On October 18, as New York music lovers line up for CMJ Week shows, Complex will be throwing its own "Judgment Night" event, in Brooklyn. (You can RSVP to it, here! It's free!) There's a name many people will be surprised to see on the poster, which is that of Spaceghostpurrp. Not because he's not deserving of the slot—he certainly is—but rather because the rapper supposedly retired earlier this week.
It's an early time in his life to make such grand pronouncements, but as SGP looks for ways to fill his time, perhaps he'll flip through his old picture books and smile at the memories: He put out a couple of mixtapes which had him bubbling underground; he got to work with Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa, and—possibly most important—he reinvented the alphabet.
Interview by Jeff Rosenthal (@itsthereal)
You type in hieroglyphics, where Vs are As and Xs are pretty much everything else. Are you ever like, "Man, I miss using vowels"?
Nah, I mean...are you asking me why I use hieroglyphics?
Not really, but we can go into that if you want.
I created it. I would be the only one going around, tagging it on walls and shit like that. I do it because I felt like nobody understands me. So, think about regular hieroglyphics: I would do that so we can only understand each other when I write it. If I'm with my homies—say, for example, we don't want to say nothing—then we could just write it down to each other and put it on a piece of paper and be like, "Oh, okay, alright, fa' sho."
That's just the way we communicate. When I dropped Blackland 66.6, of course you see it on those mixtape covers. I used to be on Twitter, I used to be on the Internets, social networks...the fans caught onto it, and I just started seeing it a lot. It's basically about having a clever way of communicating with each other. That's just how we do.
You have a song that tells people to "suck a dick for 2011." We're almost in 2013, so just to keep people informed: Should they continue sucking dick for 2011, should they stop, or will there be an update?
Yeah, they should stop. There's already a lot of dicksuckers out here. [Laughs.]
From a fashion perspective, is it easier or harder to wear all black?
To me, it's not a fashion thing. It's more of a statement. It's more me saying, "This is who I am. This is what I love to do." Black just represents who I am inside. When I wear black, you're seeing the inside of me. My inside is black, my soul is black—I have a black heart. It's hard to wear, especially in Florida, where it's hot as fuck, but once you live in Florida for a couple of years you get used to it. You can wear a big-ass trench coat outside if you want to.
I'm surprised to hear that you're so sad inside, so dark inside. Talking to you, you don't seem so tortured. There's a strange disconnect for me.
It's because I'm a Floridian. The thing about Floridians, we are dark people, but we don't carry ourselves to be that. We don't promote it. We don't try to be like, "Yeah, nigga! I'm dark! What you want to do?! Huh?! Yeah! I'm from the dark side, nigga!" You gon' get killed if you do shit like that down here.
The best thing we try to do is be humble about it. We be dark when we supposed to. Me saying I'm dark is basically saying, "I have a dark past." I been through a lot of shit mentally, physically, emotionally. It just made me a humble person, as the years go by. That's just me being a Floridian, though. We real laid-back and humble. Some people just take advantage of that.
You clearly draw influence from Three 6 Mafia and DJ Screw. What's the difference between honoring a sound and stealing it?
The difference between paying homage and stealing is basically...I used to make old Screw tapes or whatever—I wouldn't say Screw tapes, because I'm not DJ Screw; I just say old chop tapes—because I grew up listening to old chop music. It's a dedication, an honor, a tribute, a resurrection for the kids that's younger than me. I listen to Houston rappers. I'm a fan of their old music.
As a fan, I want to pay homage. That's what I love to do. That's just what I did with Juicy J. I didn't want to come out like I'm Three 6 Mafia. I didn't want to sound too much like them—I just wanted to show my influence and pay homage, and that's what I did. I paid homage to him when I met him. I told him I grew up on his music. I know all his shit. I know all about it. I'm not just some ordinary kid that be on YouTube and then look at some shit and try to do it. This is real life shit.
Plus, honestly, I'm gonna be real: People look at the South as all club music. Fuck no! We got 8Ball and MJG, Pimp C, UGK, Three 6 Mafia, JT Money, Trick Daddy, Dungeon Family, shit like that. You know what I'm saying? That's real Southern rap. What Raider Clan, what we trying to do, we're trying to bring that shit back and remind the world what this Southern shit is about, what the South is really like.
Earlier this week, you put a message up on your Facebook page, saying you were quitting rap. Are you actually quitting, or is this like when someone says I'm going on a diet after I eat this last box of donuts?
The thing about that...all I'm going to say is it's up to the people. I can make music for me all I want. At the end of the day, though, it's for the people. If the people want me to come back, then I'll come back. If the people don't appreciate me—as an artist, period, just as a person putting out music, not even as a person trying to be better than nobody else; just regular old Marquise—then I'll stop rapping.
But it's up to them, man. What I've been seeing lately, I haven't been feeling the appreciation. I feel like...I don't see myself as a rapper. I'm not a rapper, I'm not a person who's gonna sit here and battle-rap rappers, or when people get on TV and disrespect me. Where I'm from in Florida, we don't do that. You never seen Trick Daddy battling somebody else. Never did you see real, big-time gangster rappers from Florida doing that. We don't roll like that down here. I'm not even saying I'm a gangster; I'm Marquis Rolle, that's who I am. I'm not fit to be that type of person, so before the world look at me as some posing-ass rapper who just sits on the Internet all day, and they feel I don't mean anything I say...I mean everything I say, and I know I'm the most realest person to myself I could ever be. So before a person could even assume that [I'm not real], I don't want no part of the rap shit, man. That's just not in my blood.
You're 21. I'd ask if you're ready to retire, but you already live in Florida, so I guess my next question is: How is your golf game?
My golf game? Golfing, like playing golf?
That's why people move down to Florida.
Shit, I wonder what part of Florida that is. Golf? I mean, I suck! We could play football. Or, there's a basketball court.
Alright, so back to the important questions. Is the second NASA tape still coming out, or is it like, "what's done is done," and I'm done?
The world will never know. They're not gonna know. They never gonna know when it's gonna come out. It could come out today, but when it come out...the best thing I wouldn't want to do is disappoint. So, I'm just gonna say, the world may never know.
What about live performances?
Hm...yeah. I could show up to a city, get on the mic, do a couple of songs that they want me to do, show the fans love, show them I appreciate it and that's it.
Okay, so if not rap, what do you think you want to do?
I still produce. Honestly, I been announced that...I don't know if they've been watching my Facebook, because I've been announced that I don't want to rap. I been announcing that all year! I don't know how that just blew up yesterday or two days ago or whatever. I been saying that I'm not feeling this rap scene, though, so I'm just gonna make beats from now on. I sent a beat to Wiz, and that's what I've been doing. I ain't even been writing. I've just been making beats. If I still wanted to keep rapping, I would, but...like I said, it depends. It's up to the people, 'cause I'm not feeling the same type of energy that I felt when I first started getting noticed.
Do you feel like you're an absolutist, where it's all-or-nothing for you? Like, I know you quit Twitter, you're not on Twitter anymore. I don't know if you're still not drinking or smoking...
I'm like that, but...one thing I don't like being looked at as is a hypocrite. I stopped smoking weed for, like, a whole year straight. And honestly, I have started back smoking weed a little. But it's the stress. I don't want to use the excuse, but it's true. I'm going through shit, and I'm not the only one. I've been drinking, I still drink; pouring up sometimes, going out drinking with my homies and shit. Like I said, I only do this shit with the whole Twitter and...the only reason I'm not on Twitter and shit is because niggas be trolling.
They're just trying to get a reaction out of me. I'm not that type of dude! If I snap on you on the Internet, I might have to see you, have to beat your ass! But see, they don't get that. They probably be around people who talk shit all day and don't do shit, but I don't want to be looked at like that because I'm not no coward and I'm not a pussy. That's what they try and do to rappers. They try to make rappers seem like they not who they is. If you see a rapper who seems like they're real, I see people try to find any little thing about them to make them look soft.
My homie Robb Bank$, I'm gonna bring that shit up! They talk about him, like, what that got to do with him knocking you the fuck out? That has nothing to do with that! This nigga stay in Fort Lauderdale—people don't know how fucked up Fort Lauderdale is. Fort Lauderdale is fucked up! The public schools is fucked up. The environment is fucked up. It's just like Miami. Palm Beach is fucked up. People don't know that. They go on TV, they see palm trees and they think that's Florida. That's not Florida, bruh.
This shit is no different from Chicago. That boy Robb Bank$, he's around killers all the time. He be around loud-ass killers. God bless his Mama's soul. She got cancer and I hope she get better. He's going through a lot! And they trying to make him out to be a fraud—he is not no fraud. We not frauds down here, man. We just some young niggas making good music out of bad pictures, and niggas hating.
[Ed. Note—Immediately after getting off the phone, SpaceGhostPurrp texted to say, "My Twitter is @icemackp."]
RELATED: Who Is SpaceGhostPurrp?
To attend the "Judgment Night" concert, which will feature performances from Action Bronson, Interpol's Paul Banks, Alchemist, Spaceghostpurrp, and many others, RSVP here.