I went from not knowing who T.Shirt was to becoming a fan within the span of listening to 3 songs. I don’t consider myself “easy” like that when it comes to music, but Shirt doesn’t seem to have a weakness. He has managed to stay ahead of the curve musically (just read on to see the music he’s into), while still maintaining a true hip-hop appeal. Mix that with intelligence and style, and you’ve got T.Shirt. You should probably get to know him. Check out the P&P interview.
One of my favorite songs of yours is “24 Frames”. Out of all those movies you referenced, what’s your favorite?
Thank you, man. Let’s go with Lost In Translation, Shawshank Redemption, Fight Club, and Up. [If you saw the video for “24 Frames”, you might have noticed the shirt that Shirt’s wearing. You can buy those here.]
Favorite Wu-Tang member?
Funny you should ask. I have a record called, “Ode To Raekwon”, I’m working on for a new album coming soon. It has little to do with the brother personally and more just about paying homage to his style and mark on the game. I haven’t spoke about that anywhere yet so there’s an exclusive for Pigeons and Planes. His voice and street language is just so ill to me.
What’s the last pair of shoes you bought?
Nike Air Force 1 “Tectuff” in Burgundy. Oh God. [See them here.]
Hit the jump for more questions with T.Shirt…
If you had to live in any other country, besides the US, where would you live?
As of right now in my life, if I didn’t live in New York, I’d be in LA. Only because there’s a bunch of stuff I can do out there at the moment. Not to mention I’m addicted to black shades and dickie shorts and shit. Thinking more long-term and going outside the US, I might say Paris. Though I have a feeling I’d be more inspired to paint, overseas. I’m a workaholic so I guess wherever the art and work takes me is okay.
Growing up as a kid, who was your idol?
It’s an interesting question. I don’t think it was ever one particular person. I’ve always been fascinated with people who make their own way in the world, and inspire others. I love smart people, big hearted people with great style and class, funny people who other people like to be around, haha. I’ve learned stuff watching people on the train the same as I have watching famous actors.
What’s your favorite animal?
Cheetahs. But my (far from) regular cats, Laylow and Bananas, are pretty incredible, too.
Your music goes deeper than the typical stuff you hear in mainstream rap. What are some of your favorite non-hip-hop bands/artists?
Does it? I never know what people mean when they say that! Haha. When I rap on hip-hop beats I’m trying to evoke feelings I get from my favorite rappers and their illest records in my eyes. When I rap or sing, or get crazy on other kinds of music, my inspiration bounces around. I’m a huge Red Hot Chili Pepper fan but for the most part it’s more individual records than specific artists. Ellie Goulding’s “Starry-Eyed”, Beirut’s “Postcards From Italy”, Neil Young’s “Live At Massey Hall” album. There’s a ton of Radiohead stuff, Beatles, José González. There’s a Minus The Bear song called, “Pachuca Sunrise” that’s in my top 5 songs of all time. There’s this Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx remix of “I’ll Take Care Of You” I must of played 30 times yesterday at top volume. I can listen to Sade’s entire catalogue, Arthur Russell, etc. Music is the greatest. It gets tough for me at times because I’ll listen and fall in love with something so deeply that no matter what genre it is I’ll be inspired to write and rap on it, haha. It’s made for some interesting collaborations that might not ever see the light of day. [If you ever need a place to drop your weirdest music, hit me up. T.Shirt over “Postcards From Italy” sounds good to me.]
You’re from NYC so it might be obvious, but I have to ask – Biggie or 2pac?
Big. Pac’s passion was inspiring but Biggie was that nigga, for me.
Hottest actress out right now?
Hot meaning good-looking? Is Rihanna slated to be in any movies coming soon? Um, I just saw Coco Before Chanel recently and I thought Audrey Tautou was super cute. It really just depends. Gwyneth Paltrow is doing great things. [Agreed. That jumpsuit was great.]
Your blog, illrapper.com, is on point. You do that all yourself?
Thank you! I have some help here and there. I’d like very much to expand soon and have a couple good people I can trust to care of things when I get too busy. I have some big plans for illrapper.com, you might wanna keep checking us out.
Do you collect anything?
Nah. I love sneakers and fitteds and such but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of these people that only collects and never wears the shit. I’m into those cool glass display cases though, so who knows.
Odd Future or Lil B?
Not into shock rap. I can dig kids living out there dreams, and I respect their work ethic, but I can’t bump the shit. [Since this interview, T.Shirt has come around to at least some of Odd Future’s stuff – particularly the new Frank Ocean mixtape – see here.]
What is your worst habit?
I fucking bite my nails when I’m bored or writing and I hate it.
If you had one piece of advice for a young kid that wants to grow up to be a rapper, what would it be?
Yo honestly, fuck being a rapper. Unless you’re seriously super good at it, with a great style, dope voice, you’re an amazing writer, etc. I wouldn’t recommend it. As it stands, the music biz in general is way too ridiculous to navigate through. All that matters are hit records and once you get one, you need another, and another, or the money stops and you’re forever a running joke. I feel like unless you have something concrete to share with the world, what’s the point of putting yourself and your family through all the nonsense?
There’s a ton of much cooler, more respectable means of making a great living being creative. Just because there’s no reality shows about it or you don’t hear about these careers growing up in wild neighborhoods and such, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. For instance, do you know how cool working in advertising is? A lot of the same fundamentals you love about rap can be applied to creating really dope marketing campaigns for products and brands you love. Anyway, I’m just saying. People are gonna tell you to stay in school and blah, blah, blah, on the real though, school can be incredible. Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. Think about the kind of life you wanna have and what you’d be happy doing for a good chunk of it. Then get to work. What did Conan say? If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things can happen.
Pigeons or Planes?
Planes, private ones.