Maybe it’s his sly, laid back style or maybe it’s his “Hollywood-ready good looks” (Rolling Stone), but who knew that when John Jackson chose to call himself “Fabolous,” the name would define his career? Despite being released on September 11, 2001 (the same day as veteran Jay Z, by the way), Fab’s dynamic debut album, Ghetto Fabolous, still managed to make a standout debut at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart, cementing his slot as the year’s most successful new solo hip hop artist.
Did you play a fan?
Yeah, this kid was beating everybody.
What team were you?
I was the Colts.
They have no defense.
I was going to get the Patriots, but I like the Colts in real life.
Did you watch the Colts game yesterday?
Did they win?
Yeah. It was chaos. Manning threw about six touchdowns.
Yeah. It was a great game.
It was a shoot out. It was crazy.
(Laughs) I know those games you don’t even expect. You just watch it and you are like ‘this shit is wild. Shoot out at the OK Corral.’ (We both laugh)
You missed it—what were you up to that you missed it?
I had to get some plumbing shit for the house.
You work around the house.
(Laughs) Man, I have to hire people to do that. I’m not down with the tool work.
Are you a bigger basketball fan than football?
Yeah, I like basketball a little more.
Is it because you play.
I grew up playing ball. I grew up playing football around the way.
It’s harder to put together a football game compared to a basketball game.
Yeah and the older you get you don’t want to be playing football.
You don’t want to deal with the damage.
Yeah. As you get older your bones can’t handle it. Man when you are young you can take all those little hits and scraps.
Break a bone; come back in a few weeks.
Yeah, and when you have things that you have to do when you get older and work you can’t risk it.
If you could own a franchise what team would it be?
I’d say a New York team. I think I’d like to own the Yankees. That’s a legendary franchise. It’d make you a legend to own them.
Would you be hands on?
Definitely. I’d never just sit in the office and send the assistants down. I’d like to hear how the players feel for myself.
If I was an owner I’d want to be down there hanging out. That to me would be part of the fun.
Take some swings with them.
(We both laugh) That would be fun. It wouldn’t seem fair.
What is most exciting about a new record coming out?
To see the release and to have people get it. I love when the fans react.
What is it like to go on MTV and have fans there that want to meet you?
It feels good. When it first started happening I was flattered. I have all kinds of emotions. It still catches me all the time. I’m shocked sometimes. It isn’t the first time so you get used to it. It’s like when you eat chicken a few times you don’t have to say ‘wow this is good chicken’ after you’ve eaten it a few times.
Do you get it all the time?
It’s shocking when you get it at places you don’t expect it. When you go to Church and your pastor is like ‘wow, Fabolous.’
Did you feel pressure when you started making the new record?
I just try to make the best record I can and make good music. People want good music so that is what I want to give them.
How do you work?
I go where the beat takes me. I want something relatable to the fan.
Let life inspire you?
It inspires and motivates music. Good music motivates me. I want to be in a circle of names when people mention good music. It motivates me. I want to be at the top.
Do you listen to new music?
Everything. Back in the day. I’m a hip-hop head so new and old stuff.
Is it crazy to see your record on the charts and people mentioning you with other big artists?
It’s a shock. To see yourself put on a pedestal it’s a shock—especially when you are a regular guy at heart.
+ Charlie Craine
Check out our interview with Fabolous!
I heard you were in a Madden tournament?
Yeah. I had this event in Harlem and he beat me but… but I was there in good confidence.
Do you play Madden?
No, that’s why he beat me. I thought it was going to be the basketball game. I did a thing through EA Sports before and it was for the basketball game. I was the king at that. They didn’t let me know until the day before that we were playing the game so if they would have given me a week to practice I might have won.