The Brooklyn MC approaches hip-hop from an off-kilter angle, pilfering other genres (hazy electronica, hook-laden pop, etc.) for scraps that he likes and melding it into a big, beat-driven bouillabaisse. His sound echoes Kid Cudi, if Kid Cudi weren’t so damn moody all the time. Likewise, his fashion sense combines disparate parts into a snappy whole: sleek threads, flashy kicks and hats (dude loves hats). We chatted with the rapper about his dream collaborations and his favorite fashion era (you can probably guess which one based on his affinity for boxy snap-backs).
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We heard you at SXSW and you said you were really into that ’90s R&B sound. Is that your main influence for the new material?
I’m going in a more grass roots vibe. Back to the basics. Back to the things that gives me the desire to move and cry.
I was sent the track by an A&R. I loved it. Wrote to it… Big Boi heard it and killed it. “Let me see them”…you know the rest.
Who are you dying to work with?
Danger Mouse and James Murphy.
When can we expect a new album from you?
I start writing [this month] and hope to finish for my birthday in February.
What album are you listening to most right now?
What’s your preference: performing outside at a festival or in an intimate club setting?
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I cook steak.
Have you ever DIY-ed a piece of clothing or accessory? Tell us what you did.
I studded out my dog’s socks.
What item of clothing do you put on to make you feel your sexiest/most confident?
Where do you like to shop when you’re in NYC or LA?
What was your favorite era for fashion? Why?
Don’t forget to check out Theophilus and Big Boi in the “She Said OK” video.
— Photos by Aaron Stern