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Interview: CL Smooth
Sunday, September 17, 2006
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T: Will American Me be on an independent or major?
CL: It’s on an independent level because, first of all, I wanted the opportunity to do my work. I don’t need nobody trying to make me cater to any artists, none. No Dipset artists, no G-Unit artists, no Terror Squad artists, nothing. Just be CL and a lot of these major labels want you to be 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Lupe Fiasco, Juelz Santana, Cam'ron, Jim Jones. I can’t be that. I don’t know how to be that. I know how to listen to the music like everybody else and enjoy it, but I don’t know how to be them. I don’t know how to act like that. I don’t know how to create that type of sound and deliver that type of music. That’s what makes me listen to them because they don’t sound nothing like me. So, I could relate to that uniqueness and I could appreciate it. But a lot of times it’s about a dollar with these record companies, and I don’t mind because I’m about that dollar too. But my creative and artistic form, nobody is allowed to tell me how to move this paint brush on this canvas. Nobody is allowed to do that.

T: So, what producers are featured on the album?
CL: I got Myke Lo on there, he use to DJ for the Jungle Brothers. Excellent producer, great buzz. He did Mos Def, Phoaroah Monch, OC; that level of body of work. We got J. Corbin, he’s out of the camp of Jimmy Henchmen, great, great producer. I got a dude from Italy name Squadder.

T: What do you want the listeners to take from this particular project?
CL: That I’m true. That it’s not an act, it’s not a fluke. This is not a costume I put on everyday. I live this, this is something I live by. I want people to get out there and understand that this is true to life shit that I’m putting down on these records. At the same time you getting a lot of lessons, it’s like 48 Laws of Power, you getting a lot of lessons out of this whole project. So, don’t be afraid to fall down and scrape your knee, as long as you’re getting back up and wipe yourself off and keep it moving. Because that’s what it’s about, it’s about what you do. How do you come back from adversity? How do you come back when everybody is saying it’s impossible for your generation to come back right now and be valid? In an industry that doesn’t accept dudes not coming back after ten years, how you going to do that? My ears are to the street, I am the streets. As long as I keep myself in tune to what’s going on, I could win. I always got a chance to win. As long as I’m true to myself.

T: Are awards important to you? Like Grammys, BET Awards, or American Music Awards?
CL: As an artist, you want to be rewarded for you work. It’s like saying, I won a race, but you get no trophy. That’s what everybody wins a race for.

T: Are you striving to get one of those?
CL: I’m striving to make the best album possible. Because sometimes those awards don’t instinctively give the best artist of that year the award. For example, how would you give Will Smith a Grammy for his record and you know Nas got the best record? And he’ll get up there and say, "I got enough of these why didn’t you give it to Nas?" We are talking about Hip Hop right? Nas is there! That’s a measuring stick. But I look for the reward and the success of the project, and that’s my Grammy and music award, that’s everything. If the accolades can back up what I’m doing, then that just give me more political power to create another platform for myself. But I don’t mind, everybody loves a treasure, everybody loves a gift and I don’t know who don’t.




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