Nothing Playing!
Loading...
00:00
/
00:00
 
 
Click to enable notifications

Musical Family Tree Store

Speading Indiana Music
 
Loading...
Interview: Pope Adrian Bless
Posted December 15, 2015 by Seth Johnson

At the first annual Chreece music festival, local hip hop heads lined up outside of a jam-packed Joyful Noise Recordings space, desperately hoping they’d somehow be able to make it in for Pope Adrian Bless’ at-capacity performance. With no other option, I decided to sneak in through the venue’s side door, eventually lucking into a bird’s eye view of the show from atop one of the benches in the back. As the concert unfolded, it became more and more clear to me why so many were waiting outside in hopes of maybe catching a song or two from the set. Not only was Pope’s energy off the charts, but his songs were topnotch too. This dude wasn’t fucking around.

Ever since that time, I have dug deeper into the 24-year-old’s work, becoming more and more fascinated with what he’s all about. That being said, I was very excited to have an opportunity to interview him for Musical Family Tree, prior to his appearance at The Hi-Fi this Wednesday for The Comdot’s album release party.

 

 

Seth Johnson: I know we’ve chatted at shows before, but never about where you’re from. Were you born and raised in Indianapolis?

Pope Adrian Bless: I’m from the Eastside near Crosstown. I’ve been back and forth between different places, but this is where I was born and raised. Like, it’s on my birth certificate (laughs).

 

SJ: When did you first start rapping, and why?

PAB: I started rapping at like 8. Some artists be like, “I did this at such and such a time,” and I’m like, “You were rapping as a fetus? C’mon man.” But, that really was when I started writing and stuff. I’d say I’ve taken it seriously since freshman year of high school though. Around that time, I went to therapy a lot, and my therapist’s whole thing was like, “Use your talents.” And I was like, “Okay cool.” I had always rapped, but I never knew how to make songs so I would just write a whole bunch of abstract shit. So it was kind of my tactic for what I was dealing with.

After therapy, it was like, “I’m still rapping!” And, I felt like I had to be the one that talked about depression and stuff like that because all I knew was that and I can’t really write anything else besides that. I mean, I can, but it’s more of a hassle. So therapy stopped, and I just continued doing the same thing from there.

 

SJ: So were you writing a lot before you started rapping? Can you give me some background on yourself as strictly a writer?

PAB: I’m an introvert, and I never really learned how to speak effectively. But, I remember the year Harry Potter came out. I was like in fifth grade. I was reading it, and I was like, “Oh my god. You can make stories up about shit.” So that’s what I did. I just ended up writing things I wished could happen. So writing is still a huge thing [for me]. I really want to write a book, although I don’t know what about (laughs).

 

SJ: I know you’ve done some spoken word too. Can you tell me a little more about that?

PAB: Here’s the thing about me, dude. If I like something, I’ll do it. Like, I used to want to skateboard, and I did it and stopped. I saw dudes my age doing it, they were really good, and I wanted to do it. So spoken word was kind of like that. I already had written poetry when I was younger. Spoken word is different than poetry though because it requires performance. Theon Lee was into it before me. I was kind of like, “Man I write well,” and he was one of the people that were like, “Yo. You should really just do it. You would be incredible.” So I pursued it, and I did a bunch of open mics. For a long time, people actually thought I was just a poet, and that was not how I wanted to be perceived. I was like, “I’m more than that though.” But, it felt good to be embraced for what I did, especially considering I was introverted and nervous.

SJ: As a rapper, I know that you often freestyle. In what ways did your writing background help you to pick up that skill?

PAB: Before you were a journalist, the first journalist that you encountered inspired you. So you subconsciously imitated their writing style because they inspired you. As time passes, you find more journalists and more authors and more writers, and you start to learn different tricks and methods and kind of make a salad out of that. Like, “I’m going to take the wit of this guy, the writing style of this guy, and the satire of this guy to make whatever,” and it becomes you after a while so you can easily write like that all the time. And, that’s what it kind of comes to for me because I don’t listen to a lot of hip hop now and really haven’t in two years. But, I was writing so much that I was already writing like Kendrick before Kendrick came out. That’s just how real it was. And, that was just because I was consistently doing it, and I was listening to Joe Budden, Blu from Blu & Exile, Nas, occasionally Jay-Z. All of those guys had brought something different to the platform, so I ended up learning. I wrote a whole bunch because I wanted to be as good as them, if not better. And eventually, your mind will just connect and be like, “I’m used to it now.” It’s like riding a bike almost. So for me, freestyling has been second nature for a couple years now.

 

SJ: I know that Mandog [champion of the 2014 Jay Brookinz Beat Battle] produces a lot of your tracks. How did you two originally link up?

PAB: I went to school with Mandog, so I’ve known him for 10 years. We’ve been friends since freshman year [of high school]. I’ve still got his very first instrumental tape to this day. The years progressed. He ended up building a studio in his house, and that shit was so dope. He was just making mixtapes and shit, and it kind of blew up from there. After we graduated, that’s when we started putting our shit together and the mixtapes started coming out. Since then, Mandog has always been my primary guy. So yeah, he became a brother of mine instantly, and he still is. That’s my guy for real, man.

 

SJ: What do you feel like your role in the local hip hop scene is right now?

PAB: I’m kind of like the lone owl. I’m the rebel. I’m like the Clint Eastwood of the whole thing. I’m gonna make what I want, say what I want, do it how I want, and give no fucks about it. I’m not about to lie to you. I’m the one that can stand up and say, “I’m fucked up, and you’re fucked up too, so why don’t we get together, discuss it, and be honest about it?” My thing is the human aspect. Everybody talks about drugs, bitches and all that shit, but I’m just trying to figure out what I’m doing with the next hour of my life.

 

SJ: I know you’ve released a few songs as part of a series you’re calling The Birdcage Sessions. Can you talk to me a little bit about that, and where it stands now?

PAB: When I put out Angel Musik IV, I was really hungry, and I put it out as kind of a cleansing process. I was like, “Even if I don’t feel all of this extra shit that I feel I need to write, I’m going to get it out, and people will enjoy it.” And by the grace of God, people did. So at this time, I felt I could do no wrong because I made Angel Muzik IV within a matter of three weeks time. I was like, “People enjoyed everything, and I got a great fucking review. I can do no wrong.” So with The Birdcage Sessions, I was going to make songs and release them [once a month for 12 months], and there were going to be small three-track EPs every quarter. So “Birdcage” [the first song of the sessions] came out, and I was like, “Fuck yeah. I got it!” Eventually, I dropped the next record [titled “World of Lights (Ouija Board)”], and people liked it. I’m not heavily promoting it right now just because I’m trying to get the rest of these records going for the project. Now, it still could be an EP series thing, but I can’t guarantee it.

 

SJ: Looking ahead to next year, what are some goals that you have for yourself?

PAB: One of the goals I have is just to put out the best material period. Not locally, but overall and regionally. If I sit down and say, “Pope. It’s your responsibility to make the greatest shit that you can make and be honest,” every goal that I did not think about will come into play. Every show I didn’t think I would do, every fan, every consumer, every blog. So my goal is to not sleep until I make the best shit to come out, and then keep doing it and keep doing it because everything else will go on from there automatically.

comments powered by Disqus

Welcome to MFT!

Supported By

With support from: Arts Council and the City of IndianapolisIndiana Arts CommissionNational Endowment for the Arts

Recent Blog Posts

8/22/20
by Grant McClintock
08/20/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FM
E & AJ, from ELE Fest, guest-hosted:https://www.elevatedfest.com/1. Among the Compromised - Elev...
8/15/20
by Grant McClintock
08/13/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FM
08/13/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FMChris Banta, from Romanus Records, guest-hosted:1. Sm wolf &ndas...
8/8/20
by Grant McClintock
08/06/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FM
08.06.2020 MFT radion show on WQRT: Jeff Nordyke guest-hosting:The Brothers Footman - BangO.D.D.I.T....

Donate to MFT

Help us spread Indiana music, and we'll give you special rewards as our way of saying "thanks!"

 

Recent Blog Posts

8/22/20
by Grant McClintock
08/20/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FM
E & AJ, from ELE Fest, guest-hosted:https://www.elevatedfest.com/1. Among the Compromised - Elev...
8/15/20
by Grant McClintock
08/13/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FM
08/13/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FMChris Banta, from Romanus Records, guest-hosted:1. Sm wolf &ndas...
8/8/20
by Grant McClintock
08/06/2020 MFT Radio Show on WQRT FM
08.06.2020 MFT radion show on WQRT: Jeff Nordyke guest-hosting:The Brothers Footman - BangO.D.D.I.T....
Account Suspended
This Account has been suspended.
Contact your hosting provider for more information.