YouKnowIGotSoul got a chance to catch up with Lloyd to talk about his upcoming album “King of Hearts”, making an album that will “change music” with Polow Da Don, his new label situation, what he learned working with Irv Gotti on Murder Inc., the group he was originally part of as a teen, his music leaking on the internet, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Your new album “King of Hearts” will be releasing soon. What made you choose that title?
Lloyd: It’s just confidence and it just comes from the confidence that I have in my talent and my ability to love a woman better than anyone who has ever loved one before. It kinda stems from the feeling that you get after sex, you know that you knocked it out and just laid it down. You just feel like you’re on top of the world and the king of hearts.
YKIGS: Now that you’re on a new label and a new situation, how do you feel this album will compare to your previous work?
Lloyd: It’s just got a lot to do with the people that I’m working with, that’s the biggest difference. Other than that, I’m still the same Lloyd just continuing to do my thing basically the way I’ve always done it. It’s a lot more refined and a lot more calculated now which I do credit to not the change of labels, but just the change of the people that work at the label. Because a label is a label, they are all the same, it’s about the people that inhabit the space.
YKIGS: Polow Da Don who worked with you extensively on the album has already deemed it as a classic and an album that will change music. How do you respond to that?
Lloyd: If you know him, then you know how confident he is and a lot of times that comes across as arrogance and cockiness. But he’s just one of the most confident people I’ve ever met and I think that that is something that I look forward to living up to.
YKIGS: I’ve also heard you make comments saying working with Polow is like Michael and Quincy. Talk about what it’s been like working on this album with him.
Lloyd: Well not like Michael and Quincy in the sense of that’s what you’re going to get, you’re not going to get “Thriller” or “Off the Wall” of course because those will never be done that way again. But you do get a consistent and a continuity that you can only get from working with a very, very selective group of people. Instead of spreading my talent around to a bunch of A-list producers, I decided to just get the best producer and do the whole album with one producer.
YKIGS: I know you’ve always contributed writing to your previous albums. Will that be the case as well with this album?
Lloyd: Yea I’m a writer, a producer, a performer; sometimes I do all three. Again, with this album, it’s not really about the writer it’s about the feeling, if it feels good then it probably is good. Just because I didn’t write it doesn’t mean that it’s not a great song or a great song for me. That’s all this album has been about, trying to find what songs are the best for what we’re trying to accomplish, not necessarily who did it. Even with Polow, the thing I really admire about him is he’s unselfish and he’s very, very committed to music, what that represents, the history of music, and where we rank in a long line of great musicians which is bigger than just our peers. We spend a lot of time listening to a lot of old records and we listen to a lot of records that other people write or produce as well and sometimes we record those.
YKIGS: You’ve already released three singles from the album. What’s a song on the album besides the singles that is a favorite of yours and people should definitely look out for?
Lloyd: Well I’m still in the recording process and every song that I record, I love, it’s like my new favorite. But one that really stands out to me is a song I debuted on tour with Trey Songz called “Angel”. It’s a really acoustic sounding and it’s a really big song.
YKIGS: How did you originally link up with Polow Da Don and become part of his Zone 4 label?
Lloyd: Well we kinda worked together so long that it’s one of those things where you don’t remember the exact moment we first hooked up. But being in Atlanta of course it’s a really big city but it’s a really small circle. We’ve crossed paths, we collaborated on one of my previous albums, I think it was on “Lessons in Love”, we did a song called “Party All Over Your Body” and another song called “Lose Control” which featured Nelly. We also worked on a song which New Kids on the Block recorded called “Lights Camera Action”. So just working with him on the album, at the time he was just kinda another one of the producers who I was working with. About two years later, I hooked up with Polow in Atlanta, we recorded a track for Rich Boy and it features Drake, it’s called “To the Floor”, it’s a great track. It was our first time recording in a long time and I just remember how good I sounded, it almost didn’t sound like myself. I remember feeling like he’s someone who brings out the best in me when it comes to recording and I could see us working together more. Not too long after that, he called me and asked me to move out to L.A. to start recording music with him, and that’s how it happened.
YKIGS: Looking back at your time spent on The Inc., you had three pretty successful albums on that label. Do you wish things would have turned out differently or do you feel it had run its course?
Lloyd: I have no regrets. If it wasn’t for where I was, then I wouldn’t be where I am. Just dwelling on the past, I think it’s really important for me to surround myself with positive people and just work really hard and really make the most out of the opportunity that God has given me, being able to make music, which I always wanted to do. A lot of what I learned over there, I still apply to this day, and a lot of the passion that was in my music, a lot of the rebelliousness and pretty much just growing up fast and being around the likes of Ja Rule and Ashanti and Irv Gotti and having access to them, I really credit my growth a lot to that.
YKIGS: Early on in your career as a teenager you were part of the group N-Toon which ended up disbanding due to a label merger with MCA Records and Geffen. Was that situation discouraging for you as an artist?
Lloyd: Well I was a kid and all I knew was I just wanted to make music, I wasn’t thinking about label politics or what that means. It was really much simpler back then but yea I was discouraged a little bit. I felt really confident in my skills when I was that young, I was really cocky when I was younger.
YKIGS: Eventually you went on to sign as the first solo artist on Magic Johnson’s label. How did that whole situation come about?
Lloyd: Well my boy Dave Gates had assumed the presidency at the label and he had reached out to me and offered me a deal. I also had other deals on the table at the time but my relationship with Dave, who is someone I met through Dallas Austin back then, I just felt comfortable with him.
YKIGS: You eventually moved from that situation to the Murder Inc. label. How did you make the move over there?
Lloyd: It actually happened pretty fast. I started recording music in Atlanta with Tricky Stewart and Jasper Cameron, and a friend of mine named Mark Pitts was in the studio working on Donell Jones’ album at the time. Mark kinda saw me hanging out in the studio and just approached me and asked what I do. I told him “I make music, you don’t know who I am? What do you mean what do I do? I do my thing, that’s what I do!” I played the music I had at the time which included “Southside”, “Hey Young Girl”, and a few more songs that ended up being on the first album. He actually offered me a meeting with LA Reid in New York. Irv Gotti was also in New York and a mutual friend of ours introduced us and after that I went to New York to meet both Irv and LA thinking I would sign with LA, but I really just ended up clicking with Irv.
YKIGS: You’ve been the victim of having many of your songs leaking onto the internet. How do you feel about that?
Lloyd: *Laughs* Yes I have. *Laughs* I don’t like pirates, death to all pirates. But I would rather steal something like Gold or money before stealing somebody’s music. I just think the same way that the feel you have when you hear good music or the experience you have to the music which makes you remember it, it’s so priceless. Really, it’s the same thing for us when we make it, to actually see the idea come together to be something that’s special and then to see people kinda degrade it, it is a little discouraging. But that’s just the state of music, I’m not going to sit here and huff and puff and cry about something I can’t control, I’m just going to keep doing my thing. My philosophy is if it’s good enough they’ll buy it.
YKIGS: Anything you’d like to add?
Lloyd: “King of Hearts” coming out this summer and they’ll be some really good music releasing in the next few months.