Rapper Waka Flocka Flame said that the recent rash of shootings should stop rappers from going back to their old neighborhoods.
In an interview with TV host and former NFL start Shannon Sharpe on his “Club Shay Shay” podcast this week, the rapper, real name Juaquin James Malphurs, reacted to a rash of shootings among rap artists in recent weeks. Waka said that once a rapper achieves a certain level of success, he or she needs to leave their old streets behind, because that is how other rappers got into trouble.
“Thirty years after Tupac and Biggie, and we’re still having — we saw Takeoff just recently get killed, PnB Rock, we see Trouble … Pop Smoke,” Sharpe began the exchange. “Come on, Waka, give me something. Why?”
“I can’t tell you why, and I never want to speak on nobody’s death, but I could tell you this: when God [blesses] you, you have to change your ways, you have to evolve. You have to,” replied the rapper, who himself was shot in a 2010 robbery. “I could just say wrong place, wrong time for these guys.”
“So, in other words, once you ascend to a certain level, you gotta leave that alone,” Sharpe interjected. He then referred to the fact that Takeoff was reportedly rolling dice with his uncle and fellow Migos member Quavo when he was shot and killed at a bowling alley in Houston.
“Oh yeah, I don’t roll dice,” Waka responded. “With all respect, why would I roll dice with somebody that ain’t in my tax bracket? It’s liability that some s*** could happen.”
“I don’t gamble,” he continued. “You know what I gamble with? My business.”
Sharpe went on to admit that he often went back to his old neighborhood and gambled with his friends, in an effort to prove to his old friends back home that he was still one of them, that he “wasn’t better than them.”
The rapper replied that he was never like that. “I watch people die everyday like that — that’s why I ain’t never been [that guy] … I ain’t got nothing to prove to y’all.”
Waka Flocka Flame went on to discuss the difference between full-time rappers and up-and-comers who still make money by selling drugs, and how that influences young artists. “There’s not a lot of rappers out today,” Waka said. “If you’re a rapper, that means hip-hop pays your bills. It’s a lot of [aspiring] rappers. There’s people out here that spend money just to look like a rapper, to try and be a rapper, and they are the people getting into more trouble than the people that’s actually getting paid off hip-hop.”
“That’s where the mental confusion happens between rappers and [aspiring] rappers,” he continued. “They feel like they gotta hang around the guys that’s inspiring, and that’s when they go back to their old ways, and get tied into some old s***. I’m not doing that.”
On Thursday, the man who allegedly shot Takeoff was released from jail after posting the $1 million bail set against him by a judge in Harris County, Texas. The suspect will remain under house arrest and wear a GPS ankle monitor.