How are you doing?
I’m hanging – I gotta little cold, though.
Sorry to hear that. You’ve had a long career. What’s the secret to longevity?
A lot of luck and versatility because music constantly changes and you can’t be afraid to change with it.
Is it true that you got your big break when rapper DMX failed to show at the 2000 MTV Video Awards?
Yeah. That was a spot where we were scheduled to perform outside and DMX didn’t show to perform inside so they asked us to perform – it was definitely one of the big spots in my career.
Pharrell Williams and Nicki Minaj are on your latest single ‘Get Like Me’...
Pharrell’s been in my career since the beginning – since ‘Hot In Herre’ and ‘Ride Wit Me’ and we’ll continue to grow and make music together. Nicki’s one of those rare breeds, where you have a new artist that comes in and they have everything – the full 360°, the look, the star power.
Country Grammar was pioneering as a rap and pop crossover album. Do you ever resent it when people don’t take you seriously?
Sometimes people don’t recognise achievements until further down the line. Right now, it doesn’t bother me as much as some people think it probably does. Do I think about it sometimes? Of course.
You worked on Miley Cyrus’ latest album. What do you make of the controversy surrounding her?
Miley’s great – I think she knows what she’s doing. I think she’s dope, she’s just young.
Were you similarly rebellious when you were young?
Yes and no – I mean, she’s a female and I’m a male and I had two kids when I got started in music. She’s not even 21 yet, she has no kids and sometimes when you come from a situation such as Disney, where people control your every move and you finally do get freedom, you kind of want to rebel a little bit and you owe it to yourself to let that out. She also has to understand that everything she does, she has to answer for and as long she’s willing to take all of that responsibility, then I think that’s great.
Do you think you’ll be out here again despite Abu Dhabi making you ill?
Of course – the UAE’s always been great to me. It is a little whack that I got a little sick out here though [laughs].
Been partying too much?
I think it’s just the change in the climate and stuff, man. You know, where we came from, back in The States in St. Louis [Missouri], it’s only 28˚C...
So no partying involved at all – not even a little bit?
[Laughs] Naaah. But we’re gonna get over it. We’ll make it work. We’ll get a little tea, a little more rest, get some OJ... ‘BOOM!’ We’ll make it work, man!