These days it takes more than just lyrical skill to make a name for yourself in Hip-Hop. There are a million emcees with ill verses for days from every corner of the planet. Without some sort of gimmick, a wild west type life style, or a major label backing you, selling records and getting paid to rap can be difficult, to say the least. There are a few things that the foundation of Hip-Hop is built on; communicating with the audience, telling a story, and individuality. What never gets old in Hip-Hop is the truth, and for heads and casual listeners alike what makes an emcee stand out is his ability to be original and honest while giving you something thing fresh to listen to. When it comes to being honest and original, Rhymesayers Records has a few prime examples on their artist roster. Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Blueprint to name a few, including emcee slash producer, P.O.S.
With a strong punk rock back-ground, playing many instruments with the band Building Better Bombs amongst others, also starting Doomtree Records, P.O.S is more than just an emcee.
‘Let it Rattle’ is the first song on P.O.S’s third studio album ‘Never Better’ released on his Minneapolis hometown label Rhymesayers Records. The beat is grimy, dark, urgent and driven, similar to the rest of the record, it is very much reflective of the times. The beat is dark and eerie, with a building drum line, and growing guitar, as Stefon Alexander, also known as P.O.S begins;
“There ain’t nobody to look pretty for fuck it/Let it rattle/Let the clatter kill’em/Let the cataclysm wash/Who really listens?/Precision with verse draws a crowd/I draw a line between an easy melody/ And Piece of mind/ I keep the gain tweaked/Freak the same to its own thing/Spit the plain pain/Econlines for the dime class/It’s a goddamn recession/ Show a little respect”.
JD: This is the recession special. I noticed that you have the word ‘optimist’ tattooed across your
knuckles. What are you doing in these gloomy days and times to stay optimistic?
I don’t do anything to stay optimistic. I try to stay pretty well informed on what’s going on, and I definitely do believe that the recession is as bad if not worse than people say it is. I also know how the media likes to grab onto something and run as hard as they can with it, to keep control of the vote to what ever it is you are talking about at the time. Being aware that things aren’t they way that they are presented to me, makes me empowered. And that makes it easier to be optimistic about pretty much everything.
JD: How is the Midwest Hip Hop scene different from the East and West Coast?
There isn’t a major label within a couple hundred miles. So it's very DYI. And it gives you the freedom to be independent, and not have to answer to a major label or corporation.
JD: What is you favorite and least favorite aspect of touring?
I love playing shows, it's my favorite thing to do. I love performing. Its one of the reasons I got into it in the first place. My least favorite part is missing my family, I love to be at home. It also hard to love a girl if you are always on the road.
JD: Are you doing anything different on this tour than on other tours past?
I’m playing guitar, making beats live on stage and doing an hour and half long set. Mostly solo, some members of Doomtree might come up.
JD: The album artwork is very interactive and creative. What went into making that happen and who was involved?
Pretty much just me and the artist Eric Carlson. He listened to the songs and drew pictures based what he thought the song where representing. Came back with his sketchbook and we just brainstormed, a lot of it has to do with stacking. We just wanted to make it this big composite stack-able mess.
JD: How was filming the ‘Drumroll’ video? Was anybody injured in the making?
P.O.S I got pretty licked up and bruised , and a couple bloody cuts, but nothing worse than an average day of skating. It took us from 6 am till past 8 that night, we did six videos in a week, for ‘Never Better,’ ‘Purexed,’ ‘Optimist,’ ‘Drumroll,’ ‘Goodbye,’ and ‘Let is Rattle’. I worked with one producer, different directors, different actors, crew and location everyday. I thought ‘Goodbye’ was cool, but wanted to package that with the digital deluxe version and I’m not sure what we’ll do with the others just yet.
JD: I read on Rhymesayers.com that ‘Never Better’ was written in a moving car. Were you driving at the time? And what kind of car was it?
Ha ha, naw. I wasn’t driving all the time. It was a 2001 Ford Econoline, and not necessarily the whole thing was written in a car. I tour a lot so the album is talking about that, and when I’m at home I have a kid so I cant blast music late at night. So I drive around in my van, blast music, and when ever I get inspired I pull over and write.
JD: ‘Never Better’ is a very diverse album. What went into making it? What were some of your influences'? And who did you work with on the project?
I worked with Lazerbeak from Doomtree, Anterada and Paper Tiger, they got a beat on there a piece. The biggest inspiration was to make a record that would sound astounding as shit for me and my fans, the idea of making pop jams didn’t even cross the head, it was just a matter of, what do I want to do, how do I want it to sound, I kind of wanted to make something that was kind of repellent, and hard to get into.
JD: Is there any new music we can look out for?
Building Better Bombs should have a record out by the end of the year, Doomtree is starting a record, and I'm just going to keep rapping my ass off all year round.
JD: What does P.O.S stand for these days?
Piece of Shit, Product of Stress, and Product of Society.
Friday, 30 October 2009
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