The dually gifted (rappin' and sangin') west coast crooner known as Aloe Blacc is having a pretty decent year thus far. His soulful banger "I need A Dollar" (if you ain't heard it yet you need it!) is the theme music for the opening credits of the new HBO breakout hit series How To Make It In America and he's just wrapping up a recent trip to Australia.
Yeah, I'd say right about now things are going his way...I remember when he was just an underground cat doing his thing on the L.A. scene. Looks like bigger and better things are on his horizon, at least I hope they are...I been a fan for a minute, so I'mma try my best to contribute to his upward mobility in the game. Here Aloe chops it up with Complex Magazine's Toshitaka Kondo.
-BIG D O
Complex: When did you make “I Need A Dollar”?
Aloe Blacc: I started writing the song when I was driving in L.A. in 2005. A lot of my songs come to me when I’m driving, ’cause there’s so much traffic, my brain just goes into a mode. So I started coming up with the song, mainly the chorus. The way I write songs often, I come up with an idea and I record it into my phone. I just let it sit for a little bit and then I come back to it. So I had the chorus and I was thinking, “What could I do for the verses?” One of the first verses that came to me was the “Whisky And The Wine” verse, even though it’s buried in the song. Fast forward four years and I produced an entire album here in L.A. at a studio called West Lake Studios. This is where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller and Off The Wall. I turned that album into the label but [Peanut Butter] Wolf said it was too commercial and wasn’t the right fit for the label. Egon said, “Okay Aloe, are you open to working with some producers on another album?” And I said, “That’s fine.” So the label sends me out to New York to work with these producers, Truth & Soul, in February 2009.
Complex: At that point in time, you had written the hook and a skeleton for a song, but you didn’t have the music to it?
Aloe Blacc: Exactly. I had about five or six songs in my head, two of them were just lyrics. The other ones I had demos of the song with my keyboard or whatever. So I went to the Soul Fire studios in Williamsburg with Truth & Soul. They had instruments in the studio like drums, keys, bass, and the guitar. “I Need A Dollar” came about because they started jamming and when they finished I was like, “Wow, this song that’s in my head fits this jam.” The chord progression fit right with the lyrics I already had.
Read the full Interview here