Turn right at one of the many Starbucks on the Pacific Coast Highway and at the top of a winding road you'll find Document Room Alpaca, a glass box-cum-recording studio that overlooks the ocean. This is where Federline has been holed up in the few weeks since his Power 106 visit. On the day I visit him, a song he just recorded, called "Dance with a Pimp," plays in the background. ("I recorded that so I could dance in the video," he says. "That'll be my return to dancing.") Federline tells me about the stormy early days in his relationship with Britney. "She thought she could play me," he says, and goes on in what I think is an unintentional little rap. "She was playing games, testing me to see where my head is at, see if she could get away with this or that." When I ask what made him stick it out, he says, "She did. We talked and got over it, and that was that. I let her know where I stood. It was needed, I think, for my relationship, for her to know that I didn't care about all this. I don't care that you're Britney Spears, that the world loves who you are. I don't care about that shit"
He lights up a cigarette and walks toward the window. "Everyone is moving to Malibu now," he says.
In the past few weeks, things have started to heat up. For one thing, Jay-Z has heard "America's Most Hated." "I think he liked it," Federline says, adding, "I'm trying to get to Atlanta to meet Jermaine Dupri." He's also waiting on a call from Dr. Dre - "You don't call Dre; he'll reach out to you" - and he's asked Snoop to make a cameo. He's hoping to get Damian Marley on a track, and his manager has told him that folks at Sony BMG "lost their shit" when they heard what he's got so far. Federline figures that appearing on his album would be a good career move for any urban artist looking to cross over. "My album's gonna hit the pop market because of my wife," he says.
One of the studio's engineers comes in, puts two fingers to his lips, and makes the international symbol for "Wanna get high?" Federline brushes him off. I ask him how often he smokes pot, and he says, "I'm not talking about that shit." Instead he tells me about the traveling he and the wife have been doing. They were recently in Hawaii after visiting Katrina victims on a goodwill trip to New Orleans. In Hawaii, Federline cut the cornrows. "My old lady was begging me too," he says. "I also got my whole back tattooed up. It took eight hours. It was pretty fucking painful." The tattoo is of a Polynesian tribal belt. "It's like the creation of life," he says. "In the middle, it has a fetus, like a baby sitting like this -" he imitates a baby sitting in silhouette - "and it's got the suns and the ocean and then the stars on my shoulders, right here. It follows my wife-beater line. You can't see it when I'm wearing a wife-beater."
The music ends, and Federline walks toward the stereo, or rather rolls toward it, dragging one leg. "I saved the best shit for last," he tells me. "I just recorded this shit with my wife. It's bangin'. No one's heard this shit yet." Federline wrote the lyrics, and Britney sings the hook: I'm racy/I'm crazy/for loving you/for feeling you.
They recorded it the day before she went to New York to announce her pregnancy on Letterman, which sort of discredits the rumors that she wants out. "People gotta understand I'm working, too," he says. "She's not the only one that has to go do things."
Federline turns the music way up. He bobs his head. He raps along, looking pleased, giving the double middles to no one and, presumably, to everyone. "That's the fourth quarter cleanup right there," he says. "After she gets skinny, we're gonna hit'em with this shit."