Our best posts
- IllumiNOT-Me: 10 Ways Rappers Deny Being in the Illuminati
- Kanye West Is Not a Jackass
- From Art Basel to Art Yeezy: Kanye's "New Slaves" Projections as Contemporary Art
- Top 50 Songs of 2013 // January - June
- Slap Genius: Hip Hop's Best Slaps
- When Hip Hop Goes to Court: Rap Lawsuits and Music Law
- She’s Just Being Miley... and Every Other Pop Star in American Music History Ever
- Trap Geniuses: Why Selling Rap is like Selling Crack
- Why No One Has Killed Your Favorite Rapper
- The Rapper's Flow Encyclopedia
- The Beastie Chronicles — I
- 100 Most Upvoted Annotations
- Verse to Verse: Arcade Fire
- Top 10 Television Theme Songs
- Verse to Verse: Kanye West
- Verse to Verse: Jay-Z
- Rap Genius Presents: The Top 100 Rap Songs of 2012
- Scarface: The Holy Bible of Rap Music
- Great Expectations: The RapGenius Guide to Rap Albums in 2013
- 100 Most Upvoted Annotations of 2013
- The Personification of Hip-Hop
- NEW VIDEO from the latest verified rapper on Rap Genius: 50 Cent
- NAS INTERVIEW: why Nas wants to explain his own lyrics on Rap Genius
- Showing Our Poetry Love
- Rappers Crying
- POETRY GENIUS: How To Read And Why
- Life is Good's Future Impact
- GODFATHERS OF RAP GENIUS: Ben Horowitz Interviews Steve Stoute
- Rap Genius Explanation Competition
- The Top 5 People Rappers Reference
- RapGenius Ranks the First Half of 2012
- Hannibal Buress: First Comedian Verified on Rap Genius
- Bricks to Billboard, Grams to Grammys: Rap Genius' Top 25 Jay-Z Verses
- RGU Lesson Two: Me and the Devil Blues
- What Does Trust Mean in the Rap Game?
- RGU Lesson One: The Signifyin' Monkey
- A$AP ROCKY INTERVIEW: Maboo v. Nardwuar
- Who's this new Bada$$ kid???: A UK Perspective
- Professor Rapper: 7 Uncommon Black History Facts as Told by Kendrick Lamar
- Bragging in Hip Hop
- Inside the Lines with RZA: Part 1
- Rap Genius goes Inside the Lines with Mac Miller
- Interview With B Horowitz: RG Verified Blogger
- Are the fans getting more ignorant?
- Rap Genius Interviews B.o.B.
- An Open Letter from Donald Glover
- Rap Genius Nas interview PREVIEW
- Drake Says He's The First Person To Successfully Rap And Sing. Here's why he's wrong.
- Operation Free Earl
- Rap vs. Ronald Reagan
- Rap Genius of the Month: Big Ghostfase
- 30 Rock: On Gunplay and 2Chainz
- What to Expect from Rap Albums in 2012: The RapGenius Guide to Listening Safely in a Hype-Cycled Universe
- Why There Will Never be a 'GOAT' in Hip-Hop: An Extensive Analysis
- SUBJECT: Jones, Russel Tyrone
- The Top 10 Mixtapes of 2011
- Top 100 Rap Songs of 2011
- The Direction of Hip-Hop
- The Recent History Of Mixtape Trolling
- Rappers' Obsession with Jewish Culture
- Dear Shyne, Ask Yourself: 'What Is A Classic Album?' Ya Bish!
- Five Tips For Unsigned Rappers
- The Navy Seal Who Killed Osama bin Laden loves That "Red Nation" Track MTV Banned
- Is Pete Rock's Disappointment Justified?
- Stereo IQ's Top Albums of 2012
- R.A THE RUGGED MAN AND EMINEM: BEEF, OR NO BEEF?
- Is The Rap Game Pretentious?
- My Philosophy on Socrates References in Rap
- Machine Gun Kelly Inside the Lines
- WTF is a Basquiat?
- You Can't Rap, But You Can Make A Song
- "Six Minutes, Slim Shady, You're On"
- Retrospect for Lu: One Year Later...
- Rap Genius Political Appointees 2012
- "Triple Beam Dreams": A Reinvigoration of Tradition
- Top 10 Lines From Drake's "Take Care"
- Rap Geniuses of the Month: Kembe X / Alex Wiley
- Freak Wit It - The Five Greatest Censored Versions of Hip Hop Songs
- Black Star: Let's ALL Get Down!
- Inside the Rappers Studio: A Witty Nicki Minaj?
- Can’t Wait To Be King: If J. Cole Really Were Simba
- Don’t Become a Rapper If: A Checklist
- All in the Name of P***Y: 7 Women Who Made Fresh Beef Into Poison Meat
- Fuck You; Pay Me (By Not Buying My Music)
- The Many Nicknames of Lil Wayne
- Introducing the Rap Map™ - your guide through the gangsta terrain of the planet
- Hella Based: The Many Faces of Lil B
- Is it right to hate fame?
- Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor: All the Lyrics Explained
- Rappers: They're Just Like Us!
- 10 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas For The Hip Hop/Music Lover
- Lupe Fiasco: The Proust of Rap
- Which Throne are You Watching?
- Kill Whitey: Top 10 Corporate Greed Rap Lyrics
- Common: "A Letter To The Law" Video Breakdown
- Liquid Swords: Rap Genius on the Rap Genius
- Joey Bada$$ & Kendrick Lamar: This Generation’s Biggie & Pac? : A UK Perspective
- The Five Nastiest, Most Explicit Sex Scenes in Rap History
- My Kingdom For A Platinum Football Field
- Selena Gomez does Birthdays, Biebers, and Beats in her new album Stars Dance
- Tyler the Creator - Goblin
- Wax: From YouTube To Def Jam
- Eminem's Infinite Explained
- Bad Meets Evil Hell: The Sequel Lyrics
- Tyler gets pizzunked
- Kirk Knight Shines on Summer Knights: A UK Perspective
- Track-by-Track Guide to Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
- ALL of Tyler, The Creator's "Bastard" Explicado
- Eatbox: rappers eat pussy sometimes, too
- Wale: The Antithesis of J. Cole
- MCA Keeps Rocking in the Afterlife
- THE HISTORY OF HIP HOP (as told by Rap Genius)
- Big Sean's "Finally Famous"
- That Shit Cray: Top Ten Meme Lines of the Year Thus Far
- I Think I'm Turning Japanese: Rap's Infatuation With Benihana
- ENTER THE WU: 36 Chambers
- Raponomics: Top Ten Foreign Currency References Of All Time
- Curren$y's Weekend At Burnie's Syncs With The Film
- Rage Against the Machine: Rap, Rock and Revolution
- Rappers and the Alphabet: A Romance on the D.L.
- International Underground: Hip Hop as Global Rebel Music
- Rap Genius LLP: A NEW Legal Service for the Rap Community
- Tyler, The Creator vs. Woody Allen
- "These n*ggas be mad -- that's why they stay hating" : Thoughts on V-Nasty
- Frank Ocean Nostalgia Ultra - all the lyrics explained
- Interview With Jay-Z's Financial Biographer: Rap Genius Editor SnoopZoggyZogg
- Rap Genius Watch The Throne Cover
- Excerpt: They call me Jay Electronica
- One Love. Elzhi's "Elmatic"
- Notes on "Ready To Die"
- Al Qaeda / Taliban rap paper plate awards: a discussion of Jihadi references in rap lyrics
- The Many Nicknames of Tyler, the Creator
- Top 25 Rap Albums of 2011
- 2011's Best Twitter Moments
- Rap Genius in the OED
- Curren$y "Covert Coup": All The Lyrics Explained
- Belief in Based God
- Lil Wayne Carter 4 Cover
- An Intro to Break Beats
- "Don't Ask Me How": The Elusive TRIPLE Entendre in Hip-Hop
- Big Sean is Finally Famous...boiiiii
- Gil Scott Heron - Father of Rap
- Hip-Hop's TECHNOlogic Revolution
- Pass Through, Ghost-like: A Multi Before I Die Mixtape
- Kendrick Lamar - #Section.80
- Nas interview PREVIEW
- Dominic Strauss Khan & Ghostface
- Adrien Brody Reciting 10 Crack Commandments
- M-m-m-maybach Music
- Crooked I Decodes Crooked I
- Lupe Fiasco's LASERS
- Jay-Z: "Rap Is Poetry"
- XV Reasons Why XV's The Next Big Thing
- A Modest Proposal: Why those white-bread, hella suburban rappers matter
- "Tastes like Swag": Cooking with Lil B (Part1: Wonton Soup)
- We Found Earl!
- Nas, Illmatic: All the lyrics to every song explained
- Wiz Khalifa: probably fucked your bitch
- An Open Letter Regarding OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All)
- Kanye & Pharrell at Design in Miami: Breaking Down Understanding and Rap Genius
- Most commonly misheard rap lines
- Kanye in Paris
- Tyler the Creator: Tron Cat
- Religion in Hip Hop: A RapGenius Overview
- Bad Meets Sequel?
- Rhyming Words with Themselves, sort of: Top Ten Homophone Rhymes of All Time
- Interview: Vince Staples
- Donald Glover Interview: "What the fuck is a Childish Gambino?"
- RAP GENIUS EXCLUSIVE: Despot reveals a supergroup and gives his fans a SPECIAL MESSAGE!
- Subliminal Satanic Messages in Jay-Z
- On "Blue Slide Park": A Review of Moderate Proportions
- The Classic Yo! MTV Raps Returns, One Night Only!
- Cadence & Flow -- A Study in MMG
- Curren$y Interview With DDS
- Jay-Z vs. RapGenius.com: Who's Better at Decoding Jay-Z's Lyrics?
- Lupe Fiasco's "Words I Never Said" Music Video
- Virginia's Finest: Intalek Interview
- "Well I Guess, This Is My Dissertation" - Notes on Graduation
- "Well I guess, this is my dissertation"- Graduation: Decoded
- Fabolous "I'm Raw": A Close Reading
- Dre - Is Detox coming?
- Lil B "Charlie Sheen" music video breakdown
- Fabolous SOUL Tape
- RAP GENIUS EXCLUSIVE: Nicki Minaj's Titty
- Hip Hop & Islam: The Sacred Nexus
- Hell: The Sequel
- Rap Genius on German MTV!
- RIP Macho Mane - Wrestler, Rapper, Baller
- "Don't Wanna Go Home" lyrics – Jason DeRulo
- Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: ALL the lyrics to EVERY song decoded
- Drake, Thank Me Later: ALL the lyrics to EVERY song explained
- "Empire State of Mind" video breakdown
- "Yonkers" Video Breakdown
- Lil Wayne Explains Lil Wayne
- Psychiatrist Advises Degenerate Geniuses to "Check Your Head"
- StereoIQ Lines of the Week: July 30-August 7
- Osama Got Popped..
- DIY: Turning the RG shirt into an RG Lady-Tee
- ALL the lyrics to Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" Explained
- RIP Biggie Smalls (the Rap Genius)
- Congressman Tweets Dickpic: Inspired by Kanye? Or Mannie Fresh? Who knows?
- Woman's work: transporting drugs for rappers
- Thank You Bouillabased God
- Rap Genius of the Month: Don Trip
- Hip-hop Superbowl: Black and Yellow vs Green and Yellow
- Jay-Z on Biting Biggie's Rhymes
- Pusha's "Fear of God" Mixtape: Don't Be Scurred
- Eminem, Recovery: ALL the lyrics to EVERY song explained!
- All of the Lights: Seizure-tastic
- V-Nasty Saying The "N-Word"
- Cole Summer Saga Continues..
- Interview with producer and OFWGKTA affiliate BrandenBeatBoy
- I Love Hip-hop, But...Part I
- Rappers: Suckered by Obama's Charm, Just Like the Rest of Us...
- big boi exclusive: new outkast next?
- Eminem vs. Weezy: Who's the King of these rude, ludicrous, lucrative lyrics?
- Lil Wayne and Birdman's Notorious K.I.S.S.
- Was Slug the O.G. Drake?
- The 5 degrees of decadence in "Fashion Rap"
- Either Kanye and Ghostface both sleep head to toe with their respective cousins, or Kanye is biting
- "Get it?" Why do rappers explain their own lines in the Age of Rap Genius?
- Roots, How I Got Over: ALL the lyrics to EVERY song explained!
- RIP Big Pun
- Rap Genius University: Rhyme Types
- Lulu's son shine: What is Jay-Z talking about in "A Star is Born"?
- Jay-Z, Eminem, and "Renegade": Who Killed Whom?
- Woman sleeps with Nas, Jay-Z, and Allen Iverson; reveals penis secrets
- "I Got More at Stake Than Philly": Reasonable Doubt decoded
- "Can't Knock The Hustle": How Jay-Z Came Up on Ace of Spades
- The Top Ten Verses of 2011
- Introducing RapMetrics™: The Birth of Statistical Analysis of Rap Lyrics
- Rap Genius Interview: Adam Bradley, editor of the Yale Anthology of Rap
- The Game R.E.D. Album Preview
- Wale Attention Deficit: DECODED
- Lil Wayne on Roman's Revenge 2.0: Only One Verse?
- Poll: What are the best "fuck songs" / "love songs" in rap music?
- Wiz & Amber sitting in a tree.. T - A - T - T - O - O - I -N -G
- "Words I Never Said": Lupe Fiasco's Anthem for the Egyptian Revolution?
- ALL of the "All of the Lights"
- Tat My Name On You So I Know It's Real
- Carter IV Preview: Lil Wayne rolling with a cougar
- 420 NEWS: Kid Cudi quits quitting weed
- Lil B album to be called "I'm Gay"
- Hipster Girl Raps "Look At Me Now"
- Prodigy's Book: The Anti-Decoded
- Lupe Fiasco's Long-Awaited Lasers...Cover Art
- Thurnis Haley: Really Into Golf
- Tyler Arrested In L.A.
- Tyler the Creator & Odd Future on Tim Westwood
- Goblin L.A. Concert
- Lil Wayne Carter IV Release Date
- Big K.R.I.T. booed at Highline Ballroom
- Odd Future Is The New Beatles
- "Dreams Money Can Buy" by Drake
- "Return Of Simba" by J. Cole
- FREESTYLE BATTLE: Lupe Fiasco vs. Bill O'Reilly
- Annals of the Rap Orientalist: Talk of Money in Rap
- "Acura Integurl" by Frank Ocean
- "She Wanna Have My Baby" by The Game
- Kendrick Lamar "Hiii Power" Music Video Breakdown
- "Marvins Room" by Drake
- "Everywhere I Go" by 2Pac
- "Tree" - Kid Cudi & Wiz Khalifa
- "Loud Noises" by Bad Meets Evil
- 2Pac on Intellectual Property
- "Ronald Reagan Era" by Kendrick Lamar
- Detox - July 26 Release Date?
- Lil Wayne: "Dear Anne" Lyrics Explicado..
- "Her Room" by Teyana Taylor
- Interview - Indie Artist "b.a.sick"
- Obama sings "Let's Stay Together"
- MO Purp please! New music from Alex Wiley, Kembe X and Chance the Rapper
- Hip Hop's Hero's Hubris?: RG Introduces Asaad
- Lupe Fiasco (and Big Sean) - "Wait for Me"
- Drake Interview
- Lyrics to Tyga's Well Done 2 Mixtape
- Norwegian Mass Murderer Hates Hip-hop
- The Bullitts X Jay Electronica MOOVIE
- "I'm On One" lyrics – Tyga
- "Oh My Remix" lyrics – DJ Drama
- Odd Future in Germany
- MeLo-X = Sade + The Weeknd
- J Cole Breaks Down His Album Title
- Soulja Boy: The Movie (Trailer)
- "Trouble on My Mind" lyrics – Pusha T
- Artist in Residence: Black Cobain says farewell
- "I'm On One Freestyle" lyrics – Chamillionaire
- What's Wrong With John Galliano?
- Tyler The Creator Bonds With Tim Westwood
- Oh Mercy Me: New Music & An Artist to Watch
- "Uncle Otis" lyrics – The Game
- Consequence's "Pusha T Diss"
- Frank Ocean on "Watch The Throne".. Good Move? Bad Move?
- Rap Genius Reviews Dreams and Nightmares
- Jetlifer SinnersRemorse Reviews Curren$y's Priest Andretti
- Nardwuar Interviews Casey Veggies
- MJ Faded Way: Perfect
- Big Sean Arrested
- Artist in Residence: Black Cobain spits a fire freestyle
- Wiz Khalifa x Curren$y x Big Sean = STONER MIXTAPE OF THE CENTURY
- Cam'ron Threatens iTunes
- Black Hippy Interview
- Watch The Throne (Snippets)
- Birdman Forbes Interview
- NEW MUSIC: "Hotel" by NRK (Nobody Really Knows)
- Watch The Based
- In the Zone: Jay-Z and Kanye West Live at Bank Atlantic Center
- EARL IS FREE!
- Rap Genius Editor Teaches Kreayshawn Makeup Techniques
- INSIDE GAME: The Making of Martians vs Goblins
- Rap Genius of the Month: Touré
- Kreayshawn's Ballinest Fan? Drake
- A$AP FERGENSTEIN: on the origins of "A$AP"
- "Watch The Throne" Preview
- Ambition 2: BEHIND THE SCENES
- J Cole on How Jay-Z REALLY Feels About "Cole World: A Sideline Story"
- Game's track-by-track breakdown of the Red Album
- Jay-Z 101 at Georgetown University
- Young Dr. Dre on TV!
- Drake care...
- Lil B's "I'm Gay"
- #Ambition (cover)
- Freddie Gibbs: Cold Day In Hell Cover
- BEEF: Fox News vs. Jon Stewart (& Common)
- Young Jeezy's TM103: Hustlerz Ambition Review
- Siri vs Biggie
- Bad Meets Evil on Fuse TV at Bonnaroo
- IT'S OFFICIAL: Cyhi is an Otis Fan
- N***AWATCH 2011: V-Nasty Calls A Black Man "N***a" In A Fight
- Mac Miller "Blue Slide Park" Tracklist
- Q: what will be this year's MOST MEME Halloween costume?
- MMG loves lyrics just like RG
- RUH ROH: Tyler the Creator Arrested (Again)
- NEW VIDEO: Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad"
- RG RANCH SXSW RECAP (part 2)
- Introducing the Rap Genius Artist in Residence: The Black Cobain Experience
- 13 YEAR OLD KENDRICK LAMAR WISHES HE HAD RAP GENIUS
- TDE on Tour & Too funny
- Southern Boys Collide: Big KRIT & Yelawolf collaboration coming soon
- Rap Hoods - Hampton Roads, Virginia
- Big K.R.I.T. goes live from the underground and gets verified with RapGenius
- Lupe is a rap god but also human
- ras kass keeps it raw
- What is Wayne? The Artist Lives
- New Freshness: Urbana Poppin' Champaign (UPC)
- Ab-Soul Drawing Contest on Rap Genius?!
- Monday Morning with the BRKF$T Club
- Rhyme Spotters: Twinkies
- RIP KING CAPITAL STEEZ
- Artist in Residence: The Confessional, Day One
- Common talks LUV on Rap Genius - Live Ustream!
- first ever freestyled verified explanation (don't ask me how)
- Lupe Fiasco Exclusive world premiere: breaking down "bitch bad"
- Ras Kass Behind the Lines with Rap Genius
- Behind the Bars with RiFF RaFF, part 1
- Behind the Bars with Riff Raff, part 2 (prepare to be enlightened)
- Does Bruno Mars have a space in hip hop?
- Slaughterhouse tells RG what they really think about Black Hippy
- LUPE FIASCO EXCLUSIVE world premiere: Explore Lamborghini Angels
- LUPE IS HERE
- BIG BOI NOW VERIFIED ON RG!
- EXCLUSIVE Lyrics and More From Skyzoo's New *A Dream Deferred* -- UPDATED!!
- What Does Common Think About Rap Genius?
- 2012 BET Cyphers Lyrics: Who spit fire?
- Grand Theft Audio: The Music of San Andreas
- The Importance of Music Education
- big boi RG fan contest: are you big's rap genius?
- Celebrating Common: 20 years of verified explanations, pt. 1
- MEEK MILL EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: Maybach curtains
- Ne-Yo is Now verified!
- Dreadlocks. Rasta?
- Blog fam Interview: AFH - Kendrick Lamar "GRIT"
- Celebrating Common: 20 years of verified explanations, pt. 2
- Verified Artist Lushlife is hosting an RG COmpetition
- Joey Bada$$ new single "Unorthodox"
- RANCH RECAP: RG at SXSW part 1
- Rap Genius x BET: Video Breakdown of Stalley's "Fountain of Youth"
- The Fine Art of the Name Drop: From Pac to R.A.
- News Genius Lines of the Week, 05/03/2013
- Kush and Corinthians: Religious Contradictions in Hip Hop
- The Honors English Rap Genius Challenge - CONTEST RULES
- News Genius Quotes of the Week, 05/10/2013
- Skylar Grey x RG x Gigg "Final Warning" Verse Contest
- Young and Beautiful: The Anomaly That is Lana Del Rey
- News Genius Quotes of the Week, 05/17/2013
- The 7 Stages of Yeezus: From "Through the Wire" to "I Am a God"
- "Jimmy's Back": A Documentary about Mass Incarceration by Dice Raw
- Why Kanye Chose No Album Artwork
- Top 10 Whistleblowers
- Wale Contest: Unlock the Meaning Behind The Gifted Lyrics and Win!
- Artist in Residence: Making of "The Recipe" freestyle w/ Black Cobain
- Honors English Lyrics Challenge Coming Soon - Sneak Peak
- TV Night at Cam's
In literature, one who has hubris is commonly known to have an excessive amount of pride and a blatant bit of arrogance, though respected for his will to challenge Greek gods. In the hip-hop world of blatant egos and hidden imperfections, Asaad comes off as a Shakespearean protagonist. But this time, the predictable tragedy is more like the predictable victory. Self-described and semi-autobiographic in his solo track “Dirty White Leathers”, the Philly-bredren found his lyrics a home at Rap Genius due to his uncanny references, visually-provoking stories, and catchy phrases. With two Grammy-nominated mentors like Black Thought from The Roots and Bink! the producer, his possibilities in both fields are more than promising.
Included in a line-up of some of the most promising emcees today, Dirty Middle Class Mixtape will feature Asaad along with Mac Miller, Casey Veggies, Gilbere Forte, and more. Peep the animated interview below to get a taste of the next leading role in this hip-hop saga.
THE TRUE SIMBA
[RG:] So, “Asaad” in Arabic, (as you may know,) means “lion.” So would you say that this describes you in any way?
[A:] Oh, hell yeah! But um… first, my name means “Young Lion” or “The Happy Lion.” Asaad isn’t just some name I just chose, it’s my birth given name. And that really represents me. I am the young lion, I am the happy person. You fuck with me wrong, I will snap. You know? Just like a lion would.
[RG:] And also in your bio, it says that you’re like a “peaceful warrior in the battle for individuality and fun.” So that kind of made me think of Drake’s lyric where he says:
[A:] Oh see, here’s the difference. I’m from the hood. Like, straight up; broken homes, low income circumstances. When I say I’m peaceful, I say that because every contribution I’ve made from my community to my family has been positive. Now in terms of individuality, when you grow up in these situations, there are people that assimilate. Not just the men that want to be thugs, there’s the women—with their hair, with the way that they like their men, the drug dealers, the glorification of all of these wrong doings—then when you have someone that’s positive it’s like, you don’t get no love. So I was kind of outcasted and that’s how I understand individuality, and that’s why I fight because I know, just like that was me in the hood, there’s a lot more of these kids in every hood. Or, even in the suburbs that can relate to me you know?
[A:] I actually like that [Drake lyric] because that’s like a reply right there, but it shuts down all of them. Battling is kind of a part of the essence of this music. But the new wave of people are kinda over it because people usually beefing over stupid shit. But when somebody wants to talk some shit, when I see them in person, I’m gonna say something to them. But im not gonna diss them on a song cause that’ll be backwards, you know?
[RG:] Right. And your father was a songwriter for the Philadelphia International Records right?
[A:] Oh, nah, he was a producer. [M]y father, when I was born, my room was in the studio. [H]e left to move to LA when I was 6 years old, and shit, after the point, I hadn’t seen him. So as any kid, you glorify your father. I had turned 12, and I still hadn’t seen him but I knew music would one day be my ticket to get to him. And fast forward now—I’m 20 years old and I’m back with my father. So music was the ticket. You know, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. My father is the core source of inspiration for me starting it, even up until now.
50 WAYS TO KILL A RAPPER
[RG:] It says that when you first started, you described your music as “stereotypical hood music.” What is stereotypical hood music to you?
[A:] Hood music is—you got the HK, you got the AK, you got the the 45, you got the Desert Eagle, and you’re gonna shoot somebody. You’re gonna shoot them in their face, and that’s all I knew because that’s what I was around. I didn’t shoot anybody so that’s why, eventually, I started to bring out my character.
[RG:] You have to find out what it is that you really want to speak about.
[A:] Exactly. It’s trial and error. It’s coming of age. And people don’t understand. This is why gangsta rap is so big, because it’s easy. It’s so many different ways to kill somebody (laughs). You know, that’s why it almost became a crutch and it wasn’t boring. And it was like, I don’t want to kill nobody.
[RG:] I know you cited Common as most influential to your rap career, and Nas is like that to me. So what is it about Common that drew you so much into him?
[A:] You know, I was in the hood. So the Roc-A-Fella era—these were all that mattered—State Property, I love them still to this day, now they’re my friends, but there was no one that talked to me, no one that spoke to me. And it was the lyrics:
And when I heard that I was just like ‘Damn, you can talk about loving somebody?’ you know? Because before you couldn’t talk about loving your mama unless you were Pac, but you still had to diss your dad. When I heard that, it showed vulnerability and that just— Resurrection changed my life.
U DON’T KNOW
[RG:] So you’re currently working on an LP and an EP?
[A:] Yeah, I’m working on A LOT (laughs). The mixtape we’re working on with my best friend Troy. That’s just like a collective of just everybody. Me, Casey, Rich Hil, Mac Miller—all of the young guys I’m friends with—Troy, and we’re basically taking all of the tracks and making a mixtape called Dirty Middle Class.
And the EP is titled 6. It’s a six-song EP; one feature. The EP 6 is really reflective. [M]y father left me when I was 6 yrs old [and] we went and got a [recording] studio apartment and the apartment number was 6. Six colors all combined, you get black. I’ve been wearing black everyday for the last 2 years. And it represents my state of being and my state of expressing myself. So 6 is like the most important thing right now.
[RG:] Through exchange, I know you’ve been busy with meetings, trying to solidify a few things for the future, [so] if you were offered a deal today, what is the most important detail you’re looking for when it comes to that?
[A:] Number one is comfortability I think. At this point we’ve got a few offers, but it’s nothing like—I’m not satisfied at this point. Really essential to me is number one—my control over shit. Because you know, these mofuckers will take your whole shit. And um, the other half of number one is the numbers got to be right (laughs). They tryin to get they ones, I’m tryin to get them M’s. I still got work to do. At the end of the day, shit, I can make a great body of work with 10 dollars, you know, I don’t need 10Million, but shit I would like to have 10 million.
DIRTY WHITE LEATHERS
[RG:] So we’re gonna talk a bit about the lyrics of Dirty White Leathers now.
[A:] That song. The true bare-meaning of the song is kind of of-age. I was inspired to write it. I was walking down the street and I was wearing my varsity jacket and I was like ‘damn, I got to take this jacket to the cleaners’ because the Italian lambskin leather was dirty white at this point. And I was like damn, what if our skin was leather, like an animal, and we never got to clean it? Like, all the scars that we have, we could never manage them, we couldn’t get them fixed. How would we be? Would we judge each other differently? So that was really like a timeline of my maturity.
[RG:] So when I first heard it I was like ‘wait, who is this? Talking about hero’s hubris and et tu brutus?’ I think it’s those kind of references that really pull people in. It’s like ‘wow, he’s really rapping about something different here.'
[A:] The day I played this song for Ammo [his manager], I told him about the Shakespeare reference, the Tribe Called Quest reference, the John Lennon reference… the Prince references, and he said ‘I don’t think no one’s gonna pick that up’ and since you said that, it makes me feel good because (directs comments to Ammo) she just said everything. She just pointed all that shit out. (Directs to me) Yo, you really are representing Rap Genius, yo.
A: Those lines were really depicting my dichotomy of how I live. Like, I have a Tupac moxxy like I stated earlier, like I’m not to be fucked with. If someone fucks with me, I’m gonna snap. I’m gonna look at it like I’m a real nigga. I have a working class hero’s hubris but like… I’m tired. I’m tired like a working man, but I live—like, I’m wild like a Tupac. And on top of all of these contributions I’m giving, it’s like, the world’s on my shoulders. And it’s like DAMN, you too? Like, Damn, can I breathe? Can I live? Like Jay-Z’s “Can I live.” And that was my way of saying to the world ‘When somebody’s fighting for you, don’t beat them down.’ Like, you don’t have to fight with them, just respect them.
EVERY 23 NEEDS A PHIL JACKSON
At the tender age of one, I go the test of my life
Poppa set the chopper to my left, Quran to my right
Looked down at the gun, and looked him in his eyes
Picked up the Good Book, he picked me up and start to cry
[A:] That was a big thing, but my father is a deep person. He was testing my wisdom at one years old to see how I would end up. You know, it was just different. There was a series of tests. I always get tested by him.
[RG:] Man, let me tell you, my father is Muslim too and I get the same thing.
[A:] Yeah, you know how that is—you gotta come correct when it come to your father
[RG:] Yeah man
[A:] My father likes the song by the way. He called me, he was like, you he heard the song on his own. So you know, that was cool for my pops to hear the song and he was like ‘you need to rap about me more’ (laughs)
[A:] I feel like raising my child in N-Y is like a dream, a goal of mine. I’ll raise my son in New York so he’ll know the ways of the world, first hand. But my daughter, on the other hand, you know, it’s like yin and yang. I want my daughter to stay innocent and pure. Like any father, you know, it’s just that honest emotion. Sometimes you care about people so much you don’t want them to know the ills of the world.
[RG:] Also, in the song you make reference to your girlfriend. And I was like ‘wow’, cause a lot of guys don’t mention their girls. But, girls love when rappers talk about their girlfriends even though they want to replace them. It brings a realness into it. They have care for someone more than just the hoes up in the club.
[A:] Exactly: That’s a common mistake that rappers make, you know? It’s like, mothafuka, you act like bionic man, you know? You smoke a thousand blunts, you fuck a thousand hoes, and then when someone sees you and wants to get your autograph, you’re like ‘I’m human’… NO! Don’t say that shit now! You know? That’s what Common showed me. Common showed me vulnerability. You can show that you’re a man. And I still talk about having sex with other girls just because it’s just that exciting. It always excites guys. Every guy just wants to have sex with a bad girl. I don’t have a problem with gay people or nothing, you know, I don’t dislike them, but I just don’t understand them. Because it’s so many pretty motherfuckin girls in this world it’s like, ‘Why don’t you want to fuck em?’ You know what I’m saying? Like, are you crazy? Did you see that a-?
[A:] Another thing, aesthetic that I want to bring back to music— these guys aint talkin about stories. You don’t have no stories. It’s like.. I remember listening to a Ghostface song was better than reading a book to me. And now it’s just like, what? Ok, I’m having fun, but.. you know—what about when I’m not in the club? Like what about when I’m not smoking? You know what I mean?
[RG:] Exactly. Like, that’s how I got addicted to Nas. Like, Im a Nas STAN. And I think its cause when I first heard “Rewind” where he tells a story backwards
[A:] And that’s another person that helped me out because It Was Written is a crazy ass body of work, you know, even from the personification of the gun in “I Gave You Power” which is fuckin crazy, you know? And I’m taking those references and I’m using them to this day.
FAVORITE RAP LINE OF LAST YEAR was Swizz Beats. He said:
My life crazy, like Obama!
That’s my favorite line. Because I relate so much. Cause like, Obamas life has got to be crazy. That’s the first black president EVER. Like, you’re in history of humanity!
FAVORITE SONG TO LAY IT DOWN FOR LOVE was Common,
So Far To Go
Definitely. Common featuring D’angelo.
FAVORITE SONG TO SERENADE A HO Oh to seduce a chick? Oh?
International Players Anthem. UGK featuring Outkast.
Oh man, you make a girl feel special you play that for her. Cause it’s all about Andre getting married, then you got UGK talkin’bout mackin’ hoes and Big Boi talking about divorcing a chick, and then fuckin Bun B telling you how to run game. It’s like the perfect fuckin clash.
FAVORITE GO-TO SONG TO VIOLATE. Oh, FLAKA! Aw, man.
the whole Lebron Flocka James Volume 2 Mixtape.
If I had to say two songs— I got to go with two songs. I would say “Uh Huh” and I would say “SHAWTY I’m FLEXING!” Flexing is my shit. But “Uh Huh is my favorite one. He got the best quotable for me. He said “I got three jobs— Stunting, Stunting, Stunting, Stunting” (Laughs) He said it FOUR times!
FAVORITE GO-TO SONG TO CUDDLE UP AND CRY is
Dear Mama by Tupac
Cause that song touches—and I didn’t grow up with my father. So you know, I have bitterness towards him, you know? And when I would do that, I would love my mom, people talk about how they love their mom, they would diss their father. People think it’s just about his mom but it’s about his dad too.
RG: If you could have one thing that could happen today to change your good to better, what would it be?
A: If people.. not just me.. but if all people could tell themselves that good could be better, so more people wouldn’t be satisfied so easily. Because they don’t know that ten years from now, they could’ve been a successful person. There is a whole world out here. Like this is a vast world. And people take this world, I think they take this planet for granted.
I’m just an American kid. I like everything. I love music, I love tv, I love movies, I’m very interest in interior design, and everything. From flowers to everything! I’m interested in it all. I’m just a cultured motherfucker, you know. I’ve mastered the art of being myself.
Written by Jazzi Johnson/Follow as bubbleMAMI on TWITTER