Candy, Skating, and Music with Jamal Smith
Jamal Smith, aka Poptartpete, aka Papi, is a skater, musician, and artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His most prominent album, ‘Palmas’, was released in 2015 and features all of Jamal’s new tracks and also previously unreleased tracks. Jamal also has several incredible beat tapes such as ‘Morning Blunts’ and ‘Free Jawns’. He sat down to have a chat with Illustrated.
Nick: Jamal, where abouts are you right now?
Jamal: I'm in London right now filming for a video with Palace Skateboards. Been here for a month drinkin' mad tea and eating hobnobs. Life is lovely.
Nick: Awesome, so I read that Palmas is the first and last album that you will be releasing, what led to this decision?
Jamal: I dropped a cassette with my homies at Paxico Records called "8Cavities" in 2013, but Palmas was my first vinyl release. I still make beats and shit, I just don't have the desire to drop any more physical releases. I'm probably a noodle for saying this but I'd rather put out single beats at a time for free so niggas can just listen to them. Don't really feel right making money off music, I'm a skateboarder. Give Ohbliv all ya dollars.
Nick: Yeah everyone loves free music, how would you describe the genre of the music you produce?
Jamal: Sample based music? Hahaha I don't really trip on genres. At the end of the day, 98% of the shit I make is straight Madlib/J dilla/Ohbliv inspired backpack hip hop shit.
Nick: Oh cool, do you think skating has shaped your music and art?
Jamal: Skateboarding shaped everything I do, it's so fucking corny saying it, but I'd be lying if I said otherwise. I look at sampling popular records the same way a skater looks at skating popular spots. Skaters tend to know which tricks other niggas have done at certain spots, so they have to think out of the box to figure out which trick they want to try. Its the same with sampling records. You know other beat makers have touched, you just gotta flip it different... choose different sections of songs and give the beat your own feel. Biting is never the answer in both worlds.
Nick: Yeah that's cool that its a pretty similar process. When we spoke previously you said that Youtube and candy were pretty big interests, what are three of your favourite youtube videos?
The Story of Ricki-Oh (full movie) This movie is about some asian dude who gets sent to jail for manslaughter and he kills a bunch of bad guys. Theres so much unnecessary gore, that alone makes it a classic.
Roland Fantom - S/S88 - Introduction 1/2 This video is a demonstration for some workstation keyboard I wanted to buy, this random dude makes the most fire beat with lightning speed.
Lootpack: "Parts/Service X-elence" TV commercial Madlib and Wildchild rapping about their local Toyota's customer service and oil filter changes. Nuff said.
Nick: I don’t know if Australia would have the same type of lollies (candy) but what are 3 of your favourites?
Jamal: Peanut M&M's always go dummy hard. Most definitely can fuck up some Sour Patch Kids, and also favour a unhealthy sized portion of Peanut Chews.
Nick: Hahah yeah good choices. What influenced you to start skating or was it something that you have just always done?
Jamal: When I was a young'n my mom used to take me to rollerskating, so I was on wheels early. I used to be really hyped on watching X-Games and shit in the late 90s but seeing Tony Hawk do the 900 made me want to skateboard. My mom bought me a skateboard and a Playstation 1 with Tony hawk Pro Skater on Christmas '99 and I've been hooked since.
Nick: Hahah that sounds like the ideal Christmas present. Alright, everyone I know has one pretty grisly skate story, what’s the worst thing that has happened to you while skating?
Jamal: Dont jinx me nigga.
Nick: Hahahaha. Last thing, if you could give one piece of advice what would it be?
Jamal: Stay hydrated, talk to the plants.
Nick: Thanks for the interview Jamal.