Photo via Backwoodz Studioz

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PremRock is a collector. He collects intriguing turns of phrase from dusty bookstore finds and the quietly impactful lines that his favorite rappers hide in the middle of their verses. He catalogs stories from the people around him in New York: real life experiences from the patrons of the bar in Harlem where he’s worked for nearly a decade and imagined backstories of those he sees on the train or in the park. He collects memories from his suburban Philadelphia upbringing and his many years of touring throughout Europe and across the United States. He then refracts this vast collection of words, anecdotes, and recollections through the prism of rap, creating music as colorful, vivid, and engaging as the source material it references.

Having started recording around the age of 15, PremRock, born Mark Debuque, belongs to a specific tradition of circuitous, abstract rap that challenges the listener to conduct a close listen. It’s a tradition introduced by the likes of Ghostface Killah and Camp Lo, updated through the clatter of Def Jukies like Vordul Mega and Aesop Rock, and coming back to the forefront of contemporary rap music via Backwoodz Studioz, the label releasing Prem’s excellent new album, Load Bearing Crow’s Feet.

A prolific emcee, Prem’s been working consistently for the last decade, putting out a bevy of solo records, collaborations with Toronto producer Fresh Kils, and, most recently, a thunderous duo album with fellow Wrecking Crew member Curly Castro under the name ShrapKnel. On Crow’s Feet, Prem is in top form, filtering his thoughts through the gravely texture of Aesop Rock’s voice, the unbreakable flow and impeccable syllable wizardry of Breeze Brewin, and the hyper-detailed writing of Tom Waits. The album traverses through drifting moments of existential questioning and wakes up to painful, hungover realizations.

On “Soft Machinery,” a smoke-stained, jazz-flecked track near the end of Load Bearing Crow’s Feet, Prem captures how it feels to be the quiet dude on either side of the bar, watching someone uncoil themself over the course of the evening. “Whiskey in his hand and I smell another diatribe/ a real Nighthawks at the Diner vibe,” he remarks, referencing the bleary-eyed album of the same name from his favorite artist, Tom Waits. Earlier on the record in the song “Apollo Kids Meal,” Prem takes a Ghostface line from “Apollo Kids,” “beneath the Lay-Z Boy where you hid the knife,” and applies it to both a childhood memory of hiding his early rhyme books and his understanding of writing itself. After the discovery of one of his journals by a family member, he realizes that “words are read by others but only magnify the internal.”

Littered throughout the record are literary references to the likes of Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Italo Calvino, and Shirley Jackson, namechecks of musicians like the Grateful Dead, Big Lurch, and Built to Spill, and momentary reflections on Machiavellian strategy, unrepentant idealism, and substance abuse. On “Prairie Burn” Prem asks himself the question at the heart of the album, saying “it all boils down to a simple catch phrase/ if you can’t take it with you, why you building up that cache?” He answers himself, however, with the album title, Load Bearing Crow’s Feet. It’s all about aging. Life, however meaningful or meaningless, is all about the stories, memories, and ideas you collect throughout.

I spoke to Prem on the day his album was released, shortly before his 36th birthday. We talked about the process of aging, how literature and bartending affect his writing equally, and the characters he creates to examine his own experiences. He speaks like a collector, rifling through memories and stories with the passion of someone engaged in constant discovery. Dash Lewis

What was the process of making Load Bearing Crow’s Feet?

PremRock: I didn’t have the intention of, “This is my solo album, can’t wait to release it.” It started with a series of songs that didn’t really have a home around the time I was making ShrapKnel. I did a lot of this writing really late at night alone. No one counted on COVID happening, right—there was a whole different timeline that I had in mind. So when I started to piece it all together, I’m like, “Oh, man, I’m a couple songs away from a good record here.”

Willie Green — this record does not get made without him. I had sessions all over the place; I had recorded with Fresh Kils in Toronto, Steel Tipped Dove in Brooklyn, my house here. I had to get all these all these sessions, all these files and everything in a cohesive place and make it sound like it was a record. So in the middle of the pandemic I went down there. I was the first person to go back into [Willie Green’s] studio. We were all masked up in separate rooms. He had a hard deadline because his son was about to be born, so we got it all done pretty quick. That’s kind of how it came to fruition in a logistical sense.

Other than that, a lot of these songs were sketches and ideas I had that didn’t really get fleshed out until later. And then I was like, “Oh, okay, this is a record.” Talking to woods—he will never jump the gun on anything. He likes to be sure. So, for a while he was like, “Yeah, when you’re finished, send it over.” Obviously that makes sense, after ShrapKnel doing as well as it did and us knowing each other for this long. He’s like, “Yeah, I would love to put it out, but I want to hear it first.” That process had its own timeline, which was also interrupted. The best laid plans—you make them and then the universe has a whole other idea. I think it came together when and how it needed to.

You said that you started writing it during the making of ShrapKnel. Was it primarily recorded during COVID or was it started back in 2019?

PremRock: Maybe a little piecemeal back as far as 2018. Basically all the songs were theoretical. The two Denmark Vessey songs were theoretical and the BrainOrchestra. songs were theoretical. They were written but no demos or anything, so I went to Green’s during the pandemic to lay them in. One of the focuses on this writing was to be evergreen. Pick it up five years from now and there’s no references to COVID or Trump’s lackeys. I tried to make it in a way that you can go back to it and not feel like it’s dated.

It makes sense that this would come out after ShrapKnel because the ShrapKnel record feels very fiery, more outwardly directed. There’s a lot of talk about politics and there’s that line about Jeff Sessions that you have [on “In, Dependence”], “all red like Jeff Sessions’s face.” That was why I was wondering when this was written because it feels like as the fire of ShrapKnel burns out, Load Bearing Crow’s Feet is the smoldering embers. It’s a very internal kind of record. Was there an overarching theme that you were working with or did it materialize as the work did?

PremRock: A little of both. I take notes a lot in my phone like a lot of us do. When I’m on the train, or when I’m at work, and I think of something I try to write it down immediately. I had it open one day and I saw “Load Bearing Crow’s Feet.” I told my girlfriend, “I think I want to name my record this, but I’m kind of worried. I’m kind of afraid it’s too weird or too goofy.” She says, “no, that’s exactly who you are.” woods was on me. He asked, “What’s the title?” I texted him [“Load Bearing Crow’s Feet”] and he just replied, “hahaha.” I thought, “Oh, that’s a good sign. That means he likes it. It’s memorable.”

But — aging. Trying to gain wisdom from some bullshit that you’ve done. Some of it’s your fault, some of it’s not. Recognizing your place. Mining the past in a way so maybe we can predict what’s going to happen personally. It’s not like every song had to fit a theme; it was all of those pieces of you, the flaws, too. I was at Willie Green’s birthday the other day and thought, “Holy shit, we’ve known each other 11 years now.” We were different people when we met, totally different. We were young and dumb and didn’t know better but it all contributed to the people we became. I’m pretty fascinated by aging in general. When I haven’t seen someone in a while, I like to see how they aged. I don’t really think there’s a good or bad way to age. I mean, certainly there’s an aesthetically pleasing way to age and then there’s one that’s not, but I just always found it really fascinating how people wear their experiences and what they’ve been through.

How do you think that you’ve aged since the beginning of this process?

PremRock: Some ways, gracefully. Some ways, not so much. But I feel like I’ve applied what I’ve learned. I think I’ve paid for it in a good and bad way.

I was listening to the ShrapKnel episode of A Palace from Ruin, that short lived podcast that [Steel Tipped] Dove did. This might have been from the Dad Bod Rap Pod episode y’all did, but on one of those, the host was saying how referential the two of you are on the ShrapKnel record. It’s true and it’s definitely there on Load Bearing Crow’s Feet, but it’s almost more hidden. It took me several listens to catch the “Agent Orange” reference on “If On A Winter’s Night…” [“…get high like fuck and pick apart my brain”]. When I listen to records, it’s really hard for me to keep song titles in mind. I’ll listen to it over and over and only then I’ll look at the song titles. I realized that that song in particular felt like a song not necessarily about writer’s block, but about finding the ability to write. Which then led me to, “Oh, this is a reference to Italo Calvino[‘s book If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler],” a book about trying to read a book. At the end of “Apollo Kids Meal,” there’s the sample from Shirley [the biopic about writer Shirley Jackson].

PremRock: Good ear!

I’ve noticed in interviews with other artists, especially those in the Wrecking Crew, rappers really hold you in high regard. I think Castro called you the Hemingway of rap. I want to talk a little bit about what role literature plays in your process. Your writing style is very, very literary.

PremRock: Thank you, I take that as a compliment. I’ve always been a pretty avid reader. Since a kid, I told my dad I wanted to be a writer of some kind. He’d say, “Yeah, that’s a really hard life.” And then music became my focus; I always wanted to be a writer and I knew that I didn’t have the discipline to write a book. So reading, for me, is always the surest way out of writer’s block. You see a phrase, you see the way that someone puts something together, you see how their mind works and you just reinterpret that. Sometimes I’ll be really stuck. I love to go to bookstores; they’re a big inspiration for me. New York City’s got some great ones and I’ve been to probably all of them.

If you were to comb through the record, you’d probably find over a dozen book references snuck in there. I was in a bookstore up here — I live in Washington Heights on the Upper West Side. This type of shit always happens to me and I don’t really know why. [Laughs] You can believe it or not, but I’m telling you the truth. I was wondering about [the song] “Death on the Installment Plan.” Obviously, [Louis-Ferdinand] Celine is a controversial figure. He was a talented writer, though, and had a really unique style. So I walked down the aisle, I turned the corner and there’s one book that had fallen. It was Death on the Installment Plan. I was like, “This is too fucking weird.” I picked it up and I put it back where it should have been and thought, “I’m definitely calling this song that.”

I think about the way people’s brains work with authors. woods is my favorite rapper right now. He raps like people write literature. If you took away the quotations of “rap writing” and just called it “writing,” I think that’s what my goal is. To make it so it’s almost indiscernible between the two. And I love rap—I’m a rapper, I’m proud to say that. That’s a badge of honor. But the way that my writing informs my rapping is that I want it to be the same as you would sit down and read. woods is a huge inspiration for that. That dude can devour novels so quickly. But yeah, I would give credit to my dad. He was one he said to me, “So you want to be a writer? Read.”

Do you read and/or write every single day? Or do you try to at least leave space for that?

PremRock: I try to but definitely not every day. During the quarantine portion of the pandemic I read more than I normally did. I’m learning how to quit quicker, which is something you’re not really taught. It’s not even a condemnation of the book or the writer. It’s just like, “[I’m] not in the headspace for that right now. I’m not in the headspace to pick up a scholarly book. I want something kind of whimsical. I want something that will take me out of stress. I don’t need to go deep into that rabbit hole — there’s a time for that and it isn’t now.” You shouldn’t just sit there and force yourself to go through this unless you’re researching something. If you’d rather read something as cliche as Lord of the Rings because you want to escape, do that. You don’t have to read Frantz Fanon or get deep into the ills of society. If you start going down that road, and you think, “I’m not in this headspace,” it’s okay to stop. It’s okay to quit. You can get back to it.

Do you have a book or set of books that you keep coming back to when mining for inspiration?

PremRock: Vonnegut is probably the guy for me. Even if I want to read 20 pages or something he’d be the guy. He’s so funny. He’s so tragically hilarious.

I feel like his stuff really speaks to the current absurdity that we’re living through as well.

PremRock: Oh, yeah.

Besides Vonnegut and say, billy woods, do you have a favorite writer that—well, let me rephrase this. Taking woods, and let’s even say take most of your Backwoodz compatriots out of the equation, do you have a musician that is your favorite writer? Whose work to go to specifically for the lyrics?

PremRock: Tom Waits. I really like his writing. It’s not really pretentious. He could write a song about divorce or heartbreak, but you come to find out that he’s happily married and everything’s great. I think he has an ability to tap into emotion. He’s lived many lives and can tap into what he was like when he was 25, reckless and drunk, playing dive bars. Dude’s been sober since about 1981 but everyone thinks he’s this whiskey drinking, raspy voiced ne’er do well, when really he’s just happily married. He’s probably got grandkids at this point and lives on some secluded farm.

That’s always really appealed to me—when you have the ability to go there. I have songs on this record that came from a really deep place of hurt and I don’t hurt right now but I was able to access it. I credit him for that because I remember reading something about him where he mentioned being able to transport himself back to a certain time and place. As long as that headspace is healthy for you and doesn’t make you spiral and think about the past in a bad way—if you can access it in a way that’s like, “Oh, yeah, I learned from that, I got through that” — then I think it might relate to somebody else. So yeah, I’m gonna give that to him.

Something that’s really interesting about him is that he’s able to write from his own experience and sort out the processing that happens with age, which is a lot like this record that you just put out. Another strong thing that he does is that he’s able to write from multiple points of view and create characters to get around themes. Is that something that you find yourself doing?

PremRock: Absolutely. Living in New York, the train is obviously a wellspring of inspiration. I like to invent backstories while I’m people-watching. It’s super interesting to me. I love to look at other people’s points of view. I think what a lot of people are lacking is the ability to do that. This is how we have such a fucked up divided country because no one can simply empathize with someone who isn’t them. I think [Tom Waits] does a great job of that. It’s something I could do better at.

Do you have any characters that you’ve created that you’ve revisited throughout your career?

PremRock: On this album, on “Soft Machinery” — a Burroughs reference — the idea of the junkie with a heart of gold. He’s trying to make it and very much knows his flaws. It’s really hard for him to escape. It’s almost a tad fatalist. But in the meantime, the guy knows his way around the underworld. He could go anywhere, he can traverse any landscape, he can even put on a suit and go into the machinery of the real world without a problem, kind of like a superhero with no real power. That character, a wise fool, would be the recurring one.

Do you consider yourself that wise fool or do you think that’s a wholly separate character that you’re writing from?

PremRock: It’s part of me, for sure. It’s definitely part of me. I bartend, so I have a lot of access to interesting characters. I found that one of my old regulars was just arraigned for murder.

Holy shit.

PremRock: [Laughs] Yeah, I’ve often thought, “Man, I’ve had to have served a serial killer or something at this point,” you know? The amount of people and the range of people I serve goes from drug dealers to lawyers to doctors. And then you see the lawyer and the doctor talking to the drug dealer and that makes sense, too.

He was a character, man. He still is — he’s alive. He’s not dead, the other guy is. But I guess he murdered someone in 1985 and his father helped him dump the body. Finally, he came clean in 2020 and says he doesn’t remember it, which I kind of believe. I could see him blacking out. But anyway, a long way of saying that the amount of people that I have rapport with just really runs the gamut of humanity entirely. I see qualities and people that the rest of the world would consider undesirable. I like to mine that specific good in them so I can feel okay about our exchanges. People are just a trip and alcohol is the great unifier in these situations.

Absolutely. That’s always been my experience as a bartender as well.

PremRock: Okay, so you know.

Oh, yeah. I’ve been a bartender off and on for a long time and I’ve been in the restaurant industry for about 20 years.

PremRock: Where are you?

I’m in Richmond, Virginia now but I’ve lived a lot of places. Before this I was living in Chicago. It’s a similar situation bartending in places like Chicago and New York. You come across every single person that you can imagine.

PremRock: One hundred percent.

You have to have a bit of sympathy. Or maybe not sympathy—empathy is the right word.

PremRock: It’s empathy. You can’t really judge. If you do, you gotta keep that to yourself. Obviously, as a bartender, you probably drink. I’ve met the occasional sober bartender who’s in recovery and still likes to be around the crowd, but yeah, you’re in on it. You’re in on the whole thing. You see it all. You know everybody’s secrets — because they tell you! [Laughs] That’s informed my writing as much as literature I would say. Because, going back to the wise fool, when I’m out I can slip into conversations with this person or that person. People are like, “How do you know them? That’s really strange.” And I’m like, “They come to the bar.” It’s fun — they have reverence for me because I control their alcohol for a period of time. [Laughs] So I have some really interesting people that would love to owe me a favor. It’s definitely been a cool device for writing.

It’s a strange power dynamic that you get when you’re a bartender and it’s really hard to not exploit that sometimes.

PremRock: I mean, we’re all kind of con artists as bartenders.

Oh, yeah! How many times have you had to describe a drink or make a drink that you didn’t know anything about?

PremRock: Oh yeah, when they’re like, “This is literally all I do. This is my go-to drink,” and it’s nonsense. Or, the worst is when you meet someone who’s a chef and he doesn’t drink. It’s like, goddammit! What can I do? How am I gonna get this guy on my side? It’s been an interesting career to parallel with music. And like you said, you pick it up and put it down. You can always have a gig.

How long have you been in the industry?

PremRock: In 2008 I got into hotels. I was serving and doing concierge but five or six years into that I decided I couldn’t really work for that company anymore. I learned to bartend in 2011. Some guy called out sick and I was at the front desk. [Management asked], “do you know how to bartend?” I was like, “Oh, yeah. I used to bartend.” Then they gave me this really posh second floor bar of this swanky downtown New York place. I had Mondays so I used every Monday to learn how to make shit. Every now and again someone would call me out like, “Do you know what you’re doing here?” But that’s how I learned. Ever since then I’ve been off and on. The manager liked me and after like my sixth or seventh shift, he told me, “I know you’d never bartended before. It’s alright.” I said, “Oh, man, sorry.” But he just said, “Nah, it’s okay!” [Laughs] Then I pivoted to the special events there, with parties of two to three hundred people and it was just crazy. I’ve been at a bar in Harlem now for seven years — it’s been an interesting seven years for sure.

That’s one way that you prove that you’re a bartender. Like, “yeah, totally, I got it!”

PremRock: Yup, “I got it!” Just act sure, just act certain, just say you know what you’re doing. The worst is to say, “Oh, I don’t know.” Now we have apps. Just act like you’re checking your phone for something else.

Do you find that that kind of knowledge of forced competence has translated into making music at all?

PremRock: No, actually, I treat it really separately. I’m reminded of that every time someone brings it up to me at the bar because there’s so many people that have no idea that I rap. I don’t really talk about it. There is a group of OGs in their 50s and who are like, “Let me find out you got bars!” They grew up with A$AP Ferg’s dad and they talk about all the old times. They brought Yo-Yo to the bar once! They’re like old friends with Yo-Yo. She’s super cool!

But most of the time, it’s really separate. I don’t really like getting into it unless there’s a real conversation to be had with someone who’s like, “By the way, did you know that I do this? Maybe we can work together on something.” Then I’ll definitely get into it. But I don’t really ever like talking about it, if that makes sense. I just basically say, hey, check out my stuff. This is my name. And then get back to me. I’m not gonna be like, “Yo, we’ll put some on right now.” I’m definitely not doing that.

That’s like asking a comedian to tell a joke. “Oh, you’re funny? Let’s hear it.”

PremRock: Oh, my God, the amount of people that tell you to rap when they find out?

It seems like one of the worst things would be like, “Oh, so you make music? You’re behind the bar—put it on, let’s see what you got. Let’s see what’s going on with it.”

PremRock: I’m like, “Nah, man, I’m not gonna do that. I’m on a different clock right now.” I value keeping it separate. I’m kind of a private person in general, which is kind of the opposite of what being an emcee is. Especially today — you want to be boisterous and everywhere, but that’s not really who I am as a person. I like to be anonymous in some ways, but when I have a show I want everyone that’s there to really be watching me and hearing all this shit that I’ve been working on for so long. But up until that point, I keep it separate. So that’s why people sometimes get mildly offended like, “You never told me that you do this.” I think, “I don’t know, it didn’t come up,” you know?

Strict, strict boundaries.

PremRock: Yeah, and I’m cool with that. And then when people find out, that’s always fun, too. They’re like, “I had no idea! This is crazy!” or “I checked out your whole album!” or something like that. There’s a very slight occasion when the person’s a really big hip hop head and they put it together that they’d heard my shit. Back when I was in the hotel, I got posted on 2dopeboyz. The security guard grew up with Skyzoo or something. He saw me and was like “what the fuck? You didn’t tell me about this!” He had on his phone that 2dopeboyz article. Instances like that are pretty cool.

You’ve been [bartending] for a long time and it seems like you have a love for it. But I know for me, at least, I’ve stuck with the restaurant industry for so long because of the freedom. Before COVID, I would go on tour a lot. I know that you have notoriously been a road warrior. Do you genuinely have a love for bartending or is it a marriage of convenience?

PremRock: Marriage of convenience, but it’s also a hard industry to leave behind. The money is good and the experiences are good when you go out. It’s pretty rare to go out and not have something sent over to the table because I’ve been around so long. It’s a recognizable thing. You develop these relationships with people because you’re bonded through this industry. I don’t want to do it forever, but yeah, it’s incredibly convenient. I work for people who care about my career. They want me to succeed. If I just became a full time musician, they would be super happy about that. But at the same time, they’re like “Well, whatever you want in the meantime you can have as long as it’s fair to your coworkers.” It’s a good situation.

Yeah, that’s kind of the dream.

PremRock: Yeah, I couldn’t find another gig that would allow me to do all this. I can’t do the desk. I tried — it’s not for me. I know people say, “I’m an artiste! I can’t be in a cage.” That’s not true. I can be on someone else’s clock for money. That’s how society is set up. But I have to have some range of motion. I have to have some vibrance. I can’t be on my laptop all day or anything like that.

Since things are starting to aggressively go back to normal, do you have plans for touring anytime soon?

PremRock: Yeah, we’re gonna do a couple shows, me and Castro together with Armand Hammer. Just a couple of dates on the East Coast. After that, not anything. A couple booking agents were trying to get us to go overseas, but that kind of fell through. That’ll happen eventually, but I’m not sure what the plan is. So nothing beyond a New England run in the fall.

This is obviously the longest anyone’s gone without playing shows. I’m not in the headspace to crack my knuckles and start contacting people up and down the country. I don’t really feel that urge like I did pre-pandemic but it’ll come back. I definitely want to see where this record goes. If it opens up some more doors for me I’ll happily go through those doors.

Seems like it’s poised to, especially with the Backwoodz affiliation. That label is just pretty much it right now, in terms of what’s going on in the underground.

PremRock: Killing it, man. Killing it. It feels special to be part of it, it really does. I’m just so proud of everyone at the label. From what they went from, to where they are now—Green, woods, ELUCID. It’s really, really inspiring. I’ve had a million conversations over the ten plus years I’ve been doing this and everyone has a different opinion on what you should be doing. My opinion was always just to make exactly what you want to make. You keep working. It’s gonna break at some point. You’re gonna reach what you’re supposed to reach. None of us are in it for a lot of money, but to be able to sell out of whatever product you press up—that was always my dream. It wasn’t anything much loftier than that. The fact that all these people are just excited about this feels like success.

Do you take breaks between projects? Or do you just like to keep writing and keep going?

PremRock: Right now I’m not in a super writing heavy mode. I got my admin hat on more than anything, but I will write pretty consistently. I’m working on the record with Zilla and Castro together. All three of us for the first time for a full LP. I’m behind but they’ve been blazing through. Castro’s frickin’ insane man. He’s a workhorse. I think he wrote that verse for Haram in like 30 minutes and said, “I’m not touching it. This is it.” That verse is crazy. He’s like, “You got an Alchemist beat for me? Watch how fast I do this.” woods was like, “Hey, man, take your time.” He’s a good engine to mirror. But I would say right now I’m not resting on any laurels, I’m just taking a little time out.

You touched on it a little bit before but that must be inspiring to be around. Castro in one of those podcasts I referenced earlier called Backwoodz “a writer’s enterprise.” It’s true, there isn’t a bad writer on that roster. I wonder how much it feels like competition and how much it just feels like genuine artistic blooming in tandem.

PremRock: I think it’s a little of both. I had to come with my best foot forward. Obviously you don’t ever not want to, but at the same time, this isn’t just going up on my Bandcamp and that’s it. This isn’t a Bandcamp Friday release. I want [Load Bearing Crow’s Feet] to be considered my signature record up until this point. It’s paired with the best rap label out right now, in my opinion, so I have to come with it. You just gotta put your best shit out and Backwoodz breeds that.

The production on the record certainly feels like very much a part of what Backwoodz does in terms of its forward-thinkingness. It vacillates between this really lush and drifty stuff, especially in the beginning of the record, to stuff that’s a bit more direct or dry, for lack of a better word. Crisp is perhaps a better way to say it. Is there a specific mood you were trying to find when selecting these beats?

PremRock: The last beats I got were Messiah Musik’s. I knew I needed him on it. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s done a lot of great stuff for woods and Armand Hammer specifically. But the thing is, there’s very specific sonic aspects to his beats. They don’t come with stems. Green has been mixing him for a long time so you know you’re going to get the best out of it. But at the same time, it’s not gonna sound like BrainOrchestra., who[se beats have] a lot of individual parts. [Messiah Musik’s are] a little more condensed, a little more loop driven. I knew I needed that on the record.

I think the Small Pro song with Henry Canyons might have been one of the last songs we did, which is really jazzy and kind of beautiful. I’ve known Henry for a long time. We’re very good friends but we had never done a song together. I knew we would, but we tried to make one one time and it wasn’t happening. He didn’t say anything. He’s so polite. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to but it just wasn’t vibing. We were like, “Are we just forcing this because we’re friends and we’re hanging out?” We were in southern France at his grandmother’s house. These should be the elements for a really great song but it just wasn’t the time. Or it wasn’t the song. And then this one. I was like, man, I gotta have you on this. I think it turned out really good.

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