Ever since Fabolous stepped on the scene with “Can’t Deny,” he has found commercial success as an MC with lyrical skills that are at times reminiscent of Jay-Z. Ready to release his third studio album, Real Talk, today via Desert Storm/Atlantic Records, Fabolous is confident that this is his best work today. If his current single “Breathe” is any indication of what we can expect, then we are definitely in for a treat. Already one step away from entering the Top 10 on the Billboard 100 Singles charts, Real Talk is expected to place as well as it features production from some of hip-hop’s biggest producers the Neptunes, Scott Storch and Just Blaze. During a hectic promotional tour, which landed him at the University of Miami, Fabolous spoke with The Hurricane about his upcoming album, hip-hop influences and his thoughts on some of the current events in hip-hop.
The Hurricane: How did you come up with the name Fabolous?
Fabolous: The name Fabolous came from DJ Clue. He thought that was my name when he heard me rapping, and just started calling me Fabolous. I just chose to stick with that name because I had generated a buzz under that name [on the mixtape circuit] and I didn’t want to go through the confusion of changing the name, so we just kept it and it worked out.
TH: Talk to me about your third studio album release, Real Talk.
F: The third album, I would say, is my best album up to date. I went with the title Real Talk, because I felt like that is what I was giving the fans. It’s really just what I have been going through for the past year and a half. It’s a very diverse album; you can definitely hear the versatility and the growth in this album. We catered to all ears, from the East coast, West coast, Midwest, South. It is just good music all around.
TH: Your first single “Breathe,” produced by Just Blaze is doing well on radio and has gotten the approval of the streets. What is the song about?
F: The first single “Breathe” is just a change, something different from what people usually hear from me. People have put me in a box maybe of only being able to make songs for the ladies or making party joints, so I had to step out of the box for a minute and do something different.
TH: Since your respective debuts, Lil’Mo and you have guest appeared on each other’s albums. Your third album is no different, where she appears on the track “Holla at Somebody Real.” Talk about your relationship with Mo.
F: Me and Lil’ Mo are real cool. We definitely are good friends and besides that, we have a good musical chemistry together. We just make good music.
TH: Growing up in Brooklyn, home to rap legends like Biggie, Jay-Z, what lyricists inspired you to make rapping a career?
F: I would say Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Kool G Rap, Eric B and Rakim. I have to say, at the time, I was just a fan of hip-hop. I actually didn’t want to be a rapper. Those are the people who made me a fan of hip-hop.
TH: Let me get your thoughts on current hip-hop events: The Fugees Reunion.
F: It happened already? I didn’t hear about it.
TH: The R. Kelly and Jay-Z fall out.
F: I’m sad to see it didn’t work out, but that’s the way life is. People have marriages and divorces all the time. People come together sometime, it may be the right thing for the time, maybe it doesn’t work in the long run. That’s just how it is.
TH: Finally, Mase’s comeback to hip-hop, especially since many people compared you to Mase when you came in the game.
F: At first I was actually curious to see how he would comeback, but after I hear the music and stuff, I really have no care for what he’s doing. [Laughs.]
Marcus Washington can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.