Alison Prato (writer),
Anthony Gibson (photographer)
Do you remember when you first landed that Coca-Cola commercial?
Absolutely. I was 16 and living inWatts. I ran up the street in my socks to, like, 12 of my neighbors’ houses, and I told them all, “Yo, I just got this Coca-Cola commercial.” That was my debut into the world. That was a local commercial, and then it went everywhere.
You were able to purchase your first home as a teenager.
I actually sold it a couple of years ago. People had just started popping up at the house. It was in a city called Hawthorne, and everybody on my block was old enough to be my parents. I was 17 years old with a four-bedroom house, two-car garage. It was crazy.
Did you ever buy anything that was totally over-the-top?
I got real into dirt bikes and motorcycles for a minute. When I first got a hold of money, I wanted to go and do things I’d always imagined I could do—crazy, expensive trips on boats and yachts.
Have you calmed down on the spending now that you’ve grown up?
Yeah—I’m not into those things anymore. If I’m on a yacht or a private boat, it ain’t mine. I’m just visiting. I still enjoy it, but it’s at their expense, you know?
Are you still making music?
To be brutally honest, I’m taking a break from music, but these last couple days it’s been really hitting me that I may need to get back in that vocal booth and make it happen. I really want to work with female artists—Ciara, Estelle, Katy Perry.
Wasn’t Tupac originally supposed to star in Baby Boy?
Yeah, he was sup- posed to play Baby Boy, and then it happened.
Were you friends with him?
I met Tupac a few times. He was a good guy. His energy was always crazy. I would always be so excited to see him, like, “Man, it’s Tupac!” Crazy.