Ray J Interview
|Label:||KO Entertainment/Fifth Amendment|
|Next Project:||All I Feel (Apr '08)|
|Twitter:||Ray J on Twitter|
|Website:||Ray J's Website|
On April 8, Ray J will release “All I Feel,” his fourth studio album in the last eleven years. From the moment he first appeared on the music scene at the age of 14, however, a lot has changed in both his personal and professional lives.
In addition to releasing three studio albums, which includes the independently-successful “Raydiation,” and appearing on the UPN sitcoms Moesha (with sister Brandy) and One on One, Ray J made headlines when a now-infamous sex tape with former girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, hit the Internet and was later scooped up by Vivid Video.
Despite Ray J’s occupational dabbling into acting and directorial work (wink wink), the singer’s heart is in music. Just recently, his label, Knockout Entertainment, signed a multi-million dollar album deal with Koch Records and Shaquille O’Neal’s DeJa34.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Ray J steps inside the booth to talk about “Sexy Can I” pick-up lines, the possibility of a future career in the porn industry and when the world can expect a duet album with older sister, Brandy.
Listen to the Interview
Ray J Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an eleven year veteran of the music industry. As of late he’s made plenty of waves in an entirely different industry, but with the release of his fourth studio album, this spring, things seem to be back in place. Please welcome my man, Ray J.
Ray J: Yessir, what’s poppin’?
DJ Booth: You’re on a promo tour, headin’ across the country, makin’ sure everybody knows what you’re up to – how you doin’?
Ray J: Feelin’ good. The new album, “All I Feel,” we are out here promotin’ it right now. The new single is out right now, “Sexy Can I.” We’re out here tryin’ to take it all the way to where its gotta go.
DJ Booth: You inked a pretty lucrative deal between your label, Knockout Entertainment, Shaq O’Neal’s label, Deja34, and Koch. Was the independent success you saw on the last album, “Raydiation,” the reason you were able to command such a giant agreement?
Ray J: Yeah, I think so. I think when you look at just the report, and you look at the resume, what happened last time, and what we spent in the process from then to now, they’ve seen what we can do, and how we can make money and make hits, all at the same time. I think it was a good deal, we inked it, I think it took a little bit of time, but I was happy with it, and I’m just glad to cook up the product and put it out, like, “Sexy Can I,” to let them know that it is official and that people will get into the music and connect. I just wanna shout out to all the fans out there for supporting it and getting that record on.
DJ Booth: While Shaq is easily one of the greatest basketball players of all time, his four rap albums released in the nineties, I think many people would agree, are not his strongest accomplishments to date. Has he asked to A&R any of this project?
Ray J: Nah, nah, nah. Right now, he’s been focused on the basketball, but he really believes in my ideas and my strategy. So what happened was, I pitched the idea to him and his partner, Money Mark, and they went for it. So he’s an investor in the project, but his focus is really on basketball.
DJ Booth: If he asked you to A&R it, would you let him?
Ray J: Oh, yeah, I’d do whatever. Yeah, for sure!
DJ Booth: What if he asked you, “Hey, Ray J, let me get sixteen bars on one of the songs?” Would you let him spit?
Ray J: I mean, it’s music, you know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t have a problem. I don’t think he would wanna do it, but if he did, why not?
DJ Booth: The name of the new project, as we mentioned earlier, “All I Feel.” Without having heard anything but the new single, explain what it is that Ray J’s currently feeling in life…
Ray J: It’s just my life, where I’m at today. I feel the grind, I feel the love, and I’m livin’ life, so I just wanted to put everything into perspective, where I’m at in 2008 and what I’ve been through these last couple years, and what I’ve seen. I just wanted to put it all into the music, and hopefully people connect with it like I do.
DJ Booth: Lead single, “Sexy Can I,” featuring Yung Berg, steadily climbin’ the charts the past four weeks – have you ever used a “Sexy Can I,” pick-up line that did not work?
Ray J: [laughter] Nah. You know what? This new “Sexy Can I” movement is brand new, so I think every time somebody hear it right now it’s so fresh, so I think it’s official – if anybody out there’s tryin’ to use a line, why don’t you throw in that, “Sexy Can I,” you know? I don’t know about saying, “Hit it from the front, hit it from the back,” so soon, but, throw in a little something sexy, maybe it’ll work.
DJ Booth: I heard the line, “Let me go and get my camera,” and I watched the POV shots seen through the camera lens in the video. Tell me these aren’t suggestive innuendos at your now-famous sex tape with former lady, Kim?
Ray J: I like usin’ the camera, you know? I’m a director, and I made a couple directorial debuts that I really didn’t expect, but it’s all good, it’s all love, and I just wanted to throw it into the music a little bit and give it a little swagger. I told you, just touch on things that go on in my life, what I like to do. When I said that and said it’s a “Kodak moment let me go and get my camera,” I think that’s what really set the whole thing off.
DJ Booth: I couldn’t agree more. Ray J, let’s clear something up a little bit. There are conflicting reports that you came away with a one million dollar purse from the sale of said sex tape to Vivid Video – absolutely true or unbelievably false?
Ray J: Well, it wasn’t just a million; it was more than that. With the tape still evolving, you can still get it on certain places on the Internet, and certain hotels and stuff, so the money is still goin’. I didn’t get it up front; I got it later on, after we worked out everything. But yeah, it was definitely seven figures plus.
DJ Booth: Okay. I heard the new song, “No Porno Sh*t,” off the “Un-Kut” mix tape with K-Slay-
Ray J: Yeah!
DJ Booth: But, with the obscene amount of money, Ray J, that’s generated in the porn industry, have you ever considered, “You know what? Let’s abandon the music thing, let’s just go porno?”
Ray J: Nah. I turned down all of those deals. I had a few deals, that were real big deals from the money side of things, and they wanted to pay me to build my own brand. But I passed on that; I felt like the music and my real talent was stronger than that, and my longevity and my real talent would last longer. I had to make some decisions, and I went this way, but I’ll always know that that’s there, just in case, but I don’t think I would never go to that – that’s like plan ‘Z.’
DJ Booth: [laughter] Okay. Based on all the success you’ve had throughout your career, and all the money that you’ve been able to make in all your different endeavors, would that ever be something where, maybe not up front, where your name was attached to it, but behind the scenes, you were an investor?
Ray J: Yeah, who knows, who knows? It’s a lot of money in that – I’ve seen it, I’ve witnessed it, I’ve experienced it from a different kind of situation. I don’t know. But right now, in this next decade, or even these next few years, I’m just focused on the positive things and the commercial things in life.
DJ Booth: I heard a bunch of your mix tape work, and on it you’re featured not only singing but also doing more of a rap thing. I read the new album is going to feature Snoop, The Game, and Wayne – so, is this a brand new Ray J the world is going to hear?
Ray J: No, this is just me right now. I’m more R&B. The Ray J “Un-Kut” was just some stuff we just was like, “Let’s go in the studio for sixty-something hours and just go hard and do a mix tape.” But as far as my album, it’s fresh, it’s smooth, it’s original, it has very strong sounds, and definitely melodies, it’s melodic, so I don’t think it’s nothing like the Ray J “Un-Kut” mix tape – it’s on a whole ‘nother level.
DJ Booth: From the perspective of public opinion, those who do not know about what you’ve accomplished in the music industry prior to the sex tape making its way across the Internet-
Ray J: It really doesn’t matter about who I am. It’s just about the music and what they feel, and puttin’ out good stuff for them to feel. And who I am is me, you know what I mean? I can’t change me. I’m a regular human being; I go through things like everybody else. But as long as I’m puttin’ out music that you can love and feel and connect with, I feel like you’re connectin’ with me in some sense, and that’s what it’s all about at this point, just the talent side of it, and makin’ everybody out there that loves music feel good.
DJ Booth: I agree completely. Arguably, your most popular hit today is the chart-topping, “One Wish.” So, moving forward with both your life and your career, what is one wish you’ve made at some point in your life, you’d still like to see come true?
Ray J: I wanna do a Ray J and Brandy album. We’re supposed to be cookin’ something like that up after these albums come, so hopefully I can get to that. That’s one of my wishes that hopefully I can see happen in the next couple years.
DJ Booth: With all the talent you and your sister possess and all the music you have made over the years, how come that hasn’t happened up to this point?
Ray J: I don’t know, I don’t really know, but hopefully I can put it together. Things are movin’ and the wheels are rollin’; hopefully I can ink this deal with Epic and Koch with this R&B album soon, so we can get this thing goin’.
DJ Booth: Ray J, give everybody a website or a MySpace page so they can find out more about the brand new album droppin’ this April.
Ray J: Yeah, hit my MySpace myspace.com/rayj, and hit my website, ray-j.com. That’s where I’m at, that’s where you can feel it, that’s where you can see it, that’s where you can experience it, baby!!!
DJ Booth: I thank you for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth. I wish you nothing but the best of luck with the brand new album, “All I Feel,” my man.
Ray J: I appreciate it, big homie – good lookin’.