STASHED Chats: August Alsina on “This Thing Called Life,” Working with Lil Wayne and More

August Alsina talks "This Thing Called Life"

As you read this, August Alsina is just one day away from the official release of his sophomore album, This Thing Called Life. And considering the rough months he’s endured since his debut effort—seizures, family drama, and surgeries—the New Orleans crooner’s smooth return is more than welcomed. “I just feel like sometimes the people who are in the darkest places can shed the most light,” he told STASHED.

This is the driving force behind all of August Alsina’s music, and this LP is no different. Despite what he’s gone through, his goal of providing hope to fans still remains. “A lot of people come up and tell me, ‘You saved my life. I was going to do this and that to myself and then I listened to your music and you stopped me,’” he recalled. “It’s not even about me anymore.”

This thinking is the fuel behind a number of records on his forthcoming offering. With songs like “American Dream” and “Dreamer,” he’s aiming to inspire his fans to think bigger, and do better. “When your environment is your environment, and it’s all you see and know, that’s all you really have to offer because that’s all the world really has to offer you,” he said. “I was a victim of that exact thing.”

You can hear all about this journey, and its happier moments, on This Thing Called Life. The Lil Wayne-assisted “Why I Do It” speaks of the cash, cars and everything he’s earned from a notable grind that began a few years back. In 2013, he released a massive breakout hit titled “I Luv This Shit”—now certified platinum. The following year, his debut album Testimony reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. His growing catalogue includes records with Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled, and Rick Ross. And now, he’s enlisting Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Anthony Hamilton and Jadakiss for his new LP.

“Anthony Hamilton and Jadakiss are GOATs. They’re the OGs in the game. Wayne is a GOAT. Chris…he’s a GOAT [laughs]. Everybody on this album is 10 years plus,” he said. “My album has a certain feel and a certain sound, and anybody that was featured on the album, I wanted them to add to it. It’s just about the material. I’m a fan of those guys.”

[Lil Wayne] is one of the hardest working people I know. That whole Cash Money movement, for New Orleans, that’s what we knew. They gave us hope. Like, damn, they’re really from New Orleans, really out the hood, really doing it big.

Another highlight from the new LP is August Alsina’s transparency. “I feel everything times a million so all of that is put into the album. I wanted the album to evoke any and every emotion in you,” he said. He continued, “I’m just really in touch with the ups, downs and whatever I deal with in life. I chose to speak on it because I know for a fact that I can’t be the only person out here that feels like I feel. I can’t be the only one.”

You’re going through what you’re going through. And the thing is, being famous, you just go through it in front of the world.

August-Alsina-ExclusiveNothing is ever too personal for the singer. He took to social media a few weeks ago with photos of his painful eye surgery. But regardless of the health issues he’s battled, he’s forever grateful, especially for his success. “It’s like literally mo’ money, mo’ problems. What if I couldn’t afford this shit?” he questioned. “I’m a sick guy. I just have to accept that reality. I’m like a sick man. And I have to overdo things to take care of myself. I do think I would be miserable if I wasn’t in this position.”

Like his talent, his faith is unwavering, and almost always present in his music. “Even through my sadness or my darkest times I still have some bit of faith to keep me going because if I didn’t I would be dead right now.”

This Thing Called Life represents a new chapter for August Alsina. “My album now is not the same as Testimony. This sh*t is like Testimony on steroids,” he warned. “People have to know that I’m going to grow, and just have to keep up.”

August Alsina’s new album can be pre-ordered on iTunes now.

Photo Credit: Def Jam

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Danitha Jones

Danitha Jones is a former online editor at The Source. Over the years, she's penned stories covering everything from news and music to lifestyle and beauty. You’re likely to spot this Brooklyn native enjoying one of her favorite things—a good book, ratchet music, Netflix—or clapping for the latest tastemakers who are taking the industry by storm.