Lloyd’s latest single “Get It Shawty” is currently climbing the charts and will most likely be the Inc. crooner’s second top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 from his sophomore album, Street Love (the first was “You” featuring Lil Wayne). But it turns out shawty almost didn’t get it. The song, that is.
“I was working in the studio with Jazze Pha one day and Usher’s brother [James] ’J. Lack’ [Lackey] came by,” Lloyd explained. “[We] recorded a song called ’Hazel,’ and because of our vibe, he accidentally played me another song called ’Get It Shawty.’ Usher was there and he kind of waved him off, like, ’No, what are you doing? You’re not supposed to play that.’ I was just so in love with the song that I had Jazze kind of call them every day and tell them how much I wanted to record it. They actually invited me to the crib, Usher and J. Lack, and we recorded it at their studio. Originally, their stance was, ’I know you like it, but how about this one?’ And I was like, ’No, no, no, I want that one!’ [He laughs.] ’I need that one. That’s the one for me.’ I know Usher wants to showcase J. Lack’s talent on his next project. So I would go as far as to say, yeah, ’Get It Shawty’ was probably for Usher’s album.”
So with that nugget in mind from Lloyd, MTV News decided to find out five other things you may not have known about the Atlanta-by-way-of-New-Orleans singer.
Mom Knows Best
While most artists may be comfortable with a party-like atmosphere in the studio, the only lady crashing Lloyd’s sessions is … his mom?
“I always invite my mom to come by,” Lloyd said. ” ’Cause she inspires me. She reminds me why I first started. She wasn’t in the studio for ’You,’ but she was for most of the [other] songs on the album. She came by and kind of gave me her thumbs up. When I was a kid, she taught me how to harmonize when old-school songs came on. She would say, ’Here, Lloyd, grab this note and I’m gonna do this note.’ It’s just so funny, because my father … used to make her do that kind of thing with him before he passed. She turned me on to a lot of music growing up. And I kind of just invite her down to let her know how I’m making my mark.”
A Rap Role Reversal
When Lloyd and Lil Wayne collaborated on “You,” Lloyd said he was surprised when Weezy told him he was a big fan. To prove his point, Wayne started belting out a tune from Lloyd’s first album, which made Lloyd crack: next time you sing and I’ll rap.
“Oh yeah, I can rap,” Lloyd said. “Ask Akon about me. I just taped ’[Nick Cannon Presents:] Wild ’N Out’ a few days ago and I killed him. I’m telling you, my rhyme skills are mean. Actually, when I write my songs, I write them in the rhyme format almost as if I’m rapping. And then I go back later and put melodies to them. They used to call me DJ Sweet’N Low. Like the package of sweetener, ’cause the package had music symbols.”
From Dorville to Madison Square
From singing as a young buck to joining R&B troupe N-Toon as a teen, Lloyd’s been performing music about as long as Don Imus has been offending folks on the radio. But his very first time onstage as a kid — and his first time performing after joining Murder Inc. — were as different as night and day.
“My very first solo performance on a stage was at a neighborhood arts theater called the Dorville Arts Theater,” Lloyd said. “We would do renditions of Broadway musicals. At the time, I was 8 years old. The music director told my mom I was too young to join, but she begged him and said, ’Let him try’ … she finally talked him into it and I ended up with my first solo. It was in a play called ’Up With Kids.’ [The music director] was charmed by my ability to rock the crowd. [He laughs.] I did this song where I would say [sings], ’Moms, Dads, what do they know about kids?’ I was scared, man.
“From there, I joined [N-Toon] and we did our first real performance at a showcase for Dallas Austin and some local Atlanta executives. I was really nervous back then. Now the more I perform, the more anxious I get. My very first solo performance [as a professional] was at the Ringling Bros. circus with Ashanti at Madison Square Garden. I was nervous for that, too. Know what’s crazy? Those same people that booked me then invited me, just a few weeks ago, to perform again at the Ringling Bros. circus at Madison Square. But by myself this time.”
Lloyd has had the chance to work with Wayne and Ashanti, and has upcoming collabos in the can with Fabolous, DJ Khaled and DJ Drama, but one person you might not expect him to work with is John Mayer. Lloyd professes to be a huge fan.
“The most-played song on my iPod right now would probably by ’Vultures’ by John Mayer,” Lloyd explained. “I kind of turned myself onto John Mayer [a few years ago]. I loved his first songs, and then he came out with ’Your Body Is a Wonderland.’ I just think it’s really cool the way he composes his music. I’m just really drawn into it. He’s very advanced [even though he’s] so young. … He keeps getting better and better. He’s smooth, man. He’s one person I would collaborate with if I could.”
Like most rappers, Lloyd is covered in tattoos. So far, he has a tat for every year he’s lived: 21. But the first time he got marked was a family affair. After his grandmother passed, he and everyone from uncles to cousins decided to pay tribute to her in ink.
“My grandmother had such a huge influence on us, like Big Momma,” Lloyd said. “So the whole family — maybe like 11 or 12 of us — were in the tattoo shop and we all got something in memory of her. So from my older uncle at like 50-something years old to one of my younger cousins at like 16, and everyone in between, got tattoos.
“I was 17 at the time. Mine is a cross — I got it done over, but it has these big rosary beads wrapped around my shoulders. I got this big tribal sign going up my shoulder. And I’ve got the cross, there’s a sun made of roses and it says, ’May peace be with you.’ And it has her name on there: Rosemary. The fact that I could be creative and express individualism is what attracted me to tattoos. … I’ll keep getting one every year.”