Image via YouTube

Image via YouTube

Friendship is a way to surmount the insurmountable, to become greater than the sum of your individual parts. Lil Yachty and Burberry Perry are not technically part of the same family tree. But they might as well be—their success in music has revealed a deep-rooted desire to win together, a unique kind of brotherhood that currently has the music industry’s full attention. They represent the power of teens armed with an unbreakable bond.

Though he’s not yet 20, Perry (now known as TheGoodPerry thanks to corporate interests levied against him) built a sound with his friend and watched it bloom. City to city, state by state, the Lil Boat mixtape crossed land and sea to become one of 2016’s hottest releases. They just released the followup, Summer Songs 2, and it has continued to push the hype ever higher.

Despite his instrumental role in one of 2016’s most riveting success stories, the cheerful architect of bubblegum trap has rarely spoken about his own artistic ambitions. We sought to change that, and there’s plenty to discuss: through his signature brew of breezy synthesizers, twinkling keys, and rattling hi-hats, TheGoodPerry is carving a lane in his own right.

I had just started my interview with Perry when another voice unexpectedly filtered through the phone—who else but Lil Yachty. I decided to abandon my original questions and roll with the punches. We steered clear of lawsuits in hopes of documenting the uniquely entertaining dynamism of two friends. From friendship, to Frank Ocean, to VIEWS, here’s what happened.

Perry, you’ve been called Yachty’s right hand. What cartoon or superhero duo do the two of you embody? 
TheGoodPerry: I’m thinking the Red Ranger and the Black Ranger.
Lil Yachty: Huh ho! Ho ho ho! Okay. Of course you’d be the Black Ranger.
TGP: No, I’m the Red Ranger.
LY: I am Red by default [Laughs].
TGP: Alright, never mind I switch, I want to be the White Ranger!
More like the Pink Ranger. Well, I guess Power Rangers isn’t a cartoon. We’d be like CatDog.
TGP: CatDog, that’s a good one [Laughs]. I think I was a Cartoon Network kid though.
LY: I think I was a Disney kid.

What Disney movies were you guys messing with?
I was into the first High School Musical. The first one. The first one was the best one then it got sus.
Well High School Musical 2, that was the summertime one right? Yeah, that one was sus.

Where do you both stand on childhood? Do you think it’s important to not fully relinquish a youthful spirit?
TGP: I don’t think I have anything from my childhood now other than pictures. But some people definitely lose touch with their childhood. They grow too old.
LY: Well you just grow up and do a lot of stuff, you don’t have time to think about that anymore. Unless things come up that remind you of… nostalgia. Is that how you say that word?
TGP: You’re trying to say nostalgic?

I think when people grow older it’s easy to become narrow-minded, and you both seem to embrace new ideas more than other people in hip-hop.
TGP: Definitely true.
LY: I’ll take it.

Moving into the music, could you both break down the creation of “1Night”?
TGP: I made the beat—well, I remember after I made some songs Yachty kept asking me for beats. I don’t want to say I was procrastinating, but I was procrastinating. So I made the beat as fast I could… I forget how fast, but I made the beat and sent it right over to him and it was a snippet. It wasn’t that long.
LY: He sent it to me and I was on the car on the way to the studio. I played it on the car speakers and loved it. I wrote that in like four or five minutes, pulling up to the studio having written that song. I went into the studio and made it—it happened so fast, in an instant.

Do most of the songs you work on turn out that way? 
TGP: Not anymore, I don’t think. Most of the songs we make now are—not more strategic, but more—
LY: Thought-out.
TGP: Just like, we’re together a lot. They’re really thought-out, yeah… Not better, but more than they used to be.

In what ways do you feel like you’ve both grown as artists since Lil Boat? Have there been moments where you felt like you’ve come a long way?
TGP: Yeah! Does it happen all the time? I don’t know…
LY: I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like, “Wow, we’re really growing.” I’ve felt that way but I can’t remember a time where I felt like that. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just what we do. Like when [Perry] first made that beat for “Such Ease” [from Summer Songs 2]. You first played that in L.A.!
TGP: Wait, we did play that beat in L.A. and then I sent it to you—
LY: I always have to beg [Perry] to send me his beats.
TGP: You don’t have to beg me! It’s just hard because I’m a producer and an artist too, so I have to set aside beats for you and I have to set aside beats for myself too. Some of the ones I make for myself you pick. You don’t have to beg me for beats.
LY: Hmmm. [Laughs]

Perry, how do you balance those responsibilities?
TGP: I don’t want to say it’s been hard, but… It’s been fun. It’s still fun. Sometimes, when I do make beats for myself and [Yachty] hears them, it is hard because you have to think like, “Should I give this to him? Should I keep this?” Most of the times I end up giving the beats to him anyways.

Where’s that conversation normally lead?
LY: Bro, send me the beat. Bro, send me the beat. Bro, send me the beat. Bro, send me the beat. Send me the beat. Then one day he’ll respond and be like, “Bro check your email.” We’re living only 50 feet away from each other.
TGP: More like 50 steps.

I’m sure the Sailing Team have a favorite group activity.
LY: I was just going to say play UNO [Laughs]. Our house is obsessed with UNO.
TGP: I think I’m the best UNO player.
LY: It’s really hard because it’s so switchable. One day somebody will just really be killing. Not even one day, one hour. Perry just beat Earl six times.
TGP: He’s lying. Five times, five times now! It’s coming up on six.
LY: UNO is such a probability game. The way UNO is set up, you can’t just do good.
TGP: You can do good!
LY: I mean you can do bad! Look, every time I play with Perry he’s really slow.
TGP: That’s because I literally just learned how to play UNO two days ago.

What songs could someone expect to hear around your team that soundtracks shenanigans?
LY: It depends on the week.
TGP: Yeah it does.
LY: Most of the time, if I made a song I really liked you’ll hear that song a lot. Or if we find a song we really mess with. And then there’s Drake. We always play Drake. And you’ll just hear beats because it’s two producers in the house who are always creating.

New Drake or old Drake?
LY: We fuck with the old Drake but we listen to VIEWS.
TGP: You listen to VIEWS I listen to all Drake.
LY: I listen to all Drake too but I fuck with VIEWS.
TGP: I fuck with the new Drake right now too! But I’m not playing it around the house like that. I be playing Take Care. Nothing Was The Same was pretty tight too, not gonna lie.

Perry, how did the Kylie Jenner feature come about on “Beautiful Day”?
TGP: It just came about. I didn’t know her well. I had never met her, actually. I was with Yachty in New York. One day I was making a song and she just literally walked in. I didn’t have a second verse. So Yachty did the second verse. After we came out to hear the song, we were gonna bounce it and finish but I guess they wanted to put another verse on and dabble with it. Then they hopped on it!

Do you guys ever watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians for entertaining Kanye moments?
LY: My mom used to watch that shit when I was growing up.
TGP: I have never watched that, can’t lie. I’ve seen those little clips on YouTube.
LY: I’ve seen the episode where I’m on it!
TGP: You’re on Keeping Up With The Kardashians?
LY: When Kanye did the fashion show.
TGP: I wasn’t there, I was somewhere.
LY: You were there with me.
TGP: You went by yourself!

Were any words shared between you and Young Thug?
LY: No, actually. That was my first time seeing him in person. I didn’t know him then.

A friend asked me how to join the Sailing Team. If you were ever recruiting, who would you look for?
LY: If I saw a cool teenager on the internet who was really killing shit, that was really just tight and we mutually agreed on him being tight, I probably would recruit someone. You just gotta be creative. Right now we’re not recruiting because there’s no originality, or it’s just hidden right now. I’m sure it’s out there, but as of right now it’s just who I grew up with. Everybody right now is people I knew before I had any type of status or money.

Do you feel obligated to lead the way for those who look up to you?
TGP: I do feel like we have that responsibility, but not responsible how a mom is! But certain people do look up to us. Not even look up to us, they just feel us. They use us for day to day things that they’re going through.
LY: Kids do look up to us. We gotta make sure everything is on point. We’re a voice for them. We need to speak for how they’re feeling. We have to tell people what it feels like to be in school when you don’t want to be, or how it feels to be down, or loved, or picked on, or heartbroken. Anything. That’s why I proclaimed myself the king of teens. I felt like the voice. I feel like I could be that person to express what we’re all thinking.

We have to tell people what it feels like to be in school when you don’t want to be, or how it feels to be down, or loved, or picked on, or heartbroken. Anything. That’s why I proclaimed myself the king of teens.

If Yachty’s king of the teens, how would you describe yourself as an artist Perry?
TGP: If I had to prescribe myself a position? I’m for the people. I’m a real happy person and I like to help people. I definitely would say I’m about feeling, emotion. It’s real descriptive music. Very emotional. It’s like when you hear it you feel what I’m saying and then you reminisce on whatever you felt as you heard it.
LY: He’s vibey.

Kanye is a prime example of someone who went from behind the boards to full-on artist, is he an inspiration of yours?
TGP: When I was real young, my parents didn’t let me listen to hip-hop or anything at all. All I listened to was Shania Twain, who’s a country singer. So, the first song other than Shania Twain I heard was Kanye West’s “Gone.” And then I wanted to make music. That influenced me to make music. I don’t want to say he influenced how my music sounds or anything, but yeah, that song definitely kickstarted my music career.

Do you remember that first moment when you wrote your first rhymes?
TGP: Yeah! I don’t know about who influenced them, but I remember taking out my phone. Me and Yachty’s song, “1500.” That was the first song I ever recorded and put out.

Were you confident in the release?
LY: He was scared to put “1500” out.
TGP: I was scared to put it out, only because the group of friends I was around at the time…
LY: Yeah those guys didn’t want him to drop it.

What differences stand out between the making of Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2?
LY: With Lil Boat, I think everything we did was recorded at our studio at Quality Control. Besides a couple songs that were a little bit older. A lot of those songs were binge-made. And when I say binge-made, I mean we damn near lived in the studio. Long, long hours. Early a.m. to late at night. 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. We had covers, blankets, pillows. We literally lived in the studio. Didn’t even see the light! That was for Lil Boat.
TGP: Yeah, it was intense.
LY: Summer Songs 2 we were a bit freer. Living in hotels. Bouncing around. I did that intro in Detroit. A lot of songs we did when I was on tour with Young Thug. It was a lot freer.
TGP: Lil Boat was a lot more sit-down. Basically what Yachty said. We didn’t sit down in the studio, we made Summer Songs 2 on the go.

Last question: Do you guys think the Frank Ocean album is going to come out? Will he deliver?
LY: I know he’s going to deliver, the question is whether or not it will ever come out. And if it don’t come out, well, I still need to hear it.
TGP: [Laughs] I know, we definitely need to hear that.
LY: Mmhm, I need to meet Frank and hear this album.
TGP: I hope it does come out. Isn’t today the last date on that little book thing he posted?
LY: When this drops it’s gonna break the internet.
TGP: It already has.