Born Juaquin James Malphurs, the global icon and rapper more commonly known as Waka Flocka Flame, rose to prominence as Gucci Mane’s proteÌgeÌ and his flagship artist of 1017 Brick Squad. In 2009, Waka put trap back on the map, dropping the first volume of his street classic Salute Me or Shoot Me that caught fire with songs, “We On The Way, “Dreads N Gold” and his breakout single “O Let’s Do it.” The mixtape’s buzz allowed Waka to release his proper debut Flockaveli in October, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 100. Here, Waka’s authenticity was a major selling point. None of Waka’s stories about his struggle were fabricated. “When I was making Flockaveli, I just didn’t give a fuck,” he says. “I didn’t give a fuck about the awards. I didn’t give a fuck about how people felt. I just didn’t give a fuck ’cause I didn’t know. I never knew the outcome of these words.”
Together with Southside and Lex Luger’s thunderous production, Waka helped revive street raps and his sound began to exploded in the streets and on the airwaves. Following his sudden popularity, hip-hop’s mainstream elite like T.I., Drake and B.o.B wanted to collaborate with him while he spread his influence to a host of new rappers like Wooh Da Kid and Frenchie. On Waka and Gucci’s 2011 collaborative effort Ferrari Boyz and 2012’s Triple F Life: Fans, Friends & Family, Waka’s high energy is the sole reason why he’s earned the nickname “Turn Up God.” That style translates into the EDM world Waka also calls home now, where he fell in the love with the genre during a tour in Europe a few years ago. “Music is like anger management,” he says. “It’s fun. You get to express yourself.”
After a public dispute with his record label, Atlantic Records, recently settled, Waka Flocka is looking forward and ready to express a new musical direction in his Atlantic Records debut Flockaveli II. Set to feature production from Southside, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin, and more, Waka wants this album to return to the basics that made him a rap star. For Flockaveli II, he’s approaching his third studio album the same way as his previous projects: trap banger after trap banger. His laid-back demeanor makes him a fan favorite, and he’s hoping that his straightforward creative process will please his core fans. “I’m cocky when it comes to my fans and my music ‘cause I know my fans talk to me,” he says, noting that 31 tracks are already laid down for the LP. “I want my fans to look at they haters like, ‘Told y’all my boy was gonna go hard. Fuck y’all.’ I want my fans to hear Flockaveli II, and I want them to put a dread wig on and shake their head and rock with me.”
While Waka Flocka has flooded the streets with mixtapes, he doesn’t want to place too high of expectations on Flockaveli II. As always, Waka makes music for his fans. Everything else is a plus.
With 1.6 million followers on Twitter and two million followers on Instagram, he’s become the second most active celebrity on social media platforms, as well as the second most searched name on Google. Waka Flocka Flame is also cultivating a steady EDM presence thanks to touring with Steve Aoki and appearing on songs by DJ-producer Borgore and Flosstradamus. While fans have to wait for an EDM, they can anticipate that Flockaveli II will have his no-fucks-given attitude on full display.
“Flockaveli II is for the streets. It’s for the people,” Waka says. “Flockaveli II is just the savior of the party.”