Life advice from Mr. Three Stacks. Interview from the September 2014 issue of Esquire Magazine
Master the mirror.
You're a shit. I love you anyway, but you're gonna have to correct that. That's a friend.
Kings are expected to slaughter and have different women. The pope: total opposite. So it's much harder to be pope than king. And on top of that, you've got to deal with the Sinéad O'Connors of the world.
Your voice is bigger in the shower.
In American music, there's only eight notes. You can only flip them around so many ways.
The repetition you hear in hip-hop is addiction. It feels good, so you wanna keep doing it over and over and over again. Classical music takes you to all these places. Hip-hop is:just keep that, just keep that, just keep that …
I'm an only child, so I grew up to myself. I can't read a book in a room of crowded people.
Never let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. That came from my mom. She was saying you don't have to be so open and revealing to everybody—especially the people close to you.
We didn't have Bloods and Crips in Atlanta. In high school, it was fashion kind of gangs. How you dressed or danced was your crew. It was fighting, but looking good while doing it. So there was this huge prep movement where ghetto kids were so into this world that Ralph Lauren had created that we were wearing riding boots to school. Benetton used to make these bags that were shaped to hold tennis rackets. We would wear them to school with a tennis racket inside, having never played tennis in our lives. Never! Those became the weapons in fighting—the tennis rackets.
Our kids are so opposite of us. When I was young, it was "I want new Jordans. I want Ralph Lauren and Polo." I try to buy my son new clothes and he says, "Naw, I'm fine. I'll just wear these until they tear up." He just doesn't care. And I love him for it.
Onstage, you can hide behind the music.
The stupidest argument to have with somebody is when you tell them what to like. How can somebody argue with you about what you like? "I want hot sauce." "Hot sauce? How can you like hot sauce?" Hey, it's my mouth.
I was a hardcore vegan for fifteen years. I've even done raw. But socially it became horrible. I was kind of just sitting at home eating a salad. You become mean. That's not good for you.
Sometimes when you're trying too hard to follow a rule, you're doing yourself more harm.
The world is bigger now. Your grandfather's grandfather's grandfather lived in one town, and maybe the girl he got was the only cute one in town. Hell, yeah, he's staying with her for the rest of his life! Made sense! But the environment has changed.
Sex is really like breathing or drinking a glass of water. We need to treat it as a normal thing.
The person who most impressed me? Prince. Michael Jackson was great. But Prince isheavy. When I say heavy, I mean encompassing an entire world instead of one feeling. Heavy is when someone's gonna give you their whole life—make you cry and smile. It's sexual. It's a commentary on the world. It's coming from a rawer place.
There's a line in the film: "When the power of love takes over the love of power, that's when things will change." And it's true.*
Number one—it's gotta have a great bed. But a great hotel for me means a great tub.
Growing up, mentor was not a word I knew. I didn't know that word until five or six years ago. The way I explained the word to my kid is like this. I said: "Son, adults are really cool and I'll tell you why. Because you can compare them to a video game. If you played that video game for the last two years and you're proficient at it and I just jump on the game, you're quickly going to say: 'Hey, Dad, the trap is right there. When you get over there, you have to go, hop hop hop hop hop.' Now, if you didn't say that, it might take me a year to figure that out. So a mentor is: I've done this, so I'm helping you get past that place."
The comfort zone gets you nowhere—especially in music.
One thing I've noticed about entertainers: Whatever's on the surface is an outcry for the opposite of what they're going through.
Trying to please everyone is a stressful life.
We forget things for our own protection.
Boredom keeps you going because it makes you try to find ways to keep yourself exciting.
I don't like to get old. But the cool thing about aging is that the older you get, the harder it is to lie to yourself.
I hope I don't get hiccups no time soon.