Papoose: Focused Lyrically

It’s commonly understood that first impressions are of the utmost importance. This old adage can easily be applied to new MCs hoping to make names for themselves in this fickle rap climate. Coming with simple punchlines and on-beat freestyles are a thing of the past, especially after hearing ‘Alphabetical Slaughter” by Brooklyn resident Papoose. Running through the entire alphabet, Papoose incinerates the track by spitting bars with each word beginning with the respective letter being yelled out.

The track, which appears on DJ Kay Slay’s latest album, The Streetsweeper Vol. 2: The Pain From The Game, is surrounding Papoose with high levels of buzz and anticipation, with listeners awaiting his next lyrical innovation. What many don’t know about this confident lyricist is that he has been putting in work for years, populating the New York City mixtape scene with freestyles while forming alliances with heavyweights such as Kool G Rap. Years of focus seem to finally be paying off for Papoose in 2004, with Kay Slay making him the premier artist for his Street Sweepers Entertainment, and a debut album in the works. Record execs better wake up, because Papoose is an amazing talent just waiting for the right platform to distribute his rich lyrics to the masses.

Allhiphop: Explain who Papoose is, and what you’re bringing to the game?

Papoose: Well, basically man, just to be straightforward, Papoose is a lyricist. A lyricist straight out of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. I’m from the streets, it goes without sayin’. I represent hip-hop. Straight up lyricist.

Allhiphop: What does the name Papoose mean exactly?

Papoose: Actually, the word “papoose” is Indian, and means an Indian baby. When they refer to their babies, the Indians will say “papoose.” My grandmother gave me that name as a child. She used to say that I resembled an Indian baby, and the name just stuck with me throughout my whole life.

Allhiphop: Yourself being a straight lyricist, who are some of the lyricists that you look up and that have influenced your style?

Papoose: Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane. All the old school cats. Rakim, Notorious B.I.G., you know, I came up listening to the greats.

Allhiphop: Speaking of Kool G Rap, how did you connect with him in the past when he put you on his Roots Of Evil album?

Papoose: G Rap had heard some of the stuff that I was putting out at the time. Back then, I was in the streets all the time, doing the battle thing and all that. He heard some of my material, and someone I knew that knew him reached out to him. He got me in the studio, and was like, “Yo, I want you on my album.”

Allhiphop: You still keep in contact with G Rap?

Papoose: Yeah, yeah. He just reached out to me not too long ago, actually. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t hit him back yet, but definitely much love to G Rap.

Allhiphop: Now let’s talk about “Alphabetical Slaughter.” That song is a crazy concept that you definitely flipped nicely. Is it true that you actually had that song done back in 1999?

Papoose: Yeah, I had that shit done awhile back. Honestly, I started working on it back in like 1994, 1995. Just running around in the streets and rhyming. I used to spit it from A to C, because I had started on it but never really finished it. I used to air cats out with that, just from A to C. As time went on, I decided to wrap that shit up and take the time to finish it. I had it done, you right, probably about 1999, with it completed from A to Z.

Allhiphop: What made you come up with that concept, because it’s really something creative that has never been attempted before?

Papoose: Coming up with that concept came from just hearing people doing the same thing all of the time. I said, “You know what? I’m gonna do something different.” Took some time out, put my mind to it, and that shit made history. Nobody ever did it like that. I wanted to do it to the fullest.

Allhiphop: How did it feel when the Kay Slay album dropped, and you had your own track alongside people like 50 Cent, Eminem, Ghostface, and Scarface. Not featured on a track, your OWN track?

Papoose: That was a hell of a privilege. Growing up loving hip-hop, watching it and listening to it and now actually being a part of it is amazing. I want to go way further with it now.

Allhiphop: So what is your goal with rap music?

Papoose: My goal is to make history. To go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

Allhiphop: Do you think that being a new artist and coming out of the gate with a song like “Alphabetical Slaughter” will make people hold you to a much higher lyrical standard than the rest of these new MCs?

Papoose: Yeah, definitely, and I’m not going to let them down. I know people will expect a lot, especially when you hear somebody go from A to Z with such vocabulary like I used. I’m not gonna let them down. That’s what I do all day.

Allhiphop: Explain how you linked up with DJ Kay Slay.

Papoose: I’ve been on the grind for years. I got on my grind even harder at one point, and pressed my own CD. I brought it to Kay Slay, and him and me went back and forth with words. You know, cats run up on him all the time with their CDs. He listened to my shit and felt it. I’m just a regular kid in the hood, and my phone rings one day and it’s Kay Slay. He told to come down to the studio, and from there everything else is history.

Allhiphop: What’s going on with you and Street Sweepers Entertainment?

Papoose: Yeah, Street Sweepers Entertainment is the movement. My album is almost done and it’s incredible. It’s going to make history. The album isn’t titled yet, though.

Allhiphop: Break down what exactly Thugication is?

Papoose: Thugication is the organization, that’s my whole team right there. It’s actually the Nation of Thugication. That’s for the educated thug. It’s not a gang, it’s an organization. We represent the educated thug. As far as, if you get incarcerated, knowing some things that can get you out of that predicament. Going into the law library and gaining some education. A lot of brothers out here are thugs, but they aren’t educated thugs. We take our time, and you know, practice and learn to move forward.

Allhiphop: What do you think about the state hip-hop is in now in 2004?

Papoose: I don’t really have too many bad opinions about it. I like the game. Basically, the game is based on skills to a certain degree now. You got some nice cats that are successful. A lot of dudes with real talent is successful, and I like to see that. Sometimes, cats that aren’t really lyricists become successful, and then that makes it hard for people who really do this. The game is what it is.

Allhiphop: So what can people expect from you in the near future?

Papoose: For my album, I got Kanye West, Heatmakerz, and a lot of other producers. Swizz Beatz is on the verge of giving me a track. As far as rappers, I got a whole gang of rappers. I got Sauce Money, Akon singing a hook, Jadakiss and me is talking all the time on the phone about doing something. Jada took his hat off to me, so much love to him. He recognized the real. Fat Joe, Juelz Santana, and some other cats are supposed to do something for the album. All of the cats that spit in the game are definitely embracing me, and I respect that. I’m going to give a strong album, with not too many features to show my talent.

Allhiphop: When should be people be expecting that to drop?

Papoose: There is no schedule right now. The album is done and it’s heavy. A lot of labels are interested, but I’m not rushing it to nothing. I’m gonna take my time with it. You’re definitely gonna hear me on the mixtape scene, on all of those mix shows. I’m going hard. I got big plans.