If your 2008 album represented Year Of The Gentleman, 2011 is definitely “Year of the Asshole,” in terms of R&B. What do you think of the wave of explicit R&B that’s popular now?
Ne-Yo: R&B is traditionally for women, but even women will tell you the nice guy can get annoying after a little while. They want the nigga that’s going to grab you by the back of your head every now and then. The dude that’s going to bring you flowers just because, then f*ck the sh*t out of you. It’s just the balance of the two, or a guy that knows how to do both—that’s the void right there. Me, I’m the gentleman, I’m for the ladies. And then you have the other side where the name of the song is “B*tch.” So somebody’s toeing the line between the two, maybe that’s where I need to come in with this next album.
Word. In a lot of ways, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd represent that polar opposite of your style.
I haven’t heard a lot of Frank Ocean’s stuff. I dig “Novacane,” I like his storytelling. Somebody just recently put me up on The Weeknd. I like his vibe; he’s definitely one of those cats that might curse you out on a record, but he’s going to sing, so you almost don’t even notice that he just cursed you out. I dig it though. It’s—for lack of a better word—definitely music you f*ck to, not make love. Even in that, he has some very honest songs. He says “Tell me you love me…I know you don’t love me,” talking to this stripper chick. I feel him on that. Like you need this money; you’re going to treat me like you love me, that’s what I want. That’s some real sh*t.