who get their name and art out there as soon as possible. The third is people who take their craft seriously and do it because they hope the attention helps them land gigs. I’m a little confused about all that. How do you make sure a rapper doesn’t get too big with the media? I don’t know, but if you’re going to give it a shot, go for it.
When you were in college, you took classes at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but you quit. Why?
I was having fun and the teachers didn’t give it a second thought, not even when they were talking trash about my music. I started to find myself, which I hate. When I made my debut album, My Own Boyfriend, in the early ’90s, my album wasn’t really the biggest thing on the planet, but by the time it was getting a little bit of radio play, I had a million views of it on YouTube. I didn’t really go that far. But on those early tours to New York, I was like, “I don’t know. I’ll play to get in there.” So I stopped.
And then you got into movies. How did you become interested in film?
I met the director in my freshman year of college. He was trying out in New York, and I went to see some of his work, and then he contacted me. I fell in love with his style of directing. I think he took that style and he applied it to rap because everybody was in a hurry to come up with something new. Everyone was trying to invent something new, but rap didn’t have much of a tradition. I just went with it. He didn’t know me or my family, but he said I was a real good fit.
When you say you had an “attitude problem,” what is it?
I was getting tired of being the loud kid, but that was getting old. I’m a very introverted person, so I just wanted to go to the gym. My older brother used to do gymnastics when he went to school. We both knew how to do it, but I never really