On The Music Industry Today:
Do you hear the spirit of jazz in pop today?
No. People gave it up to chase money. When you go after Cîroc vodka and Phat FarmCîroc is the alcohol brand owned by Diddy. Phat Farm was the fashion label founded by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons in 1992. Simmons sold the company in 2004. and all that shit, God walks out of the room. I have never in my life made music for money or fame. Not even Thriller Jones may not have worked on Thriller for money, but co-producing the album (with Jackson) presumably made him a ton of it: The 1982 album is widely reported to be the biggest-selling LP of all time, having sold somewhere north of 66 million copies.. No way. God walks out of the room when you’re thinking about money. You could spend a million dollars on a piano part and it won’t make you a million dollars back. That’s just not how it works.
Well, who’s doing good work?
Bruno Mars. Chance the Rapper. Kendrick Lamar. I like where Kendrick’s mind is. He’s grounded. Chance, too. And the Ed Sheeran record is great. Sam Smith — he’s so open about being gay. I love it. Mark Ronson is someone who knows how to produce.
What’s the last mistake you learned from?
My last record [2010’s Q: Soul Bossa Nostra]. I was not in favor of doing it, but the rappers wanted to record something as a tribute to me, where they’d do versions of songs that I’d done over my career. I said to them, “Look, you got to make the music better than we did on the originals.” That didn’t happen. T-Pain, man, he didn’t pay attention to the details.
What was your greatest musical innovation?
Everything I’ve done.
What’s something you’ve worked on that should’ve been bigger?
What the fuck are you talking about? I’ve never had that problem. They were all big.