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Mame Biram Diouf

Papoose - The Nacirema Dream (26th March)

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1. "Intro" 1:39

2. "Motion Picture" 3:49

3. "Mother Ghetto" 4:50

4. "Aim, Shoot" (featuring Mobb Deep) 3:34

5. "Cure Skit" 3:06

6. "Cure" (featuring Erykah Badu) 5:37

7. "Nacirema Dream" 4:06

8. "Pimpin' Won't Die" 4:33

9. "6am" (featuring Jim Jones and Jadakiss) 4:00

10. "Law Library Skit" 1:13

11. "Law Library Part 8" 2:46

12. "What’s My Name" (featuring Remy Ma) 3:04

13. "On Top Of My Game" (featuring Mavado) 4:09

14. "Faith" 2:32

15. "Turn It Up" (featuring DJ Premier) DJ Premier 4:09

16. "Die Like A G" 4:15

17. "Get At Me" (featuring Ron Browz) Ron Browz 2:56

18. "Where I Come From" (featuring Dada Stone, ODog, Manson, Kino and C-Brown) 4:10

19. "R.I.P." 5:12

20. "Alphabetical Slaughter Part II / Z to A"

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It’s been nearly half a decade since Papoose announced his debut studio album, The Nacirema Dream. During that time, Pap was signed to Jive Records under his deal reportedly worth $1.5 million that DJ Kay Slay helped orchestrate. His buzz was certainly on our radar, landing #9 on our anticipated albums list of 2007. When we spoke to him back then, he sounded just as determined as he does now. “I aimed for the bull’s-eye on this one. If a person is sick, my album is medicine. If a person is hungry, my album is food. My album is freedom for a person that’s incarcerated.”

The Nacirema Dream was left in album purgatory for a number of years. Although hip-hop heads wanted to rule it out like Dr. Dre’s Detox, the BK spitter promised the delay was worth the wait. There have been several changes (removal of highly anticipated collaborations with Kanye West and Pharrell) to sonically keep the album strictly East Coast, from dense lyricism to rough and gritty beats. Raised on the style of rappers like Big Daddy Kane and Mobb Deep, his album is ready to bring more national attention to the entire ‘New York Back’ movement.

Papoose stopped by the XXL offices to share with us his thought process behind The Nacirema Dream, due out March 26. We heard the stories behind standout features from Erykah Badu and Mobb Deep, his fun record with his wife Remy Ma, and even hints at another “Alphabetical Slaughter” concept in the making. Read on to learn about Papoose’s breakdown of his most intimate project yet.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)


“I wouldn’t say an interlude; it’s basically an introduction to the album. It’s describing, giving you an idea of what type of album you’re about to go into. It’s just titled “Intro”, but it’s not titled. ‘Attempted[..]assination’ is what the title is to me, but it’s not printed on the track list. I’m just preparing the listener for what type of album, what type of experience they [are] about to have. I’m just basically setting the stage and letting them know that this is nothing to play around with, that this is quite serious. That’s the message I want to send.”

“Motion Picture”

“‘Motion Picture’ is the art of storytelling at its best. As you’re hearing the lyrics, you can actually see what’s being said. You can visualize it—you know what I’m saying? The pictures [that are] being painted … it’s a story, a detailed story. It’s two different stories, actually. The best way for me to describe it is the art of storytelling at its best. I’m actually speaking about two different incidents. I’ll give you a little insight on one of them.

“One of them is actually a story about two guys who was enemies, ya know, a while back. One was away for a while and he’s home now, but he didn’t get over it. It’s something similar to real life, things that happen every day. Two guys may not get along with each other, and all the people in this guy’s crew gotta go at it with the other guy, but he don’t necessarily have a personal problem with him. Just because of his affiliation, he has no choice but to go to war. That’s in there and being st@bbed in your back by somebody. I walk up on a conversation where a group of guys who I thought was my friends; they ‘re actually talking about doing some harm to me. So I reverse the tables on them and do harm to them.

“That’s the first story. The second story was what I was telling you before. In the process of that, since it’s a problem, they try and get some money, so they gonna do a robbery. I’m not gonna give you the whole story, you gotta buy the album. I would say, get your popcorn, man. ‘Motion Picture,’ sit back, rated ‘R,’ man. You sit back, you gonna be able to see what I’m saying if you pay attention. I’m not following nobody on this album. I’m doing what you supposed to do. When you sign to a record label, you wear the title of what? An artist. So that’s what I’m doing. Art should come from within, you know what I’m saying? Not from over there, ‘Oh, he’s doing that. Let me copy.’ You need to be creative. That’s what I’m doing.”

“Mother Ghetto”

“Basically, I’m a big fan of poetry, so that’s why you hear that type of stuff in my music. ‘Mother Ghetto,’ how can I explain it? It’s basically taking pride in where you’re from. Even though the ghetto is the ghetto and it’s hard for us in the ghetto, and we might go through some times, some trials and tribulations, but if it wasn’t for the place we come from, we wouldn’t be who we are. No matter how hard that environment was, it contributed to our personalities. You take the good out of it.

“It’s basically just taking pride in where you’re from, no matter where it is, whether it’s in the worst part of Africa or the worst part of London, you know what I’m saying? Regardless of what, you can’t forget where you came from ’cause you never know where you’re going. I’m from Brooklyn, and if you never been to Brooklyn, ‘Mother Ghetto’ will give you an inside look from my point of view, from Papoose’s point of view—what it looks like being a teenager, getting up in the morning and walking outside my door.

“So if you’ve never been to Brooklyn, you get an inside look. And if you from Brooklyn, you’ll be proud to be from there when you hear that track. Take pride in where you from. It don’t have to necessarily be Brooklyn. I’m representing Brooklyn. But it’s telling everybody else: wherever you’re from, don’t be ashamed of that. People hide their backgrounds. Be proud of where you’re from. That’s what that track is about.”

“Aim Shoot” ft. Mobb Deep

“I came up listening to them. ‘Shook Ones’ is one of my favorite records ever. I hear ‘Shook Ones’ right now and I’m pumped up, wherever I am. That record right there, man, that’s one of the hardest hip-hop records ever. I got them on the track in rare form, both of them. Havoc k!lled it. Prodigy k!lled it. Banging track, ‘Aim, Shoot.’

“The title, I feel like that record is self-explanatory. I’m just happy to even have them on the album. That was a privilege. That record, the best way to describe it since they’re featured on there, is Mobb Deep in rare form, real talk. Real Mobb Deep.

“I think they still dope. I still love them dudes and I just had to get ‘em on the album. They in rare form and I’m just doing what I do on the track. ‘Aim, Shoot’ speaks for itself to describe the record. I think people are gonna love that joint, official. Havoc didn’t produce it, but what’s interesting about that record, is we all recorded that record in the studio together. I was there live when they laid their verses and all that. It’s official.”

“Cure” ft. Erykah Badu

“That record, that’s the only one I’m not gonna give too much details about. I want people to get that experience when they hear it. I just think that record’s gonna change the world, honestly. Erykah Badu—we all know what she represents. She’s very talented and that record is a life-changer right there. For real, a real serious record. People always ask me, ‘Out of all the records you did, what’s your favorite record?’ and I never had an answer for that. That, I’m going on the record, it’s my favorite record that I ever did. Real talk. That’s my favorite Papoose record. That’s all I can say.

“We actually was over the phone trading thoughts. At the time, I was in Amsterdam. I’ll never forget, I was in Amsterdam and she got on the phone and she was like, ‘Yo, I like the joint.’ She was playing piano and all that to the record. We mixed it down and had to take that particular part out, but she really got intricate with it. I’m a fan of her, period, whether she’s a fan of me or not. The connection was made through another friend who thought what I bring to the table as an artist and what she brings would have good results and he was right. So get ready for that one. I love that record.”


“Nacirema Dream”

“The title track for me, it was just trying to get the message out to people to just follow your dreams, regardless of what’s put in front of you. It kinda describes my struggle from growing up in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn to even being successful in music. That’s what it’s about.

“The message is just follow your dreams. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can and can’t do. If you are a journalist, do it to the fullest. You can be at the top, regardless. People like to put other people down. Just don’t let anybody ever put obstacles in your way that you can’t overcome. That’s what that’s about. As opposed to just making a title track, I gotta put my stamp on it. I just wanna speak from the heart on that and let people know what I’ve been through and talk about the success also, talk about the hard times but talk about the success that came behind it.

“It’s definitely uplifting. Talking about, you know, things you wanna do when you get money, like take care of your mother, take care of your wife, take care of your children, things of that nature. Instead of just blowing money on flossing and things that most people tend to do, take care of your family when you get successful. I’m basically telling you what I wanna do when I achieve that American dream. That’s what that record is telling you when you listen to it. It’s in the chorus.

“I think people are gonna relate to it, being the fact that I grew up here and I’ve been through the hard times, and a lot of people out there have gone through worse times than me. We all have dreams. Whether we follow them or not, I don’t know. But that’s what I’m here to do, to influence. Follow your dreams. You can make it. I made it. What I considered successful when I was a kid I did it already. When people hate on me and say this, they don’t understand I’m in my glory. I’m just happy to be here, honestly. The money and everything, that’s gonna come as long as you’re true to your craft and true to what you do. When you worry about the money too much, you start chasing it and it runs from you. When you just do what you do and you focus on your craft, all of that’s gonna come.”

“Pimpin Won’t Die”

“Tupac had a classic record called ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby.’ In that video and that record, the young girl had a child and they threw the baby in the trashcan, something that actually happens a lot. ‘Pimpin’ Won’t Die’ is actually a continuation to ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby.’ In ‘Pimpin’ Won’t Die,’ I’m actually telling you what happened to that child when the child grew up. The reason why I chose to do that is because Tupac already laid down the foundation and let us know how this child was born. Her mother left her in the trashcan. So you look down the line, and you might see somebody out on the street doing drugs and prostituting, and you might judge that person. But you don’t know what kinda background they had.

“‘Pimpin’ Won’t Die’ is just basically explaining to you that before you judge a person for being a prostitute or something to that degree, pay attention. They could’ve had a hard background and been a product of their environment and this is the reason why they turned out to be like that. In ‘Pimpin’ Won’t Die,’ the continuation, the child actually grows up to be a prostitute.

“The third verse is a continuation of Slick Rick’s ‘Children’s Story.’ ‘He was only 17, in a madman’s dream,’ he grows up to be a pimp. So he’s pimpin’ the girl from ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby’ by Tupac. We got the guy from Slick Rick’s ‘Children’s Story,’ he grows up to be a pimp. I quote them and I continue where they left off. I think people gonna love that record. I played that record for Busta a while ago and he !!in’ lost it. I think people gonna like that joint.”

“6 a.m.” ft. Jim Jones & Jadakiss

“’6 a.m.’ basically describes the feeling a person would get when the police is knocking on your door at 6 a.m. We just painted the picture of that particular moment. Not to say that everybody had that experience. Sometimes you don’t gotta be a criminal to have police knocking at your door.

“I think that record is gonna describe that feeling of that moment when the cops knock on your door waking you up. All three of us actually tell a story. That’s why I like that record. Everybody stuck to the topic. We all tell what took place before the police started knocking. The verse actually leads up to that moment. When you listen to my verse, you hear me tell my story, ya know? What transpired in my day—went to sleep, woke up, police was at my door. Jada does the same, Jimmy does the same. “I lived this for real!” You know how Jimmy is. Everybody stuck to the topic. Hard, official record, man. It’s dope.

“It definitely comes from my own experiences, man. Everything on this album is my own experiences and experiences of my friends and family, things that I witnessed. I wouldn’t be able to speak about it and be so intricate if I didn’t. Definitely, everything on the album is self experiences and experiences of my loved


“Law Library Part 8″

“‘Law Library’ is basically a series that I do that breaks down different levels of the law, ins and outs. Like I said before, you don’t necessarily have to be guilty to get arrested for a crime. What ‘Law Library’ does is it basically tells you, if you ever was put in the position where you become incarcerated, you should go to that law library. Studying your case and looking at different technicalities of the law can be the difference of you coming home or you doing five or 10 years behind that wall. There’s always loopholes in your case, so you gotta take time out and go to that law library and study. Not just if you incarcerated, but if you home.

“What’s interesting about ‘Law Library’ is I get a lot of dudes who come up to me on that street and say ‘I wouldn’t be talking to you right now if it wasn’t for your law library,’ you know what I’m saying? On each record, I break down warrant of arrest and tell you the ins and outs of how when police come and arrest you, they have to have a warrant. And what to look for to make sure the warrant is sufficient and official. And what to do when you get in jail. You know what I mean? Every one, I break down something different. Warrant of arrest. Trial procedures. The one that’s on the album is fire arms.

“They got this stop-and-frisk law out here now where they can just do stop-and-frisk, but you gotta know your laws behind that, the ins and outs. They gotta have probable cause. I break down the law. Each and every one, I’m breaking down a different aspect of the law and telling you what makes you guilty of the crime and what makes you innocent of that crime. Pay attention to that one. ‘Law Library’ is real informative.

“The reason why I started doing it is because, to be honest with you, when I was growing up, I can’t sit here and say I didn’t do wrong things, but I was always the guy who got away. There’s a downside to that when you get away, because when you get away and your friend gets caught, you’re free, but you gotta watch your friend suffer now.

“When my grandmother named me Papoose, she named my cousin Papi, so we had similar names growing up together. He’s serving 18 to life right now, and I watched him blow trial. I watched a couple of my other friends blow trial and get a lot of time in jail, and I was just sitting down here like, ‘Damn.’ I always was the one that had to sit there and watch them suffer. I don’t even know if that’s worse than being incarcerated, you know what I’m saying?

“The reason I started doing ‘Law Library’ is because I started noticing that when you look to that particular case, there’s always a loophole. There’s always a way to prove your innocence or fight your case and get less time. When they had cases, I would go get the law books and read them. I’d talk to them over the phone and say, ‘Listen, tell your lawyer this. Tell your lawyer that.’ They would have different things to present in court. It was real helpful to them, so I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna just do a record about this and share it with the world.’ I realized it was good, researching that sh-t. It helped a lot of people out. They can verify it for you. I got lawyers who approached me about that like, ‘How do you know this stuff? Did you take that bar exam?’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, I just read the law books and put it into lyrical format.’”

“Whats’s My Name” ft. Remy Ma

“‘What’s My Name’ basically is a fun record. I think people are gonna like it. When you with your significant other, and you’re doing what you all do, and you ask that question, ‘What’s my name?’ That record’s about that moment. You know what I’m saying? It’s talking about a couple of different things. Her verse, she’s talking about, ‘But as much as he accuse me I should’ve cheated. And even if I cheated, he wouldn’t believe it. ‘Cause right after I read it, messages get deleted.’ She’s saying stuff like that in her verse, and in my verse, I’m saying stuff like, ‘I knew she was a freak ’cause she had a earring in her tongue.’ Things of that nature. We having fun, sparring, going back and forth, and it’s really about that passionate moment when you’re with somebody that you’re intimate with. She might ask you, you ain’t gotta be less of a man, ‘Yo, what’s my name?’ And you might recite it, you might not, depending on how good it is. It’s a passionate moment. It’s a fun record.”

“On Top of My Game” ft. Mavado

“I had the record already. When I was listening to them playing my verse back, it sounded raw. I didn’t wanna change nothing about it. When you hear the first verse, it sounds like I’m speaking really loud, rapping really loud. Nobody besides Mavado could have bought that record out to me. Mavado raps with that conviction and you believe what he’s saying. You get the feeling that he’s been through it.

“That record is just about staying on top of your game. Whatever you’re doing, just stay at your best. It was real interesting with that record. As far as the video was concerned, I actually went to Jamaica in one day and shot that sh-t. I didn’t even have my passport. I had my passport, ’cause I’ve been out of the country, but I couldn’t find it and I had to fly out there in a certain amount of time ’cause Mavado was flying to Guyana. So if I didn’t go to Jamaica to get it done, I would’ve had to wait ’til he toured Africa, Guyana, everywhere. You can’t even get a passport quick like that. If I was a terrorist, I really could’ve went and did some bullsh-t because they gave me a passport in one day.”


“That record is just me showcasing what I do best, spittin’ and spittin’ from the heart. Spittin’ with passion and conviction, you know what I’m saying? Just have faith in yourself. You can do it. You hear the hunger from the start, when it first comes on.

“There’s actually an Etta James sample in here. She’s singing almost from the pit of her stomach. That beat wrote my lyrics for me. Sometimes you can have writer’s block, but for me, if I hear the right beat, it comes out like water. That beat just had me. It’s just basically to have faith in yourself. I think people are gonna like it. Any of the core Papoose fans are gonna like that record.

“I fought to get it on the album. When I was on the job, part of the reason they held my album up was because we was trying to play samples. That’s what held my project up. They was like, ‘Yo, it’s so time consuming. Let me explain something to you man, I can clear them sh-ts by myself.’ They actually had a guy at the label and that was his job. He would get paid just to be on the phone and clear samples. I’m talking, we would speak to this guy every week like, ‘Yo, any progress?’ No progress from this guy, but I guess he was getting paid to draw it out and make the process longer.

“I got on the phone. I would go look a record up on the Internet and find it. I would call these people up, ‘Hey, listen. This is Papoose. I’m trying to clear this record from the O’Jays. It’s featuring my wife and me. She’s incarcerated.’ They on the phone like, ‘Is this really Papoose? You don’t got a lawyer for this?’ ‘No, I’m doing it myself,’ and I actually got results like that. But as the process went on, I had to get some help from my good friend over here. He helped me out; you know what I’m saying? Honestly, I was able to clear samples on my own. I don’t wanna even be giving this game to these artists because they are just puppets. They don’t do nothing for themselves. I actually cleared a lot of samples on my own.”


“Turn It Up” ft. DJ Premier

“He’s actually speaking on the intro and he did the track. Honestly, I wouldn’t have done the album without Premier. Growing up a fan of hip-hop, if you’re a lyricist, you gotta have Premier on your album. I would’ve held the album up maybe five more years without Premier on it. I love that record, man. True hip-hop, in its purest form. I think the people, that’s how they’re gonna receive it. Classic Premier, cut and scratching. Dope record, ‘Turn It Up.’ Get busy, get excited. Lift your energy up. Lift yourself up. Turn it up. Whatever you’re doing, turn it up on ‘em. Make it more intense. That’s what that record is. It’s pure hip-hop, man. You know what Premier do—classic Premier joint.”

“Die Like A G”

“You live by it, you die by it. I’m a firm believer in that and that’s what that record is about. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Thats basically the message. Banging track, you know, and it tells a story also.

“The concept behind it is you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Certain records are serious and certain records I have fun with. I think that’s what being an artist is about. I think that’s what a full official album is about, being versatile. Make you laugh, make you cry, make you wanna have a good time. I got records that can do all that sh-t, and that’s what I was taught. Listening to Big Daddy Kane, Biggie, Pac, the list goes on—these guys were versatile. All the greatest of all time, they had different types of music, not an album that sounds the same way all the way through. That’s what the album does. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. That’s an old saying, meaning you running around here poking motherfu-kers, one day you likely to get poked. You reap what you sow.”

“Get At Me” ft. Ron Browz

“Shoutout to Rob Browz. He actually produced “Mother Ghetto” too. Rob Browz is a beast. ‘Get At Me’ is basically if you got a problem with me, whoever you are, come to me with it. Get at me. Don’t talk about me behind my back. Don’t type it on the Internet in the comments. Confront me with it and maybe we could resolve it. One of the things I was taught having knowledge of self is…lets say we’re all friends and you came to me and said, ‘Yo, Pap, I wanna tell you something about Ian [schwartzman, manager of Papoose].’ I would say, ‘Is it something positive or is it something negative?’ If you say it’s something negative, I would say, I’ll call him and have him here so we can discuss it, but if it’s something positive, continue. Just an example of how you deal with these types of situations. If you have an issue with it, confront me. Don’t run around. ‘bi-ch nicca, get at me,’ that’s the chorus. It’s just letting you know, get at me. Don’t run around with it. Confront me. That’s basically what that is.”

"Where I Come From” ft. Dada Stone, Odog, Manson, Kino & C-Brown of Thugacation

“That’s my crew. That was just an opportunity for them to showcase their talent. I’m in the position where I can finally put out a commercial album. Not commercial … but commercial level to reach the mainstream world. And I just wanted to give an opportunity for them to shine. They just exposing their talent on there, showcasing their talent. That’s my crew. They up next. That’s what that is. Family. I’m blood related to three of them guys. Our parents are sisters and brothers. The rest of them are other guys that I grew up with. That’s who I involve myself with. I don’t make new friends, really. I surround myself with family and people I knew for years. That’s what that is. And I always scream two things: dedication and nacirema dream. That’s two things you always heard Papoose represent. Finally, I get to hear them. They been on my mixtapes but, now they on the album.”



“‘R.I.P’ is a record that’s paying homage to people that passed away in my life. I lost a lot of people. I had a lot of people who supported me. I had a manager who was busting his[..] to help me get on and that was one of the only things he wanted, but he actually passed before he got to see me get a chance to be a part of the music business. I have friends who wanted to see. I’ve been doing this so long. Not even concerning me being successful, but they just wanted to be successful in life and they’re life was stopped early. That record is basically just giving homage to those who are gone but not forgotten. If you lost somebody in your life – grandmother, uncle, aunt, anybody – that’s what that record is. It’s a tribute to the fallen soldiers. I name a lot of people who was a part of my life and passed away at the end of the record. I named everybody who I could remember at the time. I love that record. That’s one of my favorites too. I lost a lot of people over the years, so that record, that was for them on the album, letting them know I finally did it, communicating to them through that record.”

“Alphabetical Slaughter Part II / Z to A”

“You know, at the end of ‘Alphabetical Slaughter,’ I started going backwards and Kay Slay stopped me. I’m talking about, there’s not a day of my life that goes by that somebody doesn’t ask me, “When you gonna drop part II?”

“”Alphabetical Slaughter”, like I said, is something that was never done before. People tried. But when you’re doing A’s, you gotta keep it A’s. You can’t use a ‘B’ word or ‘C’ word. As you go along, you gotta keep it like that, and it has to make sense. If you looking at it on a piece of paper, it should be in alphabetical order—officially. When I created ‘Alphabetical Slaughter,’ the reason why I did it was just me saying, ‘You know what? What can I do different that nobody ever done before?’ That’s how I came up with that sh-t. I’m working on another one. I’m not gonna give it away. It’s not ‘Alphabetical Slaughter,’ but it’s a concept that nobody ever did before. They won’t let me live that one down, man, every day of my life. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the mall, anywhere. That’s what people know. They know me for that. Finally, they have it in their possession. ‘Alphabetical Slaughter Part II / Z to A.’ I did it backwards this time, man. Take it. Y’all can have it.”

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if it was 2008 2005 i may have cared


get me 


and i didnt care den even

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but he can rap tho


hes like a less charismatic and not as clever version of big l 


i would download but i got too much stuff to listen to

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he's the DVD rapper


he has bars, but he's only good spitting for 2 mins over a hot beat


he cant make tracks

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