It’s been nearly half a decade since Papoose announced his debut studio album, The Nacirema Dream. During that time, Pap was signed to Jive Records under his deal reportedly worth $1.5 million that DJ Kay Slay helped orchestrate. His buzz was certainly on our radar, landing #9 on our anticipated albums list of 2007. When we spoke to him back then, he sounded just as determined as he does now. “I aimed for the bull’s-eye on this one. If a person is sick, my album is medicine. If a person is hungry, my album is food. My album is freedom for a person that’s incarcerated.”

The Nacirema Dream was left in album purgatory for a number of years. Although hip-hop heads wanted to rule it out like Dr. Dre’s Detox, the BK spitter promised the delay was worth the wait. There have been several changes (removal of highly anticipated collaborations with Kanye West and Pharrell) to sonically keep the album strictly East Coast, from dense lyricism to rough and gritty beats. Raised on the style of rappers like Big Daddy Kane and Mobb Deep, his album is ready to bring more national attention to the entire 'New York Back' movement.

Papoose stopped by the XXL offices to share with us his thought process behind The Nacirema Dream, due out March 26. We heard the stories behind standout features from Erykah Badu and Mobb Deep, his fun record with his wife Remy Ma, and even hints at another “Alphabetical Slaughter” concept in the making. Read on to learn about Papoose’s breakdown of his most intimate project yet.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)