Earlier this week, Papoose and I talked about his new album, “You Can’t Stop Destiny,” which is out today, tenacity, marriage and relationships, and Love & Hip Hop: New York.
A decade ago, Papoose released “Alphabetical Slaughter” with Dj Kayslay and handsomely acquired a million dollar deal at just 20-years-old. From his debut album being shelved, signing to Flipmode, being married to Remy Ma to his short “beef” with Kendrick Lamar and dealing with the reality of success, Papoose believes that nothing can truly get in the way of what’s supposed to be for you, if you’re working hard to achieve and maintain your blessing. Our conversation began, shortly after I turned off my boiling pot of oatmeal.
Papoose: What kind? Maple & Brown Sugar?
Me: No, just regular. [Chuckling] Regular oatmeal. No flavor.
I wanted to talk about the fast pace on the record “The Bank”, specifically why it sounds a little different than everything else on the album. Why did you do it and approximately how many words do you think you said on that song?
[Chuckles] Well, why did I do it? Basically when I heard that beat, that was just the first thing that came to mind, that type of flow. I don’t know, as a child, when I first started rapping, I used to use that flow but when I heard that certain beat, I was like “Yo, let me just go back to how I used to rap and to take that approach.” And to answer your question about how many words, I don’t know man, I might need a calculator.
Yeah, you might be in the running for like an Eminem song (“Rap God”). It was a lot of words in there that I was trying to catch everything that you were saying, but it was jam-packed so.
Okay, and on “You Ain’t Build like That” produced by Amadeus you mentioned parenthood, what was it like to balance your career and be a father?
It’s definitely challenging, a real challenge, you know? You know when your child is very young, you know everything is all good, but once after they get older, it’s all cruel. And then you know it’s definitely challenging to balance your career and being a father.
What tip would you give to someone who’s emerging where they have a dream of being and entertainer but because they have children, you know it’s like a set back, do you have any words of advice?
No matter what, put your children first. Some people say ‘put your career first’ but I think you should definitely put your kids first because after a certain in your career, your child is but when you made that commitment to have that child, then you got to put the child first because that’s priority.
Because they mature so fast and so rapid, you have to be mindful. When you made that commitment to have that child, then you got to put the child first because that’s priority.
So, what do you say to people who deemed you as a mixtape artist only?
Most of those people, I mean I can’t really judge them but most of those people are really not in tune with me as an artist anyway. They probably only see my name come across their timeline or come across their headline and they make a comment, and keep it moving but my core audience knows.
I did tweet and I did put a Facebook status up, saying that I was going to interview you, and a lot of people that follow me or that are my Facebook friends, are big fans of yours and they believe that you’re suppose to be one of the big “commercial success” artist and they kind of feel let down. Did you ever see that for yourself?
If I ever did see that for myself earlier, I probably wouldn’t have even made it this far. You know what I mean?
Yeah, I see that now. I’m disappointed to be honest. And to get so far just to see, it’s just unbelievable to see the inside of the being the outside and praising it and taking value to the art form. I was always driven by pure talent but once I got inside, I was always disappointed but I always kept going. I always kept my drive because this is what I love to do, but to answer your question, yeah, I do feel that.
What’s the history between you and Troy Ave? I see that you two have a track together on the album? And how long have you’ve known each other?
I can’t say that I’ve known him for so long. I just heard of Troy Ave as an artist. Troy Ave is one of them cats that has been around for a while and eventually got his shot. Yeah, we cool, you know? Whenever we see each other, we slap high-fives, you know what I mean? At the end of the day, it’s just a respect thing and we keep it moving. You know, I seen him coming up, coming out the city. I just seen everyone loving him, instead of going to hating him, like how they did me. I try to follow his advice as much as I can. Boy is doing his thing.
Right, and what inspired the album in full? What made you say, I need to write this album “You Can’t Stop Destiny”?
Basically, just I love to do music, that’s my first answer. As far as the title, that’s just how I feel mentally at this point. There’s a lot of people that don’t want to seem me win, you know what I’m saying. People that I meet, people they just have a lot of hate on me. I just wanted to send them that message, that destiny gone happen regardless, you know.
Absolutely, got it.
That’s what the title was built around.
Very nice. For someone who started making music in the 90’s, like I think personally someone that started that long ago, you have a broad perspective on the business and you can see the difference on how it is now. How do you feel about the current landscape, radio, and underground rap music?
The radio is a place of business and the underground is a place of talent. People go by what they genuinely like. Appose to the radio, they go by you know the politicians and what label is pushing it. You know, I’m not going to go into too much I know all their business, I know how it works. Look at Max B, to answer your question, his audience is more pure and about the music and the radio is more driven with politics and the business.
What keeps you going, knowing that the industry can be shaky and often unreliable?
They can’t stop me. They can’t stop me. [Chuckling] I love to do music; I do it for the heart, like I was doing. They can’t stop me, you know? I always pop up on their headlines. It’ll still blow up in your face, what keeps me going is the love for the artist and the love for Hip-Hop.
DJ Tip appears on the album three times along with Ron Brownz, Havoc, and many other producers. What was it like working with them and how long have you known Tip and the rest of them?
Tip — him and I did a lot together. A lot of those records I put out, was produced by DJ Tip. He’s really talented. I actually met him at a concert and he was busting everybody’s ass. I was like: Man, I need to get this dude’s number. We exchanged contacts and [have] been real close. We always vibe together. Same thing with Ron Brownz. We’re always working together. He produced a bunch of tracks for me, and for Havoc, we had words — can’t describe it.
Personally my favourite song is “You Draggin It.” (Laughs) If you can pick a track as your favourite on the album, what would it be?
I’d say “Global Warming [Part 2].”
Okay. Michael Jackson, that song, this one has made a lot of people to start talking about the album and I think it relieves more than what we’ve known before like about your relationship and marriage. What would you advice to young couples that look up to you and your wife?
If you made the decision to marry someone, honor your wedding vows. Listen to them, embrace them, analyze them, and live by it because that’s what you signed up for, and basically that’s how I live. I don’t believe in divorce, there’s not time to. I’ve never been married before. There’s people who’ve been married three, four, times, and going for a divorce and going about their business. Like there’s no turning back.
I don’t look at it like that. I’m more of a loyal person than that and my advice to a young couple would be honor your wedding vows, live up to what you signed up for, don’t get into a marriage for the wrong reasons.
For the show, Love & Hip Hop: New York, do you have any concerns or fears as far as the show goes, like I know, some of the people on reality televisions shows always talk about how they’re portrayed; do you have any concerns or fears about it?
That’s just another situation on where you gotta know what you signed up for.
I can’t really talk about that too much, due to the nature of my agreement, but all I can say is no. I really don’t know what the future holds, but as of right now, I’m really not concerned. Because I know who I am, and my wife knows who she is, and we know who we are and nobody can take that. I can’t speak on the past or on what happened to anybody else — you know there’s a lot of different ways they can put it together and things of that nature, but nah, I don’t have any fears. We’re ready to go and promote Black love.
“Obituary 2014”, could you explain its relevance and its position on the album? What does that song mean to you?
It means a lot to me, man. I’ve been doing Obituary since 2008, consistently, every year and it means a lot because I’m basically paying homage and respect to those we lost in the previous years that goes on. It was interesting because as I was doing them and when it became 2013, I actually had to put family members. I had to put two family members in the obituary. My cousins, my female cousin and my male cousin, so it’s a very interesting experience. I usually just do them on other people that I wasn’t related to and I wasn’t there, but I was there in respect. That record — that record means a lot to me and that’s why I still consistently do it because sometimes you tend to forget who passed on.
Wow. What’s the process for that? As the death happens, are you listing them or at the end of the year reflect on everything?
I pay attention to it, as it goes along. Every time someone dies, they’ll contact me, and say “You gotta put them in the obituary this year.” The fans do it. The people I know they feel obligated to tell me.
I have two more for you: Due to certain things that you state on the album, it insinuates that you’re still either in the streets or connected to the streets. What are some words of encouragement that you can give to young Black men, who lack guidance, hope, or motivation to do something positive with their lives?
Love yourself, man. Love yourself, and to do something positive with your life. If you’re stuck in a negative situation, please don’t’ stay there, grow. Evolve into becoming a better person. My advice to people going through hard times: Don’t stay in it, grow and love yourself. That’s the best advice I can give them because self-preservation is key. You can’t help them, if you can’t help yourself.
As far as your album goes, what else can we expect from it? Are you going to release more videos?
Yes, I’ll definitely release more videos. Look forward to a “Global Warming [Part 2]” video.
As for the album, is there anything else you want to add?
I get a lot of people hitting me up on social media and when I’m in the street, they come up to me and go off, saying “Pap, you the man!” “You the truth!” “You’re the best!” “F*ck these other rappers!” “We love you!” “We love Remy!”
I appreciate those types of compliments. I appreciate those types of gestures but if I can count the many people who address me with this type of conversation, if I had a penny for it, I’ll be a millionaire. I don’t want you just out hear telling me that, I need y’all to go out there and go on iTunes, and buy this project and support this project. Put an real authentic artist in office. I’m not tooting my own horn, it’s from the heart and I’ll just need y’all to go out there and really buy this project.
Very, very, very nice! Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for being patient and understanding and enjoy your oatmeal!
[Laughing] I forgot about the oatmeal!
Papoose’s new album is out now and available on iTunes. As he wishes, purchase “You Can’t Stop Destiny” and tell him how you feel about it. Tweet him at @papooseonline and be on the lookout for his debut on Love & Hip Hop: New York with his beautiful wife and fellow musician, Remy Ma.