Huey is a talented young St. Louis-born artist best known for his debut chart-topping hit “Pop Lock and Drop It,” which was a top 3 single on the Billboard charts and for being featured on “MTV Jams“, appearances on MTV‘s “Cribs” a performance on the finale of “America’s Best Dance Crew” and for becoming a staple on BET’s “106 & Park” countdown for almost two straight months. The subsequent remix with T-Pain & Bow Wow only solidified “Pop Lock and Drop It” status as a bonafide smash. Huey’s debut LP, Notebook Paper, (2007 Jive Records) featured production from T-Pain, Mannie Fresh, Jazzy Pha and Stargate and it was a Top 5 Hip-Hop debut on the Billboard charts.
After experiencing some delays in securing his release from Jive Records, Huey’s sophomore LP, Redemption (release date 9-14-2010), is finally ready for release and the LP’s lead-single, “Smile and Wave,” f/Dorrough is currently available at iTunes and the track was featured on the AOL Music homepage with 30 million plus uniques. The LP’s follow-up single, “I Go Crazy,” f/Colby O’Donis will also impact in the immediate future.
Recently Dhaani from UrbanBridgez.com caught up with Huey and spoke to him about his upcoming release ‘Redemption,’ his new label situation, his ‘beef’ with NELLY, growing up in St Louis and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Good, Good. So tell me about Smile and Wave, I think it’s a good track for the summer. Tell me about the single and how you hooked up with Dorrough for the track?
Huey: It started off on Twitter. He and I were both following each other and what not. Talking back and forth we ended up on the road with each other. We got to talking about doing a record and basically I stayed in the studio doing songs. I stayed in the studio doing songs and so I’m like I’m going to shoot something over to you. We done it and I believe it’s easier done than said. So once he did his part and I did mine, we listened. We dug it and felt it was a strong track. So with that being said, to me it’s easier done than said. He and I being in the position we’re in we’re both upcoming and on the rise. We’re on our grind time right now and it only makes sense for me to ask him to do it. Whether you’re a media personality or whatever you’re doing with your life, someone is always going to be there to throw some type of negativity. Me being from the hood we’re used to reacting to it in a negative way. I’ve done that before more than once and it gets you nowhere but in trouble. So instead reacting to them in a negative way I kill them with kindness, “Smile and Wave”. That will piss them off even more.
UrbanBridgez.com: Right and that’s an understandable way of looking at things. There needs to be more positivity than negativity. You see it with Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and so many others. It’s pointless and ridiculous.
Huey: It’s just better ways to act. It’s not going to break you and it’s really not going to make you. So I just “Smile and Wave” and let people know I appreciate it [the negativity].
UrbanBridgez.com: So tell me about Redemption and what was the recording process like?
Huey: The recording process to me was the easiest thing to do besides waking up in the morning. It was natural, nothing was forced and as long as the beats are jamming, the flow comes. As far as the producers I worked with during this album, everything was cool. Basically the title “Redemption” came be because of a three year break since “Notebook Paper” dropped. Everybody was looking for me saying “Where’s Huey” during this time but I had to get myself out of a bad situation. No bad business or hard feelings, I just it wasn’t a place where I could continue to go on. Now that I got me a new situation, I feel more comfortable. I got a better team where everybody is humble and strong. So this new album is definitely for me and my state of mind where I feel I have to redeem myself for my fans. I lot of people missed me and I’ve missed them. Now I’m back and I’m not leaving any more. The album is very strong and as far as features, all I have Colby O’Donis and Dorrough. The reason is I want people to get to know Huey. I want them to know that I can really spit [rhymes]. People need to know I can handle whatever is thrown at me regardless if it’s hip-hop, pop, club —anything. I don’t want folks saying such and such [other rappers] killed that song. No I want them to say Huey killed that song! Once people get to know me then they can look forward to features on my album.
UrbanBridgez.com: So since you’re highly known for ‘Pop, Lock, and Drop it’ and people mainly associate you with it, do you think it’s a blessing or a curse?
Huey: It can be both. For the simple fact “Pop, Lock and Drop It” was a hell of a successful record but people felt like I should’ve put out another dance record. People would ask me all the time to make another dance record but it’s not me, I’m not a dance artist. I won’t say I won’t make another dance record but you have to let people know you’re not that type of artist. It’s a blessing but at the same time it’s a curse.
UrbanBridgez.com: Since you touched briefly on the label situation, tell me how you hooked up with EMI. Do you feel like you’re in a secure place labelwise?
Huey: It’s not necessarily the label; it’s more of an independent thing with a major push behind it. Therefore, I’m not dependent on them to actually get me where I need to be. I’m dependent on the people I trust, the people I have surrounded by me. It’s a team and we have to get us there. Once we have all our stuff together of course EMI is going to give us the projects we need. They’re going to be the backbone for something that we need and everyone at the label seems to be on board for the project.
UrbanBridgez.com: Cool. So moving on to something else…such as beef, what happened between you and Nelly?
Huey: It was a misunderstanding. It was something that basically where I walked up to him [Nelly] when I first got signed to Jive. I told him I just got signed to a major label and he told me congratulations. I was like the label wanted me to do record with someone in St. Louis, are you on? It never got into how much it would cost or what I would need to do. The way he responded to me triggered my emotions. He was like I’m gonna tell you like this, it ain’t gonna happen. I was like damn we haven’t even got into details or anything like that. Just for him to say it wasn’t going to happen like that was him basically saying no I’m not working with you. It triggered my emotions and I walked off. That was that. From that moment on, I felt disrespected. Like I said it was a misunderstanding and it’s done and over with. I talked to all of the Lunatics and everybody’s cool. So we’re trying to get this money together and that whole situation is dead.
UrbanBridgez.com: So how do you think growing up in St. Louis prepared you for a life in the entertainment industry?
Huey: St. Louis, well we call it a crab in the bucket city – everybody’s trying to get out. I feel St. Louis can be bigger than what it is right now if everyone would stick together. Everyone has that mind frame of when I get on fuck everybody else. I want to change that. I have this new DVD coming out called So St. Louis and we got people from radio programmers, local artists or even if you were already on I put together an hour-long DVD. This is the first time this has ever been done in St. Louis but we can’t stop there. I just think St. Louis is going to make me a stronger person.
UrbanBridgez.com: What or who inspired you to become a rapper?
Huey: As a child I was always into music. My mom always had us at church. I sung in the choir, played the keyboard and I was one who always had so much energy. Hell I thought I needed Ritalin! (laughs)
So my mom and my aunts always told me I was going to be something but never knew what. So I started out making beats and I had my mom get me a keyboard. I played around here and there where I started rapping to my own beats. I never took it seriously until I met Shaka Zulu from Disturbing tha Peace. He was doing a video shoot around the corner from my house and we walked around there where I started rapping for him. He asked me if I had a demo, a manager, or if I was signed. So I wasn’t taking seriously enough to have all of those things. Once he told me if I could get one and get it to his label that’s when my mindset changed. I got me a manager, a demo, and five years later here I am.
UrbanBridgez.com: With that being said, what advice would you give the newcomers who are hungry to be heard?
Huey: I would tell them if they wanted to do anything just to keep positive people around them. If they want to do it, they can do it. Just make yourself relevant. Hit the clubs, build relationships with the DJ’s, make flyers and keep it moving to keep from losing. That’s my motto. If someone doesn’t like it, another person will. Remain focused and keep yourselves around positive people. Don’t give up because you will always have haters. You’ll have people that will throw your CD out in front of you. The same ones who do that to you or the ones who called you wack, will be the ones praising you when you make it. In that instance you want to know what to do? Just smile and wave!
UrbanBridgez.com: Outside of the DVD, is there anything else you’re working on your fans should know about?
Huey: Not really, this is what I’m focused on right now. I’m looking forward to acting, doing some acting here and there. I’m looking forward to that but right now it’s all about the music. This is really what I was put here for. It’s a blessing for me to come this far. I give all honor to the lord for this blessing right now. With this I got a lot of learning as well as growing to do.
UrbanBridgez.com: So, tell fans and fans of UrbanBridgez.com why they should pick up “Redemption”.
Huey: It’s good music. It’s got a good feel to it. I can make you dance, make you think or make you and your girl have the best time you ever had. It’s lyrical, it’s not ABC rap and it’s all sorts of things. From the lady I love you, to the club bangers, to the street records, to the conscious records, hot records or whatever you want. It’s 12 songs on the album and I’m thinking about shooting 12 videos. That’s how interesting it is and you all will have fun listening to it. Make sure you tell the fans to follow your boy on Twitter @Huey314 because you never know what’s going to be talked about.