Twenty-one-year-old Fabolous never participated in the frequent New York subway battles that took place between rival crews of funky-fresh breakdancers back in the ’80s. In his video for the Neptunes-produced track “Young’n,” however, he recreates a time when fat-laced sneakers shoelaces and two-finger rings were all the rage.
“They gonna get a party on the train,” he disclosed of the video’s scenario. “Its gonna be old school.”
Fab (born John Jackson) said Tuesday he wanted the clip to have a back-in-the-day feel because of the throwback flow of lines such as, “rollin, gold two-seater, stash in the dash, hold two heaters.” Pharrell Williams, one-half of the Neptunes, suggested the conversational rhyme style, he said.
“Pharrell was like, ’You should do the old-school rhyme,'” Fabolous recalled. “He said, ’You should rhyme like Rob Base or Vanilla Ice.’ Then he went into the vocal booth and did a reference vocal himself. We was laughing, but it sounded alright.”
Choosing the follow-up to his hit “Can’t Deny It” was a difficult task for Fab, especially when radio DJs were trying to help him decide which track on Ghetto Fabolous to pick.
“Radio leaked some joints and people got into the feeling of them,” he said. “But they wasn’t the next single.”
Enough people felt Fab to help Ghetto Fabolous debut at #4 on last week’s Billboard 200 albums chart.
“Its shocking to come from doing freestyles to having the #4 album in the country,” marveled the Brooklyn-born rhyme slinger, who writes lyrics on his two-way pager. “It pushes me to do better and better so I can get to #1.”
Ghetto Fabolous was released September 11, the day of the infamous attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Fab, unaware of what was going on, was prepared to proceed with business as usual that day.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” he recalled. “I woke up a little before noon expecting to get ready and make an in-store appearance. I didn’t even turn on the TV yet. My manager called and told me everything was canceled. I couldn’t imagine nothing that can cancel everything on the day your album drops.
“It was unfortunate the album had to come out on such a day,” he continued. “I just kept my head up and said, ’Whatever happens with the record, happens.’ You can’t let the tragedy stop your life completely.”
For an interview with Fabolous, check out “Fabolous: Ghetto Superstar.”