It has been a long time coming for the 30-something artist, who over the years has been signed to three different labels and recorded music with 50 Cent and Dr. Dre that was never officially released.

"I was born ready," says R&B singer Governor about the release of his album "Son of Pain."

It has been a long time coming for the 30-something artist, who over the years has been signed to three different labels and recorded music with 50 Cent and Dr. Dre that was never officially released.

Now he's finally found a "home" on rapper T.I.'s Grand Hustle imprint, through a joint venture with Atlantic.

The pairing has proven to be harmonious. Last week, "Son of Pain" debuted on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 50.

But even though he has been running with the big dogs for years, there were times he didn't think it would happen.

"I'm human," Governor tells Billboard.com. "Sometimes it was discouraging, but now is, oddly enough, a better time than any. I'm still here, and I'm gonna reach my goal."

His "goal" goes far beyond just bringing his music -- which he calls "soul folk" -- to the masses.

"My passion is reaching people and saying something positive, and knowing what I say is not for the benefit of money. It's not about that for me, it's about the purpose," he says. "It is [about] the ability to reach people, and to care enough to reach people. Y'know, some people just don't care. I care, and I want my audience to care about the people they're sitting next to at a show. I'm trying to create something positive.

"I'm not saying I'm the face of R&B, but I would like to be a catalyst to help bring that positive vibe back to music as a whole," he adds. "We know what it's like to hustle. We all know what drugs are -- even the average 10-year-old kid knows. We don't have to always glorify [those things]. Damn. Can we talk about somethin' different?"

Unlike most R&B and hip-hop artists these days, Governor does not aspire to branding his name via clothing or sneaker lines in order to become a mainstream artist.

"I want to sell my music, but I don't want to use anything to sell my music," he says. "I'd rather use the sales from my music to promote other positive things, like programs for inner-city kids or building athletic facilities that will be available for kids that have no outlet. To hell with the f*cking clothes. I like clothes -- I love clothes -- but I'm not out here dying to get a clothing line so I can sell $125 million worth of product in a year. That's not my thing."

On "Son of Pain," which was overseen by such renowned producers as Scott Storch, Wyclef Jean and Raphael Saadiq, Governor drew from his painful childhood -- his mother committed suicide when he was just an infant -- to write the songs.

"I always look at the past and hope that it doesn't repeat itself in the future," he says. "That's where my inspiration comes from -- helping somebody else get over something that I've already been through. Like it says, I'm the son of pain, so if I can tell you an experience that I went through and you can escape it then I've done my job. Then my life has not been in vain. My purpose is to carry a positive message to other people who want to live positive."

He then sums up his approach to life and music by adding, "When I die and leave this earth I want what I did to remain here longer than I would have ever hoped."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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