Interview: Paul Thompson

What up Paul, introduce yourself…

What’s up everybody, my name’s Paul Thompson. I’m a rapper, screenwriter, and co-founder of dispossessed.Records. I’m from Minneapolis, currently in Vancouver to finish school.

You rep the hell out of dispossessed.Records, explain the movement & why the name “dispossessed”.

I started dispossessed Records about a year and a half ago with two friends, Jacob Sandry (who raps under the name Yaakov) and Sean Baddeley, who runs our finances. They’re at Yale and Michigan State, respectively. Since then, we’ve added Zach “Z” Johnson as an artist and partner, and he’s been instrumental in everything we’ve done. We’re also affiliated with Minneapolis artists John Daniel and J Yak.

Who are your favorite artists out of Minneapolis?

Other than our own crew, Atmosphere’s been a huge inspiration to all of us. Slug’s one of the best to ever touch a microphone. I have tremendous respect for Brother Ali and all the Doomtree cats, especially Dessa, who’s one of the most underrated living emcees. I need to shout out Guante, who aside from being an incredible rapper, is a two-time national champion in slam poetry. He’s been a huge influence on me and a great help.

dispossessed just dropped a project this month, what is coming up for Paul Thompson?

Right, although music itself is always free on our site, we dropped a collection of B-sides and unreleased songs to help promote our first batch of dispossessed t-shirts. They’re available cheap HERE!

We have a really exciting few months ahead. Z is dropping his LP “Waiting For Public Transit” in early September. We’ve been working on that since last summer, and it’s an incredible record – the first single, “Red Birds,” will be out soon. The next Paul Thompson record is titled “Who’s Afraid of Rashida Jones?” and it’ll be out on November 5th. As for Blackbird, the group made up of the two of us, our debut tape “Janus” will come out in late January 2013. Yaakov has a couple things in the works including two videos.

What are the 2012 struggles of being a white emcee, if any?

None.

There are two factors here: where I’m from, and our ability with the internet to reach the right audience.
First of all, Minneapolis is a unique rap scene in that it’s essentially post-racial. Actually, if anything, black emcees might be at a slight disadvantage, in that they don’t fit an aesthetic lots of the purists in the city value, or whatever. Our most revered artists are biracial and albino, respectively, so it plays no issue at home.

Now, as for the internet, instead of the old days, where everyone recorded radio singles to fight for a share of the rap-listening market, everyone is left to their own devices to find, reach, and capitalize on their specific markets. I would hardly say my fanbase is exclusively white, but it’s certainly made up of people who don’t care about the artist’s race, which is a good thing. I don’t know how I’d do on urban or top 40 radio, but since it’s 2012 I don’t really have to worry about that.

Who have you been listening to as of lately?

The new Nas album sent me into a bit of a Nas kick, so I’ve been listening to his catalog a lot. I’m always listening to the Minneapolis guys I’ve named as well as Jay, Kanye, and Blu, but I’ve been spinning Amy Winehouse’s “Frank” a lot lately. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time, and I think I’m the only living person who likes it better than “Back To Black.”

I know you perform a decent bit, any pre-stage traditions that you do?

Not really. Almost every one of my sets in Vancouver, I show up alone and mingle beforehand, so I just make sure I have all my lyrics down pat and whatnot. Beyond that, I try to get a feel for the crowd and I think it’s really important for a performer to have a good rapport with the crowd, whether there are 10 people or 10,000.

At home though, I’m always doing shows with John Daniel and/or Z, and we just have a blast, man. I love that our friends and fans still turn out, because it feels indulgent with how much fun we have on stage and beforehand. If I was never allowed to write another song, I’d still perform every chance I had.

We will keep it short, Give ’em your shoutouts.

Shoutout to Bruce Wayne. Fuck rappers.

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