Features I by I 16.09.14

“Stop using rap culture against us”: The definitive Busdriver interview

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What happens when your entire career is attached to the idea of alternative rap or leftfield hip hop? Regan Farquhar probably has a good idea.

The son of Ralph Farquhar, screenwriter for 1985 rap biopic Krush Groove, Regan – or Busdriver as he came to be known – started rapping at an early age, set up his first group at 13, inspired by the Los Angeles riots of 1992, and was inducted into Project Blowed at 16. By the late ’90s, the rapper had been a part of the most important indie rap scene on the West Coast, and had also become involved with electronic and dance music in the area. Together these two things would shape his recording career, which began at the turn of the century. In 15 years he’s released eight albums, collaborating with L.A. and international luminaries like Daddy Kev, DJ Nobody, Daedelus and TTC, and striking up relationships with risk-taking indie labels like Mush, ANTI and Big Dada, who are set to release his latest LP, Perfect Hair, this September.

Despite repeated claims that there is nothing purposefully ‘alternative’ about what he does, the word has plagued him through the years. Just as people want to impart a sort of mysticism to Madlib’s reluctance to play the public eye game, they’ve forced upon Busdriver the necessity to be different. Keen to unpack some of this, I met up with the Angeleno MC on a hot summer afternoon in the trendy neighbourhood of Highland Park to discuss the new album, his extensive career and, in light of recent events in America, the problematic nature of contemporary race debates.

“My career is laden with bad choices – people tell me there are nothing but bad choices and I agree with them.”

Do you think that your induction in Project Blowed and the Good Life Café scene was a case of being in the right place at the right time?

Well, as I’ve found out with the types of music that I’ve been associated with in L.A, they periodically become these hotspots, these epicentres where you get… where the small idea gets momentum and becomes a burgeoning influence. I’ve seen it happen over a few years and when I went to the Good Life that was the first time that I witnessed something that was translating beyond me, that was happening in my local city.

Are there any other grounding, influential movements in the ’90s that were formative for you? I’m thinking about the work you did with Konkrete Jungle and the tangled histories of underground rap and rave music in the city.

In the late ’90s, I met Daddy Kev at Project Blowed. I got aligned with his label at the time, Celestial, and when that happened I began to open up my horizons just beyond the Blowed enclave. I was fucking with Kev, I was going to the Auditorium, I was recording and then I was also messing with DJ Hive, who was Kev’s partner. When they did Konkrete Jungle in L.A. and they invited MCs from the Blowed, from Freestyle Fellowship, they also invited me cos I was one of the more wacko, willing participants in that group. And there I started to understand what became bass music and just the different types of dance music and how they tied into the UK’s history and all that kinda stuff. I was making those connections.

There were two rooms in Konkrete in LA. There was the hip hop room where Daddy Kev and The Con Artist, who later became edIT from the Glitch Mob, would spin and one where Hive would spin along with guys like UFO. So you’d have to follow and abide by the rules of both rooms you know? Mix and match. So yeah, I learnt a tremendous amount from that period. Rapping for hours on end, it was very formative. It was a really interesting period because at the same time I was doing that I met Daedelus, so I was getting a sense of drum’n’bass, jungle, IDM, electronic music. I was kinda being thrown into it through the side, through the fringes.

Did it strike you as being different from the hip hop environment you discovered through Blowed and The Good Life? Or did you see similarities, like others have, things like tempo, samples…?

Excuse me, but I didn’t really see any differences. There was an emphasis on different proceeds… different things were brought into focus like maybe you have a rapper, or a singer, and then… in L.A. at the time when Daedelus and I met, when I fell into his studio and started working with him, I got invited into other people’s worlds like Dnte,l and I started to understand that when rapping on a 65 bpm beat you literally are doing just that, the beat can be anything [laughs] And a bass signature is important in multiple musics, not just rap.

The reason why rap music is so great to me, why I feel it gives me an advantage, is because rap music is about the complete…it’s about being able to synthesise what’s around you. It’s kinda rooted in the lower tier of the socio-economical ladder in being able to forge and make do with little, with not much that you have. It’s born out of disadvantage, so it’s all inclusive. Taking that ethic with me into the early ’00s and being introduced to all these scenes, it opened me up and I was like, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?”

I feel like there was something in the experimentalism of the late ’90s and early ’00s that linked back to those early days of hip hop and the philosophies of doing with what you have and experimenting, but it seemingly took 15 years for it to take hold and seep into everything.

In the early ’00s, when people like Prefuse were starting to get traction, I thought that what is happening now was about to go down. What our reality is now is kind of a utopia for me back then, you know? Who would have thought!


The benefit of getting older is that you’re also afforded hindsight, you can connect the dots more easily. Your career makes perhaps more sense today than it did 5 or 10 years ago.

We’re at an age where we have a good vantage point. My career is laden with bad choices, people tell me there are nothing but bad choices and I agree with them but nonetheless it happened…[laughs]

Sometimes you’re slightly ahead of the curve.

It’s not even about being ahead of the curve, I really don’t care. I just want to do the work and hopefully more of it gets to happen. I really… I understand that it’s important to dig in and do what you do.

Taking it to the present and the new album, am I right in thinking Perfect Hair is your eighth album?

I think so, if you count the beginnings…yeah you’re right.

What would you say keeps you going?

My career has obviously been patterned after some kind of jazz man that I was fascinated with as a teenager. I’ve gone beyond the rap mould, I don’t know any rapper who’s supposed to have more than five records in their whole career, you’re not supposed to have more than that – you’re supposed to die after that, you’re supposed to be taken out back and be shot. So… I feel there’s a bit of guilt and a sense of entitlement in making more music at this point.

That’s the selfishness of making art.

Yeah. In western culture it is seen as being selfish, if you go elsewhere…By western, I mean America in particular: if you go elsewhere they have enough education where they deem it valuable and they also value culture. Here it’s like, culture is some arbitrary shit that manifests out of the ether and no one is really responsible for it. So… at certain points in my career I feel like what I’m doing is helpful because I realise that my audience is a very particular type of dude, I’ve seen the dude, they’re at every show, all around the world, it’s the same guy, whether in Berlin, New York, L.A. or fuckin Paris… it’s the same doofus, dorky guy and I want to give him something to entertain him, to help him make this world function better. I don’t know if I’m doing that but as you go along in your career you keep fucking with these guys, same guys you see come around, and you go, “OK, I’m talking to you.” I accept that these are the people I’m talking to. “Ok, Jeff this one’s for you, I hope this affects you in five years and you turn out to be a really good employer.” You know?

In that regard, do you think that the DIY-ness of being indie empowers you more, especially in light of how things have changed and how you can now talk directly to those guys you know are your audience?

It is empowering, but also really intimidating. Very intimidating. I’m beyond intimidated. This is me being stifled. I feel like a lot of artists now arrive to your awareness fully realised. It’s not even guys who are secretly signed and come out, it’s guys who aren’t signed.

The thing is that the rap economy is based around the presumption that you’re going to be a superstar. That’s what the mixtape culture is about, and it’s fantastic because it creates a lot of amazing work – people are out there busting their asses and making amazing records, throwing them out there, and it’s incredible. But the economy is based on ‘imma be that guy this year.’ You know? I think that’s fantastic but it’s also really manipulative. I don’t think ‘I’m not going to be the guy this year’, but I’m certainly not going to throw 40 thousand dollars at the problem if I don’t have to. If I don’t want to, I’m not going to give 40 thousand dollars to a middle man for something… there’s something about me, that don’t feel right.

But that’s what rap is based off. It’s not like indie rock where artists can make a record and slowly build an audience and just be ‘oh man we’re just here.’ No, trust me. Look at the guys coming up, look at Vic Mensa, look at how aggressive that campaign is. It’s crazy. It’s like business so quick, there’s so much business in it. To me, because I self-manage and help run Hellfyre Club, it’s just like… I’m just mired in the business side of it. But anyways that’s the bad side of it. The good side is that there’s a lot of shit out there. It’s great.

Considering your evolving relationship with labels through your career, do you think we’re in a better situation now? 15 years ago there was less noise, so finding a way into the auspices of a label was more important, finding a way to money that could bankroll you. There aren’t many places left that will give you 15 grand to make an album, say. 

I think it’s worse for the artist but it turns out being better for the consumer because there’s a wealth of material. And the market is very vibrant – it’s over-saturated but it can be seen as vibrant. Getting things funded is hard. But then people do a lot of things DIY and are able to get them out there anyway, so it’s just… I’m not really one of the victors of this era so I can’t really say. You’d have to ask someone who has really done something in the post-Spotify world.

Victory is a matter of perspective.

I think economics dictate how a lot of music groups come about right now. Reason why there aren’t a lot of rock bands around is dudes are using programming and starting two pieces because they can afford that shit. I would think it’s harder right now but I guess some people are killing it so I don’t know. I just like making music, I try not to get mired in it, I talk about it but I try to divorce myself from it. It gets depressing…[laughs]

What drove you to select the producers that ended up on the album? There’s a variety of names from the current L.A. underground.

I try to work with a lot of guys who I know and enjoy, one of them is Mono/Poly who I’ve been working with for a while. He worked on Flash Bang Grenada, I worked with him live too, I’ve known him forever and he’s a great guy. It was a no brainer to ask him. Great Dane is one of the better producers around, I think he has a really energetic, simple style that I’ve always loved so I tapped him early on. Aside from that, I produced a lot of the record, though a lot of the songs I produced didn’t make it in the end.


It seems to me that this album, and previous ones like the Flash Bang Grenada LP, are partly a celebration of what’s great about the L.A. underground.

I’ve always worked with people who have been associated with Low End Theory, at least since 2009. Daedelus, Nosaj Thing, Free The Robots, you know. DJ Nobody too. When I go for a production it usually doesn’t stray too far out of this umbrella.

What is it about the L.A. sound that appeals to you?

From different eras… I don’t know. In the late ’90s. the Good Life, Blowed sounded so unmistakable and I really was very proud of it. I don’t know, I’m so in the habit of screaming ‘L.A.’ when I’m out of town, somewhere doing a show. So there’s a little bit of hometown fanaticism that’s kinda built into how I do things. When Low End started and I went, I noticed that everyone else started going, and Lotus was there, people were playing and everyone was going every week, then nerds started getting replaced with girls and it became a thing and I was like, “oh, this is our shit.” Well, this is their shit and now I’m here and apparently it’s the shit, so I just fall in line. I don’t know if the record caters to the L.A. sound but all I know is I didn’t think about that at all, I just used what’s there. I’m just mired in it. Like I said, every few years there’s a hotspot that turns into some shit and… what happened with Low End is some shit I’ve never seen. Apart from maybe The Smell, because people at The Smell really blew up, but Low End is some crazy shit.

You’ve always had a hand in things like that though – you worked with Daedelus early on but also TTC. To me, all these stories are interwoven together across the past decade, hip hop and electronic.

That’s how it was always supposed to be. Afrika Bambaataa told us that. That was the first example. A lot of these guys in L.A. would make beats for me during the Temporary Forever era. I was supposed to be on Lotus’ first record but it didn’t happen in the end. I did a track with Hud Mo too that never came out. That was how I came to know all these guys and they came to know me. To me, the whole dynamic between MC and producer is a part of it too. The tension between producers and MCs at a certain point, especially when Low End came about – to me it had a lot to do with it too. They were doing their thing at Sketchbook, and it was bubbling there and then it came to Low End, but MCs were kinda weak and wack and not really appreciative of what was going on, and to me that was very real. Being that I’ve been here forever, I see how little burgeoning collectives influence the whole picture. Because there’s so much money in it right now, it’s really… it takes instant effect. Trends bubble in one season and then the next season they reflect that trend back. In L.A., it would take a whole year for things to get through but now it’s seasonal. It’s kinda crazy. It’s vibrant, but also indicative of the whole internet thing.

Well, in that regard MySpace really was a game changer. All of a sudden people were connected like never before. What used to take you six months to a year to connect – two producers from different cities or different labels, say – all of a sudden was available at the click of a mouse via Top Friends. 

That’s that kind of user-generated algorithm that informs what’s going on now. It’s key. That created such a business model. Brainfeeder is kinda based on that model – “Oh, you know this guy? Well check this one out. What about this?” It was a key era. Without it, I wouldn’t have made it to where I was. It’s how I got signed to Epitaph. It’s when Pitchfork loved me, for whoever that mattered to, you know? It was a very important era from a business angle but also creatively.

“My audience is a very particular type of dude… it’s the same doofus, dorky guy and I want to give him something to entertain him.”

How have you enjoyed the creative dynamic between lyricism and production?

I don’t like it as much right now. There’s a lot of things I don’t demand from people that I do from myself. My last full-length album, Beaus$Eros, was done with just one guy in Belgium, Loden, and I didn’t meet him until the whole record was finished. But we had a really intimate relationship in how we worked the songs out and most of the songs were us trying things out that I hadn’t done before, we experimented or just did pop songs and messed them up. But it was really refreshing because I could detail things out. Like a bridge in a song. I do work with people like that in L.A. but I feel like it doesn’t always happen as much. But that’s probably my own personal failing. I do like producing on my own, it allows me to just throw songwriting into whatever… just really turn the whole song into something I’ve composed and written. A singular creative purpose. I can really control the dynamics of the music, even if I have another producer come in and help me afterwards. I’m able to translate musical ideas more easily.

It strikes me you’ve always had an ear for the weirder music to rap to, and then from Roadkill Overcoat onwards you really brought singing into the mix, in a way that wasn’t necessarily done at the time. I wonder if you producing is a continuation of you trying to be really creative with the craft perhaps?

A lot of my experience in rapping and being competitive in rap was born out of being in the Good Life situation. We had a lot of aggressive weird styles, and weird things musically, so I tend to think that progress is to incorporate more musical know how, more colourful language, and that tends to be how Busdriver records have gone. But that’s a little different now, though back then I certainly subscribed to that idea more. On Fear Of A Black Tangent, I was toying with the idea of doing a stadium album, writing songs that were supposed to be a little less from the bedroom and that was to me a turning point, to want to try and do that. I guess that was my attempt at it.

Is it fair to say that perhaps a lot of your work has been about articulating this idea that hip hop and electronic music are just two sides of the same coin?

I purposefully have strayed away from certain pockets of L.A. sound because I want to articulate my own thing, but yeah it’s always been interwoven. All through the ’00s, I spent days sitting in with electronic DJs, rapping over strange stuff, that’s just my upbringing in rap. I don’t really… I don’t know any different. People think the left of hip hop is some abstract shit, that it doesn’t… that it’s something someone comes up with in their college dorm and that then gets put on the internet. No, it’s been happening for years. I’ve played shows with all these people. It’s not a secret, it’s just not that popular.

It wasn’t always easy to connect the dots before either.

I don’t know, I feel more emboldened and responsible now to tie all these things together. Even as those connections are now more readily available. Successes dictate exposure too. If you don’t have any new successes in a little sub genre it’s just going to be that.

What’s Hellfyre Club and what’s your relationship to it?

Nocando started Hellfyre in 2009. Then I joined in 2010, I did a record with him under Flash Bang Grenada and worked from there really. Mike Eagle put out a record that year too, then we did Milo, we inducted Anderson Paak loosely too, and kept putting out records. My biggest effort with Hellfyre Club is executive producing the Dorner vs Tookie compilation, I did that last year. People are interested so we’ve just been pushing the idea of Hellfyre Club. We did a US tour earlier this year, and one the year before.

Is it a continuation of what you’ve done before in terms of those L.A. pockets you’ve talked about?

It’s… a rap collective. I was talking about scenes before like Blowed, Low End. Hellfyre is something I’m very invested in, it’s all our efforts: Milo, Nocando, Mike Eagle, Anderson, myself. It’s a lot different than the Blowed though. The Blowed was a rap crew, family thing, Hellfyre is a label but also a collective and it’s like… it’s a support group, a support system for us all. I think it’s kinda… it’s kind of a by-product of the demands of the market, of us having to make content all the time and doing things. It’s the rap economy our lives depend on. It made us forge together. When I saw Hellfyre Club form, and I saw the first tape, it made sense to me. It sounded like where we were right now. I immediately recognised it and went to James [Nocando] and said I was down. It’s not… to me it’s not about being a star, but rather making sense of what you’re doing, you know? I just feel like I’ve been doing it for a while and I wanted to make more sense of it. To make sense of Hellfyre Club helps clarify things for me, gives it context.


You recently had a project called Clothes Before Prose, where people could order a beanie and receive with it a poem based on the city they were ordering from. In light of this I was wondering, after all these years of working with words, what would you say is the power of words for you?

Words are everything. I feel irresponsible with how I use language. I’ve been trying to tell my fans about the recent, obvious problems in the United States and the western world about race. I’ve been trying to tell people that prejudices in the western world are seen as isolated social faux pas that you can point at, sigh and get away from. But it’s really embedded in how we talk to each other. Just like the idea of white and black indicates a dichotomy, a hierarchy, it’s not not intentional. You have to think about where these things come from, where these cultural trends influence language. Language is crazy powerful, it creates images in our head. It gives us a sense of each other, of identity.

But in rap, you can really do what the fuck you want with language. What I like about rap now is that I don’t feel conflicted to use language any which way. I can write a song that is written using poor language or using a bunch of terms that spell out grand ideas. So I really feel like rap is something we can be proud of now, at least in my head. I think that’s what I like most about rap. What I can do now is really play with language, and that’s what I like about rap the most. I mention the black and white thing to illustrate how serious I think it is.

I’m glad you did, I wanted to touch on it. I got to thinking about how your first rap group was inspired by the L.A. riots, so you came up through that racial tension, it was on your doorstep. And twenty years later it’s still happening. You spoke on it earlier this week with the cop song you put out, so do you think that the power language has means that you have to say something or try and articulate it?

No it doesn’t. Because you really have to mete out what you wanna say. I feel like the whole issue… everything about the issue, how people talk about it, the people who talk about it, how people address themselves when they talk about it, is mired in colonial period junket. And it’s like… you really have to take it that far, to the language, because it goes back so far. It has to do with almost everything, and it’s upsetting because you realise it and then you think, “do I want to say this?” Do I want to make my… mostly all-white male audience feel uncomfortable? Just because I’m being intellectually honest about something that’s ubiquitous? I don’t care, I don’t have any animosity. It’s history.

Take concentration camps. People think concentration camps and they think about Nazi Germany. Yeah, they should, that was a horrific act. But there were concentration camps in Africa in 1902. That’s where they were justified, that’s where bureaucracy and killing met. And that informs eugenics in America. And you have to think ‘why did they do this?’ Why exclude groups of people? Jews, gays, blacks, whatever. It’s an economic incentive. Once people realise that, it’s not about us being black or white, who cares? We’re just immigrants who happen to be here. But what’s imposed on us is a brilliant long stretch plan, and it’s like… I feel bad saying this. I feel alarmist, I feel radical, I feel stupid. I don’t want to say it too much but it’s the truth. That’s it. So… that’s what it is. You have to deal with that in your life.

I tell my kid, you’re not black, you’re not white, you’re not nothing. You’re just what you are, you’re an American, you can be African, European, whatever you want to call yourself. Just not black or white. We don’t live in the fucking colonies or some shit, we’re not Quakers and shit. It’s crazy. That’s how I confront it in 2014. I feel like… I just hate the fucking tone of the argument. I hate how it makes people think of themselves. It’s not about me and you. It’s hard to articulate because we’re used to not articulating it. We’ve taken it out of our identity, which is understandable because it’s ugly. It’s not pretty. In the ’30s, they’d send postcards of people being lynched. But we don’t want to see that shit. We want to think of that era as a happy time.

“People are asking questions as if they’re not the problem. What about hip hop? What about entertainment? Fuck entertainment.”

That’s where multiculturalism to me gets more important, because it can cut through established ideas of race. 

It is really important. We really get hung up on some dumb shit. You torture yourself trying to figure it out. Even Low End, I’m so grateful for that scene because something about it I never took seriously is that it’s the most diverse scene I’ve ever been a part of. I need to shout that out. I never say it but it’s a given. That’s just how it is, it’s the nature of the work, of the music, of the internet, of how it works. Things are unhindered. If you have a misunderstanding cos you’re in a certain pocket someone will clarify that for you and you’ll know that for the next time we all hang out. I’ve seen that shit happen over years and it’s just created this beautiful network of people who just get it.

This has been on my mind a fair bit these past few weeks, but do you think that you have a role, as an independent artist, to speak on what is happening or is it best left to the side?

If I had more money I would help more, so it might motivate me to make more money to pour into things. But I don’t think I have any really great ideas, the only idea I have is just radical. I hate it… I have no tolerance right now. It’s so old, and we’re so futuristic, our phones are so futuristic… so if you don’t know, look on your phone and find out. Don’t act weird. I would love to help but you know… I do my little thing, I tell my fans but I certainly don’t do enough.

There’s been a lot of ‘where is hip hop’ bandied around after the events in Ferguson, arguing that the music which carried such power for the black community decades ago is nowhere to be seen today when these problems surface again. But is there really anything that hip hop can do or say?  

There is. I saw Killer Mike on CNN and I thought that was one of the best appearances that a civilian has made on the subject. He killed it. I saw Kweli argue with Don Lemon. So I guess hip hop is there. I don’t know… this is shit. I don’t think people understand how big this problem is. Where is hip hop? What kinda weak shit is that to say? Black people don’t want to deal with this, do you understand? Hip hop is where it’s supposed to be: making money, maintaining its role. If you want black leadership, that hasn’t been in hip hop in a long ass time and there is no evidence that’s going to change. People can’t say that and shame black artists when the shit is so market driven that you’re not going to hear Jay Z say anything, he works for Samsung. They don’t want to radicalise their image. When people say that shit it’s dishonest. See what’s really going on and think about it. Of course they should be saying something but they’re not going to cos they’re businessmen. It might become a topic when it’s really a hotbed issue, but that’s it. That’s it.

People acting like ‘oh why isn’t he saying anything’ is the problem. People are asking questions as if they’re not the problem. What about hip hop? What about entertainment? Fuck entertainment. Entertainment is bullshit, just cos there’s ten millionaires who are black… when people use those as examples or call to those figures, that’s wrong. That’s just the black people you see, and you call on the black people you see to help the black people that you see over there. That’s bullshit. There are black people everywhere. Scientists, doctors, everything. Call on some other black people, call the ones in charge of economic changes, call them. Fuck movie stars.

Stop using rap culture against us. I would never say that. “Where is hip hop?” It’s immature. It’s what a 15-year-old would say. It’s infuriating. Have you seen the footage of the homeless man beaten to death? It was in Fullerton, California. It’s utterly terrifying. You watch people pile on him, crush his sternum and crack his face open as he cries out to his father. It’s really disheartening. I point that out because people tend to think of it differently when it’s a white guy. He was homeless but he was white. Did he cry out, “where is hip hop?” No he didn’t. He cried for his dad. Because it’s about people, not about niggers doing nigger shit. Where is hip hop? It’s so crazy to me. You guys don’t get it and that’s why they win. They divide the working class, you’re white, you’re black. But none of y’all got jobs though. It’s like… ugh.

And that incident is just footage. I’ve had friends see people killed in front of them. And that’s something else. Killing people is the extreme, it doesn’t happen all the time. What happens all the time is getting cited, getting pulled over, getting fucked up. Oh you have no licence? Oh you got put in jail? Oh you’re in jail so you lost your job? Oh shit your kids don’t like you? So you start smoking crack or meth, oh you didn’t get to live out your dreams so you move out to Tucson and get a shitty job and kill yourself. You know? That’s what I’m talking about. Depression. Modern depression, the shit we all go through. It’s so brilliant how they deal with it. “Oh. I’m making it!” No you’re not. 

” I feel like women have it so bad right now too. I couldn’t even begin… I couldn’t be a woman right now.”

The way we broadcast ourselves online has become a twisted perception of real life.

You have this self-image you need to manicure. Your Instagram feed is important for everyone. It’s important for me. I need that feed. When you take that picture you’re looking good or purposeful. It makes everyone a performer and it’s brilliant. But it’s also perfect. It’s obvious shit though. But people don’t care anymore. It’s whatever.

We’re all sharing music but we should also all be sharing ideas in our society. Trying to figure out stuff, sometimes. I’m not saying everyone has to be radical but it should be embedded into our basic standard mode of operating. I just… it’s good for us. We’ve already lost so much shit that people don’t know about. Like people asking about hip hop. Hip hop doesn’t do that anymore, we lost that. You know? Deal with it. And if rappers do speak on it, it probably won’t matter to you. So you lost that. Here are some other things you’ve lost. How do you feel about it? I don’t know shit, I’m just scared as fuck. I look at it and think it’s crazy.

The new record was originally about social Darwinism and this idea of perfect hair, the perfect individual, the idea of the perfect citizen. It really got to me in the past few years. After the recession, my personal fortune dwindled and I saw what happened and took my accountability for it, but then I saw my whole neighbourhood change. It’s gotten really interesting since 2008. So I started writing this record because I was mired in it. Not in the sense that I’m dealing with it directly but trying to come at it from a different angle.

The idea behind the record is something everyone knows, everyone can understand it. But it’s really powerful. I feel like women have it so bad right now too. I couldn’t even begin… I couldn’t be a woman right now. Stop giving people complexes, let people age gracefully. The image thing is so crazy. I’m not against gorgeous people. I love them. But you get it at every level. In advertising, on Instagram, it’s very intense, there’s competition everywhere. Everyone has to deal with it. It’s a weird time, there’s a lot going on. It’s not neutral. We’ll look back five years from now and be like “oh it was some volatile shit.’

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