Q+A: Tito Lopez
A candid conversation with the Gulfport MC.
SLAM: When you say, someone plays your song for their child, that’s gotta be humbling…
TL: Absolutely, and it makes you feel like you gotta keep going. I made “Mama Proud”—which is my favorite song right now—I got it rotating on radio and on BET and MTV. I call it “Mama Proud” because I want people to think it’s “Dear Mama 2012,” but I’m not talking about my mama at all! Only on the hook! On the verses it’s just me talking my stuff, but the hook is ‘I just want my mama to be proud of me.’ That’s so universally relatable. I think everyone has a different definition of gangster than me, because that’s G shit to me sayin’, ‘I just want my mama to be proud of me.’ Or your pops, your aunt, your cousin; you got someone you want to make proud.
SLAM: At the end of the day, you look at these “thug” rappers…
TL: They’re humans! Nobody’s Superman. And my point is, I try to break things down to the smallest molecule and strip all the bullshit away and make music that penetrates the heart. That’s the easiest thing for me because I know how to speak from the heart. Everybody walking the Earth, your main goal when you get up every day is just to make your mom proud, it’s so simple.
I went back to the hood to shoot the video; that’s another thing missing, every video is interior. You got to see Biggie in Brooklyn, you got to see Outkast in Atlanta you got to see where they come from. I used to love Cash Money, in every video they’re in New Orleans in the projects. I went back to Mississippi and showed my hood out there. That’s what it’s about. Even if no one likes my music, you got to respect it. You don’t have to like it, but you will respect it.
SLAM: If you could compare your music/style to one player either past or present, who would it be?
TL: Derrick Rose. I really believe that I am the rapping version of him. Just the solidarity he has with his team, I don’t try to play the ballhog role, but I come through in the clutch. I don’t mess around, I’m a clutch player. If it’s game time, I like it when there’s 10 seconds left and I can be clutch like that. People like LeBron who fold in the clutch, I’m not like that.
Old school… Joe Dumars, he was so cold defensively, he was the one who gave Jordan a run for his money. I have qualities of him. That dude… I hated him as a kid because he was the arch-nemesis to my superhero, but as you grow older, they just humans and that dude could play, man. He didn’t get any respect either—Rodney Dangerfield shit!
SLAM: What can people expect form Tito Lopez in the next year?
TL: First of all, my album will be out by the summer’s end. We might drop a mixtape, we might not because some of these dudes are making so many mixtapes that they are little albums and you get caught up in that and you become a mixtape rapper. My thing is, if your mixtapes are like five albums then your first album is your sixth and no one wants to hear your ninth. I’m trying to give the people enough strong, quality material so they want more instead of over-saturating my stuff.
The weight that I hold on one of my songs is enough for eight mixtapes. Fans can expect me to drop my next single after “Mama Proud,” and that’s going to blow me up—watch. I hate the word classic… the definition of it is ‘stands the test of time’ so you can’t say I got a classic on 106 and Park. It’s a classic if it’s still playing in 10 years. But I guarantee you, it will be an album where you can’t skip a song and an album that’s perfectly put together.
I’ll be on the road at cities that nobody goes to. The secondary markets, I love going to cities where no one else goes, they love you more. In Gulfport and Buloxi, nobody ever came to our coliseum except WWE a couple times. I’m gonna make sure to go to those markets.
To sum it up: My album is coming, watch my videos and look for me in your city.
Follow Tito Lopez on Twitter here.
“Like” Tito Lopez on Facebook here.
Buy his single, Mama Proud on iTunes here.
Download “The Lost Files of Tito Lopez: Reloaded” here.