R&B Singer August Alsina Talks Working With The Dream, Preps Def Jam Debut

Def Jam Crooner August Alsina Talks Working with The Dream and What He Brings to R&B

With a buzzing single and a hunger for more, R&B singer August Alsina bravely takes on New York City for the first time.

The singer, who’s drawn comparisons to Trey Songz and Lloyd, is buzzing from his latest release “I Luv This Sh*t”, featuring Trinidad James. In less than a month, the video has reached nearly 900,000 views on YouTube.

The day after Alsina’s first performance in New York City, the singer meet with AHH in the lobby of his hotel.

In our interview, Alsina talks his affiliation with The Dream and his Radio Killa Records, his upcoming mixtape The Product 2 and shares the story of how he and Trinidad James linked up before they had record deals.

AllHipHop.com: You’re in New York City. How do you feel right now?

August Alsina: I’m chillin’ man. New York is cool. It’s very fast. Everything moves fast out here. We just did the show last night, and New York is one of the toughest crowds but we made it through. We did it and there was an applause and there were no boos. We did what we had to do.

AHH: The spotlight came on you last night because you serenaded Angela Yee from Power 105.1.

Alsina: That’s me putting the spotlight on myself. I didn’t know those people were going to be there. I saw everybody in the front row and why not put her on? As artists, we put ourself out there to be judged so let me give you something to judge me by and to remember me by. Plus, Angie is a beautiful woman, so why not sing to her?

August Alsina and Angela Yee
August Alsina serenades Power 105’s Angela Yee

AHH: I was standing next to a girl who wasn’t sold on August Alsina yet, but as soon as you went into the crowd, she was sold.

Alsina: Of course. As a new n*gga, people don’t know what to expect. Everybody is on the fence when they see you in the first place. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.

When you first meet somebody, just as a human being, the way the mind works – m***********s don’t want to like a n*gga in the first place. But it’s up to me, to do my job and show you that this is what I do. At the end of the day, if you f*ck with me, you f*ck with me. If you don’t, you don’t. I’m not here for you to like me.

August Alsina and The Dream at Spotlight Live
August Alsina and The Dream at Spotlight Live

I’m here for you to like my music and enjoy what I do. That’s what is so crazy about being an artist and trying to be the perfect artist and still remain yourself. As a man, I don’t give a f*ck if you like me or not. I’ve never been the person to try to impress the next n*gga.

In my mind, I’m cool and if you don’t like me, that means you’re lame and you’re not cool. At the end of the day, she enjoyed it and that’s what it’s all about. I don’t mind that, in the beginning, you’re like: “I don’t know, I still gotta see.”

AHH: You have a face tattoo. What’s it say?

Alsina: Self Made.

AHH: Self Made on your face, but you’re an R&B singer. There are singers like Miguel and Frank Ocean who are representing a new kind of R&B. You’re kind of rough around the edges. Do you feel like this image works for you?

Alsina: Do I feel like me works for me? Of course, because it’s me. There’s nothing else that I can do. If I tried to do something else, it wouldn’t me. I’m all about being upfront. Ain’t no sugar coating or beating around the bush. What you see is what you get. I just put that in my music. Why try to change and dress some sh*t up?

VIDEO: August Alsina Performs in NYC

AHH: Around 2004, Lloyd made his debut from Murder Inc. He came out with a hard image, he was a thug from the Southside of Atlanta and he succeeded with that. You both worked on “Sucka (Remix)”, is he a mentor to you?

Alsina: That’s my n*gga. That’s my brother. Anybody who’s been doing something longer than you’ve done it, is a teacher. It might not be conscious teaching. It’s an unconscious thing. Just by watching the movements and what people are doing. Of course, I learn a lot from anybody I’m around that’s been doing this longer than I’ve doing it.

AHH: What led to the Trinidad James record, “I Luv This S###”?

Alsina: That’s when the show turned up last night, when “I Luv This S###” came on. That shows me that record is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. The show didn’t only turn up because it sounded good, but it turnt up because n*ggas was like “Oh! That’s that kid. That’s him!”. You got to put a face with the music.

I had the song for about six months before Trinidad even got on it. Me and Trinidad got mutual friends outside the industry at the same tattoo shop and they’ve been trying to connect us. Long before I had a deal or he had a deal, they just wanted us to do music. They’ve been bumping our music in the tattoo shop. Eventually, we connected and exchanged numbers.

VIDEO: “I Luv This Sh*t” by August Alsina

AHH: Is this the first single off an upcoming debut album?

Alsina: What’s crazy is at first this was supposed to be a “buzz single”, but when we saw the response to it, we decided to go full throttle with it. It’s a great record and it’s a real record.

AHH: You’re signed to Def Jam and you have a very close relationship with Radio Killa. It seems like The Dream is sponsoring August Alsina.

Alsina: [laughs] He said sponsoring! Dream is my n*gga and he’s also an A&R at Def Jam. He knows what he’s doing and he has experience. We already got in the studio and we’re going to get in the studio some more, but we do have a track together. I don’t know when it’s dropping.

AHH: How do you feel about the state of R&B right now?

Alsina: Everybody always saying R&B is in a bad place. After last night, I honestly don’t feel that way. It was very talented n*ggas in the building.

AHH: Who’s on your iPod right now? Be honest if it’s just The Product.

Alsina: Believe that, I listen to a lot of myself but I don’t get too caught up into myself. I listen to a lot of rap. Jeezy, Pac, Mike, Chris Brown, Frank. Last night, me and Luke James chopped it up and I think it’s a beautiful thing what we got going on for New Orleans. From Frank to Luke, it’s just special.

New Orleans is in a f*cked up place and it’s special to see people coming out of New Orleans. You show n*ggas that’s there that it’s possible to do anything. It’s a bigger world than just New Orleans and what we know.

We so caught up into ourselves and into our culture, and New Orleans is all we know. It’s a beautiful thing what we’re doing.

“Get Ya Money” by August Alsina

AHH: What do you want 2013 to say about August Alsina?

Alsina: We’re just getting started. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m cocked and loaded. We got some sh*t in the chambers which means we’re ready to shoot. I know I want it to be filled with blessings and success, of course. But I’m not that type of guy to say if I can see myself here this year, or next year. I live off of faith in God alone.

Wherever God wants me to be in life and in my career, that’s where I’ll be. I would’ve never thought that I would be here a year ago.

AHH: Last question. Is your real name August Alsina?

Alsina: August Anthony Alsina.

Photo Credit: Meredith Truax & Leny Behar

Listen to our FULL Interview with August Alsina: