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Percee P: The Lost Interview

Look at Eminem — when I met him he was like, “I’ve heard of you!”. That was a testament to the hard work I put in to make a name for myself.

– Percee P

A few years back I was writing for another blog, doing a bi-weekly column called #DITC. I was, in essence, interviewing artists that I’d looked up, and talking about the state of hip-hop. While working on this wonderful interview I did with the “rhyme inspector” Percee P, I decided to split ways with the site. As a result, this piece was in limbo – until now. See below for my lost interview with Percee P.

It’s dope to see your battle (with Lord Finesse), a piece of hip-hop history, on YouTube. The only thing is that the ice cream truck in the second video.

Yeah, yeah, I didn’t like that either! You know, ice cream trucks are trying to make money, so I guess he saw them people over there, and just pulled up like he didn’t know he was interrupting. I didn’t like it because I felt like I was being drowned out. I just kept going, but it was just like damn! You know what I’m saying?

There’s a quote on a blog that says you’re the “greatest rapper never to get his due. ” What was your experience trying to get on?

I didn’t shop a demo. My whole career, I was never really trying to get a deal or shop to all these labels. I never did that. I never wanted to fall into traps, like all the other sucker artists getting down with labels and getting shelved. Not just getting shelved, but locked into contracts that restrict you from even putting out music. I looked at artists at the time like DMX — I knew him personally, we were down with the same management — who was doing his thing at the time. He put out a record on Columbia, but they didn’t push it as well as they could have. I guess when they put out his debut (on Def Jam) they likely had to buy out his contract, but he was out for years before that, just on pause. So I just didn’t want that happening to me. I’d rather hustle my music on the street. I’d rather do that than be stuck with people that don’t understand me and don’t know how to push me correctly. Labels control artists, and how they come out.

Any label that thinks of themselves as “hip-hop” – I think – should be proud to have even me as a part of their roster. For the fact that I have something that a lot of other artists can’t buy. Even if they have more money, they can’t but the experiences I’ve had in this game. I’ve lived hip-hop. I’ve seen a lot of stuff that people have to read about or look at DVD’s to experience. As it stands all these influencers (labels/investors), really just judge people off of hype and not off of their stripes. Like if people were judged off of their stripes, people like me would be platinum.

What’s your take grinding to build a name/brand independently? Where did you draw your inspiration from?

I grew up in that era when you had to get out there and do you thing — sing/hustle on corners just to get known. So that’s me, and where I’m coming from. But nowadays, with the technology, I don’t need to do all that. I just need the views and hits. The downside is that sometimes people like/watch and download an artist (assuming they have legit views), but the fans don’t know them, or get to know them. When people talked about me, before I moved here (Cali) and even while I was in Cali, they’d say “damn, he’s everywhere”.

It was important to me that people get more than just music. I rock shows and go through the crowd — walking through by myself — taking pictures, answering questions. No one knows your story better than you. Those are the ideals I got from my heroes — the unsung heroes — who weren’t about the videos and all that. It wasn’t about the about the hits and the views or the songs played on the radio. People that were ahead of his their time. Groups like Fearless Four, that’s what inspired me.

But I feel inspired by the new artists of today. People are making money pushing their own thing — blowing up doing this. You don’t need to rely on outside sources to make it happen for you. You can hustle and get die-hard fans to follow you. You don’t have to sell a million to be a millionaire; you know what I’m saying?

Why do you think it’s important for fans to support local/underground hip-hop?

It’s crucial to support the artists, like myself that are still around, trying to preserve what you complain about. Like “damn man they don’t do this anymore, they don’t do that.” When you got cats doing it still, preserve that, by…

Helping support?


How important is that (preserving the culture)to you? What role should artists/labels play?

I think they should make it mandatory to know the culture of hip hop. Do you want a record deal? OK, this is what you got to do. You must learn the culture; learn it so that you can appreciate it more. Understand what they (forefathers of the culture) had to go through to do hip hop.

They didn’t have YouTube like you. You got videos and radio shows to hit up and people online doing blogs about you. They didn’t. Taker a closer look and see what it was like back then in that territory; notice the condition and economic times they were facing. What they had to go through to live, the thoughts they had. They didn’t have the equipment we have now. Pro-tools and things like that weren’t around, so learn what they had to create with and what they did to propel the culture. People didn’t have funding and people believing in them. When they were going through it, it wasn’t even a recognized form of music. Grown folks didn’t know what they (the kids) were doing, making a bunch of noise out in these parks, heating people up. They sacrificed their lives to inspire others, and another generation. I’m one of those kids that were inspired because I felt positive things being done.

The parents might not have understood what was going on in the park, with thousands of people – but it made me say “I wanna become this, I wanna figure this out.” Do it on the mic, go to another project, and then another project. People got tapes of these unknown rappers blaring on box radios. They didn’t even have any records, but they are playing recordings of them rhyming at a park or party or something. You know, that inspired me.

To think, if those labels (back then) pushed and made names of people like Africa Bambata, Disco King Mario, and DJ Pete Jones — who passed away recently. People don’t know about them. You supposed to know who they are, like the way you know Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne. The kids know who they are. Not even just their names. They see a picture, “Oh that’s Lil’ Wayne, that’s Jay-Z”. It’s a crime not to know these people [referring to the architects above].

What do you think needs to be done?

Appreciate people sometimes. Don’t take me for granted like the air, the water, and the trees on the planet. If you can understand what I am trying to say. Most people just take that for granted. We all need the trees, you know, but if all the trees get cut down, everybody dies on the planet. See, I think like that, but people wait until the last minute before they try to divert things that’s happening. You know what I’m saying? Same thing with hip-hop music. Save it. Save it right now. There’s people still on the field, still trying to hold it up. Not holding it down but holding it up. Like yo, I’m still here doing it. I’m still keeping it hip-hop. Even if you think people are not really into (real) hip-hop, I’m still doing it. People say I’m trying to bring hip-hop back, but you know what? I am not bringing anything back because I never left in the first place!

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns