Alphabetical Slaughter: Papoose and the Narcirema Dream [Interview]
A lot has changed for Papoose since we dropped this interview with him back in 2006. The Narcirema Dream, although significantly delayed, was eventually released independently and is available now on iTunes. Please remember this piece is from our archives and more than 7 years old.
Brooklyn, NY – Originally published May 31, 2006 – Busta Rhymes’ career has recently had a barrage of scandal-like incidents come his way including the shooting death of his bodyguard and a recent incident involving former Source Magazine CEO David Mays. But on the brighter side of things, Busta and his Flipmode cohorts have recently linked with Papoose who is arguably one of the best lyricists on the market. Many will recognize Papoose as the grinder who took the mixtape game by storm (much like 50 Cent did prior to signing with Eminem’s Shady Records). The more mainstream and International crowds would have only been introduced to Pap just recently with Busta’s hit remix “Touch It” which also featured Lloyd Banks, Mary J Blige, Rah Digga, DMX and Missy Elliot. But heads that have been down from time will remember Papoose as far back as Kool G Rap’s 1998 Roots of Evil album. At that point, he was already dropping heat like:
I’m known for holdin’ big shit / The last time I showed the biscuit / I made this dude sweat enough bullets to load a clip with/ When cops drop warrants and try to get me bagged up / All they hear on they walkie-talkies is “I need back up!” – Papoose on Kool G Rap’s Home Sweet Funeral Home [Roots of Evil].
With that being said, it’s clear that Papoose has been working hard and the efforts he has put into the mixtape circuit has spilled over to one of hip-hop’s biggest stars. Flipmode Squad and Busta Rhymes have basically linked with Kay Slay, Papoose, and their Streetsweepers organization, to form one unit. Together they will be looking to secure a Papoose deal that reportedly now carries a price tag of more then a one million-dollars. Either way, Busta Rhymes has already impacted Papoose’s career through the success of the “Touch It (Remix)” and having Busta in Pap’s corner alongside Kay Slay means Pap has an even stronger foundation and authority co-signing his career. HipHopCanada.com was able to catch up with Papoose to discuss his history with Kool G Rap, coming up as a new artist, The Narcirema Dream – his album debut (pending the label deal going through) and various other subjects including hip-hop police, his crew — the Nation of Thugacation and exclusive news on “Alphabetical Slaughter Part 2″. Click the jump to check out the Q&A with Papoose.
Interview conducted by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: Let’s start with some history and bring it back to the DJ Hurricane released the Don’t Sleep compilation where many people got to hear you for the first time. The track was “The Life” featuring Kool G. Rap, yourself, Jinx and Money Mark. How did that situation come about and had you been working under G Rap’s guidance at that time or were you still completely independent?
Papoose: [Laughing] You’re in Canada? Man, ya’ll going way back man…
HipHopCanada: Yeah we like to dig into a little history so people that aren’t familiar can see where you’re coming from.
Papoose: [Still Laughing] Well that situation came through Kool G Rap. Kool G Rap had hooked that up, for us to get on the DJ Hurricane project…. Myself, G Rap and Jinx. Basically, I had a record called Above The Limit… this dude that I know named Tracks… he was doing tracks with G Rap also, and he let G Rap hear it and G Rap’s response was “Yo, get him on my album”. So I came to meet him, we kicked it off good and we did “Home Sweet Funeral Home” for G Rap’s album [Roots of Evil LP, Oct. '98].
HipHopCanada: What was your youth like growing up in Brooklyn? What was the biggest inspiration to want to start rapping?
Papoose: A lot of inspiration… my inspiration was all the struggle. Seeing people not make it… not growing up to become something, just dying in their childhood… seeing all the crackheads and all the failure. I think a lot of people talk about the bad things in the ghettos but they don’t talk about the good things… people like myself who come up out of it. For all the great people in the world, a lot of them are from the ghetto. So, the ghetto has produced a lot of good people and I’d like to shine light on that too. You have to talk about the positive and the negative, know what I mean? That was my influences though… the hard shit man.
HipHopCanada: You got the name Papoose from what your Grandmother called you growing up. What other family influences have you been around musically or molded by as an artist?
Papoose: Just playing our music in the household, you know? When I say “our” I mean us as a people. You know… Soul music, old school…Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and all that… all that was influence. People like to listen to music in my family… and hip-hop as a culture… I was influenced by all my surroundings.
HipHopCanada: Out of all the mixtapes you’ve put out which one is your favorite?
Papoose: Someone else asked me that recently and I can’t answer it. Every time I drop one, people say it’s better then the last one. In my personal opinion, I like all of them the same. Real talk.
HipHopCanada: How would you describe working with Kay Slay?
Papoose: Kay Slay is like a big brother to me man; know what I’m saying? I mean working with Kay Slay… it keeps you on your toes. If you ever analyze him and his situation you’ll see he’s very consistent. Drops more mixtapes then anybody. So it keeps you on your toes and lets you know that you have to be consistent and be on your job because he’s doing stuff all the time… he’s a workaholic.
HipHopCanada: The “Touch It (Remix)” was your biggest push to the forefront to date. Did you feel an impact right away in terms of broader recognition?
Papoose: Hell yeah. I mean, it was already turned up for me because of the DVDs, the magazines and everything, but “Touch It” took it to a whole other level. People really got to see… they always heard my voice, and a lot of people love my music but [with "Touch It"] they really got to put the attitude and face to the voice. “Touch It” helped put the face to voice and it made people feel more welcome and more comfortable to like me because they got to see what I was like.
HipHopCanada: How did you link with Busta & Flipmode?
Papoose: Well I linked up with Busta through umm… [Thinking] He was basically hearing what I was doing through the mixtape circuit… What I did on the mixtape circuit was reaching people like Busta Rhymes. He was feeling what I was doing on the mixtapes so he just reached out to Kay Slay and wanted to get me on the phone. So he got me on a 3-way call and let me know he liked what I was doing and that he wanted me to get on his project. So we came down and did a record that was crazy in the streets… the streets reacted crazy to that. He wanted to invite me on the “Touch It” remix. So I went in and did my thing man and the rest is history.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about the title of your pending album release, The Narcirema Dream and what it means to you.
Papoose: Everyone knows the American dream is to live lavish and have fame and fortune and I consider my struggle for success my struggle for the American dream. So Narcirema is American spelt backwards. So I consider myself a reflection of the American dream. If you look at American in the mirror it comes back as Narcirema… so that’s my artistic outlook on that. As far as features and all that I’m not going to get into it till we closer to the albums release. But, I can let you know some of the things I’m doing right now. Right now, I got the video coming out soon for Kay Slay’s new album. It’s myself featuring Shaquille O’Neal and Bun B… It’s called “You Can’t Stop The Reign”; we just shot the video for that. Joe’s mixtape is coming out soon called Where You At? I’m on there… that’s R&B singer Joe, that’s real crazy, shout out to him. Also, you can catch me on that new M.O.P. coming out on G-Unit. We working right now…
HipHopCanada: What’s the next mixtape you’re dropping?
Papoose: I might drop one more before my album. Right now, Boyz In The Hood just came out… about a week ago.
HipHopCanada: Tell me more about the Nation of Thugacation?
Papoose: Basically, the Nation of Thugacation is an organization, the movement and family that represent the educated thug, and they’re coming strong right behind me. Basically everyone’s coming through together and eventually they’re going to branch off and do their solo projects. Their lyrical content is incredible. If anybody likes me then they’re going to love them… they’re on a whole different plateau then what I’m on. So, they’re coming full-fledged. Look out for that too.
HipHopCanada: You’ve always been very strong and creative with concepts for songs. While some people have pure freestyles and generic rhymes on their tapes, you come with a lot of solid songs that could be considered for as album material. What are you going to do for the album that will separate and elevate you from the mixtapes you’ve put out?
Papoose: Definitely the concept, the idea, the format and body of my album were constructed before I did all my mixtapes, so in the process of the mixtapes I made sure to keep those elements to the side. So it’s definitely a whole other level of creativity. The music is going to speak for itself, pick that album up.
HipHopCanada: Sharades was a crazy concept – What are your views on the hip-hop police? What was the main inspiration behind writing the song?
Papoose: Basically on my journey towards the industry… the closer I got, the more police I was seeing. You know what I mean? And I was really seeing it and it was bugging me the hell out…that you have a special police force for drugs, guns and any other crime but why would you have a police force for hip-hop? Hip-hop is not a crime. And I’ve seen it first hand. I see hip-hop cops at the clubs, at the radio stations… everywhere! My music reflects life and I wanted to make a record about it.
HipHopCanada: You were in Toronto recently – did you have a chance to soak in any aspects of the local scene?
Papoose: Actually I didn’t. I was only there for a couple of days. I did a show and did some radio and then I was out of there so I didn’t get a chance. I’ll definitely be back. I love Toronto.
HipHopCanada: At the end of Alphabetical Slaughter you start to spit from Z to A and Kay Slay cuts you off and tells you to save it for the album. Will there really be a version going all the way back to the letter A?
Papoose: At the end of my album, The Narcirema Dream, get Alphabetical Slaughter Part 2 – Z-A with all different words. If I use the same word twice… I’ll give you a million dollars. [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: Shout-outs? Where can people check for more info on Papoose and the Nation of Thugacation?
Papoose: You can go to PapooseOnline.com if you want to cop any of my mixtapes. If you buy the artwork you get the mixtape free. So PapooseOnline.com is the website. Also, shout-out to Violator Management, Streetsweepers Entertainment, Nation of Thugacation, Flipmode Squad! You know… that’s my whole family right there and we’re coming strong in 2007 and beyond man.
Written by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada
Update (September 2013)
When the interview was originally published, Papoose was riding a huge buzz which would bring out his official studio debut, The Narcirema Dream. However, due to unforeseen delays and label politics, the project was postponed and Papoose eventually parted ways, along with Kay Slay from Jive Records. The album was finally released indepedently on March 26, 2013 – through Honor B4 Money Records and Fontana Records – with guest appearances from Mobb Deep, Erykah Badu, Jim Jones, Jadakiss, Remy Ma, Mavado, DJ Premier and Ron Browz. Producers include Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson, Buckwild, C4, Chemist, Dame Grease, Dan Dilemma, DJ Kay Slay, DJNu, DJ Premier, Heatmakerz, Jay & Certifyd, Ron Browz, Skitzo, StreetRunner and Tie Sticks.
The Narcirema Dream peaked at No. 97 on the Us Billboard 200 and No. 8 on the Top Rap Albums. You can purchase it now on iTunes and at retail music outlets.