Getting down with Bootie Brown


Bootie Brown, Romye RobinsonPhotographer: Per Ranung

One of the four founding members of The Pharcyde, rapper Bootie Brown (Romye Robinson) may just be the most humble artist I have had the pleasure meeting. Lyrical genius Bootie Brown discusses how Hip-Hop has turned into Pop, why he thinks J Dilla was a genius in his own right, and an exclusive on his up-coming solo mixtape ‘Birdtalk’. Margaret Tra writes.



You came down with the Gorillaz last year, what was that like? And can we expect you to come back soon?

The whole Gorillaz tour was very unexpected, the expense of doing such a tour is so out of the norm. Nobody brings out almost 60 performers and crew, that tour was for the love of the project. It was a great once in a lifetime experience. I will be back in OZ, but with the Gorillaz can't say. I just enjoy the memories. 

Has Hip-hop changed from your era? If so how?

The world has changed since I began. I think a little different than most people, so I do not put myself in a time frame, my era is now. Until my last breathe, I live for today not yesterday. But the whole entire music industry has changed. The biggest change ever would have to be that Hip-Hop is Pop. Which I don't mean in a bad way, it’s just Hip-Hop is the most popular music there is right now, it went from the bastard child to the golden one.

How does it feel to know you have fans down under?

I never think about people being fans, it seems like such a derogatory word for people that show support for you. I just try to make good music and if it is a performance, make it better than the last. OZ is a fantastic place, it just a blessing when anyone is willing to hear and actually pay to see you.

What was it like working with the late J Dilla?

Everyone in there life I think at onetime is exposed to an individual that makes certain things looks so easy because of their flawless workflow. JD was that. He was a genius in his own right. He was my waking up on how music was created before I met him; there were rules to how music was made. He infused the things around him to create music. It was like going on a camping trip and 
one individual brings the raw necessities but he is the most prepared person you ever seen. While you are struggling to get a fire going with matches, he has a bon fire out of flint rock, eating and reading a book.

How does it feel to perform with the group now?

It's something that's challenging because without having any new music, how can you keep the people excited? There are also people that were not around when some of the albums came out. How do you keep them interested? But it's simple at the end; just give the people 200%.  

Are you working on any new projects?

I am working on some things. Clothing line (Cymi design) pronounced See Me. It has been a 10 years project finally coming to life. Solo mixtape (Birdtalk), an album (The Green Language), another project with Jeff Wooten (guitar player from Gorillaz) and a host of others.

Who influences you?

It is not just who, but what, an as an artist I think you’re supposed to intake your surroundings and re translate them how you see it. I am influenced by everything around me if I am not subdued by the bullshit that exists to stop the channeling of spiritual.  

What stimulates your soul?

Wanting to be better is my main stimulation. I am semi-obsessive about the getting there,
but people don't understand. I have so much more to give. That's my Fire.
After that my family is my source of sanity. I could be a king and my daughter would still ask me to make her a hot dog with mushrooms and onions. Something about being humbled is the most stimulating thing that can happen, because it clears your mind, and the overlooked become the very element that you draw a source of energy from.

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