P.O.S. has been rocking the stage for quite some time, but not just as a rapper. Growing up with punk rock and hardcore roots playing in a number of bands as well as spitting rhymes for fun, P.O.S. became one of the most high-energy artists in hip-hop. Once taking his rhyming to a more serious level, he created an organic blend of both genres, taking the music scene by storm. With his newest release Never Better (top 10 albums of 2009, hands down), and his headlining promotional tour coming to an end, I had the chance to sit down with the Minneapolis emcee/rocker and founding member of Doomtree to discuss a number of things.
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Reyn: What’s going on man?
POS: Nothing, just riding in the van heading to Cleveland.
Reyn: How has the tour been going so far?
POS: Very well, we are almost done actually.
Reyn: What can you expect at a P.O.S. show?
POS: A good time, probably the best time (laughs). It stays live, we have been doing about an hour and a half plus long set this tour. We’re just trying to wear ourselves out and have a good time.
Reyn: How do you handle the pressure of headlining a tour?
POS: I think that there is the least pressure headlining your own show because the people that came to the show came to see you. If they are there, they are aware of what your about.
Reyn: Talk about your interaction with the crowd, something you are known for.
POS: My favorite shows, growing up and now, are the ones I feel like everybody’s comfortable and everybody’s having a good time.
Reyn: As you tour, are you throwing any new ideas for future work?
POS: Yeah, I have been writing a ton since I have been out here. Just because I put out a new records doesn’t mean I am going to stop putting things out this year.
Reyn: What has been your favorite spot so far?
POS: I couldn’t do it I don’t think. Every show has been pretty awesome except for a couple and then that would jus be leaving out a couple cities (laughs). So if I had to pick I would pick maybe San Francisco, Salt Lake City.
Reyn: And what has been your favorite song to perform so far?
POS: The whole sets been working out pretty good. I like “Goodbye”, “Graves”.
Reyn: Let’s talk about the music now. You started out in a punk rock band but you also rapped growing up. When did you realize you could blend both genres to make one art form?
POS: I didn’t ever consciously set out to do it that way. When I started taking rapping more serious it just kind of happened as a product of already being in bands. Already being so thoroughly brought up in punk rock and hardcore.
Reyn: About a three-year gap between your solo albums, explain the hiatus.
POS: My band Building Better Bombs made a record and my crew Doomtree made a record. So that pretty much eats up a lot of time as far as like working on projects and things like that.
Reyn: Talk about the breaking in of your van and how that hurt your progression.
POS: That was last February. I had to start over on the P.O.S. record when I got home from that tour.
Reyn: Were you able to recover most of it, or was the album just all new stuff?
POS: It’s pretty much all new stuff. I ended up using one beat from the old batch and that was “Out of Category”.
Reyn: I see a definite maturation and development from your prior releases. Talk a bit about how you developed as an artist from your prior releases.
POS: Yeah definitely, between all I have been working on and all the records. All that definitely comes into what this record sounds like. More mature as a writer, definitely as a producer and Lazerbeak stepped up really hard too to make sure that we had a really cohesive sounding record.
Reyn: Yeah I noticed you kept a lot of production like usual to yourself and a few close homies like Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger. What are the advantages of keeping the production close-knit?
POS: Because you know, we have our sound, we have our own sound going. Nobody else sounds like what we sound like, and that’s not on some ego shit, that’s just very true. Nobody sounds like what we sound like.
Reyn: Most of the record, your emotion and passion are unmistakable. Did you have a lot to say on this album that has been building up? What was the main message on this album?
POS: I think the biggest thing that comes up on the record is the idea that, its kind of important for your life, is to find out something that you enjoy. As opposed to just getting out of high school, going to college and going to work. Which might be a path that works for a lot of people, but it doesn’t work for everybody and a lot of people do it anyway, even if they can tell it isn’t working for them. Then all of a sudden they are like eighty and they have anything that they care about you know? That’s just the kind of vibe for the record to just point out that there are different ways of going about things.
Reyn: You have kind of taken that path with your own life becoming a musician. On that same note, one thing I thought was pretty cool was your knuckle tattoos; explain that a bit for us.
POS: It just says optimist, I don’t know if there is anything else to say. Getting a knuckle tattoo says plenty as it is. And the fact that it says optimist is kind of just where I am at and where I plan to be.
Reyn: Now let’s talk about the six videos you have for the record. They all ready to go?
POS: Yeah, they are already done. Two came out already, “Goodbye” and “Drumroll”.
Reyn: Let’s chat about Rhymesayers a bit. They are probably one of the better indie hip-hop labels out there. How has that label helped you become a better artist and given you opportunities to thrive?
POS: Just solid continued support. Good advice, that’s it. Whether I turn in a song and they’re like, “This songs good” or “This songs bad.” Even if I turn it in and they don’t like it, I still like it. If I like it I like it and that’s one thing, they always give opinions but they will never tell me what to do.
Reyn: Now talk about the Minneapolis hip-hop scene as a whole. How does that scene help/hurt your grind?
POS: It helps. Coming up there is a lot of music. There is a lot of incentive to get better and push and work and stay on top of your grind. If you’re not going to do it, there are a million other guys that will.
Reyn: So now on to Doomtree; How many of you are rocking in that crew?
POS: Nine of us, five emcees and four DJ/Producers.
Reyn: And were guys happy with the way the first LP came out this past summer?
POS: It continues to sell and people know all the songs at shows and stuff like that. It’s small we are still starting up so.
Reyn: Can we expect another Doomtree record? Any solo records?
POS: Of course another Doomtree record. Mike and Lazerbeak just put one out last year, Cecil Otter last year. Cecil just got signed to Strange Famous Records and Dessa and Sims are working on solo records right now.
Reyn: Thanks a lot man, anything else you want to put out to the people, some stuff we can expect from P.O.S. in 2009?
POS: Lots! Nothing I want to say, but I will just say there are lots. Thanks!
Special thanks to WVOF for letting me use their fancy studio!