The former B2K singer, 30, who released his fourth solo album, Sex Playlist, in December, talks to Billboard about collaborating with Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko? on their hit “Post to Be” (No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100) and how fatherhood has impacted his career.
It’s unusual for a song featuring three R&B artists to scale the charts. Why did you make “Post to Be” a collaboration?
I wanted to keep it original and show R&B camaraderie. I have a long history with Jhene and Chris, and the organic connection, the friendship, that we have with each other ended up on the track. I want people know that this is a real effort into showing what futurists are all about, and that is breaking the sound barrier and creating something that hasn’t been created before. When’s the last time you heard three singers on one track that still felt like a party? That’s what “Post to Be” is, and it’s been received so well.
The song came out in December and it feels like it took a bit of time for the song to pick up. Did you expect it to take so long to crack the charts?
I think that radio is always in an interesting place in music, aside from how it technically works, there’s not a lot of DJ’s breaking records these days, it’s only a few cities like Atlanta and New York is one of my biggest supporters as far as being first to play my song. And in order to be on the charts, there has to be a certain level of collectiveness. When I got that phone call from my team and they were like “You’re reaching number one in New York City,” which is a big market for me, I was like wow. And that’s something I’ve never done in my career, so I knew that this was going to be a big record. I think that naturally it takes people a little bit of time. Music is so tangible and the radio has to catch up with that but it’s a bit more technical. I feel like just like any real street or club record that blows up first and then the radio plays it, that’s exactly what it was with “Post to Be.” I don’t know why that happens with songs.
Why do you think people are gravitating toward this song?
Aside from the catchy phrases like “got to eat the booty like groceries” that Jhene says, it just feels good. That’s a wild line, but it’s a wild memorable line. All the women sing that line. I think Post To Be kind of falls in that place that when you hear it, no matter when you hear it during the day, it feels good. And I think that that’s what music is supposed to do. It’s supposed to evoke emotion.
Does having a 7-month-old son affect your music or career at all?
I think the experience of being a father has triple my working value, because as an artist and being a child prodigy and starting as young as I did and seeing different levels and going through different phases of being an artist, I think that my son has just tripled my work now. Now I can just categorize my time. That’s the thing that we don’t get back. Now I can fully keep things in perspective. Before, as an artist and not having the responsibly of being a father, it’s easy to make selfish decisions and to weigh what should be done versus what shouldn’t be done. Like, should I wait for this instead of doing this? But truthfully, my son has made me selfish and now I truly understand that it’s not about me anymore. It’s about him.
This story originally appeared in the April 18th issue of Billboard.