Tank takes it from the bedroom to the club on his fifth album This Is How I Feel, due May 8. The follow-up to 2010’s Now or Never features production from Danja, Troy Taylor, and Kevin McCall, plus collaborations with Chris Brown (“Lonely”), Busta Rhymes (“Nowhere”), and T.I. (“Compliments”).
While out on the road promoting the record, the smooth operator phoned in to Rap-Up.com to discuss his latest work, how Busta Rhymes came through for him at the last minute, collaborating with Chris Brown, and which artists he’s listening to these days. Read on for our exclusive Q&A with the General.
Why did you change the album title from Savior to This Is How I Feel?
I really wanted to make music outside of a box, just not trying to consider every little thing and every little detail. I just wanted to make music however I was feelin’, whatever track I was feelin’, whatever subject matter I was feelin’, whatever collaboration that I was feelin’. I just really wanted to go after that for this album and make a well-rounded album. I think we accomplished that.
How would you compare this album to your previous work?
I think this has the best balance of records, like the R&B records that you would definitely hear in the club or mainstream radio, along with just straight up piano and string ballads. I think we just have something for so many different people on this album. The features just kinda brought it on home with T.I. and Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes. It just made it all official.
How did “Lonely” with Chris Brown come together?
One of Troy Taylor’s producers actually did the beat. I hit Chris and was like, “I know you’re doing your rap thing right now and you actually sound real good doing it.” So in support of him, I was like, “Why don’t you just rap on this song for my album?” And he was like, “Cool.” So I brought the record up there and played it for him and he just went absolutely nuts. So we put him on the rap, let a few 16s on it, then he sang some of the verses with me. When we sent it out online for people to hear, the buzz was just retarded. It was just stupid.
You are also on the remix to Chris’ “F**k the City Up.”
I was actually sitting in the studio. I just drove by there to check on him and see what he got poppin’ and he played it and he was like, “I’m doin’ a remix to it,” and I said, “Listen here champ, if I’m not on the remix, we gonna have a small issue. Our friendship will be in jeopardy.” And he was like, “No, get on it, get on it.” So I went in and laid the verse and the rest is history.
What’s he like in the studio?
We just have fun. We’re really at the point to where we’re doin’ it ’cause we love to do it. It’s not no strain on it or gotta make it go this way or that way. You gotta figure he’s goin’ from pop to urban to rap, so there’s really no rules in there. Whatever we can think of, we just doin’ it. From a work ethic standpoint, we in there from sun up to sun down and then sun up again. So we’re really in there gettin’ it in.
Are we going to see even more collaborations between the two of you in the future?
Absolutely. I think we’ll get on some music and produce some records together as well. That’s the next step.
Talk about the record you have with Busta Rhymes, “Nowhere.”
“Nowhere” is a record that I was fighting hard to get a feature on. I don’t know why it was so crazy getting people to do this record. At the last minute, people just fell out of pocket and I had to turn this song in at 9 in the morning. I called up Busta Rhymes—I hadn’t called him originally ’cause he’s really expensive—and I said, “Man, I need your help,” and he turned his tour bus around and booked a studio in L.A. and recorded the verse for me at 2 in the morning. That’s my guy. Hands down, Busta’s my guy.
Are you planning a tour?
We’re definitely hitting the road. We’re doing promo now, but as far as a tour, we’re gonna look to do that somewhere around June/July to start going in all the markets and really just showing ‘em Tank. I’m gonna do a bunch of dates with Frankie Beverly and Maze, which will be really, really good, and after that we’ll figure out a Tank tour.
Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
Nowadays I find myself listening to more of hip-hop, more of Drake, more of Rick Ross. As far as R&B, of course I check out my little brothers and see what they’re doing, from Trey to Chris. I check in on ‘em and make sure they’re doing the right thing. And that’s pretty much it. Everything else is old, from Jodeci and R. Kelly and Babyface and Boyz II Men.