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Waka Flocka Flame has weighed in on TakeOff’s death, urging rappers to move smarter and stay out of the hood once they achieve success.
The Flockaveli rapper appeared as the latest guest on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast, where he reflected on his evolution from Brick Squad bruiser to shrewd businessman.
Around the 35-minute mark, Sharpe asked Flocka about the tragic trend of rap murders in recent years, reeling off names like Pop Smoke, PnB Rock, Trouble and TakeOff — the latter of whom was killed by stray bullets outside a Houston bowling alley in November.
“I can’t tell you why, and I never want to speak on nobody’s death, but I could tell you this: when God blesses you, you have to change your ways, you have to evolve — you have to,” Flocka offered. “I could just say wrong place, wrong time for these guys.”
“So, in other words, once you ascend to a certain level, you gotta leave that alone,” Sharpe added, mentioning the fact that TakeOff’s death stemmed from a dice game involving Quavo and other men that turned violent.
“Oh yeah, I don’t roll dice,” Waka interjected. “With all respect, why would I roll dice with somebody that ain’t in my tax bracket? It’s liable that some shit could happen.”
While Sharpe admitted that he, too, is guilty of going back to the hood to “show you that I don’t think I’m better than you,” Waka said he’s never felt the need to prove himself to anyone but himself.
“Boy, I ain’t never been that n-gga,” he scoffed. “I watch people die everyday like that — that’s why I ain’t never been him … I ain’t got nothing to prove to y’all.”
Earlier in the interview, Waka Flocka Flame explained why he stopped going back to his old neighborhood, crediting the late comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory for changing his mindset.
“My whole shit coming up was to make it out the hood,” he said. “I’m not one of those n-ggas who go be a billionaire and go sit in the hood and roll dice and smoke weed; I want to buy the block, I want our name on the block. But what made me actually stop hanging in the hood was Dick Gregory.
“I watched this clip, Dick Gregory was like, ‘N-gga, why you buy this Rolls-Royce? To ride through the hood, to show you the richest muthafucka? That I can’t buy one?’ And it’s crazy because that’s why I bought it. I was young like, ‘N-gga, we getting money on the Southside! I’m finna pull a Phantom out here!’ But I was ignorant.”
He added: “I could have bought this condo in downtown Atlanta that I ride by everyday today, and it’s fucking five times the value. Egg on my face, right? So when I saw Dick Gregory [say] that, I actually got out that car. I ended up getting an Escalade, and I’ve been driving an Escalade ever since 2011.”
Waka went on to explain that he achieved his life goals at just 23 years old thanks to his music career taking off, but quickly realized how little he knew about maintaining — and growing — that success.
“I was sitting so high on top of my mountain, I just kept smelling something. It smelled like manure. I was standing on top of Shit Mountain,” he reflected. “I didn’t have no business, I didn’t have no financial literacy, I didn’t have an insurance policy, I didn’t know what trust accounts was, shell companies, I didn’t know how to buy tangible businesses. I didn’t know nothing!
“So I was like, ‘How am I this famous guy and I’m the big homie and y’all respect me, but I can’t even tell you how to open up a bank account?’ I didn’t even know how to open up a bank account, Sharpe! My mother ain’t have time to teach me that; she was too busy paying bills and making sure we alive.”
He added: “It felt so good learning that. Usually, if I want to run money up, I’d have to go in the streets. Now, y’all got good credit, some holding companies. I could go get me a loan. I could get a loan right now for $10 million, $20 million, $100 million. It’s just perspective and a good business plan.
“So when you start learning things like that, why would you be be a edge monster? I don’t care how gangsta you are; my boy, if you start learning this real business, man, you ain’t thugging! I’m not going nowhere where all the odds are against me. It’s stupidity. That’s what made me stop. I was on top of Shit Mountain and I wanted to build Mount Everest.”