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HHV Exclusive: Problem talks “The Separation,” working with DJ Drama, “Like Whaaat” success, BET Awards performance, and more

Problem 3By Q The Question
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

A lot of people are now just tuning into Problem, but he has been holding it down for a while now. Late in 2012, Problem began rising to the top of the mixtape game and established himself as a force by early 2013. Supported by Wiz Khalifa, Problem has a lot of songs and a mixtape out with Iamsu!

At the start of the summer, Problem dropped his DJ Drama-hosted mixtape, The Separation. This mixtape features Game, T.I., Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Iamsu!, Tyga, and Chris Brown. With an all-star lineup on the mixtape, Problem brought his show to the 2013 BET Awards.

Dreams do come true and they are coming true for Problem right now. He is only a little over a month removed from dropping The Separation with DJ Drama and his “Like Whaaat” single and remix are doing well. In the midst of this strong run, Problem took time out to speak with Hip Hop Vibe.

Read the entire interview below:

Alright, take us back to the beginning, what inspired The SeparationI needed to separate from the previous names I was working with and expand. So, with that, The Separation was born and it lived up to the name, while putting forth our brand of music.

Where did the title come from and what did DJ Drama bring to the tape as a host? Why not? As a rapper, in the sport of it, when you get to a certain level, you need to get a Gangsta Grillz. For me, that’s a big deal, and then to say I’m one of the first West Coast artists to do a tape with DJ Drama and look at the results, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

As a newer artist from the West Coast, did you feel it was important to include collaborations with Snoop Dogg and Game on what is known as your breakout project? No, not really. I’m not that deep. My shit is organic and Snoop Dogg has always appeared on my projects, he is a supporter, and we put in work. Game was a last minute addition and we did our song before the tape dropped. We hit the studio and he went off on a beat, so we put it on. It was not really calculated, just adding cool guys I know to the record.

How did you and DJ Drama link up for this project? We have a mutual friend and we have known each other for years. We met when he did Terrace Martin’s mixtape. They actually wanted me to put this tape out in January, but I decided to wait and capitalize off everything and this project dropped when a lot of good music was hitting the streets.

In working with him, did you learn anything new to better your own craft? With Drama, I learned more about presentation. Everything with him is all about presentation and when he speaks, it’s powerful. He’s a cool motherfucker, very business oriented and I’m glad we were able to do this and for me to be a part of the Gangsta Grillz series.

Were you at all surprised at the success of “Like Whaaat?” Yeah. I was surprised for different reasons. I knew the record was good, street with a pop appeal. When I put the song together, I was enjoying the record. But, DJ Drama showed me how to put the single together and then when it caught on, I was like “whoa.” The song just took off and it was crazy after I racked my brain about a single, it just came. When you believe in yourself, it will definitely come for you.

On this remix, you featured Wiz Khalifa, Tyga, Chris Brown, and Master P, how did this come together? Master P heard the record and he was in LA, so he reached out asking to do the record and I was like “oh shit!” So, he laid his verse first and when it came to Wiz, Tyga, and Chris, they were already on the tape, so it was not much to get them on the remix. But, I shout out all those guys for getting on the record with me, as I’m an up-and-coming rapper, still.

We all know Master P is the ultimate hustler, is he giving you any advice on investments? We got in the studio and we really talked more about music than business. I was enjoying just being in the room with the legend, so we spoke more on a fan-to-legend conversation than anything that deep. Myself, I wanted to know more about his time as an artist. My goal is to be the best artist and everything else comes with that.

When you performed at the 2013 BET Awards, were you nervous before taking the stage? NO! Nervous is not a word I like to use. I have watched that show so many times, I couldn’t wait to be there. I was more nervous about cursing up there because they don’t allow that. When I was performing, I had a ball, the fans were into it, so shout out for BET for making that happen and catch me at the hip hop awards in October.

What was the best part about the whole experience of the 2013 BET Awards? The whole weekend was crazy man. I performed with my bro, Kendrick, at the Vanguard Awards and cursed when I wasn’t supposed to, but it was all good. Snoop Dogg brought me out to his Staples Center show. The whole weekend was beautiful and everything that came with it was crazy.

Where can we find you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for fans to connect with you? I’m not on Facebook like that. for information and me and my artists. Problem254 is my Instagram @ItsaProblem is my Twitter.

Follow Q The Question on Twitter @QTheQuestion.

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