“Shakedown!!!” can be heard in the background of numerous rap records. It is Red Cafe‘s way of branding not only himself but his debut album. He has done an admirable job thus far, especially being that he has had some discrepancies with major labels. Though he was content with being an Independent artist, a deal with Bad Boy Records was just too good to pass up.

Why put out one last mixtape before the album?

I personally feel that I’m supposed make the people be positive that I’m a brand that they can trust. The only way you can do that is to give them music to make it “Bible.” I want them to wake up and feel like it is necessary to listen to Red Cafe to get their day started. I think that you have to give to get, you have to give a couple of records away to build their confidence. I want to prove myself to people time and time again.

What can we expect from Shakedown?

You should expect honesty from the album. A record you can listen to 5-10 years from today. The most important thing about me and my music is that I don’t compromise who I am. You’ll be able to party to it and feel sexy to it. Get your champagne flukes, I think I’ll have a record for every purpose.

Do you feel a lot of artists aren’t being themselves in Hip Hop right now?

It’s entertainment. There are a lot of people out there who put on a mask and they become the person they feel is interesting for the people to see. I’m just not that person. I want to be able to be proud of my music, years from today.

How did the deal with Diddy come about?

I definitely went through a journey with record companies and it being unsuccessful and them not knowing what to do with me or me just getting in at bad timing. A lot of the record companies end up folding. I was passed the record company signing situation, I was just I’m going to be an Independent artist and control the wheel and do my own thing. That showed me success I had great records out that people were responding to. I just felt like I was doing  good job on my own. Finally Puff, Jimmy Ivine and the Interscope staff liked what I was doing and they just wanted to be apart of the movement. They wanted to be a support system to help me get the level they felt I was supposed to be on. They reached out to me and it made sense.

Were you ever fearful of signing with Bad Boy given their history with artists?

Not at all. Whatever deal I wanted to sign with Diddy is what we talked about. Before I signed any papers I made sure we came to the terms I was comfortable with and that’s the most important thing. If you have an attorney that represents you, you negotiate a deal, if you sign the deal you can’t get upset about it. You signed it, nobody held a gun to your head. I also feel like I’m my own person I control the wheel for my destiny. I don’t have to wait on Puff to do anything for me and that’s probably the problem with the other artists. After he made them platinum artists it was their job to take the wheel and start doing their own thing and start building their own business structure themselves instead of waiting on him to hold their hand. I think that’s where the disconnect happens. I think motherf****rs need to grow up!

Do you think that was the issue with a lot of the artists on Bad Boy that have been dropped?

Definitely, artists get caught up in his lifestyle, trying to live in his lifestyle and not focusing on themselves. I think that was the disconnect and they just expected Puff to just continue to do everything for them. Even when you are on a regular record label you have that initial interest with the person who signs you–they hold you down they help you go platinum or gold…then they move on to the next artist. You have to take the initiative and take control over your situation.

How has it been working with Diddy?

He’s really motivating to me, he’s an inspiration. He constantly challenges me. He went from being an intern, working hard to become the man he is today. He came from having nothing to making it work. He works like his bank account says zero.

Favorite artist right now?

I like how consistent Lil Wayne is. He’s putting out great records, he’s really focused on him and his brand and making them really special in the game. I appreciate what he is doing.

Thoughts on the state of Hip Hop?

People are making great records, there’s not a bunch of bad records out there getting attention. You got Drake, who is making great records with a lot of reality behind it and he’s making a record out of it which is dope creatively and for music. You got Watch The Throne, which is very special-it showed a lot of integrity. I think Hip Hop is going in a great place.

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