Nacho Picasso is still asleep when I arrive. “Three more minutes,” he mumbles at me before stumbling back to bed and passing out. His cozy studio apartment in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle is oven-warm, and I make myself comfortable, occupying the only other piece of furniture — a chair.
The space is dominated by a Murphy bed with only a comforter. A little TV stand inches from his bed houses his literature, movies, and remote. Nary a shoebox is in sight, but rows and rows of meticulously ordered pairs of shoes line the floor. I don’t recall the lights being on, but between the open curtains and the glow of “Lord of the Rings” playing on TV, it isn’t dark or creepy. Posters and an original piece of pop art adorn the walls, with pegs for all his hats, half of which are nowhere to be found. Five minutes later, he awakes, yet remains in bed for the entirety of our interview. When I finally leave, over an hour later, he shows no signs of getting up. It’s 5 pm. – Julie J
Q: 2012 was a pretty big year for you. What was the most surreal thing you experienced?
Nacho Picasso: I guess, that show Wedding Band on TBS, I still haven’t seen it but I really just thought all my fans were hella high, and were listening to my music too much, so they started hearing me on TV, when everyone was like, ‘Oh they’re talking about you on Wedding Band.’ Then I got an email from TBS, they’re like, ‘Yo we wrote you in a script.’ So that was pretty surreal. Still haven’t watched the show, but fuck. I heard they gave me a mansion! ‘This is Nacho Picasso’s house’ and it was like a fucking mansion. So yeah, maybe they know something I don’t know. The Forbes was surreal. I gotta be the brokest nigga in history to make it on Forbes, so that’s an accomplishment. And XXL, also, because the cat, my homeboy in New York told me I was on the cover, or not on the cover–not yet–but in the magazine, but he didn’t tell me who was on the cover. So in New York, it came out first, so I woke up and rushed to Barnes and Nobles, and grabbed like the Waka Flocka one, and was like looking all through it, and I was all sad. I was like ‘Nigga you’re high, I’m not in XXL.’ And then, he was like, ‘It’s the one with Rick Ross.’ A few days later, I went and yeah that was pretty crazy.
Yeah I bet. For Black Narcissus: The Prixtape, what was it like not working with Blue Sky Black Death?
Um, working with Blue Sky Black Death, we pretty much have a game plan without even talking. The chemistry is so, like, so strong and we just go in there and it’s kind, the songs kind of make themselves. But, Black Narcissus wasn’t much different, considering Raised Byy Wolves and Eric G recorded my first ever mixtape, Blunt Raps, and we did that at Eric G’s house before he got in 9th Wonder’s council and stuff years ago. So, already had a little chemistry, so it was kind of like going home, and seeing old friends. It felt familiar still. It was different, but it felt familiar, and we did Black Narcissus in two weeks. Eric G was in town for two weeks. He hit me, he was like, ‘Yo let’s do an EP.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah let’s do it like Blunt Raps,’ and we just did a few over nighters. By the time we left town, my end was done. So yeah, I just really wrote my ass off for two weeks straight and gave my fans a little Prixtape.
How has your tone changed from Blunt Raps to now? In your earlier work you sound like you’re happy-go-lucky and high, but then these ones are a little more intense, aggressive.
Yeah I could see that. When I made Blunt Raps, I made it more so for myself, and there wasn’t nothing out like that locally, it just like went against the grain and I wanted to do some fucked up, rude shit. I tried to piss everybody off, but everyone ended up liking it, so it didn’t really work. Then, I feel like, when For The Glory came out, that was when I started feeling more my strengths. More so, coming into myself as like Nacho, you know what I’m saying? So like, my flow, I started patenting my different flows. So like, on Blunt Raps, I switched it up, which a lot of people liked, for every song. I did different cadences, and I like to call it my For The Glory cadence, I did, I still do now on certain songs, the real nonchalant, slow, drugged up, obnoxious Nacho. That’s my For The Glory. I love it. That’s my go-to when I’m really feeling the beat. I just go to my For The Glory flow.
Were you rapping before BAYB, too? What were you doing?
I was doing weird shit. I was more so like a battle rapper growing up, like when those Smack DVD type mothafuckas. I never wrote, but my dad was a poet and shit, I had the ability to write. But, I was like a freestyle… [pauses and snaps fingers] I was really good at rankin’ on people and rapping, so I would just combine the two and hurt everybody’s feelings and I knew I could rap, but I didn’t know how to structure songs. I didn’t understand how to write 16’s and bars, like I had the natural talent, but it was raw, like very raw. And then, I got around the Cloud. Cloud Nice was like the first cats to embrace me. Got around them, and just soaked up a lot in terms of like performing, I had never been on stage, so even once I had realized how to make music, I got on stage and realized that performing is a whole different art in itself. And they just let me soak up a lot, in terms of doing shows and putting together projects, and then from there, I took what I had already kind of acquired naturally and mixed it with like some know-how and then ran with it. Show love to my Cloud Nice cats, they actually helped us even get into this local hip hop scene when nobody was trying to let a nigga in the studio, and they were the first cats to fuck with me so they’re always going to be fam forever.
Are you working on your album right now?
NP: Oh yeah. I was actually working on my album when I started Black Narcissus, but everyone was sweatin’ me because we came out with so many CD’s so soon that fans got a little greedy, and I was like ‘Whoa bro, three in a year is not good enough for you?’ I was like, ‘That’s cool.’ I wanted to take my time with this next BSBD album, and so, that, we did Black Narcissus to tide them over, so expect the new BSBD album the beginning of the year, actually. We’re over halfway into it. We’ll probably do some extra tracks, cut down. So it’s not coming that soon, but we got some tracks, probably start performing a little samples.
Do you have any guests on the album?
NP: Mmm, not so far. I’m not opposed to having guests, even though in four projects I can count everyone that I’ve ever featured probably on my hands, and most of them have been Moors: Thaddeus [David], Jarv [Dee], J Bird, he’s the only person on [Black Narcissus]…a lot of people think that was me on that “Mooronic.”
He sounded like he was trying to mimic your voice.
NP: Yeah! But that’s his regular voice! That’s my little cousin. Our grandmas are sisters, maybe our voices, he flows a little bit like me, he definitely has some blood of the Gods in him. That boy can go. We’re working on his project, too. So, they’ll hear. Next time they hear him, they’ll know. That’s J Bird, Moor Gang. It was good to get him out there. I love that song, it’s so fucking evil. He’ll fit right in.
How does that make you feel that a lot of like up and coming rappers trying to copy you?
NP: I love it. Everyone tries to point and shout. I don’t feel like they’re biting, even if they are. I feel like that’s good because they’ll remember where it started, ‘cause I’ll call you out if I feel like you’re just trying to run with it, but I feel like everyone, the young rappers who changed, I feel like, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to change the scene a little. Not that anything was wrong with the scene, but I wanted to add what we had to bring, and I feel like other kids identified with it, and imitation is a form of flattery, as long as you don’t flatter me too much.
What’s it like being on the other end of the spectrum from Macklemore, with his positive messages and your darker work?
NP: Yeah, it’s kind of weird. Shoutout to Macklemore, you know. Good dude. We have so many aspects of different music right now in Seattle. For a while, it was like a Seattle scene, and that’s what it was. You had to fit that way. And then, it’s like the West Seattle bridge. There’s like extra lanes you can dip in, traffic is flowing. But uh, for some reason my fans and Macklemore’s fans, they try to pit us against each other a lot. Especially my fans. My fans are assholes anyway! Just like me! So I love them to death. There’s no beef between me and Macklemore. Not at all. So, you guys can kill it.
People are really quick to try to make beefs out of nothing.
NP: I mean, just because we’re complete opposites doesn’t mean we that we both don’t have a common respect and a common goal. To bring more attention to Seattle and our scene. So I really can’t say anything bad about anything he does. Everytime I see him doing something, it’s a push for all of us. Next thing I know, I’m going to be on chocolate chip cookie commercials. I already got my own [Nacho Picasso] Dorito chips. I feel like it’s important as an artist to support, or if not even support, to not put anyone else down. It takes a lot, for you to go up on stage, and even if you have four bad songs, that’s eight verses that you took time to write. You still wrote sixteen bars, you still wrote a chorus, you still recorded it, like regardless, you’ve still took the steps. I’ve took, that Macklemore’s took, that Jarv Dee takes, that Sam [Lachow] takes, everyone takes. Every rapper in town takes the same steps. So, I respect it. It takes the same amount of courage to hit the stage, whether you’re good or bad, so I can’t say anything about anybody, especially when I be up on stage, fucking loaded out of my mind. I don’t ever know how I pull it off. Like, how did that go? Sometimes I have to get off stage and ask everybody else, ‘Was that alright?’ I just see lights.
One time I saw you perform, and afterward, you said, ‘I thought I was going to die up there!’
NP: Yeah! That’s why, I get mad when I don’t go on when I’m supposed to go on because I’m not good with free time. I just want to party anyway so I’m just trying to keep my composure for after the show, so if you give me an extra hour, that’s like not the same Nacho that was supposed to go on at 11! Now you’re bringing out Midnight Nacho. That’s not the same nigga, like don’t bring me out at 1. By then I’ll be a fucking werewolf. Put me on early man, don’t give me that much free time. I like to party.
You said that your fans bring you a lot of drugs? What’s your favorite drug?
NP: Ah, drug of choice? For the…that’s what they ask you in the AA meetings.
[Pretends to go around a circle before he is called on]
NP: Drug of choice? Of course, marijuana. I’ve been smoking weed since I was 9. Marijuana goes with everything. I can’t, I don’t do anything without marijuana. But, after that, it matters what’s going on that night. I like hallucinogenics. I like shrooms when I’m not around too many people. I don’t like to change scenery too much, I would like to do shrooms like a real hippie. Like on the beach and shit, or in the woods. I did shrooms at the club, had the worst, I had my first bad trip! I ate an eighth and went to the club and saw hella ex-girlfriends and everybody’s teeth was mixing with their tongues, and they were all, ‘Nacho Nacho!’ and talking to me and their fucking tongues were melting, and I just walked home. I didn’t even say Bye to nobody. Left the club, walked all the way home, got in my house and I was good. But I like ‘em all.
NP: I like Molly. I need, like 12 women off Molly, though. I need 12 women in the morning sober, obviously. Black dynamite.
So you’ve smoked DMT before?
NP: Oh man, let’s not talk about DMT.
You made a whole song about it!
NP: It was a great song! I had some fans, honestly I think some people think they do DMT, and I don’t think they’re really doing DMT. Some people tell me, “Oh it was cool.” I don’t know, bro. I think that might have been salvia or something. Like, cats that really do DMT, they know, you know? It takes you to a different place. I got some friends, and I got like a cousin who did DMT and he doesn’t even smoke cigarettes now. Like, and most the people who’ve really done DMT all experience semi same trips. Like, it’s a real world. Don’t do it unless you’re ready to question life for the rest of it, because you’re going to some place, and it’s a real place, and you ain’t supposed to be there. So, I guess we’ll see anyway. Get hit by a car and have that near death experience, and you’re going to go there anyway. You got DMT in your brain. I wish I could trick myself into thinking that I was dying every day, just go to my little DMT trip, scare the shit out of myself. Oop, DMT! But yeah, it’s a, I don’t even know if I classify that as a drug.
NP: I classify it as a portal. It’s a portal. It takes you there.
So you smoked it once?
NP: And I don’t ever want to do it again.
I really like hearing people’s stories about it. I don’t ever want to try it, though.
NP: Let’s try it. Let’s try it right now, Jules.
Okay, let me call my dealer.
NP: Let me call my DMT dealer from Australia. Yeah. I could probably call someone, ‘Bring some DMT over,’ and I don’t know if it would be DMT. I think these kids aren’t doing the real DMT because they’re not seeing lizards, they’re not seeing no rainbows. I think they’re doing salvia or something.
Have you tried salvia?
NP: Yeah, and hated it! Slobbered on myself, that’s all. And giggled for like three minutes. And I was like like, What the fuck? I think the drooling really pissed me off. It just made me retarded for like a minute and a half, like whoopty woo. That’s what it feels like to have Down Syndrome.
That doesn’t sound very fun.
NP: Nahh, not even. [Pauses] Drugs are bad. Let’s add that in there. All drugs. Except for marijuana. It’s legal in Washington. They need to ban cigarettes, and clear vodka, clear alcohol. Except for Avatar [Darko], let him have his vodka. Keep that shit away from me, man. Give me the cognac, I drink light…it brings the Irish out in me. Next thing I know, I’m banned from venues…
Where have you been banned from?
NP: Ah, formerly nowhere in Seattle. I feel like everyone has been treating me kind of weird lately. Like these last four shows. They’ve been really strict on me, like really strict.
Maybe they just listen to your music so they know what to expect…
NP: Yeah! But they need to relax and let me, it’s harder for me to have an awesome show if you guys don’t let me in my environment, like you know? I don’t know why I got so many rules. And it’s kind of fucked up, because when I go out of town, I get treated like a fuckg king by other cities. They let me do whatever I want. They make it rain weed on me while I’m on stage. They just let me do anything, like we do to out-of-towners. It’s, I get in trouble if I do some shit, but in every show I go to, these muthafuckas from out of town, do everything I want to do and it’s okay for them to do it. I just feel like, people should, just because I’m from the Town, you should give me that same freedom. What, ‘cause you got to see me next week I can’t fucking smash this chair on stage? Like what the fuck, this is Seattle. I should be able to stomp a fucking hole in the fucking stage and everybody should be okay with it, right? What the fuck happened to our scene? Can I break something? If this was the 90’s, I could fucking get a concussion on stage and the show would be great, and I fucking got a limited amount of dick grabs on stage now, I can only grab my nuts like ten times.
NP: No, I made that up. I grab my nuts like every time.
Is it possible for you to perform without taking your shirt off?
NP: I don’t know…it’s kind of like…I want to say Yeah. I have, if I’m not feeling it, I’m not going to take my shirt off. But uh, I’m like, it’s like my secret power kinda. Like my Clark Kent, Superman. When I take my shirt off, I feel just more wild. Like baby Tarzan. Yeah, and whenever I fight, I always take my shirt off, too. Yeah, I’m one of those Shirts Off Bro’s. Get drunk, BROOO, shirts off! I’m just that guy who walks through the party with his shirt off. I hate being that guy, but…
No, I think you love it.
NP: I think they love it. They might ask for their money back, at least some of the ladies…man, in SF I took my shirt off, and fucking frat dudes in the crowd took their shirts off, too, like, Yeaaaaah! I was like, ooookay? Shirtless bro’s in the crowd. SF rocked with me, man. I gotta go back there soon. I don’t think I’ve experienced outside of Seattle that kind of love, as I have in SF. They really, I could hear these guys, while I’m over my set, ‘I came for you Nacho!’ My dude threw gangs signs up, for like three songs straight. I don’t know if it was gang signs or sign language, but this muthafucka must have threw up every fuckin’ hood, ever created, just eyes closed. It was like, Yeah, Okay, that guy is feeling it. It was a great show.
Yeah, so you’re working on a project with Avatar, too?
NP: I am. That’s my brodi, man. Like, normally, we’re just like Starsky and Hutch. That’s my fuckin’ bro. Easy to make music with, Av’s actually been rapping way longer than I have, like before I’d even seen a studio, I’d heard Av, growing up, like when he was really young. He had hard copies in the hood. Like, he’s really, for him to be that age, he’s really experienced in the game, and he’s just a smart kid, and he’s a fucking scumbag, and that’s just right up my alley. We call him, whenever we kick it we’re like Snatch. He’s Boris the Blade, the fucking sneaky Russian, and I’m Brad Pitt, because no one ever understands what I’m saying, and I’m always taking my shirt off to fight, so we’re the Mick and Boris the Blade.
Oh man. Do you think that whole project will be way more offensive than anything else you’ve done?
NP: Hopefully! Fuck!
Sometimes I feel your music is intentionally offensive.
NP: Yeah! That was the intention with Blunt Raps! And then I got disappointed because–
Everyone liked it…
NP: Yeah! They weren’t offended as much. So then it was like okay, For The Glory, didn’t offend them that much either. Lord Of The Fly was pretty offensive. “On A Bitch,” that was a joke song at first, like, let’s go overboard, if somebody isn’t offended by “On A Bitch,” then…they loved it. It was like my sister’s favorite song. And I should have called it “On A Cunt,” because nobody likes the word ‘cunt.’ That’s the new ‘bitch. But yeah, they more so understand my humor, so if I was like dead serious and I was like, ‘All women are bitches, all women are cunts,’ I don’t think it would have the same effect as I’m just playing around. Everyone knows I love women. If there weren’t no women, I would have a fuckin’ castaway beard and probably run around snapping men’s necks. I would probably wear like bearskin clothes, like the Moor Gang would be like a Mad Max tribe. Women keep us sane. I’m just having fun with the ladies, and they get it. They ratchet as hell, anyway, they like that shit, know all the words. We’re playing, you know? So it’s all love. They get me, they get my sense of humor.
Even if you said you hated all women, I don’t think anyone would believe you.
NP: Yeah. I hate all women! I’m going to stay in my room and jack off. No…I love women. I was raised by women. I grew up in an environment, around single mothers. My whole apartment complex. My grandma, my mom, my sister, like I love women. Yeah you guys can be cunts sometimes, who can’t? And most niggas ain’t shit. Okay, we agree on it. Let’s keep racking.
Is your sister your only sibling?
NP: Yeah, technically, my only blood sibling. Besides Moor Gang. Because we’re definitely like a family. Like if we weren’t doing music, we would still be supporting each other. My sister is my mom, you know? She thinks she’s the boss. She’s who I call when I got problems and shit. That’s my little buddy. That’s little Nacho. She gets kicked out of my shows, too! She got kicked out of Block Party but then they let her back in, security was like, ‘Man, your sister’s crazy!’ She thinks they’re her shows. Like there’s this one when she’s on stage when I’m rapping, she’s drunk or something, she doesn’t have a microphone in her hand, but she’s rapping into her mic, her invisible mic, word for word, then she’s putting her invisible mic into the crowd, like, I think she thinks that it’s her show, every time. She tries to outdo me. All those, we’re all just a bigass family. We’re like Oliver Twist, just a whole bunch of orphans running around, stealing apples and oranges.
So I heard you Deniro Farrar are like brothers from another mother?
NP: That’s my nigga! He is a down South Nacho Picasso. In the rights that we think, when I’m around him, we think the same. When me and Av team up, it’s like Starsky and Hutch, it’s almost the same with Deniro, like we made a friendship, we bonded over music.
How did you meet him?
NP: He contacted BSBD for a feature for a while ago, he was already buzzing and already doing his own thing, Fader loves him, he got his own little shit going on. He contacted us, we did a feature, I didn’t think nothing of it, I heard the song and said this is dope, I’ll do a feature. He calls me up after he gets the song, and we talked for like two hours. We were just relating about trapping, and hood shit, and ratchet shit, and after that, we just kept in contact and we met in Texas. This muthafucka, I’m like, he walks up, the first thing he says is, ‘What shoes did you bring?’ This muthafucka, we go to our rooms just comparing shoes and we both had the Galaxy’s, just stuntin’ on each other. He had a bunch of tattoos. He’s just, yeah, I call him Twin. We look nothing alike. He looks like a dark skin version of me, though. I fuck with the bro, he’s good money. I told him to come out here and we’re going to fuck hella bitches, and gon text me, “I’s married,” and in parenthesis put “in a silly voice.” I said, well, alright, that’s good, because I don’t want you stealing none of my bitches no way. Who the fuck told you to get married? Shoutouts to my brodi though, he’s good money.
Would you ever do a project with him?
NP: Yeah. I mean, you’ve heard the song [“Hold Me Down”] on him and BSBD’s project? It’s been getting a lot of love, like a LOT of it. Like when I heard the song, like we sound pretty good together. I would like to do a little small EP with Deniro, definitely. I’m sure it’s going to happen. I fuck with him so hard, no homo, I fuck with him so hard anyway. I support his projects, he supports mine. And he’s a giant Blue Sky Black Death fan, so I can’t see anyone else producing it other than, and it could be something. That’d be dope to do a track with like him and Av, that’s like, that’s a different, a lot of different kind of cats. I like his voice the most, his voice is killer. It’s like not a typical down South voice. I fuck with it.
Are there any other rappers or artists who you’d like to work with?
NP: I want to do a song with Danny Brown, just because our fans want us to do a song together so bad, and I am a fan of his. I feel like that song could be pretty disrespectful. I’m going to rub somebody the wrong way. But, in terms of features, there’s nobody I wouldn’t like to work with, but I don’t really think about working with anybody either, you know? I like to hog all the songs to myself, nah that’s not the truth, but I just work so fast, that next thing I know, everybody be like, ‘Yo we need features,’ and I’m like ‘No, let’s put it out.’ I hogged it. Like old school Nas. Like nobody was on Nas’ album! And nowadays, some people, they oversaturate with features. You got like 30 niggas on your song, of course you got a good album, you got everybody on your fuckin’ album, it’s more of a compilation, where I just want, I want, if it fits, I’ll do it, but for the part I don’t like seemin’ thirsty and going out and asking niggas for features and shit, and I just kind of do my own shit, and I got a fuckin’ crew of fuckin’ Moor Gang, if I really need a bag to go into. I got like 12 hungry emcees that are just working on their own shit around the clock, so, I feel like it’s more important to keep it in circle, whether it’s Av, Thad, Jarv, Gift Uh Gab, keep it in the circle, why not? These guys are just as good as anybody I know, and they’re fam.
So, what’s your writing process like? I noticed that on For The Glory, you spin songs out of one line from another song?
You have “Rammin,’” then “The Gods Don’t Favor You.”
NP: Sometimes I’ll write the verse, or, and go back and do a chorus–what it is, a lot of lines I feel get overlooked sometimes. If you break, if you were to say some of my verses, four bars at a time, a lot of them would make dope choruses, and vice versa, a lot of, I do a lot of rappy choruses, so a lot of my choruses could be verses if I kept adding on to it, but when I chop an old lyric up and use it, it’s kind of more paying homage to a song that I feel might have got overlooked. And that’s a hot bar, so when they hear that, then when they hear the other song, they’ll say, Ohhhh! It’ll click. Like “Numbnuts.” [Raps] “Numbnuts, The drugs don’t numb much/Niggas bein’ homeless, you can get bumrushed, you say this and that, but you ain’t never done such, if I ever had…” A lot of that was a song on Blunt Raps, like in a verse, so then that’s where the [Raps] “Numbnuts, the drugs don’t numb.” Same with like “The Gods Don’t Favor You.” like, and I think that shits dope. Like, paying homage to an old song AND making a new song out of that.
How do you choose what little movie clips to include?
NP: I’m a movie buff. First and foremost.
What are your favorite movies?
NP: Ninja Turtles, the first one. Don’t judge me by favorite movies! I have good movie taste, but my favorite movies are favorite for some reasons. So, Ninja Turtles, Paid in Full, Snatch, I’m a big, it’s easier for me to say my favorite directors than my favorite movies. [Shuffles through DVDs] Like I’m a huge Guy Ritchie fan, Quentin Tarantino fan, and Spike Lee. Throw in some Oliver Stone and it’s a rap. Of course Scorsese. Those kind of movies, I like cult classics, gangster movies, and foreign films. And I nerd out. I’ll even watch some Japanese animation if nobody’s around. “I be on my anime whore…” It’s hard to watch around other people. I feel like they’re judging. Everyone leaves, I’ll fucking put on that fucking anime and get hella into it like a little kid. I like 80’s movies, and Blacksploitation movies. I wish we could go back, I feel like they had more creative freedom, a lot of those movies are cheesy and not made very good, with like, money-wise. Story-wise even, sometimes. But I feel like, the freedom that they had to express themselves…you can’t kick a cop in a movie, call him a Honky, and bust a brick of coke in his face, like you could in the 70s. So those movies are always fun to watch. I just love movies. I get into them. Harry Potter…
Did you read the books or just watch the movies?
NP: No. Out of order. I was like, ‘Fuck Harry Potter, that’s some little kids shit,’ and I came home from high school one night suuuuper loaded and [my sister’s] passed out in my room, watching Harry Potter, and I didn’t feel like putting no other movie so I pressed play, and ever since then. Like I’ve stood outside with little kids on opening night for Harry Potter, like reeking of marijuana. I saw Harry Potter 4 with some chicks, and there was this old white lady, like white hair, and she was like rubbing on my leg during the movie, and she was like poppin’ it at me the whole movie, she was with like her granddaughter or something, and she was like, ‘They drug you in here?’ I’m like whispering it, ‘You don’t see this old white lady over here poppin’ it at me?’ So yeah.
Who’s your favorite character?
NP: Sirius. He’s my favorite. He was gangster! Right? He was like supposed to be bad, and I like anti heroes, so Rafael is my favorite Ninja Turtle, Wolverine is my favorite X-Men, I like niggas who are bad, not good but not bad. He kind of, for a good guy, he had a dark streak, and he was serious. He wasn’t fucking around.
You weren’t a Voldemort fan?
NP: I loved Voldemort. That’s my dude. He looks like me!
No he doesn’t! He doesn’t have a nose!
NP: Yeah, I guess that…I like him though. I like his swag. I fuck with him. I think Voldemort was the scariest when he had like, in the first one, when he was like not all in his normal form? He was all fucked up and weird within?
Like in the back of that guy’s head?
NP: Yeah! That was fucking weird! But yeah, I fuck with Voldemort, he’s definitely one of the most evil cats ever.
Would you ever use any Harry Potter audio for a song?
NP: Yeah I’m sure there’s some good shit. That little trippy bitch, what’s the little girl, the little blonde girl? She’s always sayin’ some weird ass shit, talking about some shit she can see?
NP: Yeah I’ll sample her. That little bitch had all the dope. Yo the one Harry Potter they were all getting fucked up, drinking that little soda? You know what I’m talking about?
NP: Yeah! That’s syrup. And then, in that same one, that’s the one where Harry Potter popped a Molly. Yeah, no, maybe it was his redhead friend that popped the Molly. They did that little magic spell and he was like, “ughhh,” rubbing on himself and shit? You gotta watch Harry Potter from…a better perspective. They started experimenting with drugs in the last couple ones as they were getting older.
Do you mean when Ron was like dying and stuff?
NP: No, when they were doing, like, I want to say it was one type of weird spell, but it wasn’t supposed to go on him, and he was like rubbing on himself, and he was being like all friendly, and he was talking hella. He was all…watch the last two before the last one. No, maybe like..they split it up, I hate it when they split movies up. It confuses the fuck out of me. Now I just see it as one long ass movie. There’s a lot of weird drug references going on, and little sex references, as they got older. Harry had a thing for the little Asian broad, didn’t he?
Yeah he did.
NP: White guys always get those Asian girls. We got a little off subject there, we got on Harry Potter.
I never would have pegged you for a Harry Potter fan.
NP: Don’t you hear it in my rhymes?
I mean, I do, but…
NP: My little sister was like a fanatic, because she was that era. She was like, when it was coming out, “A new Harry Potter book!” all pumped up. I didn’t even know you knew how to read yet! I was confused. She loved it, so I fuck with Harry Potter, too.
In your music, I don’t know if you have more pop culture references, or historical references.
NP: It’s a combination of both.
Where do you get all your pop culture references?
NP: My head. My head is like a fucking dictionary, like I don’t forget anything, and there’s like a lot going on in there. That’s why I have to write, like even when I don’t record. I have to write. Like, I’m hella into, because if you think about it, pop is history. Pop is going to be, like these, in historical times it was different, it was kings and queens. But now, it’s like pop stars and socialites, and to our kids, that’s going to be, unfortunately, that’s going to be a big part of history. Yeah, it’s sad, but it’s true. So, it’s not too different. Like Cleopatra, and Rihanna. That’s kind of giving Rihanna too much credit, but more so, Marilyn Monroe and Cleopatra. They were both women that kind of did the same thing in different times. Like kings were going to Egypt to fuck with Cleopatra…
Wasn’t she ruling Egypt, though?
NP: Yeah, with her vagina. Just like Marilyn Monroe.
So who are some of your favorite historical figures that you haven’t rapped about?
NP: Ooooh, that I haven’t rapped about? Let’s see. I don’t rap about Shaka Zulu that much, Shaka Zulu is the fucking man, uhh, Caligula, he was a Caesar, he thought, he was the first, first Caesar to believe that he was like a God, so he was taking more like Egypt and values from like Pharaohs. He was the first Pharaoh king of like Romans. That’s why they stabbed his ass up. He started feeling himself too much, and they’re like, ‘c’mon brodi, you’re not a God.’ And his descendent, his friends actually…
NP: Yeah. I think that kind of goes with all Caesars, though. Doesn’t it seem like they all get shanked up by their homies?
NP: Moor Gang better not shank me up.
I hope not.
NP: Going out like Caligula on stage. Moor Gang just comes out, shanks me up. I just love history. I rapped about a lot of my favorites, though. I haven’t rapped about any Native Americans, like, yeah.
NP: Chief Sealth? Nah, I’m not really rapping about Chief Sealth. Like, my little brother raps about Geronimo, but he says ‘Geromino’ in the song. But like, I rapped about my favorites, like Ghangis Khan, he’s my favorite, Alexander the Great, no homo, I like conquerors. William Wallace.
Do you have a favorite time period or culture?
NP: Yeah, I’m into the Greek and Roman and Egyptian cultures, because they seem bigger than life, you know? They seem like a lot more into fantasy, like the lines were blurred. I think they really believed it, but it also seemed kind of comic bookish to me.
Maybe 2000 years later or something…
NP: Yeah, but at the time, that was probably true shit. Egyptians, you always gotta respect them, even though I still don’t know how they did them damn pyramids without the aliens, but just for like the knowledge that they brung. I feel like the knowledge that Egypt, as far as building and mathematical and artwise, combined with like the structure of the Romans, and like Greeks, how they structured their army, like the combination of those two, put those two together.
You mentioned that you’re working on a comic book?
NP: Yeah! I’m trying to figure out how to do this, man.
Make it a series?
NP: I gotta, Imma try a one out, and like put it out for my fans, and then we’ll see how to get it from there. I got an artist, he’s dope, and I got a couple other people just trying to help me structure it, and pool in. It’ll be a very limited series. I’ve always wanted a comic, like my whole life, and now it just kind of gives me that opportunity to make that happen, even if it’s just one comic.
Any story ideas for it?
NP: I want to be in it.
Really? Never would have guessed that.
NP: That’s all I know. We got a couple little stories. I’m not going to put too much out there, it’s still very under the works, but I’m going to be in it! And they shouldn’t have to imagine too hard or over exaggerate with the muscles because…
[Sits up and flexes]
NP: …I’m a living comic book right now. We’re good.
In one of your songs you say that you’re more Detroit Red than Malcolm.
NP: Mhmm. I love Malcolm X The movie and the book, sometimes I’ll turn it off when he goes to jail and it’s like a gangster movie. And then he put that other two hours out, and it’s like, two different movies. Detroit Red and Malcolm X, like so opposite, and for someone to really pull a 180, and it’s so hard for people I know who are built into that way of thinking, your environment molds you. For you to feed yourself so much knowledge that you can really change who you are, that takes a lot. Everybody makes goals, everybody wants to change for the better, but sometimes, things stop you. You’re built into this way of thinking, it’s hard to reprogram yourself. Detroit Red was a motherfucker. I know Detroit Red’s, I see Detroit Red’s all the time. But there’s not many Malcolm X’s. But Detroit Red had the white bitches feeding him eggs, kissing his toes, and bright suits. He was a fucking clown. I seen many Detroit Red’s. We need some more Malcolm X’s.
Yeah. So how many pairs of shoes do you have?
NP: Like 79.
Wow. What’s your favorite?
NP: I love Foamposites. I like those Breast Cancer Foamposites. I can’t wear them a lot because like I always almost have to fight when I wear those. And they’re just so bright. They’re pink. It rubs people the wrong way. I like my Sub Pop Blazers. Those hold a special place in my heart. I feel like they’re my Nirvana shoes. They’re yellow and black. It’s some Seattle shit. I wear those around the town, that’s Town Biz ya know, some 40 year old white guy runs up, ‘Whoa where’d you get those man?’ That’s cooler than some little kid running up, ‘Oh you got the Jordan 11’s!’ Some like old fucking hipster guy just runs up and sees your Sub Pop shoes, and he’s like trying to buy them off your feet. That’s the shit. I think those might be my favorite.
Pretty cool. So who are your favorite authors?
NP: Books wise? RL Stein, Goosebumps.
What about Hunter S Thompson?
NP: I love Hunter S. Thompson! On some drug trippy shit! Lately, I’ve just been reading business, science books. [Rifles through bookshelf] I’m really into 48 Laws of Power, 33 Laws of War, Laws of Seduction–hmm, wink!–I love graphic novels. I don’t like to call them comic books. I love the thick comic books with just a little bit of pictures, I love Frank Miller. I just love to read, man. I like to read American Literature, like the classics.
NP: Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books.
Are you excited for that movie to come out?
NP: Yeah. I don’t even want to see the movie. That preview made my day, with the fucking Kanye and Jay-Z playing, and it just starts off like the book. Oh, show me the preview again. The movie is going to be too good. My head might explode. I can’t remember the lady who wrote The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, but The Outsiders was the first book I ever read, like really read. That and Narnia, CS Lewis and his subliminal Christian ass. Those, Outsiders and Narnia Chronicles were the first two. I used to just fake read in school. I couldn’t pay attention to the pages, so I would just skip through and makes up some shit for book report. and I used to make up authors and do book reports on books that don’t even exist. I just made my own story up. I was a weird kid, but then those were the two books that actually got me into reading, right before middle school, which probably saved my educational career. If it wasn’t for The Outsiders or Narnia, I might have never wanted to read.
Do you like reading more than doing artwork then?
NP: No. I like learning more than anything, but you could learn from so many aspects. I like to go on weird town hall seminar things where they talk about weird dimensions and shit. I’m like the only black dude in there. I just like to get knowledge any way I can. I watch History Channel like its Sportscenter. But art, both my parents were painters, so I love art, I appreciate art as far as painting, charcoals, anything. I can do it all, but I don’t do it because art frustrates me more than anything. Like rap, writers block is nothing compared to me trying to do a painting and messing up on one piece. Like for some reason, I’m emotionally tied to the art, like I will crumble up the paper. I’m too much of a perfectionist when it comes to art.
What was the last thing you did?
NP: A Batman picture. So I didn’t do no art in like the last year, and one day I was just hella high and was like, I want a sketchpad. I went and bought all these art supplies, sketchpad, colored pencils, paints, spent like seventy five bucks on art supplies. Came home, drew half of a picture, ain’t did shit since. So I got all fucking art supplies. But the picture was dope. I still got it. Not like I used to, but it looked like a real good ninth grader drew it. But when I was in ninth grade, I drew like an adult. When I was in elementary, I was always the best in art, but I hid it from my hood friends. ‘Ohhh this nigga drew a picture!’ They thought that shit was weak, I kind of strayed away from it for a while, and when I came back to high school, I was the second or third best. I was like Yo these Asian kids could draw, and it was fucking my head up, and I just didn’t want to do it no more. I still appreciate art, man, I go to galleries, not just for the free drinks, either. I love to go to museums.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
NP: Frank Frazetta, he’s my favorite of like our time, so like he’s the Lord of the Fly and For The Glory. I like that real life comic book that he does. Like over exaggerated, but not like under drawn. You can still like tell he went in, and like, bigger than life, kind of surreal. I like Vincent van Gogh. He was one of the first artists that I identified with in school ‘cause they told us the story of him cutting his ear off and that was like weird as fuck, and then I started looking more into his art, and you could see more of, after they explained to me, what kind of person he was, I could see it in his art. Same with Picasso. Like, Picasso’s not my favorite artist in terms of his style, which is dope because that’s the style he, like maybe my style’s not someone’s favorite rap style, but it’s my style. I’m not imitating anybody, and I see that with Picasso, but more so his lifestyle. Picasso was a playboy. He kicked it.
Is that why you borrowed his name?
NP: Uh yeah, that and I paint a perfect picture in my own right. But um, I’m sure I’m forgetting who my favorite artists are. I would say Frank Frazetta is one of my most favorite, underrated artists, especially because art’s not appreciated in our generation, or the last few generations, as it was in history. Now the internet and all this other shit, graphic design, like not everybody could paint.
Did Frank not have any other paintings you wanted to use for Exalted?
NP: We just wanted to do something else with Exalted. Frank has a lot of paintings that I like. The thing about Frank Frazetta is, he’s kind of like me, like he said he would have a deadline, and the art would be due tomorrow, and he hadn’t even started on it. And he said, one night, he would just stay up and just go in on that one painting, and give it to them in the morning. So he used to do some of these in one night, he used to go in. To the point where some of his paintings, he said he wasn’t content with, but they loved it and those were some of his most famous paintings, and that’s how I am with some of my songs! There are some songs that I can’t stand.
What ones are those?
NP: It’s not that I can’t stand them, I’m not going to say that, but some songs that I don’t like…
You just don’t like as much as others?
NP: Yeah. Everywhere I go, ‘Fight Bill!’ You always hear “Fight Bill” in the crowd. “Fight Bill” and “Luca Brasi” are two of like really popular songs that I, when I go out of town, and then, my favorite songs are never my fans’ favorite songs. It’s always different. I might have a more bond with a song over like maybe something that I said in it, I held it closer to me, or I identify with, and that might not be the biggest hit song on the album. The hit song, I might have thought it was just a filler, and surprise! Everyone likes that song. It surprises you when you put out a project and what songs you think are going to be the ones, and then which songs people actually cling to and identify, and it’s dope when you’re hearing different songs are other people’s favorite songs. It’s one thing to put out a project and everyone to like these four songs, but for everyone to like a different song, that’s when you’ve put a well rounded project out.
What tattoo did you get last weekend?
NP: Oh, it’s a Tex Avery Wolf. Tex Avery is basically one of the forefathers of like American cartoons, like Tom and Jerry, Baby Huey type style, like Golden Ages. And in The Mask, that’s what Stanley Ipkiss used to watch, before he got the mask, he was always watching that wolf, that little horny wolf looking at the ladies. So yeah, I got the horny wolf.
How many tattoos do you have?
NP: I don’t know. I lost track a long time ago. Honestly, like really. I tried to think. The last I counted was thirty, and then, stopped counting. Now it’s just like one giant tattoo. I have three tattoos. I’ll say that. Three giant ones.
What do you think about gun bans?
NP: It goes both ways. I think more so, they need to, I’m scared of them to take away people’s rights to bear arms, because then I’d feel like they can just do some like, I’m paranoid, I think they want to take all guns and…
Are you distrustful of the government?
NP: I’m distrustful of everybody. What if aliens come?
What if they’re immune to guns?
NP: Nobody’s immune to guns. What if like some fuckin’ Red Dawn shit pops off? I think more so before they do the gun control thing, I feel like they, you gotta go through a lot to get a gun anyway.I feel like these shootings, these guys didn’t have their gun permits. A lot of them, you know? One dude who took the gun from his mom. I feel like gun control starts in your house. If you have kids, your kids should not know where your fucking guns are at. Or, even more than gun control, let’s do crazy control. There’s a lot of crazy fucking people walking amongst us, and I feel like people need to do something about the crazies. Can’t let crazies walking around thinking crazy thoughts and one day blow up and blame it on everybody else. Somebody needs to be helping these guys. These people need help. Help the crazies. Let’s round ‘em up and give ‘em some fucking help.
NP: I’m not for random acts of violence. I lost friends that didn’t deserve it, and I’m not for that. I’m also for the amendment to bear arms, but be responsible for them. Be responsible for what you do with those. The guns aren’t to shoot people, they’re to protect yourself. They’re not to start trouble with, they’re not to do some retarded shit just because you ain’t never got no pussy or nobody likes your haircut. I think it starts with the crazies.
There’s a lot of them.
NP: Yeah. Keep the guns away from them. Or fuck, if there’s not going to be no guns, fine, I’m cool with that. I don’t want anyone to have guns, you know? Don’t just take guns from some cats, and then have the motherfuckers who don’t give a fuck, still have guns. So, it’s too much to even wrap your head around. It’s very, very unfortunate what’s been happening lately, and it sickens me to see that shit. But then in the environment that I grew up in, it’s also like, not guns are a necessity, but I can see reasons to have guns, also. It’s a lose-lose in this. You might want to have one and not need it, but you don’t want to need it and not have it.
Okay. Anything else you want to get off your chest? Any closing statements?
NP: Moor Gang, Fang Gang, what it do hooker. Shout out to the whole family, shout out to Blue Sky Black Death, Raised Byy Wolves, Eric G, Cloud Nice, the whole fuckin’ Moor Gang. Check out Gift Uh Gab’s debut project that we dropped Black Friday, Chief’n. Chief already got another one he’s finna drop. Steezie about to drop a new album, finally, that the world’s been waiting on. Cam the Mac about to drop, oh they’re going to be blown away when they finally hear it. We got some surprises. Yeah we’re just loading up. We’re loading all our guns for a shootout. Oh thirteen’s about to be a great year.