The-Dream doesn’t should be reminded that it’s been some time because you’ve heard him on the radio, he is aware of. He’s been preoccupied with new publishing offers, franchises and collaborations on Grammy-nominated tasks. Besides, after greater than a decade within the business, the singer/songwriter doesn’t have a factor to show.
At the time of his 2007 debut Lovehate, R&B was in an unclear house -- the argument was that the style was lifeless or on the very least, on life help. Singers gave the impression of rappers, and conversely, even the hardest MCs needed to sound like singers. And they tried. When The-Dream debuted on Def Jam, dropping his first LP, it was not like any R&B album that preceded it. Full of A-Town bravado, however nonetheless sustaining the theme of what it looks like to like and be cherished, the album was R&B’s much-needed IV drip.
On Dec. 21, The-Dream is slated to launch Sextape Vol. 1, 2 and three -- his first album since 2013’s IV Play. Sextape is a three-disc effort, 38 tracks (with no options), all devoted to his loyal fanbase and people who by no means gave up on the concept of a modern-day love music you would rock your hips to.
Although he’s had a full schedule, dipping and dabbling in varied circles, working with everybody from Celine Dion to Nipsey Hussle, Dream at all times has simply sufficient time to remind the world that he’s additionally good on his personal. His pen continues to be influential, his enter is well-coveted and his ambitions are otherworldly.
Billboard caught up with The-Dream about Sextape and extra. Check out the Q&A under.
Do you bear in mind the place R&B was whenever you began as an artist? These days, the style is experiencing a resurgence of types. How a lot of this may you say you had a hand in?
The-Dream: When I dropped, there was an entire void of R&B music and of these those who needed to sing it. I used to be attempting to ship it in a means the place it wasn’t lame. And it wasn’t this sappy kind of place that sure folks had been coming from at the moment. I don’t assume I get sufficient credit score for that half, however that’s the half that was modified and gave R&B a sure new life. It simply took awhile, about 5 or 6 years, for it to catch up and for folks to catch on however it’s how we bought to this explicit level at the moment.
I grew up on Jodeci and R. Kelly. So for me, there was nonetheless a sure coolness to R&B at that specific time. Before them, there was Bobby Brown and so forth, however there was an period there from 2003 to 2006 the place R&B was simply thought of this tremendous sappy, "let’s make love, we’re by no means fucking." I simply mentioned, “Hey, I’m going to do an album.” I made a decision to be an artist to fill that massive void the place no person knew what to say on the time.
After 5 years, you’re not solely dropping an album, however a triple-volume album. How lengthy have you ever been holding on to those 38 information?
Everyone that is aware of me is aware of I don’t save information. I try to construct in that second and be impressed by the second, however there shall be information that I’m positive...the identical means me and Beyonce] have finished information that you just haven’t heard but. If we did a file in 2011, and we simply weren’t able to put it out or we felt just like the temperature wasn’t proper, we’d simply shelve it -- which doesn’t imply it’s not good, it simply will not be prepared for the second, so we go on to the following factor, which is what I’ve finished. Everybody asks us concerning the Crown Jewel album, that album exists. They ask about Love Affair, that album exists. But the temperature isn’t proper. When it's, I’ll know. That’s additionally part of what makes me, me.
So for Sex Tapes, I didn’t save something, that is all new shit. I didn’t minimize any corners of edginess. I simply caught to what my root was, as a result of that’s what occurs. You may be an architect of a sure factor and what’s new is at all times “higher” than what’s outdated. I can’t compete with what’s new, folks anticipate sure issues from me, whether or not they wanna admit it or not, however no person can ever say I’ve made a shitty file or ever made an album with fillers. That’s not ever something that I need to do, that’s me letting my core down and the core of R&B down. I simply bought bored for awhile and I needed to dive extra into issues with folks like Nas and Jay-Z and create a tradition for the Dream that wasn’t like, ‘Oh, the king of R&B!’ I need to be the king of music. Period.
Being capable of write for Celine Dion after which go and write and produce “Holy Grail” for Jay-Z, that was the purpose of doing it. Not that I can’t do R&B information. “Eh. You haven’t put out a file in 5 years...” It’s like, I do know. But I used to be simply kinda planning my decade out and now it’s like, “Oh, cool. You want R&B shit that claims a sure factor? I’m gonna try to drop 100 tracks inside a calendar yr.” Just to get it again to a sure house.
Do you consider your course of in writing songs? Do you pull from your individual tales or from others’?
Spiritually, I simply have an innate feeling about issues and people in life and I’m touched in that means that I can’t clarify. I didn’t seize it out the air, however it’s one thing inside me that I’m blessed to have. I may be round these guys and perceive them and know what to say to the world, no matter whether or not it’s a No. 1 or a No. 10. I do know that “Holy Grail” must say a sure factor from Jay-Z’s imprint. It has to say what he stands for. It’s virtually scientific in a means. I wanna work with Celine once more however I wanna do the entire album. That’s a dialog that simply occurred.
I need to be in prolonged talks with individuals who do nice issues, not individuals who’re simply doing it to do it. Like they wakened someday and mentioned, “Hey man. I sing.” I need to be aligned with the greats, however the factor that does occur within the midst of that, whenever you’re writing at that stage is that you just get overshadowed by giants. I get that query quite a bit, “Why doesn’t everyone know?” Well, should you write/contribute to eight information on a Beyonce album, like, it’s Beyonce. The music that simply got here out on the Louis Vuitton advert with Emma Stone, “XO,” I wrote that at eight:00 a.m. after a Pusha T session in Miami and we ended up utilizing it on B’s album. Nobody is aware of that. It’s like, “Oh, yeah, that’s Beyonce, we all know her...and the advert with Emma Stone.” And after that: “Oh, yeah, this man Dream birthed the concept of the music...” And I’ve been capable of settle for that piece. It’s about me figuring out who these people are and with the ability to change into and categorical them in a sure kind of means.
We at all times hear the worst tales about artists promoting their publishing, however earlier this yr, you went and bought one thing like 75% of your again catalogue. Can you clarify your reasoning?
It’s about timing, belongings and whether or not or not you’ve expunged all the pieces from that specific property that you just personal. Do you wanna wait 15 years to get cash out of that? Or do you wanna get it now and reinvest? You can’t take a look at it and say, “Oh, as a result of I don’t have that piece of that anymore means I didn’t do it.” No. That factor continues to be gonna learn “Written by Terius Nash.” That doesn’t matter. It will depend on whether or not or not you’re at your prime and you recognize what you’re doing subsequent.
For me, it’s like, I made this sum of money from 30 to 40 and what I wanna do is quadruple up and make “this” quantity from 40 to 50. And at that time, I’ll produce other issues that I’m doing anyway. It’s nearly timing. With publishing offers, everyone doesn’t have the concept and understanding of what property means. Some youngsters simply don’t know. Giving an organization 50% of one thing they didn’t even assist in doing, only for some upfront cash, and so they’re not pondering of the truth that they’re sizzling proper now. They don’t want any more money on them. They may do an admin deal and hold it transferring. You’ll get half of the cash you'll’ve gotten anyway, simply doing an admin deal, however no less than you personal all of it, so you'll be able to promote it whenever you really feel prefer it, versus being handcuffed to one thing for no obvious cause.
My stars simply aligned in a sure solution to the place now I’m not in any offers. So it’s like, all the pieces I bought, they solely have it up till a sure yr. They have 75% of one thing that isn’t even all of no matter it's, primary. And quantity two, I've all the pieces transferring ahead and it’s nonetheless all mine. I didn’t have to depart it to go and do one thing else. My taxes are paid. I’m not in nothing. Life is a mild life, man. You can’t simply hold stacking up issues and never go and dwell. You can die and go away all that cash and your youngsters spend it.
You have a couple of quick meals franchises now as effectively. How did these come about?
My accountant is the one who considered that. We’ve had sure conditions the place I needed to put money into issues that tripled and quadrupled in worth and he needed to go put his head within the sand and there are different issues that labored out. This is simply a type of. Me proudly owning these Burger Kings and now Popeyes and it’s all labored out. Sometimes, I’ll have concepts and I’ve talked to them concerning the thought of including waffles to the menu, perhaps six months in the past? They sat on their palms and now, in fact KFC did it. I needed to name them and say, “See? I informed you.”
Can you communicate a bit about Sextape?
I used to be simply sitting on a seashore minding my enterprise, attempting to determine filmmaking, committing to issues on the opposite facet and y’all are dragging me again to the darkish facet. This album is gonna convey the smoke that everyone needs, if you need it, you gonna get it for an entire 12 months. It’s gonna be a pleasant continuation of what I began 10 years in the past. And that’s simply because I felt prefer it. That’s how I began Lovehate. Because I felt prefer it, not as a result of I needed to or wanted to. Having information on the charts each time, it was good.
But Sextape is three volumes, 38 information which I’m calling the “38 Special” so anyone who needs it may possibly come get it. And there are not any options or fillers. I’m actually completely happy about it and happy with it. But it’s like, folks anticipate it to do effectively, then everybody’s like, ‘Well, in fact!’ It’s like, I get the excessive bar to take care of, and everybody else will get the low bar. Then everyone shall be actual quiet and take a look at to not point out it, however it’s all good.
Do you are feeling such as you’re being judged unfairly?
The stage of judgment is certainly honest. While I’m blessed, I can’t bullshit myself, I’m simply higher than most individuals. So my bar’s actually excessive. It’s excessive for myself. The proven fact that 18-year-olds are at my exhibits who needed to have been like eight years outdated once I first got here out, they’re there as a result of they went again did their analysis] -- it’s all a pleasant competitors. But the folks I’m competing with? It’s not even for a title. It’s simply to be part of the anatomy of music in all features. Not only one piece. It’s about being all of it, on a regular basis, regardless of which room it's. Not everybody can] go away that Beyonce room and hit the Kanye room, and go right into a Pusha T] room and go to a classical room or go to Abbey Road. It’s simply not the identical.
What are your ideas on the "King of R&B" dialogue that’s been swirling across the web all week?
Jacquees speaking his shit, man! You gotta give that man credit score. It kinda jogged my memory of how I used to be in a sure house. I didn’t say that then, as a result of I simply have a lot respect for R. Kelly and what he’s finished. Even, simply Jodeci, interval! Bobby Brown, Aaron Hall, we may go on ceaselessly. I’m unsure at this level that I'd wanna be on that checklist proper now anyway.
I simply assume whoever aligns themselves with that title, it ought to be suited to their greatest items. Like, they’re all of the Kings of R&B in their very own kind of means. These guys are actually nice on the issues that they do. My thought wasn’t even to try to change into the King of R&B, but when we're speaking about music and music making and the sensibilities? Like, when R. Kelly got here out, we knew he was the king, as a result of folks began making music that gave the impression of R. Kelly’s.
So should you say that, cool, when Lovehate got here out, folks began making information that gave the impression of Lovehate. That’s the tip of the dialog, as a result of nobody goes to the studio to deliberately sound like anybody and that’s an trustworthy opinion. I nonetheless don’t assume I'd wanna be a King on that checklist as a result of I wanna be extra multifaceted than that. I don’t need to surrender my liberty within the hip hop tradition of penning this loopy lyrical onslaught on the finish of Rick Ross’ “Money Dance.” I don’t wanna give that up simply to change into the King of R&B. You can name me "The Wittiest" or "The Melodic King" or "God of Music," let me get that title. I’ll take that.