We know your opinion on rappers moonlighting as label heads. How do you feel about Shakir Stewart being appointed president of Def Jam?
I feel good about it. [Def Jam] has done a phenomenal job this time around. I feel the support. There's a lot of new blood and fresh faces up there, so it's exciting.

Sounds like you still blame Jay-Z for your last album's Soundscan numbers.
Well, the marketing and promotion is better this time. You hear me much more now. It was a team effort this time. Plus, it helps that my material is great now.

Why weren't the songs great on Todd Smith?
Let's just say I realized you can't be great on the side. By that, I mean that I could have been more focused on music instead of running my mouth. So some of the material might have suffered on the last album as a result.

Were any of your previous 12 albums weak?
I like all my albums, but if I had to pick one I didn't like, it would probably be Todd Smith.

Do your albums suffer because you follow trends?
I don't think I follow trends at all. For instance, 50 [Cent] is my man, but I'm not even releasing the LP he and I were working on. I took a few songs for Exit 13 and scrapped the rest. And that's due to the fact that I don't think people want to hear me rhyming like 50. So I definitely don't follow trends. In fact, if anything, I set trends. Who was using all those 808s on his first album? The chains, the champagne, the Benzes with the roof ripped off...that was all me. What would rap be without my contributions?--J. Pablo

Exit 13 is in stores now.