Interview with Pumpkinhead
[now known as PH]
July 14, 2004 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview by Archrival
Brooklyn, stand up! The underground has voices and one is
fixed on furthering its reach. Pumpkinhead has been a fixture
on the underground Hip Hop scene for years, earning his
stripes in the mixtape trenches and taking it back to the
essence in the Blaze freestyle battles.
Park Slopes' own talks to the people, Archrival caught up with
Pumpkinhead at his crib for a Latinrapper.com exclusive
Get the scoop on his crew
affiliations, touring the world, getting inspiration from the
one and only 'Pac, and some of his views on Hip Hop Culture.
LatinRapper.com: What artists inspired you when you were on
the come up?
Artists that inspired me when I was on the come up were
Redman, Leaders of the New School, Dana Dane was actually the
first emcee that I heard that made me say "ok, I need to take
this rappin' stuff seriously" and get into emceeing when I
heard 'Nightmares', that song he did, that's when I wanted to
really get into Hip Hip and the whole culture.
fresh, you know
what I'm sayin? But, definitely, like, when I was coming up,
starting to get into the scene, it was Redman & Leaders of the
Can you point out the specific point in your life when you
said "This is for me, I'm an emcee"?
Hmmm. The specific point in my life? When I went, actually, to
the studio and met Tupac. I met Tupac in the studio. It was a
while ago, it was like during my first ventures into being an
emcee. My manager at the time, this guy named Jay Dixxon who
was Grand Pubas cousin, used to get me into all the spots. You
know what I'm sayin'? And like, meeting all these emcees and
sh*t, and rappers or whatever.
We went up to the studio, we
went up to his hotel at first, he was rollin trees, chillin'
with Alamo, who was Pubas DJ, and somebody else was there, I
forgot who. Then we went in like a caravan into Queens. We
picked up Stretch, who passed away also, from Live Squad. From
there we went to Power Play Studios that was in Queens, where
a number of people got robbed at like Fat Boys and a bunch of
other people just used to get robbed there cause it was right
next to Queens Bridge Projects.
We rang the doorbell and
Freddie Foxxx came to the door with like, a glock and a big
ass Rambo knife. Just makin' sure nobody was there to rob
them. You know what I'm sayin'? So we came through and
everybody was like "where's Pac at? Where's Pac at?". Pac
comes runnin' up behind us and was like "You know I had to go
to my cousins house and get the piece" and he had like, this
big ass Tech 9 or whatever. [laughs]
I was buggin at first like I ain't really, you know, I mean
being I was from the street, I was like "damn all these ni**as
got guns", you know what I'm sayin? I'm like "I don't know if
I want to be here right now". [laughs] You know what I'm
saying? What if something pops off but we went into the studio
and I saw Pac go into the studio, Freddie Foxxx said "this is
the beat right here", played the beat, Pac literally wrote a
verse in 5 minutes. Like 5 to 8 minutes he did a verse, on a
yellow pad with a sharpie marker, I remember it vividly. He
did it, went in there and killed it in one take. That's when I
was like "Yo, I want to do that!". You know what I'm saying?
That's what I want to do. That's when I realized I definitely
wanted to be an emcee in the game.
For those that might not know, you're a member of the Brooklyn
Academy, who else is Brooklyn Ac.?
Officially, Brooklyn Ac. is me, Mr. Metaphor, Will Tell and my
brother Block McCloud. That's Brooklyn Ac. official, like, you
know what I'm sayin', everyone else are affiliates.
Producer-wise we got Black Panther and that's it, that's where
we cut it off. So, mainly it's me, Will, Block and
What can we expect to hear from Brooklyn Ac.?
We're actually starting to work on a new project. A new album
which is definitely going to be the official album. We're
going to put it out through a real label, full backing,
promotion, publicity, everything, video, we're going to do it
all. We're going to do it like it's supposed to be done and
get out there to the real Ac. fans that like the Ac.
going to give you the original Academy, we're not going to
give you no 'next sh*t' that we're tryin' to, you know, step
up our sound. Or whatever you heard recently from that Ac.,
it's none of that. We're takin' it back to the essence of what
the Ac. was.
Are you able to speak on what label?
Uh, at this present time, no! [laughs]
You are also a part of The Plague, who are the members?
The Plague is a crew that me and my boy Blitzkrieg, G.M.S. and
Blitzkriegs brother, Wildchild (they're known as Hydra)
started. It was just us four in the beginning and we all grew
up in the same neighborhood, Park Slope. Same neighborhood
which the Ac. is from also. We all were like childhood, you
know, friends, acquaintances, we all knew each other.
Plague is, it's a
very long list, Plague is like the super group, super crew of
emcees man I'm tellin' ya. It's myself, Hydra, which is a 3
man group that I named earlier to you, Tonedeff, Session,
PackFM, Mecca, Substantial, Kameel-Yen, DP-1 our DJ and Bad
Seed, I believe. I don't think I left anybody out. I think I
got everybody. [laughs]
There is skepticism regarding Jin's membership to The Plague,
can you clarify the situation?
[Takes a deep breath] Yiiiiikes!
You don't have to answer that if you don't want to.
Nah, nah, that's cool, that's cool. I actually want to speak
on this. Jin came out to New York, basically, from Miami, to
do what everybody else loves doin' out here in New York and
that's Hip Hop, being an emcee, DJ or what have you. So he was
trying to get his footing and base a foundation out there in
New York. He was going to battles, you know, doing his thing.
Got to know me, got to know Poison Pen, PackFM and C-Rayz Walz.
We all kinda like, you know, was like, this is the new up and
coming right here and just showed him mad love and showed him
around, you know what I'm sayin'? Brought him to battles, you
know, helped him to get put on to a lot of things, I think,
would have personally had a hard time doing without us. Around
the time he was starting to get much acclaim with the battle
scene, me, Blitzkrieg and PackFM talked about throwing him
down with The Plague. You know and cutting it off right there,
that was going to be the last member of The Plague and you
know, leaving it at that.
We approached him and he was
like "yea, no doubt, yo that's mad love", you know what I'm
sayin', like, showin' us mad love that he really realizes that
we are a main state in New York and that's basically one of
the better crews out in NY. He was happy, you know what I'm
sayin', he was like "yea, cool", he was down, officially down.
He came to a couple shows, shoutin' out Plague with us, comin'
on stage rockin' with us and then 106 & Park happened. He went
on to 106 & Park which Poison Pen is the reason why he got on
to 106 & Park, not his manager. That's a lie that he tells, I
don't know where he got that from or whatever but Poison Pen
is the reason he got on there. After that, kid just started
gettin' flakey, like yo, we understand, you know what I'm
sayin', that you got to be in the studio and do your thing.
After he got signed it was just like forget it, you know what
I see him like, I say, a month later, he walks
into the End Of The Week Emcee Challenge with like a whole new
squad. I'm like "who the hell are these cats?", it's like a
bunch of younger kids, some black kids or whatever, some
Spanish kids, I'm like "where the hell did these kids come
from?", you know what I'm sayin'? I never seen him with these
kids, ever. Basically it was like, I don't know, I felt a
little disrespected, you know what I'm sayin'?
he reached out and was like "yo, I want to do this, I want to
host this for you" and blahzay blah and then never call me
back. He was like yea I'm going to be there and then never
call me back on some real flakey sh*t. I'm just, I'm done, I'm
done with him, you know what I'm sayin'? Like, whatever, he
could still be cool, I don't know if he's still cool or what
but to me he's just too flakey to deal with.
I know his
manager K-Mel and I know Amore who also handles his situation
at Ruff Ryders. Now Amore is my peoples and I've known him for
a long time. So you know, me and him build, we cool. And I
ain't got no hate for Jin, like, do your thing cuz-o but don't
lie. Tell it like it really was, you know what I'm sayin',
basically. Don't say that you were only an affiliate cause you
were more than an affiliate, you was actually down with the
squad. So don't say that you was only an affiliate cause right
there your spittin' in my face and I'm not feelin' that.
What is in the works as far as The Plague?
As far as The Plague goes we're trying to work out our solo
situations, our albums, you know, group albums or whatever.
We're going to put out a mixtape soon, its called '28 Tracks
Later' and that should be out by July for RockSteady. Then
we're hopefully going to start working on an album here and
there. Tones been real busy working on Archetype. I've been
busy working on
my mixtapes and working on my next 2 albums. It's like I'm
doing a lot right now.
Hydras working on their situation so, I
mean, The Plague, when the album is done, when Outbreak (which
is the name of the album) is done, It's going to be
phenomenal. It's going to be the craziest sh*t you ever heard
because we've been waiting so long to actually get together in
the studio and work on this.
We want to give you something
good so that's why, you know, we're taking our time, we don't
want to just be like, some kids goin' to the studio here,
we're going to the studio there to do tracks, no! We all want
to come together and work on ideas, work on beats and rhymes
so we can give you a complete, dope ass album.
Are there any solo projects in the works?
Yea man, I'm working on an EP, the EP is done already, I'll be
shopping that soon and I've got a couple of situations, you
know, in the looks or whatever. I've got the album I'm working
on, officially that's going to be, like my defining moment.
This album is going to be so sick from top to bottom. For all ya cats that know the real Pumpkinhead and how I get down as
far as my music and the subjects I like to touch on. I like to
touch on everything, pause. [laughs] I don't like to stick to
one facet of rhyme, you know what I'm sayin'? I'm down to do
all type of styles. Work on all types of things but I'm
forever going to be known as an underground emcee and that's
want to be known.
I don't want to be known as that cat that
used to be underground and got a big record deal and now he's
commercial, no! I will never be commercial. I make music for
myself and only myself and ya so happen to like it. [laughs]
I'm thankful for that.
What kind of collaborations can we look forward to?
The album collaborations? There will definitely be a Boot Camp
Collaboration on my album. I don't know who yet but I've been
talkin to Buck and Steele for a while about doing something.
So either Steele or Buckshot maybe Sean Price, depends you
know what I'm sayin'.
I've got beats coming from Heiro, Domino
from Heiroglyphics. I've got beats coming from E-Swift from
The Liks. Zion-I from the west coast, I'm supposed to be doing
a joint with him. My family Brooklyn Ac. and The Plague will
be on my album. Damn, I can't really think right now of who
else I talked to. I'm tryin' to get this girl, a singer named
Guapaley, she is hot. So hopefully through Domino from Heiro I
can get that collaboration going. That's the only singer I'll
have on the album. That's about it really.
If you could work with any artists, lyrically and/or
production-wise, that you haven't worked with yet, who would
Redman, hands down. Redman. Lyrically, definitely Redman.That
is the guy that I was like "yo, this ni**a's nasty" and people
sleep on him man, he's been like the most consistent artist,
throughout his whole career droppin' some hot sh*t. You know
what I'm sayin'? He's put out so much material and to me It's
all been hot man.
Reggie Noble is definitely the artist I want
to work with as far as 'lyrically' goes. Production-wise, I
would say definitely either, I'm going to say Rza but ol'
school Rza. I'm talking 'Protect Ya Neck' Rza. Sh*t like that,
that old grimey style. Or Jay Dee from Detroit. I think his
beats are dope too.
Who do u feel at the moment is taking it, lyrically, to the
Hmmmmm. Can I say me? [laughing]
Ok, besides you.
I really don't listen to a lot of other emcees out there
cause, I mean, I don't really care to listen to other peoples
stuff. No disrespect to them but I don't know, I can't really
even answer that question because there's not one person right
now, that I think is putting out that next sh*t. I don't think
anybody is putting out that next sh*t right now and that's
what we need and that's what I'm trying to do. I think me,
lyrically, the man to look out for. You know what I'm saying?
What do u think about the state of Rap right now?
Sucks. Rap sucks. You know what I'm sayin'? I have nothing to
do with Rap. Rap is not me, so I don't know if I can answer
that question. But, I'm not into rap. I'm into Hip Hop.
And the Hip Hop culture?
Ya dudes out there, ya need to step it up, ya fallin' off
right now. Everybody wants to do a bounce record. Everybody,
you know, wants to do that "okaaaaay" sh*t and all that. Come
on man that's their sh*t. Our sh*t is that street sound that
underground east coast sh*t. Man stop biting everybody else's
sh*t and just do you man and do what we're supposed to do. Do
what we were meant to do, you know what I'm sayin'?
We are the
creators of this whole Hip Hop Culture. People took it where
they wanted to take it and went to the left with it and do
their different style of it, you know what I'm sayin'? Like,
just be yourself, be what your about not what's selling right
now. Nobody wants to hear your joint because you sound like
Ludacris. I don't want to hear that sh*t. I'm not going to buy
it. Stick to your own thing, man for real.
Where in the world have you had the opportunity to tour?
I toured Australia. I've been to Perth, Adalayed, Melbourne
and Sidney. I rocked it out there. I had like 2,000 each show,
packin' like it was crazy man. People was coming out of the
woodworks to come see me. That was like the most love I ever
really got, it was bananas man.
Japan, I did Tokyo, Shibuya,
Sweden, Amsterdam, I toured damn near every state in the
United States. I've been to, you know what I'm sayin', I did
the Lyicist Lounge Tour with Boot Camp. Then I did the
Lyricist Lounge Technology Tour with Brooklyn Ac. and Bad
Seed. We opened up for the Goo Goo Dolls. That was hot. I've
been to quite a few shows. All over [laughs]
Which had the biggest impact on you? And why?
I would have to say Australia. Well, there's two, there's one
that's overseas which is Australia and one show in particular
out here where I felt I got a lot of love. Australia, they
just have so much love for the culture of Hip Hop. It's
totally different from out here. Out here people are too cool
to give props.
They're too cool to nod their heads when they
like something. Know what I'm sayin'? They're too cool to clap
they're hands when they appreciate the music that's coming out
[of the speakers]. That's the thing I hate about out here.
Australia was like, yo, dudes was asking me
"yo, sign my pipe!".
"Sign my record". They brought my record. Yea their 'weed
pipe' not their, you know, anyway, pause! [laughing]. This is
funny [laughs] you gotta' put all this sh*t in there. We're
hilarious. [laughing] This is the first interview I've done
with pauses in it. [laughing]
Yea, so this one cat was
like "how much for your shirt?". He was like "I'll buy your
shirt off of you". You know, the shirt that I was wearing.
Dude wanted me to take my shirt off and sell it to him and
sign it! He was like "how much, I'll give you any amount of
money for it". He was pulling out a knot of money and I was
just like "yo", I signed it and gave it to him like "here,
take that". That was like one of my dopest experiences as an
artist and he was so appreciative of that.
Not too long ago, Jean Grae opened up for Ghostface at SUNY
Purchase College Upstate and I was hypemaning for her. Nobody
said "yea Pumpkinheads coming on stage". So I'm standing
backstage and this one kid in the front row sees me standing
backstage before we come out. And he shouts out "Pumpkinhead's
here! Pumpkinhead! Yoooo!". It just started a chain reaction.
People in the crowd, spots of people were like "Pumpkinhead!
Pumpkinhead!". I start hearing all of this and Jean comes out
and they start cheering for Jean. Shes like "I got my fam with
me" and shes like "Pumpkinhead come out". Everybody was like "rraaahhhhhrrr",
like going crazy. So she does her thing and I do a little
verse over a beat and then she does her show.
So we're gettin'
ready to walk off the stage and this kid, again, the first kid
that yelled my name out was like "acapella Pumpkin, kick an
acapella!". Then everybody else is like "yea, acapella!".
Until the whole crowd was chanting "acapella" and there were
like about, at least a thousand three hundred
people, like fifteen hundred people there. It was an outside
concert. Everybody was like "yea, yea".
I spit an acapella, I
tell you how all fifteen hundred people put their hands up in
the air and screamed at the same time when I kicked my last
line. Everybody was wildin' out. I got off stage and, no
disrespect to Jean, that's my sister, I love her but some cats
was going passed her and coming to me like "yo, sign this,
give me this, can you spit this for me, I'll pay you to do
this". I'm like "wow" I got mad love and attention from all
the people out there. It was definitely a dope
How does an underground vet such as yourself hold on to his
I don't think I try to hold on to my title. Like, I don't even
think I, well yea, you know what? Before Jadakiss came out
with that "The Champ Is Here" sh*t, I was the peoples
champion, aiight. I was the peoples champion of underground
Hip Hop and that's my title.
I'm the peoples champion of
underground Hip Hop. I don't try to retain the title thought, I
mean, I just do what I know best. You know what I mean? My
music allows me to get that respect and that acclaim from the
people that like real Hip Hop. So, I don't try they just give
me the title, they allow me to keep my title, basically.
My little brother's an avid listener of your music and wanted
me to ask you this question. What would you do if your son
grew up and started listening to commercialized Rap?
That's not gonna' happen. [laughing] That's not gonna' happen
because I'm gonna' program him. That's right, I said I'm
gonna' program my son. [laughs] He'll be listening to real
music. I'm gonna' let him listen to everything from Jazz to
Old Soul music to even some 80's rock or whatever.
music, Hip Hop will come into play later, when he gets a
little older. As a kid he's not gonna' be watching BET and all
of them videos or MTV and all of that. That's where it stops
'cause I'm mad that I even watch some of that sometimes, so
that won't happen with him. [laughing]
Where do u see yourself in 10 years?
Emceeing! [laughing] I'm 28 now, I could see myself at 38 spittin', still. But, a little more money in the pocket, a
label situation. Probably living off the coast of Spain or
something, seriously. I want to do it big. If I'm gonna' do it
big, I wanna' do it BIG, man, pause! [laughing] If I'm gonna'
move from the United States, I'll move to like Puerto Rico or
Spain or something. Get a house, a big ass house off the beach
or something like that. Live with my family and make mad
babies. [laughing] You know what I'm saying? Teach my children HipHop. Teach them the culture that was taught to
me and just live. Enjoy myself and enjoy life.
In closing, what would you like to say to the people that know
about Pumpkinhead and those that don't?
There's a lot of sh*t-talk that goes on, on the internet. When
I'm on the internet I conduct business. Getting shows and
talking to people that want to do songs with me and, you know,
just business situations or I'm just talking to my friends.
But, I do check out these websites that have their little
forum posts and stuff like that. There are a lot of kids out
there that are young and like, just out of high school or old
and bored and they like to talk sh*t and hate on people like
me, Poison Pen, PackFM, you know what I'm saying, that do our
I'm not an internet rapper, I'm not an internet emcee,
I'm not a "netcee" as ya' call it. I don't "keystyle battle"
as ya' call it. I don't do none of that sh*t. I'm a real
person. I'm a grown-ass man and I do my thing. I just happen
to own a computer. Forgive me for having a computer and having
the ability to use a computer. You know what I'm saying? Once
I know how to use a computer I'm a netcee now? You crazy? I'll
punch you in your sh*t.
Like for real, a lot of these kids
they talk alot of sh*t behind their screen name and they don't
let themselves be known. A real man, a real person will step
to you and will come up to you like "yo I don't like your sh*t".
Aiight, fine, you don't like my sh*t? You don't have to like
my sh*t. I ain't gonna' knock you out 'cause you don't like my
sh*t. You touch me, that's another thing. If you're going to
talk all this sh*t like your grown, you're allowed to have an
opinion and diss my music as long as the computer lets you
type. Go ahead, diss it, I don't care, that's your opinion but
once you start talking about "yea, he's this, he's that" then
you're getting personal.
That means, if I ever do find out who
you are, It's not gonna' be a happy situation for you. But I
don't stress cats like that 'cause they're bored, they're life
is boring and that's why they do what they do. You know what
I'm saying? They having nothing else to do with their lives.
They're mad that we as people, as a certain genre of people,
having the power that we do with our music are doing our thing
and getting love. They're upset by it. All they do is sit home
under their mama's roof, in the garage or whatever with a
computer looking at porn all day and talking sh*t about us.
C'mon man get big, pause. [laughs] Get a life.
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