Q. You’ve been attached to various Hendrix projects over the years. What did you hope to convey about him through this one?

A. I thought, “What would Hendrix want people to know that’s not on YouTube?” He’s a god, he’s an idol. But he did that onstage. He was totally the opposite in real life. Continue reading the main story

Given that playing Hendrix had been discussed for so long, were you reluctant?

I may have said it to John [Ridley]: “Man, I’m old. I have gray hair. Get some young unknown kid to play Hendrix.” I turned it down. They kept at it. I actually asked my son, [Seven]. He said, “Yeah, man.” Honestly, I needed it in my life, too. Hendrix kind of saved me. I was in a not-so-great space, just in a dark place every day. I needed something to focus on to get me out of my depression and rut. Sometimes, when you’re alone, you can let yourself go. I knew if I got on a train with a lot of different people, then I couldn’t let them down.

What spoke to you about this particular Hendrix treatment?

Really, this movie is about what made him. You study any great artist, there’s always women that help support that or turn them on to new things.

The film shows how open he was to letting women in.

It’s funny, the parallels [to me]. People like to joke about [his former girlfriend] Erykah Badu, the mother of my child: “Oh, you completely changed.” I was on my path before I even met Erykah. But one thing I can say. I’m singing around the house, and Erykah’s like: “That sounds great. Why you not doing it?”

I’ve heard you say that you didn’t want to become an old rapper.

I remember, at like 25, saying, “I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper.” I’m 39 now, and I’m still standing by that. I’m such a fan that I don’t want to infiltrate it with old blood.

But over the last five years, you’ve recorded maybe three or four guest appearances a year, and those verses are always really strong.

I struggle with the verses. I don’t sit around and write raps, I just don’t. Now the only time I’m really inspired to write raps is if an artist that I enjoy invites me to their party. So if Future calls and says, “Hey man, I want you to do this,” I don’t want to let Future down. I don’t want to let Lil Wayne or Drake down, because I love them.

Read it at NY Times.