“I never really wanted to be the big producer,” Pi’erre Bourne tells Complex over the phone, during self-quarantine. “I’m grateful for everything, but I really want to rap. So, I’m trying to do that.”
Most fans were introduced to Pi’erre Bourne through his hypnotizing production on songs like Playboi Carti’s “Magnolia,” and countless other influential rap records in the late 2010s, but he has been working to get fans acquainted with his solo material as a rapper since the beginning of his career. “I feel like when I started blowing up as a producer, I wasn’t being introduced as an artist at all,” he says. “But I was an artist the whole time.”
In late 2019, he released The Life of Pi’erre 4, the fourth installment of his solo TLOP series, which was met with positive reviews. And today, he’s unveiling the music video for “Feds,” the third single from the project.
The visuals were shot in July 2019 during a trip to Japan to work with Kanye West. “I went to Japan last year to work with Kanye on the Jesus Is King album,” he recalls. “He left for Sunday Service, I think. I had a lot of extra time and my album just recently came out while I was out there. So, we went to different places and tried to shoot as many videos for the album.”
Pi’erre says he will release multiple music videos from his last project, then work on finishing The Life of Pi’erre 5, which will be the last of the series. “I want to stop at The Life Of Pi’erre 5, because I feel like I’ve done a lot of them,” he explains. “And I actually want people to catch up on the other ones. Hopefully after TLOP5, we'll be able to remaster 1, 2, and 3, and put those on Apple and Spotify.” He adds, “My initial objective for this whole series was to get Kanye’s attention, and I kind of got that while I was working on TLOP4. So I’m pretty much cool with what I’ve accomplished with it.”
Pi’erre says he will continue to produce for other artists, too. He recently made some records for Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake (Deluxe), and few of his tracks with Playboi Carti leaked online, including snippets of the Drake-assisted “Pain 1993.” Discussing the fate of that song, he says, “I actually don’t know when it’ll release, but I have been asking, ‘Where is it at? Are we done?’ Hopefully it comes out soon.”
Complex caught up with Pi’erre Bourne to discuss the “Feds” music video, what’s next in his solo career, music leaks, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
How have you been adjusting to the pandemic?
I think the hardest thing has been trying not to get bored with doing the same thing every day. I’ve been in the studio for the most part. It’s different when you can go and do what you please and then you go to the studio, because you have inspiration—you went to the movies or out to the park, having fun. But we can’t do anything right now. We have to be a lot more creative. I can’t see myself ever stopping completely, but it is hard. It’s been an adjustment. I’ve managed to still be able to work and get what I need done. I can go to the studio, but I can’t do anything else.
What should we know about the music video for “Feds,” which you’re premiering with us today?
I went to Japan last year to work with Kanye on the Jesus Is King album. And he left for Sunday Service, I think. I had a lot of extra time, and my album just recently came out while I was out there. So we went to different places and tried to shoot as many videos for the album. I have a couple more videos that we shot in Japan, but this is the first one that we'll be showing everybody. It was pretty cool. We shot with different cameras, like a 4K camera and a Super 8 and a Camcorder. We had different aesthetics for the video, that's what I aim for. I’m really into my music videos, and I’m very particular on how I want them to look. I also really fell in love with Japan. Tokyo reminds me of New York a lot. I think that’s why I really fell in love with it.
“I plan on stopping at The Life Of Pi’erre 5, as far as the series goes, because I want to start doing something else.”
You have a background in videography and graphics. Do you plan on using those skills on more projects for yourself or other artists?
To be honest, I plan on doing a lot more. Right now, the stuff that we'll be putting out for The Life Of Pi’erre 4, that’s the beginning stage for me with my music videos and how I want them to look. I’ve been talking to my friends about how we can do things better and trying things out to really go all out for our videos. We’re working on that, but I know that takes time and planning, and I move very sporadically.
How far do you plan to go with the TLOP series?
Well, I plan on stopping at The Life Of Pi’erre 5, as far as the series goes, because I want to start doing something else.
Will you start another series?
I don’t know. I haven’t really gotten there yet. I’ve had other album titles and project titles in the past that I still want to revisit. So I might do that, and redo songs from high school and college. But I want to stop at The Life Of Pi’erre 5 because I feel like I’ve done a lot of them. I actually want people to catch up on the other ones. Hopefully after TLOP5, we’ll be able to remaster 1, 2, and 3, and put those on Apple and Spotify. But I definitely want to wrap up The Life Of Pi’erre because my initial objective for this whole series was to get Kanye’s attention, and I kind of got that while I was working on TLOP4. So I’m pretty much cool with what I’ve accomplished with it.
Aside from Kanye, TLOP4 helped you grab the attention of lots of fans, too.
Yeah, that’s the reason why I had to finish the series out, because I feel like when I started blowing up as a producer, I wasn’t being introduced as an artist at all. But I was an artist the whole time. It kind of sucked for a little while, just sitting back. You’ve got to give them time to pay attention. So I really had to sit back and wait for everyone to grasp the idea of me as an artist, because I was basically introduced to as a producer. That’s great. It’s a blessing, and I’m grateful for everything, but I was doing both. I don’t want people thinking after the success of me as producer, I started rapping and tried to do my own songs. That’s why I wanted to keep doing the series, so people who started paying attention can go back and revisit the other stuff and realize, like, “Oh he’s not trying to make songs after he blew up as a producer. He’s been doing this.” But I’m happy about everything. It’s kind of going as planned. It took a while since “Magnolia” came out, but it’s going, it’s going. I’m not complaining at all.
This pandemic has been hard for everyone. But I had just got off tour, and it’s been shut down since I’ve been home. I’ve been enjoying this little break. I know it sucks for a lot of people. A lot of people are losing jobs, and a lot of stores are closing, but I feel like everyone should just try to make the best of this situation, even though it’s pretty bad.
There are rumors that “Pissy Pamper” with Young Nudy and Playboi Carti could end up on TLOP5. Is there an update on when that song will officially drop?
I have never put anybody else’s songs on my albums, so that’s entirely false. But you never know. I might be able to do like a producer album or something, I don’t know. I’ve never really thought of that, to be honest. But that is a good question, because I know a lot of people want songs that have weight, or songs that haven’t come out through the artists, and I know I can put some songs out myself, as the producer, through a compilation album or something. But see, I never really wanted to be the big producer. I’m grateful for everything, but I really want to rap. So, I’m trying to do that. I’m still producing for everybody, but I don’t want to get caught up in doing producer albums with everybody else’s songs. I feel like I still haven’t reached everyone with my own music. So until then, I can’t really do that yet. So, as far as other people’s songs on my albums go, I can’t really rule that out, but I can honestly say not right now.
So you’re ruling out compilation albums for now?
Yeah. And that’s definitely just based off of everyone that I worked with. Everyone has their own plans and schedules, and right now everyone is working super hard. I just want to stay focused on what I’ve already been focused on. I don’t want to rearrange my plans because of stuff on Twitter. I see the tweets and the comments, but I don’t like to change my life because of it. It’s cool to see everyone’s opinion, though, for sure. But I don’t want to become that artist.
“I don’t ever want to be a reason for something leaking. It really sucks.”
Fans always have opinions, so you can’t get caught up in all of that.
Yeah, it’ll drive me crazy. I used to, when everything first started going for me. The Instagram comments, Twitter, the trolling, all that stuff used to really get to me, as far as my anxiety. I never understood it. Then I talked to my mom about it one time and she was just like, “Yeah, that’s your anxiety.” I’m like, “What?” I started laughing. I never thought I would have a problem like that, but that’s just what comes with fame, I guess. You have to be neutral or immune to all of the hate and the criticism. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes you get positive feedback, but you can’t let it consume you and eat you up. That’s one thing I had to learn. Every time I put something out, I try to get better.
A lot of your solo music, as well as the music you produced, has leaked recently. Has that been frustrating for you?
Oh yeah, definitely. I think I’ve gotten better at the leaks, because I don’t ask for artists’ music anymore. I don’t even want it. Like, people who I work with, I’d rather just hear it when I see them, just to be safe. That’s one thing I got used to. At first, they’ll send it to my phone immediately after they record. But I don’t want to be blamed for any of those mishaps. So, the best thing with that is just not to get the music out here. Just FaceTime me, and I can listen to it over the phone. I don’t ever want to be a reason for something leaking. It really sucks. You worked so hard on stuff and then it can just be put out to the world without your knowledge, or you might not even be finished with it. I know from the fans perspective, they love it, because they get some new music from us. But they don’t know it can also distract us with our creativity and what we're doing, because now we have to figure out where this leak came from. And then, it might ruin the workflow. You might have to switch everything, change your email. It really drives some artists crazy. So I’ve just tried to do better on my part.
You’ve said in the past that some of the leaked music is really old, too.
Yeah, it’s like, if we’re in a studio all the time, we’re doing new ideas and kind of forget about the old ideas. So when it leaks, it might be a song we totally forgot about. So then it’s like, damn, which studio did I record this in, because it’s been so long. You really don’t remember. So it just really messes with you. You just try to remember where this came from so bad, so you can have an answer for yourself. But honestly, I’ve learned if something leaks, I’m just going to have to take that ‘L’. I’ll send the link to all the labels, so they can handle it, but I’m not going to drive myself crazy trying to figure out what happened. I know they can get it. I guess law enforcement can find out where and investigate, so I’ll leave it up to them.
You recently said that you hope “Pain 1993” with Playboi Carti and Drake drops. Have you followed up on when that will come out?
I actually don’t know when it’ll release, but I have been asking, “Where is it at? Are we done?” Hopefully it comes out soon.
“The Life Of Pi’erre 4 deluxe should be coming out soon. I’m finishing up the mixes for it right now.”
Last year, you told Complex that anything you do with an artist like Playboi Carti or Nudy gets copied. Do you still see copycats a year later?
I see it, and it’s not just music. I see it in music and fashion. I see it in music videos. I see it in every aspect of my life. It’s weird, but I’m used to it. They say it’s a form of flattery, so I just have to take it as that, and be mature about it. But yeah, I see it in everything. At first, it was just the beats. Now it’s songs, beats, melodies, music videos, clothing. It’s cool, but it’s like, come on, we could work together, we could really put the idea in writing. You don’t have to copy me.
Instagram Live battles have become very popular. Are you interested in joining the trend? If so, who would you want to go up against?
To be honest, no, because before everyone started doing this, I used to be on Instagram Live 24/7. I’m happy everybody’s using it now, but I’ve been doing it for maybe 3 years now. [Before, people were using] Periscope and on Facebook Live. Once they did Instagram Live, I was like the first person really going hard with it. There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube with me on Instagram Live. So, I’m straight on that.
What exciting things do you have planned for the rest of the year?
I'm really excited for my label [SossHouse] and all my artists on my label. I’m putting out a lot of music with them this year. We’ll see where we go and see what happens. I got like six artists on my label. I post them a lot. I’ve just been trying to get everybody warmed up.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you right now?
The only thing I want to say is that The Life Of Pi’erre 4 deluxe should be coming out soon. I’m finishing up the mixes for it right now. Then, I will be following up with The Life Of Pi’erre 5, and several music videos. So,I have a lot of content coming out. I know I’ve been kind of inconsistent, but it’s all rolling out right now. And I also wanted to say that I hope everyone stays safe at this time.