What can people expect from the album?
It’s been a long time coming. A lot of people don’t want to see me shine, man and it’s obvious. A lot of mothafuckas because of what I stand for, what I represent and what I bring to the table. That’s why I always call myself the most feared MC. There’s a lot of stories I could tell where you’d be surprised with some of the people that hated on me. On the other hand, a lot of people support me. I get a lot of love at the same time. The love outweighs the hate, man. The hate is real thick, man. The album is coming. The title of the album is the Nacirema Dream. It’s going to shock a lot of people. I feel like my album is going to make history that’s untouched in hip-hop. I can’t wait to see…I just can’t wait.
Untouched in hip-hop?
Man, I don’t want to let everything out the bag (laughing). But I play some shit for you.
Ideally, when would that drop?
Next year. It’s coming.
We’ve been hearing about Nacirema Dream for a long time now.
This album is my life right here. I’ve been working on this album my entire life, I can honestly say that. “Alphabetical Slaughter” … a lot of my fans enjoyed that record. I was spitting that shit A-Z years before they ever heard it. If I was in a battle and the battle got too thick and I didn’t get the cat out in the first round, I would pull that and the battle would be over. That was always my secret weapon. This album is my life. When I put this album out, people will hear my life on a CD. This shit is a long time coming, so there’s no way this album could fail.
Saigon recently talked about how the numbers didn’t matter as much as finally getting his album out there. Do you think you’ll feel the same?
I just want the album to come out, but my ultimate goal is to reach the population of the world with my thoughts and the knowledge that I got. How I look at the judicial system, how I look at growing up in the ghetto, how I look at society, period. If I could convince, if I could stimulate the minds of people across the world, my job is done because there’s a message in my music. It’s just not random shit I’m spitting out in my songs. If talk about the streets, you’re going to get a solution to that problem. You’re just not going to hear me bragging, glorifying and boasting. I walk you through those steps just to give you the actual experience and feeling, but at the end of the record you’ll hear that message. I teach people different ways of if you ever get incarcerated, how to go into the law library and study your case and perhaps get out of jail. Monopoly, I talk about the economy and that’s an ongoing saga. It’s a continuation with my music. Putting the album out, that’s my goal, but my ultimate goal is reaching the population of the world. I need people to hear my album around the world to be successful.
Do you think people forgot about Papoose and that buzz you had?
No, I don’t think so. I learned a lot about the music business and it’s disappointing because it’s really not what I thought it was. The reason for all my energy, period, is because I thought it was something that it wasn’t. A lot of the fans really move off of hype. They don’t have to necessarily have to like the artist…
Or the music.
Yo! I never knew that shit, man! When I grew up it wasn’t like that. We had the Big Daddy Kane’s, the Kool G. Rap’s. We liked them dudes because of their content and talent and what they brought to the table. I think people just follow hype. You don’t have the core fans that are really into your artistry and like you for you. Everybody else is just there for the hype. When that hype is gone, they gone. They might not even know your capabilities, they might not even know your music. They just riding the fucking wave. I didn’t grow up like that. I didn’t come up like that as far as music concerned; the message in the music is totally different. As far as the music is concerned, a lot of people just ride the hype, man. It’s cool because it pays the bills when they hype for you, but do I think they forgot about Papoose? Nah. Never. I think some of these other artists will be forgotten, but I think they’ll always remember me because I something different to the table. I think the bubblegum music will be forgotten. Them dudes are here today, they’ll be gone tomorrow. You see it all the time. But a lyricist, they still stick. Analyze the game. All the lyricists are the greats. Biggie, Tupac, Nas, Rakim, G. Rap. These dudes will always be remembered. They’re legends. But you don’t remember those bubblegum dudes. There’s no longevity in them.
When it comes to you, we know you’re from Brooklyn and then many details are hazy. Tell us about growing up.
My pops went to work every day. My mother was more or less of a housewife. My pops had one of those hard jobs. I think he worked sanitation. I don’t even want to say sanitation. It’s a job similar to that, but exactly what he did I don’t know. I know he put on a dirty suit every day and went to work, 6:00 in the morning with his eyes out of his head. We lived in a section of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and my moms was on welfare, but she took care of us and did everything she was supposed to do. I grew up in Bed Stuy on Bainbridge. Where I lived at was the borderline between Bed-Stuy and Brownsville. I guess right where those two parts of Brooklyn crossed at, but I live in Bed Stuy. It was hard, man. It was hard growing up. We lived on the first floor, so when there was a shoot out in the middle of the night we had to lay on the floor. Eventually I got into the street and did a lot of things I’m not too proud of, but I was blessed not to get murdered like so many people I grew up with. A lot of people I grew up with, they dead or they not here. I’m talking about my immediate family. My cousin that I grew up got 18 to life right now. He’s fighting his case and I feel in my heart, he’ll get that time back, but there’s a possibility he’ll never come home. Basically the name Papoose was given to me at birth by my grandmother before I could even speak for myself. My name is Papoose, his name is Pappy, so she gave us the same name. We grew up together and he got 18 to life right now.
What was the charge?
Robbery. He got 18 to life and I sat in the courtroom and watched him blow trial to that for that charge.
Was that before Remy?
Yeah, Remy knew him. We used to all be together. He went to jail right before Remy.
Wow, so you sat and watched your cousin go through that and then your wife? You went through it twice. When did that happen?
Yeah, right before Remy. Months apart. We grew up together. Remy was hurt by it. They were real close. We’re all family. They communicate through me. They pass messages to me and I communicate. Don’t spend as much time (on the phone) with him as Remy, but me and him write each other. I go to visit him. I just sent him pictures of my child’s graduation.
The next few summers should be interesting for you. This summer you have your album and if all goes well, you’re music is being heard by all and two summers later you have Remy back.
Yeah, she’s expected summer 2013 and yeah, that’s the way I’m looking at it.
Do you think your experience in the industry gave you a black eye?
Yeeeeah, man. They would shut down my shows. They would stop people while they were coming in. But now, I’m in a different space and I don’t want anything to do with that. I don’t want no problems with none of these rappers. They say one thing and they do another. I ain’t looking for no problems. I’m good. I’m just trying to make my music and feed my family, so the message I put out there is…I always put out a positive message and people know me for that and I’m going to continue. I’m leaning more toward that side. If I just gave you positive, it wouldn’t all be real. If I just gave you negative, it wouldn’t be all real. If I gave you both, that would be the truth and that’s what I try to do with my music. I show them both sides of life, just giving them the truth and how I see the world. Definitely, I want to put the message out there: I’m not beefing with nobody. I’m making good music and I’m trying to feed my family. If you hear me performing, come on down. If you see a Papoose CD, pick it up.