Interview with Flo Rida: Share’s His Definition of “Keeping It Trill”
Interview by: Trill Chris
South Florida rapper Flo Rida has transcended from a regional hip-hop artist to an international superstar in only 4 years. Most known for his breakout hit “Low”, Flo Rida has since topped charts with hits like “Elevator”, “Right Round” “Sugar”, selling millions of digital downloads. Now, Flo Rida has a new album hitting the streets called Only One Flo, which features a cast of heavy weight artists and some powerful singles making noise on the charts once again. Keep It Trill recently had the chance to sit down with Flo’ for this exclusive interview. (Audio coming soon).
KeepItTrill: I’ve read that you are from Carol City, Fl, and more specifically the 187th street projects. How was life as a child growing up in that environment?
Flo Rida: For the most part my mother always instilled in me that you can be from a certain place or environment, but you don’t have to be of it, ya know? There was definitely a lot of negativity, but my positive way out was just playing basketball, making sure I took the initiative of being the leader instead of a follower. Even though there was a lot of drug dealing, killings and things like that, but music was an outlet for me and I always focused on that and always felt like if I ever went to jail and did certain things it might hold me back from my dreams, goals and aspirations in life. For the most part I was very obedient in an environment that could possibly end me up in jail or even in a grave.
KeepItTrill: When you graduated high school, you studied international business management at the University of Las Vegas. How has that helped you in your musical career?
Flo Rida: For the most part it was something I didn’t even know would help me in the future. The fact that I took international business and I’m an international artist, it definitely helps me out now. To everyone out there who’s trying to do music or anything, it helps to have even just a little school. Even if you drop out, it helps just to have a thought of taking what ever you’re trying to do to another level and have the knowledge is always great.
KeepItTrill: It’s been a long three years since your first smash hit “Low” took the mainstream by storm. What has life been like for you since that first hit?
Flo Rida: Aww man, you know it’s just been a blessing to now be able to bless others with my financial stability and I’ve been able to put out even bigger records since then. I’m just happy, life’s been great and I definitely give all the respect to the fans that support me.
KeepItTrill: Some people here in the states feel that Flo Rida kind of “Fell Off” since “low”. In reality, you’ve just been able to take your music beyond the realm of hip-hop and have produced several gold, platinum, and multi-platinum singles since. How were you able to transcend from a hip-hop artist into the international top 40 crossover success that you are now?
Flo Rida: I mean, for the most part, everyone has their own perspective on what hip hop is. At the same time, I look at it all as hip hop. Just the fact that I’ve taken my music out of this realm to the point where they probably have yet to define a category that sets me apart with the elite, when it comes down to what I do. I’m a normal guy that goes outside the box and still becomes relevant, ya know, I’m a big fan of Outkast who does the same thing. To those who aren’t knowledgeable of Flo Rida, or those who may not be fans of me, I’m pretty sure they’ll get a chance to hear me or when you look at numbers you’ll see, you know, I’m still standing.
KeepItTrill: Speaking of being an international crossover, you’ve also been touring all over the world. Tell us some of the most interesting and exciting places you’ve been to so far.
Flo Rida: The U.K., Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Australia and Singapore. [All Over]
KeepItTrill: You seem to have a great talent for re-making old songs and putting your own twist to them. Songs Like “Sugar” and “Turn Around” sample songs of a very different genre that were previously very popular. How do you come up with these records?
Flo Rida: For the most part I’m definitely inspired, these are records I grew up on and you know I just wanted to take it to another level. I’m inspired, but being inspired if you do a record, you need to definitely make it bigger than the existence of where it stood at. For the most part I’m fortunate to do that and I’ll keep reinventing things and even doing my own thing when it comes to making music. I’m just always inspired by the old school and certain sounds and certain genres of music, so I’m just a guy who likes to try different and new things and that makes me want to keep making music.
KeepItTrill: Your third solo album, Only One Flo, was released on November 30th. Tell us a little bit about this album and what sets it apart from your previous albums?
Flo Rida: Initially what sets this album apart is that there’s actually two parts. The first part is Only One Flo Part 1 and the second one is Only One Rida Part 2. With this album, I’ve definitely dug in deep, you know, I’ve been on the road for almost like a year and I probably would have put an album out by now. With that being said, I’ve been inspired by traveling around the world so the fans will definitely get a chance to see what I’ve learned mentally in these three years of being successful as an artist and I’ve put that down in the studio. I’ve been to the best clubs around the world, so when you hear “Club Can’t Handle Me Right Now” it’s definitely inspired by that. There’s a record called “Who Dat Girl” with Akon. I’ve traveled around the world and sometimes you’re like.. “Hey, who’s that girl” and that’s because she’s definitely different from the other ones or looks more exotic. I got another record called “Respirator” and that’s definitely one of those records that anyone who’s going through something in a relationship will attach themselves to and respect it, because it’s especially hot music that goes along with the lyricism that I’m playin with on the record. I got track record called “Come with Me”, that’s a very Romantic record, I’m pretty sure that everyone has someone that if they’ll ride or die with ‘em, then they’ll definitely want to keep them on board as long as possible. It’s actually inspired by 2pac, the Hail Mary record, and I’m a big fan of 2pac and this is going to show how well rounded I am. The fact that I’ve stepped up my game, I’m always been re-inventing myself and that’s what this album is going to show and the fans will definitely have enough music to play for a long time.
KeepItTrill: It was recently reported that you spent four months with founding Jodeci member, DeVante Swing, while working on this album. How did your relationship with DeVante come about?
Flo Rida: I mean, not working on this album with DeVante. I actually spent four years living with him. He’s been a friend of mine, ever since he’s been an inspiration, he’s a music icon, you know. If you want to know my background or my history, or you want to know if I’m a guy that just popped up overnight, then you can go talk to DeVante Swing and he’ll tell you how much I’ve grinded, paid attention and how much I stood out from the rest. This is not something that just started, even proud to being with DeVante, I’ve been doing things on the road for a long time, almost like 12 years. He’s just a guy that coached me and was letting me know I was on the right track and to never be afraid to express my feelings when it comes to music and to never be afraid to create my own lane and that’s what I’ve done, and DeVante Swing has definitely inspired me.
KeepItTrill: Your first single “Club Can’t Handle Me” features French DJ & Music Producer David Guetta. How did that collaboration come about?
Flo Rida: I actually met David Guetta when I was over in Europe with Alexandra Burke , which is one of the huge artists over in the UK, initiated me and him even just speaking to each other. After that we actually did a show over in the Bahamas for the Ms. Universe Pageant and we were like, “we gotta hook up”. He sent me some production while I was out in L.A. and we went back and forth until we came up with the smash hit, “Club Can’t Handle Me”.
KeepItTrill: Do you plan to work with more techno artists?
Flo Rida: Oh yea, I wouldn’t mind working with Techno artists. I’m a fan of all genres of music as long as it’s hot. Even if you’re not a Rock & Roll fan, you can tell if something’s hot or not, you can tell if something touches your soul; so, I’m always willing to go outside the box.
KeepItTrill: A few weeks ago a song with Akon leaked called Who Dat Girl, Is that going to be an official follow up single to “Club Can’t Handle Me”?
Flo Rida: Yea that’s definitely the official follow up single to “Club Can’t Handle Me”. Shout out to Akon, who’s been supporting me since day 1. I’ve done a couple records with him and he’s like a great friend and a great mentor.
KeepItTrill: To wrap things up, can you tell us your definition of what it means to “Keep It Trill”?
Flo Rida: To Keep It Trill is to say what’s on your heart, what’s on your mind and you know, definitely respect others and put God first.