All photos by Marco Torres

Steve Aoki performs at the Shrine Expo Hall on Friday. In tow will be none other than aggressive rap's Mozart, Waka Flocka Flame, along with quickly ascendant L.A.-via-Australia rapper goddess Iggy Azalea and Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. (Despite the strange bedfellows on this bill, PR assures us that both Waka Flocka and Azalea will do regular solo sets and not, like, throwing cake at people.)

Ahead of the show, we talked to Waka Flocka, who remains one of hip-hop's most compelling figures.

Describe your music to us as if we had never heard it before.

When I hit the stage, its like a Korn concert mixed with Onyx, Lil Jon, DMX, Run-DMC, mixed with EDM. Ain't nobody doing it like me! Like a head-bussa.

So… explosive?

Man, wut! Like atom bombs explosive! Its amazing, man!

Tell us about your history.

I was born in Jamaica, Queens. I moved to Atlanta when I was ten, then moved to Clayton County.


Would you say that there's a different dynamic between NYC and Georgia?

Ain't no difference, man, just the kids. Kids in New York had to grow up faster. Kids in Georgia were involved in sports. And the women was thicker. Good food, too!

How did you hook up with Steve Aoki?

First I hooked up with Borgore [a DJ also touring with Aoki, but not on Friday's bill], and from there I ran into Steve's manager while on tour in Europe.

Waka 30Secs 1 thumb

Tell us about your experience in Europe, where you have been on tour most of the year.

They loved me, but it was crazy 'cause I didn't understand shit anybody was sayin'! Which made me a bit nervous to take the stage, like wondering if they were gonna fuck with me.

But when I got onstage, they knew everything! They don't speak English, but they knew the words to my tracks! Just like in the States. Its no different, they just a little skinnier.

Tell us about your new mixtape, Roaches to Rolexes.

The reason I named it that is because I rap about the struggle, know what I'm saying? But now I made it, as me… as a person. Now its time to get my family and my friends right. Now you're gonna hear Waka with some funds behind me. Waka as a man talking now.

What is the worst song in the world, and why?

I can't stand “Step Daddy” by Hitman Sammy Sam. I just hate that fucking song. They should have never made it.

What about the best song in the world?

“Keep Ya Head Up” by Tupac.

If someone throws a beer bottle at you while you're onstage, what do you do?

Jump off and fuck em up!

What has been your best show ever?

My first show ever in South Carolina back in 2010. I knew I was there from that show. I loved it.

What would you buy with one million dollars?

Shit, I already did that! Houses, cars, and jewelry!

What would you buy with your last dollar?

I would invest 60 percent and live off the other 40 percent.

If you had the opportunity to work with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Bernie Mac. I would have loved to do a movie with Bernie. That would be awesome.

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