MVRemix: The last time we talked to you, you were out here the John Legend tour. I think at that time you were about to end that tour and start up your own, so how did your own tour go?
Lyfe Jennings: We sold out almost every spot. Again, it was so good being able to go out with John Legend and then to turn around and go right back to those same spots and sell them out, just like he did on his tour.
MVRemix: How important is it for you to perform live in front of fans?
Lyfe Jennings: I mean that's my thing. I mean the studio is cool and stuff, you can mess up and stuff. But this live show, it means that you've got to be on top of your game and not everybody can do it. So naturally I pay special attention to the live show.
MVRemix: How do you train for that energy when you're in the studio recording?
Lyfe Jennings: You know, for real I close my eyes and picture like I'm doing it live - like it's the live show. And I save a little bit, like a lot of times when you're doing it on the record, you can't go hard, hard, because they can't see your facial expressions and stuff like that. So you just make sure it's good enough. Then when you do the live show, they be like, "Wow, you was a little bit better than you were on tape."
MVRemix: People always want to see it bigger and better in person. Speaking of the albums, you've got the new one coming up "The Phoenix," what's the difference between this album and your debut?
Lyfe Jennings: People be like "Yo, I took it to a whole 'nother level on this album... and it's completely a way." I did not do that. I came with the same... The truth is working for me and so I talk about situations that occur everyday as opposed to just a weekend at the club. It's crazy how you spend maybe 5% of your life at the club, but yet 95% of music is talkin' about that 5%.
MVRemix: On the first album, I assume most of the tracks were thought of or maybe inspired from the time you spent locked down. But now, since you've been living a very different lifestyle, how has that affected your writing?
Lyfe Jennings: Inspiration is still the same because anything, you can think about it and figure out why it happened. I'm one of them cats where if I see something, I'm thinking about it. Whether I'm in jail or on a bridge, or whatever it is. It's pretty much the same inspiration.
MVRemix: One of the things that I liked about you as opposed to some other R&B singers is that you're real hands on with the music; writing it, producing it, playing some instruments and stuff. I assume you're doing the same thing on this album?
Lyfe Jennings: Definitely, definitely.
MVRemix: You got any other collaborations?
Lyfe Jennings: Yeah, I got a couple of features. The first album, I didn't really have a lot of features because I didn't want my album to be a mixtape. A lot of people come out with albums and it's not all them. But this album, I've got a feature with Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat, Young Buck. I started my own little imprint called Jesus Swings and the first artist off of my label is La La Brown, she's actually on my first single.
MVRemix: I was gonna ask you about that, can you talk about the single "SEX" and what prompted you to write that...
Lyfe Jennings: Me, I prompted me to write that, right [chuckles]. When I got out, I got on some physical stuff - I'm tryin' to touch somethin' right. So I'm riding down the street and I see these little females lurking around and whatever, so I park, get out, chop it up, "Yo, what's good?" The conversation was real young, and I was like, "Ma, how old is you?" And she was like, "Sixteen." "Oh, you tryin' to send a brother back to the joint already. [chuckles] It ain't time for that." But then again, I think about stuff and I say, "Wow," from the very moment a woman starts developing physically, she gets that attention from all these men.
MVRemix: That's like the Chris Rock skit, "Every dude has been trying to talk to you since you were twelve..."
Lyfe Jennings: Man, every "Hi..."
MVRemix: What prompted you to get La La on that track? Did you feel the need to have her sing the second verse, or...
Lyfe Jennings: Nah, she was sixteen, I was at her. Nah, nah, La La Brown is twenty years old. Just for the record, in case any federales is watching. Nah, I've been knowin' La La Brown for a while through this friend of mine who was like, "You've gotta hear La La, you've gotta hear La La..." I'm out at the club, I'm kickin' it, I'm not really tryin' to hear that. Then, she just happened to be somewhere I was a she was like, "She can sing for you, right now." So she sung and I thought she was great; her whole story, character, charisma - all that. You know?
MVRemix: You guys have a video out for it already?
Lyfe Jennings: We just finished the video, Benny Boom directed it. We just editing it right now.
MVRemix: So when does the album drop? I know the date is around the Summer of 2006 - is there anything more concrete?
Lyfe Jennings: Yeah, August 15th at 3 o'clock, we specified there. Nah, August 15th is a good time, my album came out I think August 17th two years ago. We had a great run actually, some of the songs are still on the chart.
MVRemix: It was kind of one of those slow moving, slow and steady climbing all the way up...
Lyfe Jennings: Definitely and I think that's the best way to do it man, 'cause you show your longevity to people. Sometimes you come out and it impacts so hard, so then when they come with they second record, the other one was so fast and so quick that the sureity that they're gonna do it again is not there. It's the opposite with us, we did it over time.
MVRemix: Do you have any plans to tour in support of the album when it comes out?
Lyfe Jennings: Definitely, like I'm on a radio tour right now. We're gonna be doing some dates for about a month and a half. First what I want to do is a college tour, I wanna do a college tour for maybe a month and a half. Then I want to do a tour that nobody would expect me to be on, that's one thing about the truth - it crosses colour lines, genres, age groups or whatever... So I wanna take a month to increase my audience that way towards the end of the year you'll see me doing a regular Lyfe Jennings tour.
Lâ€™Orange and Stik Figa â€“ The City Under The City album review
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MVRemix Urban | Online Hip Hop Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles