ATLANTA (AP) -- After Flo Rida's debut smash hit "Low" featuring T-Pain stood atop the charts last year, many thought duplicating the same success would be an unlikely task for the rapid-fire styled rapper.
But the hits kept coming for the 6-foot-3 artist, who is a Florida native. He has held down the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for the past five weeks with his first single "Right Round" featuring Kesha. The high-energy dance single has also sold almost two in digital sales.
Even his second single, "Sugar" with Wynter Gordon is currently climbing the charts.
Now with his second disc "R.O.O.T.S.," out this week, Flo Rida hopes his pre-album release momentum can result into more commercial appeal. In a recent interview, he sat down at Atlantic Records his label's office to talk about his surging success, his defining trip to Africa and how he compares his career to bench pressing.
AP: How did you come up with the album title?
Flo Rida: "It stands for "Route Of Overcoming The Struggle." When I was in Africa for the MTV Awards, I remember when me and my Poe Boy family members were leaving the airport and watching people walk like 30 miles for food or to their home. Just to touch the soil after reading about it blew my mind. The y always had a smile on their face, no matter what type of money they had. It kind of reminded me of my situation before being signed. No matter what type of money I had to go to the studio, I still tried and showed I was dedicated.
AP: A lot of new rappers these days seem to have one hit and disappear; How have you managed to capture the imagination of rap and pop in a big way twice?
Flo Rida: You never know what's a hit record. What I try to do is make sure I feel the soul of the record. The production, my lyricism and the flow needs to be right. I'll take all my colleagues at the record label and make sure I'm not the only one saying it's hot.
AP: How surprised are you to see "Right Round" doing better than "Low" sales wise?
Flo Rida: I didn't see it coming. But when I performed on stage for one of the first times in front of about 20,000 people, they were looking at me like Kiss was on stage performing some rock star-type stuff. With the success it has had, I definitely wouldn't have ever known for it to be like this.
AP: What's your favorite song on the album?
Flo Rida: It's got to be "Never." I was obedient to my mom. It definitely talks about the way I looked at life, growing up in the projects when my homeboys would do crazy things but I didn't. I was my own leader. It shows that you should have faith, never hold your head down, never fear man.
AP: You went from handing out mixtapes from the trunk of your car in Carol City, Fla. to now selling music worldwide. How was it to see the whole process grow from then until now?
Flo Rida: I remember when I couldn't lift like 50 pounds. But as I dedicated myself over time, I got stronger and stronger. I went from 50 pounds to 180 to 225 to now benching 400. It showed me that gradually things can happen, if you put your time into it. You can climb to the top by going step by step.
AP: There was a report saying you dropped the song "Sweat," featuring Chris Brown, because of the singer's alleged attack on girlfriend Rihanna. Can you clear up what happened?
Flo Rida: We had a deadline and was just trying to work the business out. It came to us when we were rapping up the album. There were others that didn't make the cut as well. I did an interview where someone misquoted me. But definitely, it was a hot record so, we can probably put it on something else.
AP: Do you see yourself working with him in the future?
Flo Rida: Yeah, he a cool dude. I'm open to any talented artist.
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