Nick Cannon Explains What Makes Him DOPE

Nick CannonHe was born in San Diego, a comfy oceanfront postcard city known more for Sea World and scenic views than movie stars making mogul moves, but Nick Cannon had his ambitious sights set on superstardom from the start. Young homie hit Hollywood before graduating high school, working the comedy circuit as a pre-teen and even landed a gig as a script writer for Nickelodeon at only 17-years-old. Nick Cannon is DOPE… and has been for some time.As an actor and comedian Cannon made an immediate impact, landing memorable roles in “Whatever It Takes” and “Men in Black II”. But it was Cannon’s breakout role as cocky, well-meaning drum-major Devon Miles in “Drumline” that would firmly cement him as a screen scene regular.Musically, well… he rapped and many of us didn’t understand why, at least not at first. Why did a budding movie star need Hip Hop? Wasn’t that hustling backwards? Didn’t Will Smith use rap to get to Hollywood, and not the other way around? But, as usual, we all quickly learned Nick knew what the hell he was doing even when we didn’t. Visionaries see what most never even realize is there to look at. A mirage in the desert can become The Mirage Hotel and Casino when you see things for what they can be, instead of what they are.Cannon dropped a few singles, the most popular of the bunch being “Gigolo” which peaked at number nine on the rap charts. More purposefully, he made music, essentially, to learn the industry, to be in a leadership position to sign and develop talent like he does today. The kid got paid millions to intern and learn. The rest of us took notice. The best of us took notes. Nick just took over.In truth, the music piece would prove to be only one of Cannon’s many tasteful chess moves. He has headlined three major network television shows, most popularly Wild ‘N Out, more famously America’s Got Talent, and unforgettably The Nick Cannon Show. He has starred in a slew of cult classic big screen films, an impressive list which includes “Underclassman”, “Roll Bounce”, and “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”. He produces, directs, and writes. And outworks everyone.But it was perhaps these two synchronized power moves – his marriage to Pop Star/R&B legend Mariah Carey in 2008 and the founding of his NCredible Entertainment imprint in 2009, that combined to catapult Cannon into another stratosphere. Similar to Laker legend Kobe Bryant, when a young, handsome Hollywood player chooses the husbandry of a young king over the hedonism of an old heathen, he is instantly held in higher esteem. No light shines brighter on a young entertainment mogul than the spotlight constantly cast on Nick Cannon. His NCredible company is quietly one of the leading hybrid brands in the industry – from headsets to hot new stars, merchandise to media production, they get it done over there at Cannon’s crib.He just bought Soul Train. He’s releasing his new album “White People Party Music” on April Fool’s Day, 2014. He owns stock in BET. He is also tired of seeing “slave movies” about maids, butlers and antebellum America. Cannon is a progressive. He wants to chart our progress, though he respects the past. “Nick Cannon Neck Ties” are sold at Macy’s. NCredible headsets did 45mill.As one of the few Black men in the world effectively bridging what has been narrowly defined as urban-Black culture with mainstream American values, Cannon remains driven in so many lanes, many of which few even know exist. He’s good. Damn good. Damn near great. Give him another decade to do it.How did he get it done? With Charisma: and of course the six C’s – Mr.  NCredible is all about high Character and low Chaos; a Classy Cali dude with a Cool presence and often Corny sense of humor, which allows the squares to dig him while he keeps the controversy out of his circle. Cannon sat down with DOPE GIRL Kanary Diamonds at Paramount Studios in Hollywood to drop jewels, discuss the details, and Wild Out a lil’ sumthin’ for our Black Friday ish.(KD)With the morning show you had on the radio, it was DOPE. You had a lot of people shaking in their boots so to speak. Have you thought about getting back on the air?(Nick) Everything is time management right now. I’m definitely getting back into the world of radio to have my own show again. I have my own podcast right now, just because I love interviewing people. Love being able to just be myself and connect with the fans. You’ll see me in the radio space again soon. It’s just like where am I going to do it, and how can I do it in my own way. I should be on my own radio station. That’s one thing, I don’t like having a boss. I hate that. And then also, at the time, my health became an issue. Now, I could really do it.(KD) Speaking of your health. You were diagnosed with Lupus. How has that changed your life?(Nick) It’s changed me for the better, honestly. I eat better. I live better, exercise better. But then it puts everything into perspective for you when it comes to life. Family has always been the number one priority for me, but that even more so makes you prioritize your decisions; get the most out of life(KD) You’ve been known to have the pretty girls, the pretty women. Always had those. You’ve been blessed with the best (Laugh!)(Nick) (Laughs!) Right, I’m like a connoisseur of beauty I guess.(KD) So, what does it take to get dumped by Nick Cannon?(Nick) Awww! Wow! Man! I don’t like dumping people. That was never my thing. I always tell people I’m a hopeless romantic. When I go into something I go in all the way. So if you don’t have that same passion… that, and probably honesty. Like, I accept every fault that anyone could have. Because we’re all human. But if you lie to me and try to hide it. We can’t go any further.(KD) You got married relatively young. Ever find it difficult in any way to juggle marriage and career?(Nick) Nah, marriage is the best thing that ever happened to me on so many levels. Even career-wise, because I was so focused on extra-curricular activities I wasn’t able to focus all the way on my career. I feel like, with marriage, I’ve become a better businessman. And then my wife being so intelligent and so inspiring, it’s just one of those things. When you have a partner in life who can motivate you and push you. It’s nothing like it. Love is a choice, too. A lot of people don’t realize that.(KD) You recently did your “Phuk Nick Cannon” standup comedy show. Do you prefer standup over film and television(Nick) I do. I love standup to death. It’s definitely my first love. Like, if I could only do one thing, it would be that. Just because for one, standup comedy was the thing that initially opened the doors for me. As much as I loved music, everyone was doing music. So I didn’t stand out as much in that sense. But I was always the youngest standup comic, or the youngest comedic writer, in every venue that I was in. And then comedy is the most free form of entertainment. To this day it’s therapeutic for me. I get up there and say whatever I want to say.(KD) You also have Real Husbands of Hollywood and then America’s Got Talent. What are the major differences between doing two projects like those?(Nick) I wouldn’t even just keep it between those two. ‘Cuz everybody is like, okay, I have Wild ‘N Out and then the stuff I do on Nickelodeon. I mean, those are like four different people right there (Laughs!). Wild ‘N Out Nick is very much Hip Hop. Most of the time I’m on there in a t-shirt, skully cap and all of my jewelry. And then America’s Got Talent is kinda like straight down the middle. Suited, smiling, likable. He would never say any of the things that the guy on Wild ‘N Out says. And then the guy on Real Husbands of Hollywood, that dude is like this exaggerated version of the businessman. The guy that’s a father and very responsible and no nonsense. And then the guy on Nickelodeon is just a big kid really. But each is just a different aspect of my personality. It’s me at a different stage and at a different level talking to a different audience. Like, if you’re talking to your 5-year-old you’re going to tell the story differently than if you were talking to your 25-year-old homeboy. It’s just the way I deliver my message. Sometimes it’s sugar coated. Sometimes it’s a little potent. (Nick) I see it all as one job, honestly. It’s one career. You know, it’s not really like I have go do this, and do that, and do this. I mean, I’m an entertainer. I’m a content provider. And however I can do that I see it as one thing. So I just wake up every morning and attack my schedule. What’s ever in front of me I dedicate my heart, mind and soul to it. And then just keep it pushing.(KD) So, with your rap career. You came in at a time where the Jeezy’s, the Snoop’s, the DMX’s were more popular. And then you were like the friendlier guy. You were a little ahead of your time, because now everybody is friendly. How does that make you feel?(Nick) Well, I wasn’t a pioneer of that or anything. Because I looked up to guys like Will Smith, Heavy D, Kwame, and even guys like Tribe Called Quest. It was a time in Hip Hop when there was a bunch of stuff going on. When I came out everybody was trying to be tough and gangsta. Now I feel like Hip Hop is back in a place where it started, where you can have the nice guy, the gangsta, sort of the guy with the Bohemian vibe. You can have a Kendrick and Drake, and at the same time have YG, Future, Rich Homie Quan. All of those people can exist in the same world right now. I’m just really excited about music right now.(KD) Who are your top 3 artists right now? Who do you listen to?(Nick) Mariah Carey (Laughs!) Her new album coming out is insane.(KD) Boom! (Laughs!). There it is!(Nick) Yeah, her next album is great. It’s definitely next level. I’m definitely a Drake fan. I tell him that all the time. He’s kind of writing his own check right now. It’s very impressive to see where he’s come from, and now where he’s taken it. Other than that… let me see, ‘cuz I be on some other stuff… I like this group called Psyche Ward Druggies. I like Tech N9ne. Their whole Strange Music crew is hot. And I like the Odd Future movement, honestly, too. Tyler’s album was DOPE. I like what they’re doing(KD) With the NCredible brand being this big monster. What’s next? Like with gear?(Nick) Yeah, we’re definitely in the consumer product business. We just made upward of $40million in the last two years selling headsets. And that’s quite the accomplishment. We’re moving into tablets now. And we also have the NCredible Network launching this holiday season. And then there are backpacks and school supplies you can get at Office Depot. But I don’t know if I want to do the clothing line thing with the NCredible brand. I do have Nick Cannon ties and socks in Macy’s right now, getting into suiting. But even though I’ve been approached many times with offers. I’m still thinking about it.(KD) What advice can you give aspiring moguls?(Nick) Ultimately, I kind of narrow it down to two things. One, be a self-motivator. Because there are so many haters and naysayers out there to tell you, you can’t do this. And you can’t do that. You have to wake up every morning and remind yourself that you’re the best of the best. You have to just build yourself up with so much confidence. And then once you understand and truly believe that. You have to be a self-generator. You gotta have that corresponding action that equals that faith. You know, you can’t do nothing on just faith alone. Faith without work is just dead. So in order to do that you have to be a generator, which is something that generates power. You have to generate or create your own opportunities. Create something on your own. Then you can write your own check.(KD) How about a business tip?(Nick) I always say you never want to go into a meeting asking for something. Because then if you go into a meeting asking for something, you’re not the strong person in the meeting. And you’re at that person’s disposal. It’s whatever they decide. You always want to have the strongest hand you can play.(KD) What makes you DOPE?(Nick) Oooh, what makes me DOPE. It’s my style. I call it my moxie. I don’t use the word swag. I call it my moxie. Look it up (Laughs!).