Crooked I is changing up some of his music, as well as how he navigates the streets. The apparent target of an attempted murder on Friday in Long Beach, California, the MC wants to let all his fans know that despite rumors to the contrary, he's "good."
"Just reliving for the past couple of days, it's just been flashing in my mind over and over," Crooked revealed to MTV News, speaking in detail for the first time about the incident. "I don't know if it was somebody trying to get at me personally, or somebody was ... I don't wanna say ... set me up."
The former Death Row Records artist said he was trying to do what he normally does — grant the request of a fan — when he almost lost his life.
"Say you're walking down the street. Some dude comes up to you with a camera phone and he's like, 'Can you give a shout-out?' " Crooked explained. "You're like, 'OK,' and you're shouting the dude out. Three seconds later, somebody is shooting at you. Was dude [with the camera phone] trying to get me to stand still? Was he in on it? Was it a coincidence? I don't know. Mentally I had to fall back for a couple of days. I've been in those situations where people take shots or whatever. I'm relaxed around the hip-hop fans. I'm a very accessible dude. When dude came up and was like, 'Can you give me a shout out?' I'm like, 'Cool, what do you want me to say?' Three seconds later, I hear a noise. I [was] so far removed from the fact it can be gunshots. Then I turn around and see sparks. That's strange."
That's where Crooked stops detailing the story — he refuses to elaborate on whether the assailants' bullets actually struck him. "Where I'm from, certain things you can't talk about. It's illegal to our code and how we live."
Crooked did say that he's definitely looking forward to expressing himself through his craft, making more of what he calls "life music" — meaning everyone from all walks of life will relate to it.
"I'm gonna say real things today," he declared. "That's where my focus is. I wanna leave a body of work behind, man, that matches a Biggie, that matches a 'Pac. God is good. I need that body of work that has the potential to change — not the world, but a couple of people. Two, three, four million. One million. I don't care if it's only one person."
Outside the booth, though, there's a distinct chance that Crooked won't be touching as many people as he did before. At least for now.
"It just really opens your eyes, man, that I'm too accessible," he said about how the shooting incident has changed him. "I'm not this rap star walking around with 30 bodyguards. I gotta really re-evaluate the way I move around. I have to re-evaluate that. They caught me slippin'. The first shot I didn't even think it was a gunshot. That's how relaxed I was. I thought, 'What was that?' Somebody blew a horn, that's the only reason I turned around. You have to change your life. I gotta change my movement. They're not gonna see so much of Crooked I in the 'hood by himself. That right there is out the door, period. Some people may not like it. At this point, I don't give a damn, because it's my life."
Crooked is currently working on a solo album, as well as a group LP with a collective called Slaughterhouse. That group also consists of Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden and Royce Da 5'9". The album in the works with Bishop Lamont and Glasses Malone, No Country for Old Men, has been put on hold for now.