Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Busdriver Keeps Pushing Boundaries More Than Anyone in Hip-Hop

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 4:34 AM

Busdriver - JOELLEE
  • Joellee
  • Busdriver

For more than a decade, Los Angeles rapper Busdriver has been one of rap's most challenging and electrifying voices.

A product of avant-garde circles, he continues to push the genre's stylistic envelope while staying true to hip-hop traditions. And he's got substance, tackling everything from race to class divisions with the same grace as his oft-melodic, staccato flows.

His latest album, Perfect Hair, dropped September 9 on Big Dada/Ninja Tune, and it features Danny Brown, Aesop Rock and Open Mike Eagle. We spoke to Busdriver ahead of his stop in St. Louis this Wednesday, October 29, at the Demo.

Chaz Kangas: You started rapping at age nine, is that right?

Busdriver: I remember at nine beginning to get really serious about rap. I don't remember the raps, and I'm glad I don't because they would make me feel sad.

Why would they make you feel sad?

Because I bet they're really bad and that I was torturing people with them.

Where did your rap name "Busdriver" come from?

When I was twelve or thirteen, me and my friend rapped a lot on the bus. Our whole concept was based on riding the bus, and he just called me Busdriver, and it stuck. And so when I went to the Good Life for the first time when I was thirteen I was Busdriver, and it hasn't changed.

Your last album, 2012's Beaus$Eros, was influenced by your fiancee leaving you. Was there anything in your personal life that impacted Perfect Hair in a similar way?

Being broke. Just being broke and transitioning and playing a different role in [Los Angeles hip-hop collective] Hellfyre Club.

When it comes to collaborations, do you begin a song's creative process with someone in mind, or does that come later?

Well, a lot of collaborations have been born out of a need to just get a different perspective on a beat, or an outcome of a concept. Sometime you need someone else to chime in. What I'm really grateful for is rap dudes I can call upon who are around my age and have experienced rap in an unbiased way for the past fifteen years.

People were very surprised to see Danny Brown on my song, which is a surprise as he's a very well-known rapper, but me and Danny Brown came to prominence around the same years, and I was always aware of him. He noticed that when I reached out to do the song. I was pleasantly surprised. There's really no money in music, so you're kind of dependent on that secret history.

Continue to page two.

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