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My Album’s Out: Flo Rida
Contributed by: Chris Yuscavage
Source: vibe.com
Posted on: March 21, 2008 09:05 MST
Filed under: Rap, Underground

Flo Rida

For Tramar “Flo Rida” Dillard, this is all a dream. When I first ran across dude last June during an interview with Rick Ross in New York City, he was clad in a black promo tee with the name of his debut album, Mail on Sunday, scrawled across the back. But with little more than an underappreciated regional hit “Birthday” (as in, “I don’t want no cake on my birthday/I want my cake e’ryday”) and a mild co-sign from Ross (he inked Flo Rida to a deal through his Poe Boy imprint last year), he was hardly guaranteed a spot in the upper echelon of the South—let alone a slot in VIBE’s coveted NEXT section.

Almost ten months and one ground-breaking record later, Flo Rida, 29, is a certified star. His first single, “Low,” featuring T-Pain, was a Billboard No. 1 record for ten weeks straight and is currently the top-selling digital single of all-time with over 3 million sold, topping former champion Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em and his smash hit “Crank That.” His Timbaland-produced second single “Elevator,” which has already impacted radio and MTV, looks poised to make the same rise. He’s performed on The Ellen Degeneres Show, swapped verses with Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe and Lil Wayne and landed on the soundtrack for Step Up 2 the Streets, one of this spring’s most popular teen flicks.

But the climb to the top from down bottom isn’t over for Flo Rida. With Rick Ross’s Trilla (Def Jam) reportedly claiming the throne as the top-selling album last week, Flo needs to look no further than his own camp to find the competition. On the eve of the release of his debut, Mail on Sunday (Poe Boy/Atlantic), Flo spoke with VIBE.com about stepping out of the shadow of The Boss and finally getting his chance to shine.

VIBE.COM: You know, when we first spoke last year, you were still on the come-up. You actually went outside and hailed a cab in the middle of Manhattan and no one flinched. I always thought that would be a good way to open up an interview with you…

FLO RIDA: [Laughs]

So, what’s changed with you since that time?

Man, it’s been crazy. I’m on an airplane almost everyday. People ask me how I stay in shape. Try going through a different airport once or twice a day. The biggest difference has been with the fans, though. I’m always signing autographs, things of that nature.

And performing a lot, I’m assuming?

Almost everyday, sometimes twice a day.

Still, some people are giving T-Pain all the credit for making “Low” such a big record. How do you plan on topping it with “Elevator”?

Well, first and foremost, I love music. I’ve got a great supporting cast around me, hot tracks and everything, so coming up with the follow-up record to “Low” wasn’t a problem at all. People around me know Timbaland. They gave him a call and we spent four days holed up in the studio. The following week, we shot the video and that was that. I’m always working in the studio thinking of new concepts and songs. I stay with ammunition!

Has Rick Ross sort of mentored you through the making of your first album and the fame that’s come along with having such a big first single?

Oh, definitely. He played a part in co-signing me. We went to the same high school and grew up in the same neighborhood [in Miami’s Carol City]. He’s taught me to have a great work ethic. Right now, I’m in the studio all the time just watching him. I’ve learned that in order to be a great leader, you have to be a great follower.

Ross has successfully transitioned from a potential one-hit wonder to a rapper with staying power. Are you intimidated by that?

I look forward to him having the #1 album in the country. It’s all about the movement down here. There’s no room for hate, man. [My album dropped] this week and we’re all just excited.

I hate asking these types of questions but I can’t figure out what your album title Mail on Sunday means. Can you explain?

Well, this record is like my special delivery for the fans. It’s not something you can get during the 6 regular mail delivery days. You need that extra day for your prized possessions. That’s Mail on Sunday.

Right. Anything else people should look out for from you this year?

Look forward to me trying to start my own label, doing some charity work and sharing my success with other people. Giving back is the best thing you can do once you make it. I’ve also got different people hitting me about acting. There were different directors on the set of the “Low” video shoot and they liked what they saw, the physique and all that. So look out for me in ’08!

Flo Rida’s Mail on Sunday (Poe Boy/Atlantic) hit stores March 18. The album features the hit singles “Low” and “Elevator” as well as guest appearances from Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Birdman, Trey Songz and will.i.am. For more information on Flo Rida, visit his MySpace page at myspace.com/officialflo.
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