Black Lips’ Jared Swilley compares notes with Waka Flocka Flame

‘Y’all gotta go hard’

Did Gucci Mane protege Waka Flocka Flame actually get his name from the Muppet Babies - and not, as some suspect, from the sound of pumping and firing a machine gun? That’s one of the many questions rock ‘n’ roll bad boy Jared Swilley set out to answer when he interviewed the 23-year-old rapper. Along the way, the hip-hop wild child and indie darling compared notes on brawls they’ve been pulled into, Wu-Tang members they idolize, and why rock ‘n’ roll is so wimpy compared to rap.

JS: So I heard you have a new album coming out.

WF: Well, I’m dropping a mixtape before I drop the real album.

JS: What’s the deal with mixtapes? Rock bands don’t really have mixtapes.

WF: Mixtapes, they like candy. You know, like, kids be so good that you give them candy - and from that right there you get paid shows.

JS: So you give those out for free?

WF: Yeah. What I get back is the shows.

JS: You’re in the scene with OJ da Juiceman and Shawty Lo and guys like that, right? I noticed that OJ has this chain, Beaker from the Muppet Babies, with tons and tons of diamonds on it.

WF: What color?
JS: It was orange.

WF: That’s the Juiceman color.

JS: Does your name have anything to do with Muppet Babies? Like Fozzie says, “Waka, waka, waka,” on Muppet Babies.

WF: Yeah, I’ve got Fozzie chain, ‘cause when I was younger, me and my cousin used to watch it and he started calling me “Waka.”

JS: When our band first started, we were trying to get a drummer who was like Animal from the Muppets. We were going to bring him up on stage tied up with a rope. But we couldn’t find anyone crazy enough.

WF: I’m right here. I’m Animal. You found me.

JS: I heard a crazy story that happened at Walter’s, like you got in a scrap there.

WF: Yeah, man, with a whole bunch of grown men.

JS: That same kind of thing happened to me recently. I have this dispute with another musician, and I went into a bar, just me and a girl, and he and all of his people were there. I got beat up. I usually lose all the fights I get in.

WF: Aw man, you need to go play kickboxing.

JS: Do you get into a lot of fights?

WF: I used to.

JS: So how’d you meet Gucci?

WF: My mama used to be his manager.

JS: Did he get you into rapping?

WF: No. I just did a song, and it worked. So I thought I could do 10 more.

JS: That song, “O Let’s Do It” blew up pretty fast.

WF: It’s out there?

JS: Yeah. I didn’t know who you were before I got asked to do this interview, but I knew that song right off the bat - and I don’t even listen to hip-hop. But I like Wu-Tang Clan and Three 6 Mafia.

WF: You like Wu-Tang? Who your favorite rapper in Wu-Tang?

JS: We did a song last year with GZA, and we were his backup band a couple of times.

WF: What? He’s your favorite Wu-Tang, though? I like Method Man.

JS: I like Method Man. But I like ODB the best.

WF: ODB? He was cool.

JS: He’s like Animal. He was nuts. ... Do you listen to any music other than hip-hop?

WF: I like anything that go crazy, man. I had a friend who used to listen to hard rock. He was gothic.

JS: We’re more like Rolling Stones kind of rock ‘n’ roll. But our shows are pretty crazy.

WF: You know I love the wild stuff.

JS: There’s one show we played in Barcelona. When it ended, there were, like, 600 Spanish people who started ripping the trash cans out of street and throwing them at the police, and all these people were jumping on top of police cars.

WF: They don’t ban y’all?

JS: Some places do, but we make them money so they ask us to come back. A lot of rock ‘n’ roll music these days is like really tame and wimpy, like something our parents can listen to. I think in hip-hop, there’s still an element of danger. Unpredictable stuff can happen. We’re trying to bring danger back into rock ‘n’ roll.

WF: Y’all gotta go hard, huh.

JS: Yeah.

WF: I like that.