Q&A: Lloyd On Defying Genre, Warming Up, And One-Minute Periods Of Swearing Amnesty

John Ricard
Yesterday the Atlanta-born singer Lloyd released his fourth album King Of Hearts, a collection that explores love and lust, giddiness and heartbreak, and other opposing sides of the romantic coin—the first track you hear on the album is the expletive-filled summer jam "Dedication To My Ex," a bitter send-off to a cheating lover that has assists from André 3000 and Lloyd's frequent collaborator Lil Wayne. The rest of King veers back and forth between the poles of romance as well; the buoyant love song "Cupid" and the the sinuous club jam "Bang!!!" may seem like odd bedfellows in theory, but the album, executive produced by Polow Da Don, coheres nicely, with Lloyd's octave-leaping voice tying the whole thing together.

I spoke with Lloyd at the Interscope offices yesterday; King Of Hearts played in the background while we chatted about "Dedication To My Ex," touring, and the concept of duality, among other things.

So, "Dedication to My Ex" has been sort of blowing up all over the place.

Yeah, it has. It really has. It's dangerous. It's daring. It's unexpected.

Is it based on true-life events?

I think it's just based on the fact that I'm a walking contrast at times. Even when you listen to the album, it kind of gives you two sides. It gives you guns and roses. Heart and sensual, you know. Streets and sheets. With that particular song—I knew it was special. I knew it would cause a lot of talk, a lot of controversy. I didn't know where to put it on the album because it was so different from everything else. But there was no way that I was going to release the record without it. So I said, "Let's just start it off. Let's just hit them in the mouth from the beginning." Not literally, but I'm just saying. Let's slap them. Across the face. Not literally, but—

Not literally, but musically!

Yeah, there you go.

But then it's followed up by "Cupid," which is this totally joyous song.

That takes them back to what they expect. What they were prepared for. It's like, "Oh my God, what did I get myself into?" I think parents who purchase the album for their kids—God forbid if they happen to purchase the "parental advisory" [version]—will feel probably a little apprehensive after that first song, within the first minute of that song, once they hear "pussy" about ten times. So I think with "Cupid" and then "Love Me Girl" and then "Naked," it brings them back into the expected Lloyd.

How have your female fans reacted?

There's two types of women, I think. There's the aggressive, new school, not-scared-to-talk-about-sex, which is a little bit more openly discussed in today's society, and then there's the conservative woman of the past who is shy and coy and feels like certain words shouldn't be used. I come from a little bit of both. Obviously, my mom is a woman of the new school. She loves dirty jokes. When we grew up, around my mom, she would give us about a minute on a special occasion to say whatever we wanted. "Starting now," we could just start saying whatever words came to mind. "Bitch," "shit," "fuck," "damn," "oh my God," "pussy," and then most of the time they didn't even make sense because we just wanted to say them so bad. But she knew that we was doing them probably away from her. So she wanted us to feel a certain kind of openness in our household so that we wouldn't go out and do things and get in trouble for them. Because we had a freedom at home. Not to do it whenever we wanted, of course, because after that minute was over, she would say, "Now, don't let me hear you say none of those words again," and she would tell my friends, "Don't tell your moms that I let you do this." But long story short, my mom is a woman of the new school. She likes my music, she likes Lil Wayne's music. I've got a friend named Tity Boi, she adores him. You know, his name's "Tity." But then there is the woman of the past, who is my grandmother, who is probably the most endearing woman that I've ever met. The sweetest woman, the most caring, lovable. I think you get a little bit of both on the album.

The album defnitely has this sort of split personality about it, but that's how romance is. Are you going to record a clean version of "Dedicated to My Ex" for the radio?

It's called "Miss that Lovin'."

"Miss that Lovin'"?

Yeah, but I don't like it. I like the dirty version.

I was thinking of other words you could swap in. I was thinking of "cookie."

You know, we went through this for a long time. "Cookie." Someone said "juicy." Someone said "punani." Someone said "Lucy"—that was my idea, "that Lucy." But then, I think there's a double-standard to that word because it can either mean a girl's name or it can mean a "loosey."

I was wondering who Salo, who appears on "Bang!!!," is. Where did you find her? I was looking for information on her and I couldn't find anything, and I love her verse.

I think we kind of found each other at a very, very important time in music for the female MC. I watched the BET Awards the other day, and I'm sorry to say, but the categories sucked. Of course, we already knew who was going to win. So I think that, in the era of, really, the comeback, the revival of the female MC being respected and different—I really like her style. She's so different from everyone else. Her delivery is amazing. She's just, I think, exactly what the doctor ordered.

Is she going to put out more stuff on her own, then? Does she have stuff coming out? Are you going to help shepherd her at all?

Well, she's one of the many subjects in my kingdom, so hopefully she'll request my services. I'll see what I can do. The king's a pretty busy man. This isn't the only record that we have. We've recorded more music.

Obviously today you put out an album, but do you think you'll piecemeal other recordings out in the coming months?

Well, from the album, yes, but I think it's really, really important that you make music for people to live to, for them to grow to, for them to experience to. And sometimes it does take time. I took my time making it, so I want to take my time in people receiving it and understanding it too.

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