Papoose took to IG live for a Q&A with Billboard‘s hip-hop editor Carl Lamarre on Monday (April 12), where the Brooklyn rapper discussed his retirement this year, and memories he had with DMX, who died April 9.
“2021 is gonna be my last year rapping,” he shared with Billboard. “So before I retire, to show my thanks and my appreciation to all my supporters, I said I’m gonna drop an EP every month this year titled after the current month.”
So far, Papoose has dropped his January, February, and March EPs, with April slated to release soon. The DJ Premier-produced “NBA Rhyme Scheme” was a standout track from his March EP, receiving a co-sign from LeBron James as Pap intricately rhymed every NBA team name. The monthly EPs are also his way of proving himself in the hip-hip world he said, due to feeling undermined for so long.
Papoose also touched on his memories of DMX, who died after a heart attack. “I would describe DMX’s legacy as one that spoke for the have nots. This guy came from nothing and made himself, became larger than life,” Pap said.
The rapper, who posted several Instagram tributes to the late artist, discussed how he grew up listening to X. Though he didn’t have too many encounters with the “Party Up” rapper, he recalls all of them being teachable moments filled with advice and mutual respect.
“Every time I ever ran into that brother, it was a teachable moment, enjoying laughter together, he dropping jewels on [me],” he reminisced with Billboard. “I came up listening to X, so to finally meet him and I’m trying to explain to him, ‘Yo, I came up listening to you, I respect your work.’ This is a brother who’s not cocky. He’s telling me, ‘Nah, man. I respect what you’re doing, dog. And I wish you the best blessings on your career.’ He’s giving it right back to me.”
In 2006, Papoose and DMX were both featured on Busta Rhymes‘ hit “Touch It (Remix).” The song was Pap’s first big record as he provided the penultimate verse preceding X’s. “I got to feel what it was like to be on a record with DMX, and his verse was right behind mine,” he recalled.
In the age of mumble rap, Papoose asserted that bars still matter. “I feel like people kind of lack skills and try to base it on [it] being an era thing or age thing, but I’m sorry to be the one to tell them that no, that’s not a good enough excuse,” he insisted. “Skills matter in every era — the skill of it always has to exist.” He went on to say that a pure lyricist is rare, citing J. Cole and Griselda as examples of artists who are currently carrying the torch.
During the interview, Papoose also discussed his quarantine experience with his wife and fellow rapper, Remy Ma, and his family. Staying at home forced them to slow down, he said, which strengthened their communication, as they were able to spend more quality time together. Pap also recently went viral for his Cereal Killer Challenge, where he showed off his lyrical prowess by rhyming different cereal brands.
Check out Papoose’s interview for Billboard Live here.