Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 12:00AM
Over the past year or two, Little Rock's Pepperboy has become an unlikely seasoned hero in the Internet-centric cloud rap movement. His first spike in national attention can be traced back to April, 2011, when Lil B borrowed a Pep beat for his track "My Life." This tiny blip on hip-hop's expansive timeline saw Pep keeping in touch with Lil B and forming even closer ties with some of B's Cali constituents, namely Keyboard Kid and Main Attrakionz' Squadda B.
These and other connections have served him well, but Pep's real key to a maintained visibility has been his ability to seize the moment. He saw the interest in his work climbing, and he responded with a monsoon of creative output, resulting in 12 releases over the course of the last 19 months. Most of these 12 releases are full length albums, and they've landed him press with Spin, Fader, Mishka, MTV Hive and a host of other sites.
In this feature we'll take a look at all 12 releases and ask Pep some questions along the way to gain a bit of incite on the significance of each album. This list is chronological minus the first entry, which is the AiMT premiere of Pep's latest offering.
AiMT PREMIERE: Rebel Musik II (collab with Squadda B), October 2013
AiMT: I'm premiering Rebel Musik II today, which is same day that you'll be flying out to Cali to work with Squadda on Rebel Musik III. How do you feel II compares to the first Rebel Musik and what kind of ideas do you have going into recording the third one?
Pep: i think its different from rebel 1..for the simple fact we was in the studio together recording the whole album..so its definilty a different vibe.....when i arrive in cali tomorrow to record rebel 3..im just gonna go wit the flow man
AiMT: You used to release music on your own Off tha Block label. Now you're the face of Green Ova's southern branch. What made you want to get on board with Green Ova, and do you plan on doing anything with the Off tha Block label in the future?
Pep: one day me and squadda was on the phone he asked which label do i wanna release our album on and jokingly i said "Greenovasouth" He said "O Word" wit excitement...and the rest was History...i did the off the block records for 11 years strong..i guess its cool to switch it up..plus me and squadda b got a real friendship ..he even came to Arkansas we did 2 videos and recorded a whole album in a 3 day time period..
One Life to Live, March 2012
AiMT: It seems like this release was your first to get love from sites like Fader and Mishka. How did it feel to have the attention of such big names and to know that there were so many new people hearing your music?
Pep: i was very amazed to get national attention with that release it most def motivated me to work harder...
Days of Grace, June 2012
AiMT: This EP might be your first foray into what could be called cloud rap. How do you feel about that that term, and do you feel like it's a valid description of your own sound?
Pep: Ive grown use to the term Cloud rap..its a form of rap that kinda grew on me..u know tha ambient beats mixed wit the slow flow people have grown to like..plus me rhyming over clams casino and friendzone beats opened me up to the world of cloud rap...i feel like my sound has evolved into that catagory...
AiMT: You mentioned that this release was your first without profanity. What inspired you to put out a whole release with no profanity?
Pep: I chose to make the entire record profanity free simply because of the title
P.T.S., August 2012
AiMT: Of all your releases over the past year or two, which do you feel is most accomplished? And which one do you feel is the best introduction to Pepperboy?
Pep: P.T.S was a big album everyone liked it...its one of my favorites Fader even picked it up; its a very good introduction to pepperboy..
AiMT: "Felon" is on this album, and it's one of my favorite songs you've done. It also seems to have gotten the most attention out of all the songs you've done. What about this song do you think has moved people so much?
Pep: I think the beat on Felon was so amazing ..its produced by Blue Sky Black Death...and plus the lyrics are life changing!!
Nitetime, December 2012
AiMT: Nitetime was the first real full length Pepperboy album that a lot of your newer fan base got to hear. How much time did it take to put all 15 tracks together?
Pep: NiteTime was well excuted i took my time wit it ..id say it took 4 months to put together...it was well recieved too even got cassette tapes made that sold out overseas
AiMT: You've been turning out some really nice comic-style album artwork lately. How did you hook up with artists like Pierre Thyss and Wren McDonald?
Pep: they hear about me; they like the music ...we become friends and they offer the do covers for me..just based on a good friendship level...im a easy guy to get along with u know...
Daytime, February 2013
AiMT: Daytime is meant to be a sort of yin to Nitetime's yang. What is the difference between these two albums in your own words?
Pep: was meant to be the next day....if you notice the album starts off wit a funeral (3 volleys)..its picks up from nite time...like some one got killed the night before..
Endangered (collab with Keyboard Kid), May 2013
AiMT: This is the first of many collab projects you've released this year. Keyboard Kid is widely known as a Lil B collaborator. Did you get hooked up with Keyboard Kid through your connection with Lil B?
Pep: yes keyboard kid heard about me thru lil b ..then he started listening to my records and he loved what he heard ..then he sont me a beat and the rest is history
AiMT: It seems like a lot of people attribute your buzz to Lil B's use of one of your beats back in 2011. You mentioned that you had discussed collaborating with him. What's your friendship like with him right now, and is there any chance we'll hear a collab anytime soon?
Pep: this the honest truth....me and Lil B been texting on and off since he used my beat...he tells me soon he get in position hes gonna reach out for me..its been 2 years; i just continue to work hard..if the lil b sitiuation happen it would be wonderful..but to this day we still keeo in touch..hes a fan.of my music and im a fan of his music
Rebel Musik (collab with Squadda B), June 2013
AiMT: You're nearly three projects deep with Squadda. Clearly this is someone you have strong creative chemistry with. How long does it usually take the two of you to finish a track?
Pep: omg squaddas fast..so it make me work even faster..id say we can knock a record out in 30 min max.
Battlefield, July 2013
AiMT: All four songs of this EP seem to have a very dreary feel. Did you set out to make this a dark release?
Pep: yep the battlefield record was intended to be a little dark..mainly because of the title.
Bubble Boyz (collab with Western Tink), August 2013
AiMT: Western Tink is from Texas, so it's fitting that this album has a very Down South production style start to finish. Lots of 808s and thin, skittery hihats. Were you and Tink going for a southern sound here, or was that perhaps a coincidence?
Pep: me and tink most def went for the southern sound..i mean we both from the south.
Str8 Off the Block 5: Really Real, August 2013
AiMT: This is the fifth installation of this series, but most of us never got to hear one through four. Would you say this is a return to your old sound, and is there any chance we'll ever get to hear the whole series?
Pep: i have recently uploaded part 2 and 4 to my bandcamp...str8 1 is also available at my bandcamp..its being sold as physical copies...part 3 will surface soon..
AiMT: You've put out so much material in the past two years, and you've got a very high yield of quality beats. Without giving away too many secrets, walk us through your beat selection process.
Pep: im very picky when it comes to beats...plus i feel like i got an amazing Ear for beats....i might listen to 20 beats and pick 1 ..its a trip man..
Initiation (collab with Yung Envy), September 2013
AiMT: Tell us about Yung Envy and your connection to him. Is he a Little Rock cat? Also this release has more of a street sound than your other releases that have been coming out these past couple of years. What made you want to go for a grittier vibe for this release?
Pep: yung envy is a 19 yr old from littlerock....i heard the talent in him and hes a respectful guy..so i decided to bring him aboard...we want to go wit a street vibe wit the album..plus yung evny kinda brings that early 90's peppeboy out.
tl;dr: Pepperboy is a Little Rock cloud rapper. He recommends P.T.S. as an introduction to his music. AiMT recommends The Collection if you're interested in his older stuff. You can also find his recent feature spots on Dat Piff.