Playdough released his free Writer Dye concept album online yesterday. We recently connected with him for this quick Q & A. Peep game.
TRU: Your new project is a concept album where you take lyrics from other bands and genres (including The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, The Violent Femmes, and Nirvana) and turn them into rap songs. Its cover art photo shows you with a stogie, sagging pants, and handwritten stomach tattoo. With Writer Dye, are you making fun of hip hop?
Playdough: Not at all. Hip-hop is my culture and my people and I have nothing but love for those of us who live this.
The stogie is in fact not a stogie (though I get that a lot.) It’s actually the cap to the marker. That cover is pretty much me on a Sunday afternoon. I thought the handwritten tattoo on my stomach would be a cool way to drive home the Writer Dye idea. Saying it aloud it seems like a stomach tattoo would be perfect and seeing it spelled out seems to drive home the concept a little more.
TRU: What’s the most recent non-hip hop album/song that moved you? Why?
Playdough: The new Black Keys album. It’s some of the most soulful music being made right now. It sounds like the stuff I find when I’m digging for samples on some records I got at the thrift shop.
TRU: A lot of the songs on Writer Dye also include elements that appear to be modern interpretations of various Bible stories. Are you secretly trying to take listeners to Sunday School here?
Playdough: Haha. That’s no secret. I’m just really into the Bible, man. It’s filled with so much wisdom and life that it automatically gives my songs more meaning and makes me feel like I’m not just wasting the listener’s time. It’s just such a big part of my life that it’s hard to keep it out of my songs.
TRU: As a Christian MC, how do you feel about battle rapping?
Playdough: I feel like that’s asking someone how they feel about playing one on one basketball. Some Christians have made it into such a weird thing, but at the end of the day it’s about competing and wanting to win a contest.
I’ve won a ton of battles and have been the Dallas champ time and time again with belts and checks to prove it. For me it’s about wanting to be good at what you do and gaining respect with the hope that people who check me in a battle will later check out my recorded material. I also have a very good Christian jump shot.
TRU: I’ve gotta ask, why did you think it was a good idea to take your shirt off on the cover? No offense, but you’re not exactly The 50 Cent Situation or anything.
Playdough: I wanted to show the Writer Dye tattoo Thug Life style. We played around with different ideas and concepts but I couldn’t get the idea of me just going for it out of my head, I wanted to try it out. It was very spur of the moment but I liked the honesty and openness of it. Once I saw the final version I loved it. Plus, skinny white dudes are really in this year. What up, ladies?
TRU: Finally, being that you’re a rapper of the Caucasian persuasion, do you still get ignorant comparisons to Eminem or is the general public now better educated about the diversity of the genre?
Playdough: I get it all the time. It’s usually from the people who are less involved in the hip-hop culture and have no clue what’s up.
Sometimes it’s a trip when I think about it, though. There are shows where I’m the only white dude on stage or even in the club and then there are other nights where the whole bill is white dudes. Sometimes it still feels so rare to be a white emcee, other times it feels cliché.
Either way it’s probably the biggest obstacle I face on the day to day. It’s a bigger deal to some folks than it is to others. If you love hip-hop then I challenge you to come to come watch my live show. Then afterward tell me if you care even a little bit that I’m white.
Download your free copy of Writer Dye right ‘here.