Stones Throw rapper/producer Pyramid Vritra hopes to break down preconceived notions of what hip hop is supposed to be. Rapping over a distorted gloomy beat, “Spool” finds the Los Angeles-based artist monotonically rambling in a stream of conscious-like flow, digging into the dark crevices of his mind to share his thoughts on an array of topics.
Vritra’s accompanying obscure visuals for the Indra LP track show PV tripping out while predominantly painted in heavy makeup, proving this ain’t your typical rap video. Mass Appeal had the chance to chop it up with Pyramid about “Spool” and to find out if he’s still working part-time at a home appliance store.
Mass Appeal: How did the concept for “Spool” come about?
Pyramid Vritra: I feel like for this song in particular and a lot of other songs on the album, it challenges what people expect rap should look and sound like. I knew that I wanted do a video that keeps things minimal while accentuating the rawness of the beat and some of the things that I say. The makeup and the way everything was shot just highlights that everything doesn’t have to be the same for it to be considered “rap.“
Stella Kae directed the video, who also happens to be a big time makeup artist. How’d you link up with her?
I did my first video that came out a while ago, “Drain,” with Stella. I met her before the Internet. We were looking for video directors and stuff. I think she was Kilo Kish’s makeup artist for something. We immediately clicked and went from there.
In one part of the song you rap, “They copy the recipe and artistry aren’t we fantastic.” What have you seen that people have taken and copied from what you’ve been doing?
I see a lot of people, well at least with the older generation copying our sound or trying to attract that kind of audience. When I was working on older stuff like NRK, the other collective that I’m part of, on a smaller scale people in our city (Atlanta) were copying things that we were doing. Using similar sounds, talking about the same things.
Before us, no one was really rapping about what we were. It just shows that when you’re being yourself and things are respectively created, if they’re good people are gonna copy them.
How does it feel to be part of such a storied and diverse roster of artists like that of Stones Throw?
It’s definitely cool; it’s more so inspiring just because so many people that I Iook up to are or were on the same label. That’s been a constant reminder to keep challenging myself because this label has always represented the more experimental side of things.
So are you doing music full-time or are you still working at an appliance store?
I’m working towards it, in a few more months I’ll be able to do it full-time. Shows have been picking up and I’m working on this EP. After that, I think no more Lowe’s. [Laughs]
What do you have planned out for the rest of the year?
I’m working with Knxwledge on some stuff. I may be working with Madlib on some stuff, we talked about it at SXSW so we’ll see where that goes. Other than that just working with NRK and trying to finish up this EP for Stones Throw that should release later this year. I’m also starting this side project called Rose Gold, I play bass guitar. I’m keeping busy.
Download Pyramid Vritra’s Indra LP via Stones Throw.
Yo! Adrian encourages you to shout his name like Rocky.