"There's a true admiration there and a large level of understanding on both sides, for sure," East tells InStyle. "It's always difficult to be a traveling musician and still keep things together. Understanding is a huge factor."
East's song, "Girlfriend," which begins with, "Well I can't fight it / She got me hot and bothered / Her ring rock 'round her finger / Showing me I shouldn't want her / And brother we might have problems / 'Cause she's tearin' me down and I'm tempted / And I ain't gonna say I'm sorry now / I think I'm in love with your girlfriend," may or may not have been inspired by Lambert, but East insists people shouldn't read too deeply into the lyrics.
"It was something tongue-in-cheek that made us laugh. We were just trying to amuse ourselves," East says of the song, which he wrote with Avicii, Aaron Raitiere and producer Dave Cobb. "It was very impulsive. There was no premonition of it. What was actually supposed to end up being a writing appointment ended up turning into a whole session. We started at about 5:00 PM with nothing and walked out at 3:00 AM and that's what you hear on the record."
"Girlfriend" is from East's recently-released Encore album, which he says is many things, except a pure country record.
"I think when a lot of people hear the term 'country,' they step off from it," East explains. "I don't see the labeling of this as country — I think it's really unwarranted — but honestly, I don't care what people call it; if they enjoy the music, so be it. I love country music, but I also love gangster rap."