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Home » Detroit Rapper on New Album, Lil Uzi Vert Collab – Rolling Stone

Detroit Rapper on New Album, Lil Uzi Vert Collab – Rolling Stone

by AcklinEHuey

Detroit rap is the most hilarious subgenre in hip-hop right now. And the experience is even more palpable with an in-person Veeze ad-libbing bars as he recently did during a listening session of his upcoming album, Ganger, in Rolling Stone’s New York offices. “What’s wrong with that bitch?” he incredulously asks after I chuckle at one of his lines about a woman he knows. The album is a follow-up to 2019’s Navy Wavy, which solidified Veeze as a pillar of the new Detroit rap vanguard with tracks like his breakout “Law N Order,” where his laid-back, unbothered delivery flow creeps around souped-up percussion, needling listeners with lines like “I knew this shit was gone come just like I seen it on The Simpsons.”

In March, he released the Tye Beats-produced single, “GOMD,” and recently unveiled the remix with Lil Uzi Vert, setting a strong tone for what to expect on the project that he announced will be coming in June.

After his breakout success, things slowed down musically for Veeze. He describes a two-year period where he wasn’t taking rap as seriously. Then, in 2021, two things happened to jolt him out of his lull: his Instagram page was taken down, forcing him to rebuild his audience with music and appearances on popular hip-hop podcasts, which exposed him to a wider audience at the same time.

He says he decided to scrap the original version of Ganger and start from scratch during that period. He released “U Digg” with Lil Baby and 42 Dugg last June, and the song would become his first Billboard-charter. “Baby really saved me as a rapper ’cause I kind of didn’t care about being adventurous,” Veeze says. “Around that time, I ain’t give a fuck. I don’t know what it was that it was just like, I ain’t care about rapping. You be having to get used to fame. It’s like you got people depending on you. Random people. So you just got to get used to being popular.”

But now, he’s not taking his career for granted. He says he’s learned more about navigating rap fame by observing his famous rap friends’ work ethic. “People like Yachty and Baby got enough money to be lazy, but they work every day, and they stand on working,” he says. “They don’t care about the money they got. They want to make some new money when they wake up.”

So does Veeze — but it won’t be rap money forever. He says he plans to pivot out of rap by his seventh album, noting, “I want to make money easier. I want to make money from my likeness without thinking of rhymes [and] picking through beats. It’s too tough coming up with stuff people would like to listen to. And you don’t know. You got to wait for the feedback. It’s just too much.”

He says he’s also brainstorming a foray into animation: “I want to write a cartoon like Family Guy, a dark cartoon. I don’t want it based on me. I want it based on characters. I want people to get attached to characters like I am to Peter Griffin. And I can never know who he based off of. He’s probably [based off] a writer’s uncle or some shit. But I’m invested into Peter Griffin. I want it to be random. If I do one based on me, that’d have to be a different cartoon than the one that I imagine.”

If his screenwriting skills are anything like his bars, he’ll do just fine at subverting expectations. We talked to Veeze about his upcoming project, what he’s learned from famous peers, and keeping your dignity around rap peers. 

What would you say was the first song or the first session that kickstarted this project?
I worked on it for a long time, but it was supposed to come out before I lost my Instagram page. I had to start my page over. So when I started my page over, I didn’t want to drop the tape anymore until I built back up some hype and following. So I started this CD over when my page started over. Just to kind of make something new.

So you started a new project from scratch?
Yeah, because the project ain’t done until I say I’m done with it, until I’m comfortable with it, until I’m excited about it. So it don’t matter. I ain’t going to claim it. I ain’t going to claim it until I feel comfortable about it, so it was just a long development of making songs and music.

How far along do you think you were at that point in terms of wanting to put it out when that happened?
Around that time, I would’ve got peer pressured by fans to drop it. But at this point I just feel like my fans just want me to have sick CDs. That’s how I feel. When I was going to drop it before my page got took the first time, I feel like they would’ve liked it, but I don’t know if it would’ve proved me being great.

Why do you say that?
Because I didn’t have a lot of [the new songs]. I ain’t make a lot of those songs [yet]. That was at the point probably before “A&W” and “Let It Fly.”

I was watching the No Jumper interview where you were talking about how in your earlier stages of creating with Babyface, you felt like you had nothing to lose and that affected your creative process. Do you still feel that way?
Yeah. I feel it now. It’s the same for me. Where I’m at, people put me here. It ain’t really nothing to lose. They could put you there, they could put you down. It’s entertainment. I could say it phased out a little bit. When I lost my page, it was kind of restarted. I was doing that No Jumper interview because I lost my page. So it was kind of restarting, me having nothing to lose, versus before I lost my page, I was kind of feeling myself. I had to get back to feeling like a nothing to lose rapper.

How do you think feeling yourself affected the music?
Feeling myself, you get the feeling like you don’t got to practice, so I start back practicing. I want to be better. I want to be better at rapping. Yeah.

You once said you felt like your last year was an internship to be becoming a superstar.
Yeah. Blessed to have that. Everybody don’t know about that. Everybody who is or in entertainment, rapper, singer, whatever, don’t know about being on that type of internship. It’s something people will pay for and kill for, to be honest. It’s fun.

What were some of those experiences?
Just learning. Getting taught too. That’s really how it started because it’s fun. It’s just rap shit and fun first, but when it get to more like me and Baby looking at each other like brothers, and we got to stay on each other, it’s different. So seeing that he wanted to teach me made me get into that. Because you could just meet rappers, go to the club, and get high.

How tight are you with the Milwaukee rap scene?
I’m real familiar with Milwaukee. Been to Milwaukee way before Detroit had a wave, and we been knew about Milwaukee rappers.

I actually wrote a piece recently about the Milwaukee rap scene, and one of the readers said he feels like Detroit more influences the Milwaukee rap sound than Chicago. Even though it’s closer to Chicago. So I thought that was an interesting dynamic.
Between my brothers that I named and me, we haven’t been to Chicago that many times. I haven’t performed in Chicago that many times as much as I have performed in Milwaukee. Literally probably once in Chicago versus Milwaukee. They want to see us.

Yeah. I did a thing a while back about how much trouble Chicago artists have trying to do shows and the police hassling them and shutting shit down. So it’s hard for them to do shit.
All good things come to an end, man. Drill rap dead. I hope it die.

Why do you say that?
It’s in the way, and it’s not good. It’s in the way of good music, and it’s not good music, and it’s all in everybody’s face. It’s in everybody’s face on YouTube and all that, and it’s not good music. So it need to get out the way.

And when you say not good, do you mean in terms of the quality or in terms of the content of it being-
It’s the same. New York drill the same. Chicago drill the same. The beats, the flows, ain’t nothing interesting about it to me. Drill rap, when Chief Keef, and Durk [dropped], I could say those guys were talented too. Outside of being drill influenced, they’re talented too. But I can’t say that about this new stuff. They just drill rappers. They not talented.

See Chicago invented it, so it’s like everybody right there is a drill rapper by default. But it’s like Florida, dang, I don’t feel like Florida music. I know Florida music from Trick Daddy and Rick Ross and even Pitbull. Those guys ain’t just “kill, kill, kill.” So it’s like, I’m just saying that all these different regions got influenced from Chicago too. And they just spread too crazy like wildfire. Because they pushed the greatest drill rappers to the back, and they got other nigga who are 14 and probably just came out today. And then nothing could come from drill rap. It’s no drill rappers winning the awards. It’s certain things they can’t do. GS9 wasn’t fake. So you see what I’m saying? That’s why it’s like drill rap needs to get pushed to the side. That shit don’t need to be real, and then we can’t listen to fake kill music.

How would you say the dynamic of getting shows is for Detroit rappers?
Wasn’t no dangerous or hazardous things with our shows. We the cool guys. We just be on some money shit. It ain’t really no beefs or no shit like that. Certain people got problems, but it’s like it ain’t no like they wouldn’t book us here or wouldn’t book. It’s ain’t no shit like that. We just all did a Detroit 313 day, and all of us perform at one venue. All of the artists was just all in one spot. 

What would you say are the defining traits of Detroit? People would say somebody from LA is laid back and chill. Somebody from New York is more direct and intense or whatever. How do you feel about that for Detroit?
The people I know, my peers, it’s like we talk what we know or experienced and what go on, what been going on, what we’ve been a part of, been there all our life. It’s moody. You will never know with us, I feel. And just like different bars. I don’t feel like nobody thought process of bars [is like ours], how we structure bars and tell stories. I don’t know. Pretty rare. Every rapper. I feel like if they don’t have love in their hometown, then they can never expand. If you blow up on the internet, but your hometown was never with you, everything is odd. Nobody cares about you. We don’t make internet hometown heroes.

Do you remember the first major artist to reach out to you?
Where I was at before I started rapping and people like Peezy and Ray and Vezzo and GT, these people legends in our city. So, when they embraced me, that meant something to me, because they was the biggest people I knew at the time. So, that meant a lot. Everybody who I just named is pretty crazy, but I knew Chief Keef before I rapped, so he already followed my page before I rapped. So, when I started rapping, he instantly seen it. He was the first celebrity to follow me, so he’s the first person to be up on it. But he already was in tune with Detroit style. He been on it since like 2015, been fucking with Detroit artists. He a tastemaker. But I’m a fan of him.

I had a couple tweets I wanted to ask you about. Oone of them was “Please stop being less of a human for celebrities. Please stop losing dignity over celebrities. You can still have family and friends that have to judge you daily.” What’s been your weirdest interaction with a fan so far?
I think I just be shocked when people be like, “whoa!” And do stuff like that, and they really react like the shit you done seen on TV. Like, damn this nigga really reacting like that. And I be trying to calm him like, “okay, it’s just me bro.” That’s me. “I appreciate you bro.” It just be awkward to me. It be certain shit, I’ll just be like niggas done did stuff in front of they girlfriend…so that’s why I said that in that tweet. It just be too much and I just be wanting to be like: “brother, I love my fans and I appreciate you, but don’t lose the respect of who you got to deal with every day for the fandom of me.” I ain’t going to be there to save you. You got to live with that girl. 

Yeah. Even as a writer and being more in proximity to artists now than I was at one point just being like, yeah, I’ll dap you, I say what’s up or whatever. But I’m not going to do too much ’cause I just don’t want to be that guy.
I be like that too. When I see the people I’m a fan of, other rappers, I just try to find a real cool way to say something. But [I act like that] only [for] the rappers though. I don’t got to have dignity to actors or NBA players.

Oh yeah? So you fan out a little bit?
Yeah. Or R&B singers. But rappers I got to be cool and just show my appreciation in a cool, calm way. But I ain’t got to have no dignity for top stars. You could be your inner child. That’s how I feel. If I seen Adam Sandler? I wouldn’t act grown. I’ll freak out. That’s what I’m saying. It is different on that type level, but yeah. I was with Wayne one day, I forgot what we was going to do. I think a press round in New York one day. But I came out the hotel and seen Johnny Knoxville, and we was rushing. I told them niggas they could leave me. I’m about to take a picture with Johnny Knoxville.


So how long do you see yourself rapping?
I could see myself probably making seven CDs. I’m going to try my hardest to pivot. Yeah.

What’s the significance of seven?
Just not 10, and it’s over five. I’m 29, so after seven albums, I should be done. I imagine my seventh album being written into the cartoon.

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