Next time around the Watts-native Malone sees himself making "gangster soul" instead of gangsta rap. "I wanna be onstage in a suit with a Frank Sinatra microphone," he says, adding that he's recently been listening to folks like Al Green, J-Dawg, DB tha General, Skeme, Curtis King, and the TDE crew.
Still, he clearly relished rattling off his top five records that the legendary New Orleans label has issued, which are quite heavy on gangsta mojo.
5. Choppa City in the Ghetto
"I played this CD crazy. I was 18 or 19. 'Bling Bling' dropped, and it was unbelievable; that song changed hip hop. BG was gutter, and I liked that. He was the nickel-and-dimer of the crew."
4. Tha Carter III
Lil Wayne, 2008
"I was signed to Cash Money by that time. I was in the 'Lollipop' video, and I was there for the 'A Milli' video. Being around and a part of the album while it was happening made listening to it just that much more special. I remember the whole album leaking, and hearing Wayne just goin' in on 'I'm Me.' It was crazy for that album to leak the way it did, and then for Wayne to go back and remake it, and it still be a legitimate classic. It was a big deal for Cash Money. It sold a million records at a time when nobody was doing that, and hadn't in a while. My favorite song on that album hands down is 'Mr. Carter,' with Jay-Z."
Thoughts on Wayne's alleged diss of Jay-Z on Tha Carter IV? "I don't know why anybody's surprised. Everybody should've seen Wayne comin' back at Jay after that Baby comment [on "H.A.M."]. Wayne ain't gonna stand for that."
3. I Got That Work
Big Tymers, 2000
"At that time, I was still doing my thing hard in the streets, and it was the soundtrack to what I was doin'. It fit so well; we lived by it. Everybody played that CD in Watts--it ran everything. Two classic songs, '#1 Stunna' and "Get Your Roll On' on the same CD; plus you got the crazy ass n*gga doin' the skits on that album! Real funny dude. And Mannie on the boards and Birdman in the booth? It might not get any better than that. I think that CD really established Birdman as being able to make some crazy music, too. Mannie's a brilliant person. He pulled a record out of me nobody else was able to."
2. Tha Carter
Lil Wayne, 2004
"This started the whole Carter epidemic. I loved the way he did the skits and interlude where he walked through this house like Nino Brown walking through The Carter in New Jack City. 'Go DJ' stood out to most people, but my favorite song was 'I Miss My Dawgs.' Rappin' about missin' Juvenile and BG, when all of them were together--it was dope of him to do that. This is the most classic of all Lil Wayne's CDs. Every song is crazy."
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1. 400 Degreez
"Hands down number one. Highest selling record of all Cash Money's albums. First Cash Money classic. This CD dropped, and the whole world fell in love with Juvenile. Marc Klasfeld, who shot the video for Juvenile's 'Ha', shot my 'Certified' video--that's how much I love this album.
It has lines we say to this day! [Raps opening lines of "On Fire"] They were all fresh and new to the game. That's when Lil Wayne made his stamp--'Wobbledy wobbledy drop, drop it like it's hot'--it's not even a hook or a bridge! That motherfucker hit me like a like a ton of bricks. I was really the first n*gga from where I'm from playing Juvenile; everybody was on No Limit. Actually, before that I was on Big Tymers' 'Big Ballin'.' But 400 Degreez was when Cash Money started outright dominating."