PETEY PETE Will Unleash "The Cripple Threat" (Listen to his brand new Krip-Hop Anthem here)
Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) - Love your music! Where are you from and talk about the underground Hip-Hop in your city?
Petey Pete: Thanks man, I really appreciate all of the love and support that the Krip Hop Nation has shown me. I am originally from Potomac, Maryland, which is about 20 minutes outside of Washington D.C. I’m currently studying Political Science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, which is located on the southern tip of Maryland, and served as the inspiration for one of the tracks (“SOMD State of Mind”) on my last mixtape entitled “The Equalizer”.
D.C.’s underground hip-hop scene has truly exploded in recent years. We have so much unbelievable talent in the surrounding area. In my opinion, one of the most innovative crews in the game right now is a Maryland-based team called Low Budget. They are headed by a well-known underground producer named Kev Brown, who seamlessly blends silky, mellow samples with full, vibrant drums and exceptionally crafted bass lines in order to create some of the most spectacular back drops a sixteen bar verse could ever hope to be dropped on. The group also features many up-and-coming emcees such as Kenn Starr, Sean Born and Kaimbr, who use a tremendous amount of wit and skillful wordplay to both discuss their Maryland roots and announce their emergence on to the ever-competitive hip-hop scene. Seriously…Google Search “Kev Brown” and “Mello Music Group”. You won’t be disappointed! It is artists like these that truly show me what it means to be a skillful and substantive underground artist. They inspire me not only to persevere and innovate, but also to do so purely for the love of the art of expression.
KHN - You are dropping a new CD, The Cripple Threat! Wow I love the title tell us more.
Petey Pete: “The Cripple Threat” is a project that is very dear to my heart. When I put out my first mixtape entitled, “The Equalizer”, I had two distinct goals in mind. First, I wanted to prove to myself that I could put out a well-rounded, professional sounding piece of music that all of my disabled and non-disabled brethren alike could listen to and take comfort in. Secondly, I just wanted my good friends and I to have a few anthems to ride around to. I wanted to capture our sophomore year in college, and immortalize it in song.
When I sat down and began writing material for “The Cripple Threat”, I decided that it would be very different from my last mixtape. It will be a much edgier effort that was centered on the principles of poetry, truth and intellect (hence the play on “triple threat”). I wanted it to a piece of music that stared the forces discrimination, bigotry, hatred, condescension and marginalization that plague this planet right in the face, and skillfully and powerfully exposed them for the poisonous entities that they have always been. I figured that there was no better way to accomplish this goal than by taking a societal slur that is meant to limit my brethren and turning into a symbol of defiance and power. In short, I wanted this album to illustrate that I will not stop fighting for all of the underdogs and true artists in this world until they get the level of respect and recognition they deserve. Needless to say, I will be holding nothing back on this record.
KHN – You talk about your college basketball team on you last CD. Tell us your experience as a college student and doing Hip-Hop.
Petey Pete: Man, I’ve got to say, the Saint Mary’s College of Maryland campus has shown me more love than I could have ever asked to receive. They appreciate and support my music to the fullest. I recorded “The Equalizer” with my good friends Gino Hannah, Charles Wacker and Matt Grady in a small and frequently sweltering dorm room. We didn’t have much in the way of fancy equipment…just Garageband, a mixer and the old sock that we put over the mic to act as a pop filter. Nevertheless, I had a truly genuine group of people around me who were intent on seeing the project through. That whole experience was truly unforgettable. When the tape came out, everyone on campus was shouting “Death to Misconceptions”. I can’t tell you how good that felt!
I’m glad you brought up the basketball team. They are an extraordinary group of guys. I was first truly introduced to them during my second week on the St. Mary’s campus. They were having a party at their house and they invited me to the festivities. When we arrived and I announced that I could not climb up the stairs, they proceeded to carry me up the two flights that led to their living room. They still continue to do so to this day whenever I come over. They are the group of individuals who truly helped me make my initial impression on the St. Mary’s social scene. When one considers the fact that they also happen to be an amazing group of athletes, it is easy to see why I felt compelled to write a song that showed my appreciation for them.
KHN - How did you meet Professir X aka Richard Gaskin, another disabled Hip-Hop artist?
Petey Pete: I first met Professir X back in 2005 at an afterparty that one of my friends was throwing for the attendees of the Working 2 Walk stem cell research symposium. Believe it or not, I was in 8th grade at the time. Funnily enough, he was in the crowd the night I rocked my first microphone in front of a crowd. He is a tremendously supportive and genuine person whose music is about as real and meaningful as anything you’ve ever heard. I also have to thank him for introducing us. If it weren’t for X, I might not have had the opportunity to have this conversation.
KHN - What do you think about mainstream Hip-Hop? Its funny that we have “mainstream” Hip-Hop
Petey Pete: I’m definitely not a fan of a lot of what I hear on the radio these days. It seems that, at least in the world of hip-hop, “mainstream” has become a byword for bubblegum music, and senseless babbling about promiscuous sex and gratuitous violence. That being said, I can get behind the idea of hip-hop becoming more and more recognized by “mainstream” society. That is in no way a bad thing. After all, we want our culture to thrive and gain greater exposure. We want the artists who help it to do so to have the opportunity to make a living pursuing their craft. However, what we cannot afford to do is to have it enter the mainstream under the control of the wrong leaders. If the last 5 or 10 years have proven anything, it is that businessmen and their flip charts and focus groups cannot represent or guide our movement. In my lifetime, “mainstream” emcees have gone from being poet laureates and conscious rebels to soda salesmen. We have to unite as artists and realize that the impact of our culture is global. As emcees, we control one of the most awesome bully pulpits in existence. Shouldn’t we be trying to bring the people of the world together, instead of trying to sell those same people more Mountain Dew
KHN – how many songs are on your latest CD and when will it drop?
Petey Pete: There will be between 10 and 12 tracks on the mixtape. It does not have an official release date yet, but at this point, I am shooting for November 15, 2012. I will keep you posted.
KHN – I read that you lay down to get a good breath and its better for you to sing like that. Curtis Mayfield had to do that too. Tell us how you record your songs?
Petey Pete: I have to say, I’ve never tried rapping on my stomach. I’ll have to give that a shot one of these days. If it’s good enough for Curtis, it’s good enough for me. I’ve recorded in a variety of different environments over the years. Most of, “The Equalizer” was recorded into a standard mic, which we placed in front of the old couch in my friends dorm room. I didn’t look too suave sittin’ there, but the rhymes flowed nonetheless. “Look Past The Plexiglas” and “Waiting on You” were recorded several years prior to the release of “The Equalizer” in my bedroom in Potomac. My good friend Wallace Penn Scott manned the recording equipment and the mastering software. I just sat in my chair and let the words flow out. Right now, I have a makeshift studio set up in the guestroom of the old house I rent down in Southern Maryland. It’s nothing fancy, just the basic version of Protools, a pair of headphones, a card table and a microphone. In the end, I’m still a college student on a budget.
KHN - Have you seen disabled women rapping? If not why is there a lack of disabled women in Hip-Hop?
Petey Pete: I’ve seen very few, although the ones I have come across are forces to be reckoned with. I think there are two major reasons why you don’t see too many female emcees with disabilities. First, I think that both the music industry and society at large are not yet open to the idea of disabled emcees in general. We need to open their eyes to the full spectrum of MWD’s if we want our movement to be truly successful. Secondly, hip-hop is still a male dominated genre. It’s hard enough for able-bodied women to gain any real traction in the game. This harsh reality makes it twice as hard for disabled women to get any type of recognition. That being said, I encourage any disabled female emcees that have something to say to seize the moment and put them out there for the world to hear. A trend can only shift if someone is willing to administer the first push.
KHN – What do you think about Krip-Hop Nation?
Petey Pete: KHN is a truly fantastic grass roots organization. What I love so much about it is that it is an organization built by disabled artists for disabled artists. It gives us a platform to creatively address the issues that not only affect our own lives, but also the lives of our brethren. I am tremendously honored to be a part of the movement, and I know that it will leave a profound mark on modern society.
KHN – Where do you see your music going in the future?
Petey Pete : I obviously hope it reaches the ears of the world. However, above all, I just hope that it continues to make a difference in people’s lives, and that it continues to evolve as I face new challenges over the course of my life. There are several people I would love to work with down the road. I have spoken to Brother Ali at several of his shows, and can safely say that he is one of the most gifted, genuine and talented artists I have ever met. To rock the mic beside him would be a truly great honor. I would also love to work alongside Mos Def, who I consider to be one of the greatest lyricists, storytellers and entertainers of our time.
Petey Pete on Ali: Yes I met the Rapper Brother Ali however I don't really know Ali on a very personal level. I've just had an opportunity to speak with him after a few shows. That being said, those experiences were truly awesome. I met him for the first time outside of an Immortal Technique show in NYC. I also met Technique that night...very down to earth guy, and a very passionate advocate for the underdog. I actually got to freestyle for Ali in a cypher that started outside that show. Believe it or not, he actually remembered me flowin' when I caught up with him a month ago after his performance at the 930 Club in DC. He was even kind enough to take the mixtape I offered him. He is truly one of the most honest, well-spoken, humble, passionate and dedicated emcees I have ever heard. I feel privileged to have talked hip-hop with one of the art-form's all time greats.
KHN - Do you think record labels are outdated and how can we change their minds and the public mindset on disability and our art/music?
Petey Pete: The problem isn’t just that their views are outdated, (which they are). The problem is that they don’t know we exist yet. If we want to open people’s eyes, we’ve got to give them the total hip-hop experience. It’s not enough to simply put forth an enlightening and positive message. We have to do so in a way that makes them want to listen to us. We have to have stage presence, entertaining flows, and a healthy dose of swagger if we want to truly leave a mark on a wide audience. Our movement needs to offer the total package.
KHN – What do you think about all of these non-disabled Hip-Hop artists playing a person with a disability in their music videos like Rick Ross and others?
Petey Pete: I look at the assumptions they make about us and I cringe under the weight of their ignorance. I was particularly offended by Drake’s “Wheelchair Jimmy” dance. Honestly, did he really think that playing a paraplegic on a second rate television show earned him the right to trivialize the lives of thousands upon thousands of disabled individuals around the globe? We need to stand together as a community and show the world that this type of offensive and ignorant behavior will not be tolerated.
KHN: Got to ask about the song you are doing for Krip—Hop Nation. Please give us a sneak preview and what it means to you and what should it mean to the listeners?
Petey Pete: It’s called “Krip Hop Anthem”. I don’t want to give too much away, but it opens with following line. “Bear witness to the international movement, MWDs this is deeper than music.” I felt I had to issue a rallying cry that called upon the members of the international disabled community to come together and fight for the dignity and respect that they and their fellow brethren deserve. I hope that they will heed this call, and that the song serves as an anthem around which we can all unite.
KHN - How can people get intouch with you and pick up your CDs?
Petey Pete : Download “The Equalizer” and watch exclusive videos on my blog at
Exclusive Freestyles Available At http://soundcloud.com/search?q%5Bfulltext%5D=petey+pete+poetics
More information about “The Cripple Threat” will be released shortly
KHN - Any last words?
Petey Pete: I want to thank everyone who has been involved in my past and present projects. I could not do this without you. I’d also like to thank my deeply supportive family for their unwavering encourage. Finally, a note to my fans. I read and truly appreciate every positive comment I receive. You all are the ones who inspire me to keep doing what it is that I’m doing.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.