In terms of tattoo trends, a lot of artists in hip hop are getting tattoos in specific places. You said you took inspiration from Tupac and got the stomach tattoo. A lot of artists starting getting chest pieces, then knuckles and forearm pieces. What new trends do you see with tattoos in hip-hop?
I think there’s new trends. I get a lot of ideas from watching TV and just looking at people. Somebody might just decide, ‘I want to be the first person with a tattoo.’ I don’t need to set the trends, I like following trends. I’m not a follower but if it’s something that I like, I’ll get into it.
The reason I got addicted was because once you get one on one side of your body, you feel like this side is missing and it has to be equal. I’m very obsessive compulsive.
Who has inspired you to get certain tattoos?
Like I said, it was Tupac but no artist of this generation. I’ve been around for a minute. Tupac was one of the first hip hop artists that I’ve seen with tattoos like that. The more marked up everybody became, the more dope it looked to me. I started doing it.
The reason I got addicted was because once you get one on one side of your body, you feel like this side is missing and it has to be equal. I’m very obsessive compulsive. If I made up my mind that I have to do it, I have to do it. I’m crazy like that.
Me and Marshall [Mathers] sit and have these conversations all the time. We do it with records. If it’s a beat, and I can’t think of nothing to it today, it’s going to be on my mind until I can think of something to it. Then I obsess over it. I obsess over the snare, the kick, this is too loud, I nit pick everything. That’s why I drink so much because I let my inhibitions go when I don’t over-think shit.
What do you think are some regional differences with tattoos - New York, Detroit, the South, West Coast?
Grin has flown to Detroit, he’s done some at the studio. I personally feel like maybe it’s because New York is a bigger city but it’s a lot more cutting edge artistically, the kids there get better opportunities. I think the tattoo artists generally are better in New York. It’s a whole different style in Detroit. I personally have always been an individual that likes to look non-regional. I like to talk non-regional. I can imitate a New York person’s accent and I can also imitate a Detroit person’s “accent.” I try to have non-regional dialect as well as style.
Were you actually getting tattoos done in the 'Microphone' video?
We weren’t really getting tattoos. You didn’t see Grin Stylez there.
Who was the female artist in that?
I personally feel like maybe it’s because New York is a bigger city but it’s a lot more cutting edge artistically, the kids there get a lot better opportunities. I think the tattoo artists generally are better in New York.
It was just a tattoo parlor, the director John Colombo had an idea for that and we thought it was a cool idea. We were like, ‘Fuck it, we with it.’ We have tattoos galore so it’s nothing to make it look like we’re getting one. I don’t think I would ever actually get a tattoo while I’m filming. It’s a whole different focus for me.
What is your ritual when you’re getting tattoos?
I've got a ritual. I don’t pop pills but when I’m going to get a tattoo I will take a percocet and sometimes I’ll drink depending on how I feel to take the edge off. That’s only when I’m getting something done near my tailbone or on my side near a bone, I can’t stand that shit. I can’t sit for six hours having somebody beat my body up. Grin has his own rituals. He needs music to get in his zone. I’m listening to whatever makes him comfortable. My main concern is to keep him as comfortable as possible.