INTERVIEW: Antonio Brown speaks to HNHH about his brand new musical endeavors as well as what life has been like these past few months.
Antonio Brown has come a long way since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. In the last ten years, Brown has gone from being a relatively unknown wide receiver to one of the most dynamic talents in the game. Away from the field, Brown has been hard at work to prove he is more than just an athlete. Over the past few months, Brown has been hunkered down in Miami where he is working on his first-ever rap album. In the past week, AB has dropped two singles including “Whole Lotta Money” and “Home From The N.O.” These songs were released independently on his very own label, CAB Records. His first single, "Whole Lotta Money" was produced by Reazy Renegade while "Home From The N.O" was produced by Siouyari and features his good friend, YDtheBest.
As AB gears up to release more tracks in anticipation of the full album, we spoke to him over the phone to get an idea of how he got into music and what his future plans are. We also got to ask him about the “No More White Woman 2020” movement, as well as his recent workout with the New Orleans Saints.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
HotNewHipHop: This past week you dropped your first single “Whole Lotta Money.” Talk about what made you want to start getting into music?
Antonio Brown: Music gives me the opportunity to express my emotions and give off the reality of a lifestyle and the experiences that we live. There is a lot that happens to us in life and we may not get a chance to talk about it or express it. Doing music allows me to express my artist side so that’s why I got into it.
What are you hoping to achieve with the music side of your career?
Cab Records you know. Get you to your destination, proceed with caution hoping to make one of the biggest record labels in the game.
How did you go about making “Whole Lotta Money?”
We were working in the studio in my house really late. My boy YDtheBest, he’s my producer. He said “hey man I think we should come to my studio and record a song.” I was like “oh yeah you wanna go.” So I switched my clothes. Put on some of them button-ups and a cushy pair of jeans you heard? Some of them boots that Cowboys be wearing back in the 50s. Put on a nice jacket with all the spikes. Went to YDtheBest studio. First track he played he laid the track down and it was just a good tone and feeling. First beat he put on I just went in there and got it done. That was the mindset of what I was feeling. The beat just kind of told the story.
Antonio Brown attends the Roc Nation brunch last year in a pair of Cowboy-esque boots - Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Did you write anything or did you freestyle the whole track?
We freestyled that whole thing.
You teased on your IG story that you’re dropping another song called “Home From The N.O.” soon [Ed. note: the song is out, today, January 13] You were in New Orleans recently for a workout with the Saints. Maybe talk about that experience and what it meant to you.
The song “Home From The N.O.” is a really inspiring song. I had the opportunity to fly out to New Orleans and take part in a workout. Met the coach and had the opportunity to get back to playing football. So when I got back home we made a song. My family and friends were here at my house and everyone was like “oh man you about to go to the Saints.” So there was a lot of excitement. Lot of love for New Orleans and all the fans out there. From the flight to the workout and back coming home, we were recording and being creative. Just to share the story of that moment. Just being in the living room and getting a random call saying “Hey AB could you be at the airport at 7 o’clock for a workout.” It gives people the real, actual experience of what we go through and the process of being creatives in that moment.
What kind of vibe are you going for with this album?
I got a lot of different things coming. For now we’re just dropping a couple of singles to see what people like. I have some rockstar stuff coming. We might drop a song today. We got some guitar stuff with "Man On A Mission. I got a variety of music. I ain’t going to put the album out until I give a variety of things and see what people like the most.
A lot of people have latched onto the whole “No White Women” thing. Is that actually the name of your album or was that more of a marketing technique?
Yeah, that’s not the name of the album, that’s just something I came up with. You know, being creative and independent on Twitter. We actually got love for the white women. I just had an argument with one the other day.
What does social media mean to you in terms of being a tool to engage with your fans and market your projects?
Social media is an extremely important tool that allows us to show leadership and connect with our fans and give people our day to day experience of our lifestyle and how we live and how we spend our time and really inspire people. You know the response and the viewership I get. My page gets about 400,000 viewers in 24 hours. In terms of leadership, I try to do workouts and get the kids together. I like doing positive things that can inspire the kids.
When you first announced you were doing music, you hinted at a collab with Sean Kingston. Is that still happening and do you have any big features for your project?
I got a lot of work done with Sean. We’re excited to put it out. Definitely going to be releasing one of the singles we got together soon. Hopefully within the next couple of tracks.
A lot of athletes who get into music want to separate their athlete persona from their rap persona. For you, would you say your music is an extension of your career as an athlete or is it separate?
I think me as an artist is who I am, as well as who I am as an athlete. Being an athlete, you kinda got to be like an artist. You have to be creative and paint pictures. I try to just be who I am and just be my best self.
Do you have a timeline of when you want to release more tracks and eventually the album?
I got a layout right now. I’m just planning out the drops.
You said you’re working with YDtheBest. Is he the only engineer you’ve linked up with or will you be working with a lot of other people in the industry?
Nah just working with YDtheBest. He’s mixing and mastering. He’s recording me. He’s the guy in the lab with me. YDtheBest is Cab Records. Make sure you get YD in there. YD don’t get enough write-ups. He producing good music.
How did you link up with YDtheBest in the first place?
He came over to hook up my studio and I grew close to him. His work ethic was great. We were talking and he said “hey man I have my own studio.” He runs his own business. He’s putting in work right here in Miami, Florida. It’s really good having people from your hometown who are committed to working hard and being leaders.
You have received a lot of support from your peers lately. You took a picture with Terrell Owens. How does it feel knowing guys have your back even after everything that’s happened?
It’s always good to know you’ve got people who support you. That’s what you need for good mental health. Having good people around you, you know.
After everything that’s happened over the last few months, many people on social media think they know who you are. They read headlines and can get a certain perception stuck in their heads. How would you describe the real Antonio Brown?
You recently went back and forth on Twitter with Logan Paul. Would you really want to fight him?
We talking about the deal right now. About me breaking his neck and probably breaking his back.
Were you surprised he came at you like that?
No. Never surprised when people come at the giant. I’ve been hearing things for a while so I wanted to let him know if he want to square up we can square up.
You said you might be working with Floyd Mayweather?
I can’t tell you everything man, you got to stay tuned.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned these past few months?
Just call god and keep a whole lotta money.