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In theory, people would pick progression every time over being idle. But if you look at us as a culture, as a people, you would say that if you get up at five o'clock in the morning, eat your breakfast, go to work, make money, pay your bills, you're progressing, when you're still doing what's comfortable.
The song, 'Life is Better,' is about hip-hop. It's about my love for hip-hop. And, you know, I go through all the artists from the beginning to the end, you know. And, well, not to the end, but since the beginning to now, you know.
A lot of people who curate in the business, and curate the art, don't really have good artistic sense. They may know commerce, but they aren't savvy enough to know how to balance commerce and art, you know? They don't know how to satisfy both palates.
Dealing with those personalities and the people who run this music thing has been most challenging. It's hard to really communicate things to people who run a business yet forget the nature of the business. They only look at the bottom line and the financial return, you know, they forget what it is they're packaging. It's art.
For people who love Tribe, I'm the defector. They say, 'You should get back with Ali to do the beats.' But a lot of people don't realize I did all the music in Tribe. In the first three albums, I did all the beats!
I do try to speak of positive things. I still try to, like, present two sides of the story, and I do try to relate to life in a 360 degree and not be one-dimensional. But by all means, manage expectations.
I feel like Barack Obama, kind of in a political sense, embodies that same kind of spirit as a Q-Tip or a Santogold or a Common. I feel like there is a synergy going on here in this country and abroad. I feel like the doors are open, and it's time to push them wide open.
I grew up on the rough side of the tracks. If you looked like you were soft, you would be fodder for the wolves. I came up in my neighbourhood like, 'I'm just gonna be me,' and all the thugs just said, 'It's OK, he's special.' They knew I had the talent with the rhymes, so they kept me around.
I think I have great responsibility, and when I do my music, when I try to relate to my audience, I just try to do it in an honest fashion, you know, just try to be as earnest as possible and sometime it may be self-effacing. Sometimes it may be finger-pointing. Sometimes it may be beautiful, and sometime it may be ugly.