“Gold all up in my…” SHUT THE FUCK UP! In my humble opinion, much of commercial rap these days is total garbage. Most of these guys have never sold drugs, lived poor, killed anybody, or pimped out any vulnerable women, but it seems like every one on the market started that way.
Why? Does stringing a bass laden verse together in 4/4 give some sort of carte-blanche to boast and celebrate about the negative things in life? I’m not saying there isn’t a place for it, or that it never happens this way, but when the fuck did it become a pre-requisite to making Hip Hop?
Thankfully, there are still socially conscious, forward thinking revolutionaries out there striving to bring a positive, if not militant, mode of thought to this much-bastardized art form. Minneapolis’ P.O.S. represents the finest of the bunch, and he’s the whole reason we took a week off work and made the 5-hr drive to CMJ in NYC in the first place… Worth every minute!
So, with a bit of patience and a dose of good luck, I got a chance to speak with P.O.S. following his single CMJ showcase at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (backed by Marijuana DeathSquads!) to talk about his health, his clique DOOMTREE, his work with Four Fists ft. Astronautilus, and any upcoming plans for touring in the near future.
G- Hi and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. The trip was totally worth the performance.
P- Yeah man no problem. Thanks for making the trip.
G- It was good stuff, man. What did you think of the show tonight?
P- It was awesome. That was exactly what I was looking for… Just a quick one-off packed full of people who were down to do it, man. Everybody flipped out. It was great!
G- And you’re headed right back to Minnesota tomorrow?
P- No I’m heading to Austin to play Red 7, and then right fter that I’m going to Dallas for one show, too.
G- Alright. Now I gotta ask… How is your health, man?
P- I need a new kidney and I found a donor. I’m going to get a transplant in March and I’m doing dialysis until then. I feel great though.
G- Nice! Very good.
So let’s talk a little bit about the history of DOOMTREE. You guys are rolling like a mob… How did the whole thing come about?
P- It’s all people I went to high school with. Pretty much everyone I knew who was into Hip Hop music at the time or in bands, and then we all just came together and made shit. It’s kinda difficult to, like, quantify at this point. We’re about 10-11 years out.
G- Alright. Now, you’re from Minneapolis… How is the Hip Hop scene, or just the music scene in general? What are your thoughts?
P- The music scene in Minneapolis is humungous! There’s every style of music, there are tons of bands of every style, and there’s a show every night of the week. I’ve never been to a city like it.
If you’re talking about music, it’s the place to be. For real.
G- Cool. Now you’re album We Don’t Even Live Here (go buy it) and particularly the single “Fuck Your Stuff.” (If you don’t believe me, go listen yourself.) It’s the best Hip Hop track of the year as far as I’m concerned. It boasts a very different message from a lot of the stuff that is being promoted commercially. Where did your thought process come from when making that track in the first place, man?
P- It’s just not being so tied to fucking things to make you who you are. A lot of people rely on the things they purchase and how they look to represent who they are, and that’s bullshit. I feel like you’re better than the things you own and the things you show off with, so represent you. Don’t represent your stuff. Fuck your stuff.
G- I’m with that. Now DOOMTREE is a big group with a lot of affiliates. Dessa was in Buffalo a few weeks ago and things are moving…. What is everyone doing, and who should we be looking out for in the near?
P- Check out WWW.DOOMTREE.NET because it has the current schedule of who’s going on. But Sims is always working. Mike is always working. Cecil is working on new shit. I’m working on new shit. It’s Doomtree… Just check out the website. We’re ALWAYS up to something.
G- Dig it. Now, Four Fists with Astronautilus… You had that pre-order going on a little while ago and if you all missed it, no autographed stuff for you. But how did that come about, and what are the plans for the collab?
P- Yeah we’ve been friends since 2004, and we’ve been talking about making music together since then. We’ve both got very busy schedules and it took forever, but we will always work together. It’s going to be an ongoing collaboration.
G- Very good. So, are there any acts you think we should know about or anyone you’re feeling in particular?
P- Cloak Ox, Pony Boy. Aside from Doomtree, there’s Girl Party, Lizzo. Minneapolis is killing it, man… Just check out Minneapolis! (laughs)
G- Definitely Now, I want to get a little bit deeper… Do you have a favorite song you have ever written or one that is most fun to perform, or if you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of P.O.S. before, to try and make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
P- Probably “Lockpicks, Knives, Bricks, and Bats” off of the new record. I feel like I said everything I wanted to say in that song, and it’s exactly how I meant it. Most of the songs get pretty close to what I’m trying to say, and that song I fucking hit it right on the head, as far as what I’m trying to convey.
G- I’m with it. And ever deeper than that, give us 4 albums every fan of POS should own and own in their collection and why.
P- Oh man. I can’t tell you why, but I can give you the albums.
G- That’s cool! Go!
P- Fugazi End Hits, Radiohead OK Computer, probably Minor Threat’s Complete Discography, and Michael Jackson’s Bad (laughs)
G- All good ones and all in my collection, too!
And just one last one for you today… You’re doing it, man.
P- I’m trying.
G- You’re doing what a lot of kids are trying to do and a lot of them are looking up to you because they want to do it, too. Positive thoughts, inspirational music, and working from the heart.
So, in your experience, what advice can you give those who want to make it on the road and make a positive impact on music?
P- Keep doing it. It takes fucking forever. If you think you’re going to be famous next year, you’re wrong. It’s gonna take you ten years to do anything.
Treat it like a day job. Don’t treat it like you’re going to get famous and blow up… Treat it like work. If you treat it like a job and put in the hours and play shows, you’re gonna get good and tune it up. It’ll be tight!
G- I love it! Well look, great set tonight! It was totally worth the trip and the missed week at work. I just want to say thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today.
P- Peace Live High Five, man!
G- Can’t wait for the next show. Travel safe and play hard!