Peace bro, thanks for letting us ask you a few questions. Firstly, we would like to ask you a little more about your background: Can you tell us more about the Los Angeles area where you grew up and about your family origins? What do you think has contributed most to the formation of your character growing up where you grew up and how has your city changed over time, from your point of view?
I was born a first generation immigrant. My parents are from the country of Belize and immigrated to the United States in the early 1980’s to search for job opportunities and a better life for their family.
I was born in Los Angeles. In the mid 90’s my family moved to Compton, California. During the mid 90’s Compton was a very dangerous place. It was considered the murder capital of the world at one point. Shootings and stabbings was occurring everyday, drug dealers on every corner.
Shit is still the same but there’s a lot more unity between Crips, Piru’s, and Ese’s. There’s a lot more growth coming to the hub. As long as there’s human nature, crime is gonna occur anywhere you at, so I don’t expect that to change too much. But for the most part, we on the come up.
Everyone knows how influential “gang culture” is on the streets of Los Angeles. How were you affected by it growing up?
At the time “gang culture“ did not exist. Yes it was being exposed in mainstream music because of artists like NWA , Dr Dre , Snoop Dogg , MC Eight etc However to me it was real life. When you live in the trenches, witnessing violence is a given. As a kid, most of the time your peers and friends were part of a gang.
I moved to Compton when I was eight. And when I did, I developed friendships with Piru’s starting Middle School, and they accepted a nigga wit open arms. So I was exposed to that type of lifestyle pretty early. I was really good at Football so I was pretty much focused on that for the most part.
What were your biggest influences growing up and how did you get into Hip-Hop? When and why did you first start considering making music and where does your name Phonk P come from?
My biggest hip hop influences growing up was Big L , Biggie Smalls , Geto Boys, Ice Cube , Sugafree , Lil Wayne , OutKast and WU Tang Clan.
“Phonk” derives from a Piru term, which is used to call one another. Same way as “Damu” is used. Almost used as the “bro” term to Piru’s. So being that my first name begins with a P, I was called “Phonk P”.
If we are correct, you are a Lord Mobb affiliate. How did you get into this movement and what are your ties to Flee Lord and your crew mate and fellow citizen, T.F? By the way, we especially loved your verse on the T.F and 2Eleven album.
T.F and Myself are a part of the LORD MOBB collective. I met Flee Lord through Dough Networkz back in November 2018. Dough invited me to take a trip to link with We$tside Gunn for a Griselda show.
At the same time was when I met Conway and Benny. Flee was with them as well. Once I met Flee Lord we instantly vibed. I was really fuckin wit my nigga energy. So much to where we setup a date to make a project that same day (Ups and Downs).
So my lil bro, manager and I took a trip to New York February 2019 to work on the Ups and Downs Album.
T.F is my guy too, we always get on tracks together and I luv his work ethic. He was featured on one of my last albums (LOWD Comix 2”).
Are you working on an album or something under the Lord Mobb imprint? And in general, what do you think are your most important musical projects to date and why?
One of my most important projects is the Ups and Downs and Off White Underbelly because it was my introduction to the underground lane . As far as the Project with LORD MOBB , there is a Ups and Downs 2 in the works stay tuned!
Listening to your music, we can perceive how much you are influenced by different sounds and how you can move at ease over different genres of production. Where does this versatility of yours come from? Do you think it could represent a strength or, in some way, it could penalize you? Are you focusing on any particular “sound” direction in this last period?
I am a true hip hop fan and music was always a part of my life . I get my versatility from being a hip hop fan and being exposed to different genres of music from my parents.
As a kid I used to play drums for my school’s band. I think my versatility is my strength and what sets me apart from the rest of the rappers in my lane. I believe that my versatility is going very very far in my rap career because I can work with different producers and attach different types of audiences.
For example, we loved how you ride classic beats in “Ups and Downs” EP with Flee Lord, but also your more west coast / p-funk influenced stuff like albums Eastside Shit or LOWD COMIX 2. How do you manage to fit those different vibes and sounds, and how do they influence differently your way of writing rhymes or approaching the song in the recording studio?
I manage to fit in with different vibes and sounds because I’m willing to go outside the box. There’s no barrier to any style for me.
I’m pretty well rounded and full of different life experiences. I read alot also, so I’m guessing that has alot to do with it lol.
I’m taking these samples and boom bap sounds and spittin gangsta life experiences to them, giving a twist to the average backpack rapper. Spittin content like that to those types of beats changes the dynamic of what’s expected.
You are also able to mix even more “gangsta” lyrics with more conscious thoughts. What inspires you most in writing your rhymes?
God and my environment inspires me the most. I believe my purpose on this earth is to share a God’s message at the same time share my pain, experience and to spread love.
For example your latest single “Sauce Boss” with Primo Jab differs from your other stuff…Does it anticipate any project in particular? And what can we expect from it?
Yes , I am dropping my Collaboration project with godBLESSbeatz in December right before Christmas.
The title of the project is called “Samples of Eden” and the singles “ Sauceboss” and “Red Laces“ will be featured. We are coming raw and heavy on “Samples of Eden”. It’s literally out of this world!
We are a magazine with a strong focus on graffiti culture and Los Angeles is very well known for this culture, but we also know that it is, shall we say, heavily influenced by gang culture. So we would like to know: Have you ever been somehow related to the L.A. graffiti scene? Or what can you tell us about how this world of graffiti is perceived in your city?
Graffiti is apart of the rap and art culture in general, like a key component. Rap/HipHop is considered the Optimus Prime. Dance, graffiti, and clothing coincide with it. Definitely an art you can appreciate in the city of Compton. We have graffiti and art murals around the city.
However, at the same time we have ”tagging“ which is considered a cousin to graffiti in my opinion. Not used as an art form, but to express ill intent towards an enemy hood. It’s like the Ying and Yang.