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Meet the new face of RnB: August Alsina

Meet the new face of RnB, August Alsina – yes, that is his real name. He is covered in tattoos, swears, talks explicitly about sex and has a very ‘colourful’ past preceding his music. At the same time, he is super cute, he can sing (sang, even), girls love him, heterosexual men – who would never usually admit to such – love him, record labels love him and so do several other US hip hop and RnB heavyweights.

Naturally, the 21yr old Texan, by way of New Orleans is often misunderstood and frequently perceived as arrogant, rude and cocky. Having had varied journalistic experiences, from crying when asked about the murder of his brother, to humiliating a presenter live on TV, you are never sure what you are going to get from August.

He is an RnB enigma, but at the same time, what you see is what you get.

Still not sure what to make of him? Here’s a brief insight…

Planet Notion: I wanted to ask you about your pitch for XXL Magazine’s 2014 ‘Freshmen Cover’
August Alsina: You saw that?

PN: Yes. Why did you choose to do that, because as we know, this is usually reserved for new/upcoming rappers?
AA: Well, first of all… I did the pitch because they called me initially. I went in there with an attitude, because like you said, it’s usually for rappers and I feel like a lot of rappers have a lot more opportunities than singers do. I feel like, ‘don’t take away from what I do, because I sing. What makes a rapper more special than what I’m singing?’ To me, hip-hop is about culture. It’s about your story, it’s about your background, it’s about your lifestyle… and you put it out and that’s exactly what I do. I saw certain mother fuckers on that Freshman List and I was like ‘what the fuck do they contribute to hip hop?’ I went in with a lot of respect for the magazine, but I thought what’s up with the brand? You don’t just give something to someone who doesn’t deserve it and not giving it to me, because I sing? That isn’t right. So that’s what that’s about and I’ve told mother fuckers, you’re going to see me one way or another and you’ve got to respect me too.

PN: Who did you see on the list that you thought was wack?
AA: (laughs)

PN: You don’t have to answer that, but it would be great if you did.
AA: You know and I know! That’s all I’ll say.

PN: What appears to resonate with people is that your content is very real. A lot of people, especially men, really relate to you.
AA: Yeah…

PN: However, from a perspective where RnB used to be really sweet and geared towards women, some are not sure how to take you. ‘Why does he have to swear all the time?’ comes up a lot…
AA: Man, fuck those people. If that is the case, don’t consider me an RnB artist. I’ve got a lot of respect for the RnB culture, because I sing and I rap. I don’t stay in my lane, I do what I do. But I don’t like the stereotype that RnB has to be a certain way. Why do niggas [who sing] got be soft? Don’t marginalize me with a title like that. You don’t have to give me a title, I’ll just do me.

PN: A lot of the time, due to remixes or other reasons, your name is often mentioned alongside Chris Brown and/or Trey Songz. To be somewhat unknown and then thrust up there with those guys… who all the girls like and who are quite established, is it overwhelming for you at all?
AA: Nope.

PN: It’s not everyday that that you wake up and people are putting your name in the same sentence as those people, all the girls love you and your song is number 1.
AA: Here’s the thing, I’ve had bitches way before I was doing this. I been having bitches, man.

PN: Really, as many women as Trey Songz and Chris Brown?
AA: Probably not as many, because not as many knew me but that shit don’t mean anything. Like, I’ve been me before my name was out there. That stuff don’t matter to me. I have a lot of respect for what other people do, the grind they put in, but I’m not shocked or overwhelmed by that. I’m just me. I got here by being me. I got a deal by being a real nigga, by being myself.

PN: So now you’ve got your deal, you’ve been to number 1, what’s next for you, what’s your plan?
AA: To keep going, to keep grinding, keep building. Right now I’m focused on my album. I’ve got a release date, I’m just focusing on building awareness for it.

PN: ‘Testimony’ out on…
AA: April 15th!

PN: I read somewhere that you met your manager through a video you had on YouTube, is that correct?
AA: Something like that. It’s about knowing somebody who knows somebody who saw my videos on YouTube, introduced me and we sat down and worked from there.

PN: Your Twitter picture is pretty epic. Where was that taken?
AA: Yeah, that was recent. I was at home and [Young] Jeezy called me like ‘Yo bro what’s up? Come outside and get in the car’. We pull up to the concert, watched the show for a minute, then Jay got off stage and Jeezy had gone to get a drink or something and I had walked into the room and I heard this chick like, ‘hey!’ and I thought, ‘yeah, yeah, hey ****’ but I didn’t know who it was. Then I look and I’m like ‘Oh! Excuse me, my bad. Hello.’ Then we chopped it up for a minute. Then Jay came in. It was cool because he was aware of my movement and who I was, so we sat and chopped it up and I soaked up a little game from him …and her, then I was like ‘let’s take a motherfucking picture’ and I said to him ‘I’ve got to get your lady in this picture and you may not like this but…’

PN: As proof…?
AA: (laughs) exactly, she just came and hopped into it and it was just a cool time.

PN: Beyonce and Jay Z had both heard of your music, that’s great. What advice were you given in your chat?
AA: Just to stay true to who you are and that will take you a long way.

PN: Just to get an insight into your life, can we see (and publish) the last picture you took on your phone?
AA: The last picture I took on my phone? I could if I knew where my phones were…

(August Alsina looks for his phone(s) )

AA: What if it’s a picture of my dick? (laughs)

PN: Well, we would need to see (and publish) that.
AA: (Laughs) …The last picture I took on my phone was the one I put up on Instagram of me and my niece. I don’t know where my phones are right now.

PN: Anything you want to add?
AA: Get my album out April 15th

- Trina John-Charles

‘Testimony’ is out now!

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