Stunting may be a habit for rapper Safaree Samuels — who dubs his brand #StuntGang — but so is dishing out relationship advice. The Brooklyn MC, also known as Scaff Breezy, was once a grade school Romeo, writing love notes to his fifth grade crush that read, “You’re so smart and you’re so witty/ You’re so tall and so pretty” (#TrueStory.)
These days, Safaree’s pals recruit him to make sense of their love lives as he deals with his own. Hit up Google and a search will show Safaree was in a 12-year relationship with Nicki Minaj that ended in 2014 yet continues to make headlines. Still, it was a task he took on for his new single “Can’t Lie,” premiering on Billboard today.
The Vetty-produced love song — which appeared on his recent mixtape It Is What It Is, Vol. 2, the follow-up to 2015’s It Is What It Is — also features Olaf on singing duty as S.B. waxes poetic about his affection for a special lady.
“I hope this is it, I don’t want no one else/ This feeling you givin’ me I never felt,” he raps. “I thank God he sent you ’cause I needed help.”
While he says the track wasn’t inspired by his famous ex (he says he wrote it from a friend’s perspective), Safaree opens up to Billboard about the emotional record and his love life, both past and present.
Take me through the process of creating “Can’t Lie.”
First, my guy Olaf had the beat and we were out here in a studio in California. We just had the lights dimmed and the beat kind of just put us in a mood. [Olaf] just started to sing his part and then it was really organic. It wasn’t any thinking of how we gonna do this. It just happened so naturally. What we put on that beat was meant to be on it.
Are the lyrics based on your real-life experiences?
No, not necessarily. I just really put myself in the situation of like a guy or female who could have been in those types of situation and I’m sure everyone can relate to that type of situation where you feel like you didn’t tell someone the 100 percent truth and now you just wanna come out and tell them. “You know what? I did lie. I’m sorry about it. Let’s work past this and keep going.” I don’t know why but a lot of people come to me for like relationship advice like I’m Dr. Phil. I just feel like I mix some inner feelings with a combination of situations that people I actually know that have dealt with and gone through.
There was a situation where I was with some people and this guy met a girl. The girl he met was with one of his friends, so when they first met, he was cordial because he himself was with a girl [at the time]. It was kind of like a quadruple date with four couples and it was weird. They connected without even really saying much and they ended up falling for each other. It’s a real crazy situation. The guy ended up having to go to jail and doing a whole bunch of years. That left her in a vulnerable open space and he’s been disconnected.
This guy was a friend?
What did you want listeners to take away from It Is What It Is, Vol. 2?
When someone first puts in the entire project, I want them to be able to go through different emotions and feelings listening to it. A song like “Can’t Lie” can show people I know how to really speak about real situations from the heart. It’s not just about a dance, fun record or a twerk record or “I’m getting drunk and high” record. That’s not what I do, so I’m not gonna promote that. I just really wanted to show people that I can put myself aside on that because I have a lot of females that hit me up on social media and they just always connect to me, just off of my interviews and stuff that I talk about with my friends.
At what age did you start writing songs?
I’ve always been into the whole writing process for I would say the past 15 years. I’ve just always been writing down things that rhyme. ‘Cause when I was younger, like if there was a girl I liked in class, I would really write them a poem on a piece of paper and leave it on their desk and not say anything to them until they noticed that the letter was there. It was so cheesy though cause I was doing that from like fifth grade, so it was nothing like real strong come-on lines. There was something like “You’re so smart and you’re so witty. You’re so tall and so pretty.”
You’re very specific with your pen game. A line that jumped out to me on “Can’t Lie” was “I ain’t paying attention to exes that’s hatin’.” Was there someone in mind when you wrote that?
Naw. Who doesn’t have an ex that’s hatin’? You know what I’m saying? In this day and age, it kind of comes with the territory. So when I say that — in the sense of a girl or girls that feel like they were connected with me in one way and now they’re not — it looks like they see you with somebody else and then they want to start trying to, you know, throw salt but you know I’m just saying I’m not paying attention to it. I’m not gonna listen to it. I’m not gonna go and do stuff to bring light to it.
And you wanna know what’s so crazy? When I write a lotta stuff, it’s really crazy that I don’t even realize how much sense it makes until later. Like I’m not writing and thinking, “Oh yeah, this make sense.” It really just comes out of me naturally, and then I’ll be listening to it later on and not even when I record it, maybe like a week or two weeks later and it really will make sense with stuff that’s going on in real-life situations.
Would you say that that’s the case for your song “Love The Most” as well?
With “Love The Most,” I put that [out] because I kind of wanted that to be like the closing nail in the coffin [for my situation with Nicki Minaj]. Then when I put that song out, I got so much feedback from people because originally I wasn’t even gonna put that song on [the project]. Then I actually asked my fans if I should put it on because there were a couple songs I just threw out and they were crying out like even though that’s the past and it is what it is and we’re over. They’re like, “That’s still part of the chapter in the whole situation so you can’t not put that on.” But I felt like it did have such an impact when I did drop it.
You spent majority of 2015 dealing with headlines involving you and your ex Nicki Minaj. What is the status?
You know, right now, there is no status of it. I just wish ’em all the best. You know I don’t have an ill feeling going towards anyone. From my side, it’s nothing but love. I’m the type of guy, whether you like it or not, I’m gonna still say “hi” to you. It’s on you to where you wanna take it. I don’t have an ill will bone in my body. It’s nothing but God bless and protect the love.
Any thoughts on her engagement rings and possibly getting married?
Hey, good luck. Once you’re happy, that’s all that matters, you know? Nobody wants to be sad and miserable, so if you’re happy and you’re really happy, you know, God bless.
Is there a special lady in your life?
Yeah, and you know this go ’round, I’m just really — you need that for stability because I feel like the guys who are out here and trying to date a new girl in every city and then have ten girlfriends and all of that — there’s no way you can do that and be talented in real life because it’s very time consuming and it’s very expensive. I’m all about having that one situation, someone who can really support, hold me down and uplift me when I don’t feel like doing it sometimes. You know and try to keep it as real as possible and not let this [industry] hoopla jade a real situation because I’ve seen it happen and it could happen if you don’t have the right people around you — all of these flashing lights, all of these people who “wanna get likes on Instagram,” wanna be seen in pictures with certain celebrities and just anyone who’s out there. It can really change people whether they want to admit it or not. It can change your whole personal situation, so I’m just keeping [my relationship] tough until it’s time to really put it out there.