Flo Rida: The Ringtone King

By Cyrus Langhorne  |  05/16/2008

Flo RidaBecoming the first artist to have the no. 1 selling digital track of all-time with his club pounding single, "Low," which reached over 3.2 million sold, is nothing to downplay. Thanks to its success, the Carol City-raised rapper Flo Rida has taken hold of the music industry and has no intention of letting go.

Although just now getting the mainstream attention of a commercial artist, Flo Rida has been in the game since the early days of 2 Live Crew and Scarface, and has used the mixtape circuit and other forms of self-promotion to help in his long journey to success.

Taking a few minutes from his busy schedule, Flo Rida spoke with BallerStatus about his debut Atlantic Records album, Mail on Sunday, and everything from whom he's favoring in the 2008 NBA Playoffs to how Mike Jones inspired his most recent marketing strategy to interact with fans.

BallerStatus.com: Your single, "Low," became the no.1 selling digital track of all-time, over 3.2 million sold. How do you react to such an achievement?

Flo Rida: It's something I could have never predicted. I don't take it for granted. I have to thank the fans for all their support. It's like a dream come true. I walk around and hear the ring tone everywhere I go -- hearing myself, it's like an honor.

BallerStatus.com: Did you have any idea when you were making the song that it'd be this big?

Flo Rida: I didn't know if it'd be this big. I thought it'd be a big record, but to this magnitude, I probably could have never predicated that. In the studio, I felt like the track really gets you moving. I knew the women would definitely think it was hot.

BallerStatus.com: Despite being considered a "new" face in the music industry, your background in the game goes back to working with acts like 2 Live Crew and Scarface. What was the journey like in order to achieve your current success?

Flo Rida: My group actually opened up for Scarface and 2 Live Crew -- a few members [of the group] -- were in the building. They just needed someone to do some hyping for them [on their trip to Hawaii]. They picked me because of my style. Early on, I put out a lot of mixtapes -- grind[ing]. Me and Rick Ross from the same neighborhood, Carol City, so we always ran in to each other. I got his support and vice versa. And [just] getting love from Trick Daddy, Trina, DJ Khaled, and the Poe Boy Family. I've always been humble.

BallerStatus.com: Is it true you used to shout-out your phone number when you performed? Was that before or after Mike Jones became known for doing the same thing?

Flo Rida: I still do. You can go to my Myspace and you'll see the phone number, 305-528-2786, come holla at me. [After seeing Mike Jones do it,] you have to always be innovative. But in order to be a great leader, you have to be a great follower, you feel me? I always thought it was real good to get more personal with your fans, so when he did that I thought that was real clever.

BallerStatus.com: What's the biggest criticism you've received either before releasing your album, Mail On Sunday, or afterwards?

Flo Rida: How it was going to come behind the "Low" record. I think at this point, we having great sales. At this point, it's been more on the positive note than anything.

BallerStatus.com: You collaborate with a lot of entertainers including Lil Wayne, Yung Joc, Rick Ross, and T-Pain. Did you have any crazy experiences with any of them that stand out from others?

Flo Rida: I actually got a chance to vibe with them because a lot of times we record at the same studio. But it wasn't really no crazy moments.

BallerStatus.com: Are you keeping up with the NBA playoffs? Any team you're pulling for?

Flo Rida: Definitely, I'm feeling Chris Paul [of the New Orleans Hornets]. I thought he was hot early on when I saw him during the McDonald's [All-American] tournament before he initially entered the NBA.

BallerStatus.com: If you could work with any three artists or producers, dead or alive, who would they be?

Flo Rida: Jimi Hendrix, Tupac, and definitely Biggie.

BallerStatus.com: I read that you have a tattoo of Jimi Hendrix on your left arm and Florida on your back. Is there any particular meaning behind them?

Flo Rida: On my back, I just call it a mural. Just the lifestyle of coming from South Beach, the neighborhood where I grew up at -- whether it be poverty, glorified. [There are] hood things on my back, the company that gave me my first record deal, [and] my group. Things that represent where I grew up. The Jimi Hendrix tattoo -- I liked [him]. I remember buying his documentary, and he kinda reminded me of myself. Someone who is very quiet and laid back, but on stage he was very electrifying. He played the guitar left-handed [and] was one of the biggest African American rock star legends... like Elvis.

BallerStatus.com: A lot of artists achieve single success like MIMS' "This Is Why I'm Hot," but then disappear. What are you currently doing to make sure you stay relevant a year from now?

Flo Rida: I'm just working on different mixtapes and things that I think... I'm like Mr. International right now. A lot of people don't get the chance to take advantage of that. I'm worldwide. I love music, it's what I've been doing from day one. It's nothing really new to me. I'm actually working on my next album, due to come out next December, so we're already past that stage. Life is great, God is good. We're shooting a video a couple of weeks from now. All from my own pocket.

BallerStatus.com: A lot of women love your records, especially in the clubs. Have you been chased by groupies or overly excited fans yet?

Flo Rida: It's all love. It's crazy sometimes, even getting the calls from fans. I'll answer the phone and they'll hang up, like "I couldn't speak because I couldn't believe it's you."

BallerStatus.com: Do you have any final thoughts or comments for the people reading this?

Flo Rida: Yes, definitely. You can hit me up on MySpace.com/OfficialFlo, get my cell phone number off of that, holla at me. Hit me up at OfficialFlo.com, my fan website, and 24HourHipHop.com. Appreciate everyone supporting me with the ringtones. I'm always willing to show love. Look forward to Flo Rida getting in to some acting things soon. My own clothing line -- really breaking grounds with my own record company. Charities. Doing some things around Thanksgiving and December, so be on the lookout.