Exclusive: Ne-Yo Speaks On Collaborating With Kanye West: "I Love His Artistry & Originality. I Love The Fact He Takes [His] Time"
Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 4:00PM
Coming off the success of his Red Tails blockbuster flick and the launch of his Malibu Red liquor debut, R&B singer Ne-Yo recently kicked back with SOHH and spoke about his hip-hop upbringing as well as his wishlist of rap collaborations.
Known for collaborating on such musical bangers as Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" and Rick Ross' "Super High," Grammy award winning writer and R&B singer, Ne-Yo, says his love for hip-hop music started with late-80's/early-90's rap group, N.W.A.
"I grew up in a household that was very soul-funk oriented," Ne-Yo told SOHH this past week at the Malibu Red New York City party. "My mom was a huge Anita Baker fan, Teddy Pendergrass, the O'Jays, a lot of that. It wasn't until I got around my uncle that I even got to experience hip-hop. My first hip-hop experience, I can't even front, was N.W.A. That was the first hip-hop I'd ever heard. Then I fell in love from there. It was on a tape that my uncle had that I wasn't supposed to listen to, but every time I put it in and listened to it and said, 'What the h*ll is this?' She started listening to it and all of a sudden she was playing it in the house and it was all good." (SOHH)
Even with an impressive and extensive resume of rap collaborations, the R&B crooner still anticipates working with other artists. He expressed his wishes to work alongside such rappers as Kanye West, Big Sean, and Young Money.
"I would love to do something with Kanye West, I love his artistry, I love his originality, I love the fact he takes time to make sure something is as good as it can possibly be. I love that about him. We've had a couple opportunities but with my schedule [and his], it just hasn't come into fruition yet. I'm a huge fan of Drake. I love how he's kind of carving out his own niche in this thing. I would love to do something with him. Big fan of Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. Big Sean is making some noise right now, I'm a fan of what he does." (SOHH)
However, no stranger to the world of lyricists and emcee's, when asked about his favorite artist to record alongside, the self-proclaimed gentleman named long time friend, Fabolous.
""The beautiful thing about my career, thus far, is I've yet to collaborate with someone that I didn't like," Ne-Yo added when asked to name his favorite collaborator. "I ain't collaborated with just an a**hole yet. So I'm happy about that. [Fabolous], that's my man, that's my homeboy beyond the music. Same thing with Pit, same thing with pretty much everyone I've worked with. I've always developed a friendship." (SOHH)
Outside of music, the talented songwriter and entrepreneur recently teamed up with Malibu Rum for the launch of his new tequila-flavored rum, Malibu Red. He debuted the beverage on March 21st at the Liberty Theater in NYC, and it has since then been received well by the public.
"People are digging it, man. I have yet to receive a negative report about it. Everybody is liking it, everybody is realizing its one of those drinks that will sneak up on you if you ain't careful. The thing about about it is is that it's not as sweet as a rum. But it doesn't bite as much as a tequila. It sits comfortably right in the middle of that. It's a drink that you'll drink it and not realize it and before you know it, you done fell over. You have to be careful with it. It's definitely a party starter." (Complex)
Check out a recent Ne-Yo interview below: