—article by Javier Suárez @javiercantdraw
I'm exhausted with new rappers. I've been finding nothing but shitty music, but every now and then, before giving up and going back to some A$AP mob or Childish, I find rappers to get excited over. Melted between insecurity and self consciousness sits Pizza Boy. A relatively underground rapper from Peoria, IL with too much to share with strangers.
After listening to his latest album, This is Pizza Boy; I couldn't help but feel I had just picked up someone's diary I wasn't meant to read. Autobiographically executed over mellow beats, Pizza Boy. gives us his story.
To celebrate his latest release, I broke some breadsticks (via skype) with Pizza Boy.
When was Pizza Boy. born and how did the name come about?
PB : Some say I was born in Peoria, Illinois at OSF St. Francis Medical Center on April 14th 1993 some time around 10:30 PM. Some say I was born in an oddly comfortable apartment/dorm room near the Art Institute of California–San Diego in June of last year. To be honest, I just like to let people sort things out themselves. I'm not much into revealing as much as I am into confirming, although I do reveal artifacts regularly enough for people to kind of piece my story together. I think that's more interesting than just plain telling [fans] things. Then again, I hear the general public is dumb and must be spoon-fed things. I don't agree with that, but i'm trying to be a multi-platinum recording artist so I'll be a good little accessible rapper and just say that I'm an entity spawned from the culmination of exasperation and anxiety spread out across many years.
My name came from a friend that I wish I was still in contact with. she was kind, and I often think about her well-being. There's no real significance to the name other than me being known for placing $50+ orders on pizza throughout the entirety of college.
Have you always been lyrically talented? Or did you have to go all Rocky V and train hard everyday?
PB : Well, if I call myself lyrically talented, i'm opening the door for people to call me conceited. I'll just appreciate you considering me to be lyrically talented and then I'll add that I still consider myself to be lacking in quite a few areas. It's fair to say that I've made great strides, though.
I started rapping in 2007, and I thought I was Lil Wayne. I started getting more lyrically "comfortable" around 2009, but I thought I was Charles Hamilton. I would say that I started to fit my own lyrical clothing around early 2013. I've always felt good, but I've always been more partial to finding out just how NOT good I am, and I think that keeps me on a progressive path.
I've always loved writing. If always been good at it, if you let my parents and former instructors and people who wanted me to write papers for them talk. I never once considered I'd be a rapper prior to discovering Da Drought 3. In retrospect, it makes near perfect sense that this is where I've found myself. The signs were in place. The reading and writing at grade levels above where I was supposed to be. The getting 9s on AP English Language essays. The short stories concerning crushes named Aubrie that I would write on that ancient desktop computer in the 6th grade.
Basically, I'm pretty okay, but it's taken a lot of training. Lots of absorption, adaptation, excess studying. Probably more study than action/application, which is a shame, but i'm working on that.
But yeah, at the rate I'm going, I'll end up being conceited in this answer anyway, so I'll stop now.
Fair enough. Ok, You have to set something straight for me, but I have a feeling you won't. Who is Melvin Burch? Is he an alter ego?
PB : Melvin Burch is everything that I don't want to be and, although he won't admit it, I'm everything he wishes he was. I'm sure he'd like to be my alter ego, but that's only in his wildest, most ridiculous dreams.
He tries to rap like me, act like me, talk like me, dress like me, and even eat like me. He's just so lucky that I don't have time to craft a detailed report on his fraudulent activities. Otherwise he'd be answering to the boy Barack Obama about his un-American behavior.
To be frank, I'd rather not discuss him. Not to give him promo, but just take a look for yourself.
I rest my case.
As far as your This is Pizza Boy. project, would you say this is an accurate introduction to yourself? Or are you just giving everyone pieces of Pizza Boy. to fit the puzzle back together?
PB : Yes, the album is definitely accurate, but it's missing a ton of pieces.
By no means is this a definitive, all-encompassing guide to me. To be honest, I hoped it would be, but I should have known better. I've never been able to succinctly and/or neatly define myself. If I managed to, it would be far longer than 30 minutes and 13 tracks. If anything, This is Pizza Boy. is a starter deck to the card game of "I'm pizza boy. and why in the world am i still choosing to breathe?" I hope you have enough fun with this album to make you want to seek out all existing and future booster packs.
It's funny, I think a lot of people will find This is Pizza Boy. to be a pretty schizophrenic experience that covers and expresses a lot of feelings. It is, but they're still only getting about 10% of me. It's more like I'm presenting the audience with a bunch of small puzzles, and hopefully by the end of my career, they'll all fit together to form one large, astounding puzzle. This project is one of those many small puzzles. It's just a little bigger than most of the other smaller puzzles. Or maybe it'll end up smaller once the big picture is formed. I'm probably confusing people right now. My therapist warned me about this. Jon Tanners did too.
Anyway, I'm not interested in doing a 'this is' part two, at least not right now. Then again, I don't think that would be needed because I always elaborate on my personality, interests, and beliefs with every release. It's one of my goals to lower the separations between genres and emotions.
If your future booster packs could have any artist collaboration, who would that be? (I'm guessing Melvin Burch is out of the question?)
PB : Yes. Absolutely out of the question. Melvin Burch can't even pay me to do it.
but at the top of the current to bribe with pizza in exchange for a collaboration list is (in no particular order) :
Scallops Hotel, Clarence Clarity, Childish Gambino (although I hear he's doing other things now), Drake, Lil Wayne, Emma Watson, Michael Christmas, CRASHprez, Toro y Moi, J. Cole, Axel Roger, Bobby Caldwell, Cloudeater (wishful thinking; they've disbanded), Maxwell, Cat Lud, Judy Funnie, FKA Twigs
I know no one asked, but I really enjoy watching Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes before my nightly manic activity/despondency in response to panic regarding unrealized dreams and failed expectations of myself. The show is a campy masterpiece. If anyone wants to start an AYAOTD streaming club of some sort, I'm down to be a member. I'll bring the pizza.
I hope you find some enjoyment in my album.
Also check out the latest music video by PIZZA BOY. :