Twenty-six-year-old Paypa has blown into the rap game from the Windy City, but don't you dare compare him to his Chi-town, hip-hop predecessors. He's blazing a complete trail of his own while letting every rapper know what time it is. Not at all shy, this confident artist doesn't bite his tongue about anything from his forwardness about being compared to Drake and the lyrical assassination he has planned for other artists and wanting Kanye West's acknowledgment. VIBE got a chance to sit down with the recent Universal signee as Paypa discusses Tunnel Vision II: Ramadan Season, his forthcoming debut album and what he really thinks about Nicki Minaj. —Niki McGloster
VIBE: When you think of Chicago artists, Kanye West, Common, Lupe all come to mind. How do you feel about the expectations being from that city?
Paypa: I try not to look at it like that 'cause those are such huge shoes to fill. You can't come out like, 'Man, I gotta come after Lupe and Kanye.' These are artists that set the world on fire. Common and everything. Twista. So, you know I'm just here to blaze my own trail and do my own thing and learn from what they did. The pros and cons, the mistakes and, you know, it's work.
Have you gotten a chance to meet any of them?
I've met Common, Lupe. I haven't ran into Lupe recently since I've been where I'm at now, but I met him a while back. Twista reached out.
What made you jump on Kanye's "Devil In A New Dress" and "Monster" instrumentals?
It came from a much more personal place. I felt like [long pause]… I'll keep it real with you. It comes from a place of me being from Chicago and everybody from Chicago is reaching out to me, and even if they didn't necessarily reach out, they acknowledged me in some shape, form or fashion. I feel like I got a little buzz, maybe I was feeling myself a little bit when I did it. I'm not saying I was right, but I was in a place like, 'I know you see me.' Ain't nothing really movin' at the crib but me. It's a lot of people that's working hard and doing they thing, and no diss to them, but I'm going dumb right now. I'm like, 'Nigga, I know you see me. I know you be on these blogs. I know you be on these websites. You don't have nothing to say?" I'm gon' make you say something now. Not on no drama type stuff, but on some annoying ass little brother stuff, like, 'Nigga, pay me some fuckin' attention.' [Laughs] That's how I felt at the moment, and I kinda act off impulse sometimes. But that's where I was coming from. And if you honestly didn't see me before, I know you see me now. And being from Chicago, it's just too many connections; It's too many direct links.
What can fans expect from your upcoming mixtape Tunnel Vision 2: Ramadan Season?
A complete assault. I'm not taken no prisoners. It [has] almost no features, and I'm shooting to kill everything moving. I'm not trying to let anybody eat expect for me. They're gonna fast—that was kinda my approach in the studio.
Well, the way you rap is very blunt and cocky.
I mean, I think it comes from being comfortable with yourself and knowing who you are, and when I say something, I mean what I say. So, in my music, I'm not making up stuff. I'm not sitting up here just being extremely creative; I'm talking about my day-to-day life. I'm talking about my experiences and the things in it, so when I say things I mean it, and you can hear the conviction in my voice. And I'm not tryin' to get it figured out. Like, when I say it, even if I'm wrong, I meant what I was saying, and you can hear that.
How have things changed since you signed with Universal? What is the process like now?
The workload has gone up somewhat, but my team and I, we've always worked hard. That's how we got to this point. I stayed in the studio, we stayed shooting videos, I stayed working. So since the deal, it hasn't been too much change, I'm working more. I'm working more and everything is honed more toward a specific direction.
And that direction being the debut album?
Yeah, the debut album "Feel Good Music," as well as just saturating the public. I'm just focused on giving the people music that feels good and honest music. You know? I just wanna be able to relate the people and vibe with the people. That's what it's about for me.
What should people be expecting from that body of work and how is that process coming along?
I'm just trying to connect with the public. Like, I never wanna lose my ability to relate, and I feel like I can relate to everybody. I feel like everybody can get something from me and my movement. Like I said, my music is very honest and very real. From grinding, relationships, just being a new artist trying to pave my way, the complete change of my life going from completely broke to having a little change in my pocket, how people feel about that, how I feel about how people feel about that, just life. From every single perspective. I'm not missing one angle. I really don't like giving away too much. I mean, [long pause]… this my baby right here. This my baby, I don't wanna leak anything too early. Maybe I'll start talking about stuff like that at the top of next year. [Laughs]
What producer would you love to work with?