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Pigeon John Q&A

Spreading His Wings and Summertime Cheer

Winter storms have diminished the grit deposits on San Francisco’s streets, along with memories of weather that was a little warmer, barbecues and outdoor concerts, but those thoughts can be revisited when L.A. rapper Pigeon John returns to the Bay Area with his summertime vibes. Months after the release of his latest album Pigeon John and the Summertime Pool Party, the rapper is still hitting the road hard. He performs during a two-night stand with Subtle on Jan. 20th and 21st at Bottom of The Hill. He spoke with SF Station during a phone interview.

SF Station (SFS): You are on the road pretty constantly, what are three essentially things that you need to stay sane?

Pigeon John (PJ): I usually say, keep your head down and keep working. A lot of times, if I start looking around and comparing myself or hoping and wishing certain things will happen, I stop working. I also say Lamborghini, Lamborghini, Lamborghini, Lamborghini, over and over for some weird reason. The third thing I say is work to eat, eat to live, live to write. That is kind of like my motto.

SFS: What does the Lamborghini chant signify? Is it wishful thinking for the future?

PJ: I have no idea. Whenever I hear the word Lamborghini it’s like magic -- a magic carpet.

SFS: Listening to your album, it seems like you think a lot of aspects of rap and hip-hop are ridiculous. Is that true?

PJ: I think on the record I touch on it on “Do the Pigeon” and a couple of other songs. But, I try to not make that the main focus because I think it is just crap in a bucket. It can’t get to that. Do I think anything is wrong with the mainstream rap world? No, for the most part. If anything, it’s the myth that you have to fit in and sometimes look a certain way, and rap about certain things in order to make it. I think that myth needs to get broken.

SFS: Was that your philosophy before you started recording albums?

PJ: Before, I didn’t really know what I was thinking. I was just listening to what was out -- KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, blah, blah, blah. That is my foundation for why I did rap. Here’s what I think it is: No one really knows why Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap or Biz Markie started rapping. Maybe they came from a bad background, but they didn’t tell on themselves and they didn’t glamorize anything that was typical. I’m from that way of thinking. A cookie-cutter, drug-seller-made-good kind of vibe is all I really see in rap.

SFS: In a recent podcast you said hip hop is a form of karaoke. Do you really think that?

PJ: I don’t think that personally. Rap can be karaoke if it is not done right. It can be a dude with a DAT player, a band, or DJ. It depends on how that MC works what he has. That’s the beauty of hip hop -- whatever you have is enough -- you just freak it how you freak it. I think people can get lazy and say if it is live instruments, then it is real music. But to me, that is a cop out too because a lot of bands are rehashing. They are not doing anything new. That’s my take on it. Let’s not be karaoke is what I like to say.

Pigeon John performs with Subtle on Jan. 20th and 21st at Bottom of the Hill. Tickets are $12 to the all ages show. Doors open at 8:30pm. and the show starts at 10pm.