LOS ANGELES — Loon needing a girl is so 2002. These days, he needs to express himself.
The "I Need a Girl, Pt. 2" rapper, already recording the follow-up to his self-titled October debut, promises a more introspective work.
"[P. Diddy's] definitely letting me get into a more in-depth story about Loon instead of the image I portray as a ladies' man," Loon said of his Bad Boy boss. "The next album should tell you more about some of the harsh realities I had to face in my life before you was introduced to the ladies' man."
P. Diddy is again producing the projected summer release, and Loon is thrilled.
"Working with P. Diddy is like working with one of those tough coaches you don't understand until after the championship," Loon explained. "He pounds on you and drills you, but you understand why once you get the results."
Despite lackluster sales, Loon is happy with the results of his long-awaited debut (see "Loon Prepares To (Finally) Drop Debut, Rap And 'Ball' On Broadway") and plans to continue promoting it with another single.
"I tried to give every track on this album single potential," he said. "It's radio- and club-orientated. We're debating right now between a song called 'Things You Do' and a song with Claudette Ortiz called 'Like a Movie.' I also have a song with one of my labelmates, Tammy, called 'Between Us.' "
Besides working on his next album, Loon is writing for other upcoming Bad Boy releases, including the New Edition reunion.
"I never leave the studio," he said. "I've been dealing with several projects at a time, including my own, so I've developed more of a work ethic and never stop."
Loon has also been reading scripts. He has a small part in the upcoming Roc-A-Fella film "Death of a Dynasty" and hopes to do more.
"George Jackson is my godfather," Loon said, referring to the late producer of "Krush Groove," "New Jack City" and others. "I had a great opportunity to learn a lot about the film industry, being raised by George, so it's out there for me. It seems like something I could definitely pursue as a long-term career. I kinda look at my music as a stepping stone to an acting career."
Loon is also attached to star in a Broadway production called "Ball: the Musical," which the marketing team behind Nike's street basketball commercials is producing. The shoe company is a major investor in the production, which will be based on the Rucker Park basketball scene in Harlem and feature poetry from Poetri.
"It's a cross between hip-hop and normal play dialogue," Loon said. "It's tricky. It will definitely be a challenge to rhyme, dribble a basketball and act at the same time."
Loon said the Neptunes were writing some of the music for the musical, but a spokesperson for the duo could not confirm it.
"Ball: The Musical" doesn't have a schedule, but Loon won't turn his back on the record business even if he does find success in acting.
"I love the freedom in making music," he said, "even though there's a lot of politics involved. At the end of the day, artists like myself get alone in the booth and that's our domain. That's like the only place in the whole wide world where we are in control and have the freedom to do whatever comes into our minds."