NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Rapper Lil Boosie says serving time in a Louisiana prison on drug charges was life changing, has made him a better person and ultimately, he hopes, a better artist.
"I feel like I've got more stories to tell," Lil Boosie said during a press event Monday in New Orleans. "I've got a lot to say about my life, about what I went through in prison and about what my family went through.
"I'm a much better person. I'm much stronger. I know who my real friends are and I know who ain't."
Angela Yee, a radio personality on Power 105.1 in New York, moderated the rapper's first public interview since being released last week from Louisiana's maximum security prison at Angola. Rappers Bun B, Young Jeezy and Webbie were there to show support as well as members of his family and legal team.
"This is a big day for Trill Entertainment and a big day for the hip-hop community," said Houston native Bun B, the independent label's chief executive who came off tour to support Boosie's homecoming.
Bun B said Boosie and Webbie were the first artists Trill Entertainment signed.
"He took off with flying colors and went above and beyond what we expected," he said of Boosie. "We couldn't be more proud of him."
Boosie, whose real name is Torence Hatch, said the first thing he did following his release was reconnect with his seven children. "I'm still enjoying the moment, enjoying my family you know? I'm just soaking in time with the kids and the studio."
He said he's been spending as much time as possible in the studio — good news for Trill Entertainment and distributor Atlantic records. While imprisoned following a 2009 drug conviction, Hatch said he wrote 1,018 songs.
"I was focused on my music," he said when asked about life behind bars. "I didn't spend too much time seeing what other (rappers) were doing. But of what I've heard over the last few days, I feel the rap game is wide open for me to take over.
"Man, I've been in the studio almost every night. When I have any free time, that's where you can find me."
The rapper told The Associated Press that he sees possible collaborations in his future with Justin Beiber, Drake, Lil Wayne and Mary J. Blige.
"I'm fixing to go hard," he said.
He said his new music will reflect some of the experiences he went through in prison, including spending 20 months on lockdown for 23 hours and 45 minutes each day. "You'll hear more about that and other things in the music," he said. "The music will speak for me."
He also said he wrote a screenplay that he hopes to bring to theater audiences soon and a book about his life. He said he's considering self-financing both ventures but will shop them around, too.
In addition, he hopes to tour soon, possibly as early as the end of March. He said his fans never heard him perform music from "Super Bad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz," which he released a couple of weeks before he went to prison.
The 31-year-old rapper, who is from Baton Rouge, could be on probation for up to four years. He has a Thursday hearing scheduled before a state judge, said Roy Maughan, an attorney representing Trill Entertainment.
"It's a routine appearance. There was no offense committed and there are no charges hanging over his head," he stressed. "It's just an opportunity for the judge to put eyes on him and for both sides to tailor some type of probation conditions."