The Come Up: Joey Purp Is on a Hot Streak
One of the hottest rappers right now is straight from Chicago's biggest movement. Joey Purp, hailing from the Savemoney camp, is on a roll. The 22-year-old spitta has waited his turn for his solo run for quite some time. He, alongside fellow Savemoney member Kami de Chukwu, formed the excellent duo Leather Corduroys, but now Purp is also focused on his solo endeavors. In 2014, Purp spoke with XXL about figuring out the concept for his new album. Two years later, he finally released iiiDrops and received more praise than not. Joey is starting to distinguish himself from the pack.
"I just do me, man," he shares. "I’m so comfortable in the scene and I’m so comfortable with me right now. I just hit like a little stride as far as I’m comfortable with the project and I’m comfortable with the stuff I want to talk about, with the way I want to rap and the beats I choose. I think that’s the best thing to set anybody apart, finding out what it is so far."
With a fantastic new project already out and a bright future ahead, Joey Purp has arrived. Read up on what he's accomplished and what else he's got planned for the future here.
What did you grow up listening to?
I listening to everything, lots of Wu-Tang, lots of Lil Wayne, Velvet Underground, The Clash, The Specials, like old bands and good ass rap [laughs]. Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers, and the song “Triumph” in particular was the first song I knew as a child. Not like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or some shit. I remember being like three years old being in a kindergarten class talent show and rapping the first verse to “Triumph” and they stopped me because I didn’t know what I was saying [laughs].
How’s it like being in this big rap crew like Savemoney and all your friends, including yourself, are famous?
When I saw the reaction that kids had to the music that my friends were making that I was involved in, when I saw the reaction to the movement I was like, we’re doing something here. I was 18,19 years old.
I was super shy about rapping [at first]. I didn’t want to record because I was scared to fail. I just freestyle with my friends but I was too scared to write some shit and record it because I didn’t want it to be bad and I didn’t want to look like I tried and fucked up. I didn’t want to look silly. But then after I got over that I realize playas fuck up.
What are some of your biggest inspirations when you write?
The main thing that inspires me when I write is the small interactions and the small things that we do that probably go unnoticed. Little things like setting your phone down face up in front of your girl and the feeling that you get, even if you not on some bullshit. A girl might hit you up with “Hey” with hella y's and now you and your girl are arguing and you didn’t even do shit. Also the relationship between races because I’m half black and half white so I never been able to avoid the conversation of race. As soon as people meet me they ask what are you mixed with. Being a kid people just ask what you’re mixed with.
Your sound is pretty different from the rest. How would you describe it?
I would say it’s a little bit of everything and it’s a melting pot of influences. I describe my sound as not specifically having a sound. Track to track I heard different comparisons. For “Photo Booth,” I heard Kanye West comparisons because obviously a Kanye line inspired it essentially. I heard a couple different people. I heard comparison to Lil Herb because we’re coming up in the same time in the same place and we both have an aggressive non-stop rapping style.
Speaking about different, how do you make yourself stand out in a city that produces so many talented rappers?
I just do me, man. I’m so comfortable in the scene and I’m so comfortable with me right now. I just hit like a little stride as far as I’m comfortable with the project and I’m comfortable with the stuff I want to talk about, with the way I want to rap and the beats I choose. I think that’s the best thing to set anybody apart, finding out what it is so far.
You have any goals that you want to hit?
First and foremost I want to positively affect people. I want them to gain something whether it’s understanding or perspective; I want them to leave with more with what they started with. Or maybe they left with fewer barriers, more of themselves than what they started with. Or some people just have that Kobe [Bryant] in them and they want to out score everybody. I definitely rap to show off my handle and my dunking.
IiiDrops was a big moment for you, in a sentence sum up the meaning behind the project?
Probably just growing up and the things that happened to me and the way I utilize it.
One thing you learned so far since you’ve been rapping?
The value in patience and just waiting for things to happen at the right time and not trying to force something to happen at the wrong time
You touched on race being an important inspiration for your writing. Race is such a hot topic right now. How do you have that conversation?
You got to have it unfiltered and you got to make people uncomfortable because that’s the only way to really start the conversation. There’s certain people whose mind you’re not going to change but if we’re in room full of people and I say something that makes everybody uncomfortable, some of those people are going to realize that they are uncomfortable ‘cause they shouldn’t feel that way and it might change how they feel eventually because it may throw the truth at them.
And some people are going to feel so uncomfortable that they are just going to deny it and push it out the way. Those type of people I’m not going to win over; maybe they never been won over. But I think that’s the main way I like to approach it; throw it out there, talk about it, not be afraid to talk about it. Tell people when you feel like there’s a situation that is intense because of race and tell them straight up to their face that like, “Hey, I don’t think this would be going on if I was White.”
What would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?
It’s funny that you said that right after the race questions. One time I said this when I was younger. This is the funny answer, this not the real answer. My biggest strength is I’m mixed, I have the power of both Black and White in me. My weakness is that I still get ashy [laughs]. But, I think my greatest strength is understanding, being able to hear and see things and think of them outside of me. Just think of them like how it would affect me if I wasn’t me or preconditioned to how I am or how it would affect somebody else, actually understanding things rather than just interpretation. My biggest weakness is sometimes I overact or act too fast or blow some shit out of proportion.
Where do you see yourself down the road in your career?
I want to be the next best thing. There’s the best thing right now depending on who you are. If you ask someone what’s the best thing in music right now they’ll say it. I think that’s going to be me next.
Do you feel like you had your standout moment yet?
I don’t think I had it yet. I couldn’t even call it because it seems like everything that we do is better than the last thing,
What’s one random fact about you?
I’m vegan; I think most people don’t know about that.
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