huey-11_phixrAs an artist, having a hit record is always a gift and a curse.

Of course that’s what every performer strives for, but when it happens, sometimes duplicating that same success can be just as difficult if not more than when you were initially trying to achieve it.

Right now, Lawrence “Huey” Franks stands at a crossroad in his career, as he cautiously looks both ways before deciding to take another step.

The 21-year-old first came onto the scene back in 2006 with his massive hit ‘Pop, Lock, & Drop It,which climbed to the top of every music chart, on its way to selling two million ringtones in the process.

His debut album Notebook Paper soon followed in 2007, moving over 300,000 units (which is like practically going platinum in this economy).

So with MeMpHiTz’s HiTz Committee imprint behind him by way of Jive Records, the man who first gained stardom before he was even old enough to vote is here to assure the world that the terms “one hit wonder” and “sophomore jinx” are never going to be part of his vernacular…

iHipHop.com: Your first album Notebook Paper came out back in ’07 and it did really well. Are you worried about trying to have the same amount of success with Strictly Business?

Huey: Nah, I really feel strong about this album… It’s just with me being older now, and I’ve been able to grow from Notebook Paper

As far as the music goes, I’m still jamming and the people are going to get what they want…

Now with me turning 21, and knowing the business, you can’t let certain types of friendships get in the way… That’s why I call my next album Strictly Business

iHipHop.com: Did you try anything different on Strictly Business?

Huey: I did a pop record, and I ain’t never did one of those before… I got a rock joint on there, and it’s kind of like this rock/gangsta beat… Plus I got a little more personal on this album, and it’s more from a grown folk’s standpoint, and I’m just jamming… Every song is just different, and the album is just crazy man, for real…

iHipHop.com: Who did you work with this time around?

Huey: Actually man, I worked with a lot of people [Laughing]… I got Pleasure [P], Bobby Valentino, Juelz Santana [Click for Santana interview], Lil Wayne, Glasses [Malone], Maino [Click for Maino video interview], Colby O’Donis from Konvict, we have Trai’D on the album of course who’s also from the HiTz Committee, and I have two of my artists on there from St. Louis…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of the HiTz Committee, how did you first hook up MeMpHiTz and Jive Records?

Huey: That was who I first had my deal with… I had a record on the radio, and I was killing it… So they heard of it, and MeMpHiTz was starting a new label out of Jive… Then he took a trip to the studio with me, listened to some records, then flew me out to New York two weeks later for a showcase…

An hour after the showcase they welcomed me to Jive… This sh*t happened so fast, it was kind of unbelievable, because I’ve been through so many damn different labels…

huey-2iHipHop.com: The majority of the roster at Jive is basically all pop and R&B acts. So you weren’t worried at all about getting lost in the shuffle when you initially came on board?

Huey: Nah man, I wasn’t worried or nervous, I was just happy; you know what I’m saying? This is something I enjoy doing, and I try not to think about me flopping or any sh*t like that… We’re just going to let it do what it do…

‘Pop, Lock, & Drop It’ came out successful, and we killed them on the ringtones, and got it up to number one on the charts… We did pretty good with that album, we came out with a few singles, sold what we sold, and now it’s time for number two…

iHipHop.com: I want to go back to you talking about how you have all those features coming up on Strictly Business… Was that a conscious decision on your part to get all those people instead of just going the project alone?

Huey: On my first album, I didn’t have that many features, and I never had a chance to do a record with Weezy, so I couldn’t turn that down…

For the most part, all the features we recorded—we were just thinking about having MAJOR hits, because this is the most important album of my life…

We’re trying to make this whole album jam, flat out, regardless with a feature or without a feature… Most of those features are just doing hooks; you know what I’m saying?

Juelz [Santana] dropped a hot 16 on ‘PaYOW!,and I like doing songs with those artists… There’s not a record we did that didn’t turn out not to be s smash…

All the records we got are very strong, and we had to battle with songs… I dropped so many songs, it made it hard for us to pick, and that’s a good thing… But the records that these people are featured on are bangers…

iHipHop.com: Even though its only been two years since you put out a project, so many other artists have released material in between that time… So do you feel as if you basically have to reintroduce yourself?

Huey: I feel like I’m going to have to reintroduce myself, because of the simple fact of a lot of people getting the first album, and a lot of people who slept on it…

There are a lot of people out there who still don’t know me, but don’t get me wrong; I got fans out the ass… Of course this time I’m going to try and pick up the fans that didn’t get, and keep the ones that I got… I’m going to just try to rise to the top…

iHipHop.com: What’s been one of the toughest parts of the music business for you so far?

Huey: I guess just having trust man… It’s crazy how all those strangers want to become family after you sign that contract, you know what I’m saying? I’m not just talking about a label, it can be anybody from management to security, and just whoever…. So that was the toughest thing I had to deal with in this music industry, was trust…