The Fader's been teaming up with vitaminwater to host a concert series with stops across the country called uncapped; the series bring artists of different genres together for one concert. Earlier this month in Los Angeles, they dreamed up one of the stranger lineups I've heard--Rick Ross, The-Dream, and Omarion alongside Zola Jesus. Last night, uncapped hit Seattle for a party at SoDo's Emerald City Trapeze Arts building that featured performances by the Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz, who's recently found success with his Drake collaboration "No Lie," and the electro-pop quintet Passion Pit, who are preparing to release their second album, Gossamer, on July 24.
Cons about the Trapeze venue: Little ventilation = hot and sweaty as Hades; overflowing Honey Buckets placed inside the building instead allowing access to actual bathrooms; strictly no re-entry allowed at any time = no cigarette (or fresh air) breaks allowed.
Pros: It's always interesting to see a show at somewhere other than your five thousandth time at Neumos or the Crocodile. And uncapped really did succeed in bringing together a large cross section of hip-hop and hipster fans--the show was crowded, with a line outside the door for the entire night, and while I am, yes, judging based on appearances, it seemed to be an even mix of fans. A surprising amount of the audience knew all the words to 2 Chainz' songs, and the indie kids seemed to recognize "No Lie" and "Beez in the Trap," Chainz' recent collaboration with Nicki Minaj. I thought there would be an exodus of all the hip-hop heads after 2 Chainz finished his set, but everyone stuck around to see Passion Pit. It was a unique crowd, and the experience is one I wouldn't mind repeating.
Prior to the show, I spoke with Jeff Apruzzese, Nate Donmoyer, and Ian Hultquist, who are, respectively, the bassist, drummer, and keyboardist/guitarist of Passion Pit, about the concept of playing a mixed genre show. On the college show circuit, Passion Pit's opened for such names as Method Man, Redman, Snoop Dogg, B.o.B., Kid Cudi, and Talib Kweli, and they say that Gossamer could have some crossover appeal for hip-hop fans. "It's more sample-based," said Apruzzese. "Yeah, you know the kind of pitched-up vocal sample style that so many producers use in the hip-hop world now, there's a lot of that splattered across the record," agreed Donmoyer. "We could easily just play an instrumental verse and just have someone guest over it."
All three professed to be 2 Chainz fans. I asked what other rapper they'd like to share a bill with tonight if 2 Chainz hadn't been able to make it, and they immediately listed off such names as Juicy J, Q-Tip, Pharrell Williams, and Childish Gambino. I commented that I didn't know they were such big hip-hop fans. "We're Americans," said Donmoyer. "How can you not?"
I also had the opportunity to sit down with 2 Chainz, who's gearing up to release his studio debut album, Based on a T.R.U. Story, on Def Jam later this summer. It wasn't the kind of interview I could summarize.
SW: When did you arrive in Seattle?
2C: Today. Do you need to know exactly what time? Because people have started waiting outside my airplane when I land, which is scary.
Fans that have like big-ass poster boards and Sharpies that are following me around the world, and then like they're sitting in my hotel room, so I'm about to change my name or something.
You need a fake hotel name to check in with.
Yeah, definitely, I'm working on it.
How do they find out what time your plane lands?
And, look, they're not in baggage claim. They're by the plane, so how did they get there? It's been trippin' me out. They haven't thought about it like me. Like I told my manager, in order to get by the gate, you have to go through security, and then you should have a ticket, right? But you not going anywhere, right?
That's totally bizarre.
Man, I promise you it's been happening the last four cities. Except Seattle, I guess they didn't want to fly way out here.
Is that something that's just recently started happening to you?
Yeah, about two weeks ago.
Do you like it?
Hell no! Hell no, I don't like it. It freaks me out.
So how have you been spending your day in Seattle?
I went shopping when I landed. That just takes the edge off. [I went to] some mall, spent like a thousand dollars. And then, you know, I went to Benihana's and had the Ocean Treasure combo, minus the scallops, added shrimp, double rice, with the lobster tail, you know, garlic butter.
That's a good dinner.
That's what I had for breakfast.
Should I even ask what you had for dinner?
For dinner I smoked a blunt of kush.
Is this your first time in Seattle? I'm assuming it's not.
I'm assuming it is! I can't remember ever seeing Mount Rainier, ever in my life. I did some research, it's a pretty cool mountain.
I just figured since you've been in the game for so long you'd have been here before.
I like to look at different landmarks, and unless I've been here so many years ago that things have changed, I don't remember being here.
Well that mountain's not changed.
Yeah. I don't remember that mountain. That's a dope mountain. I saw it from the plane. And they told me like an unfortunate accident happened recently, where somebody fell off the mountain? But they just told me you could do so many things, they told me there was bears up there. And I think it'd be cool to see a bear.
No bears in Atlanta?
No bears, yo!
"No Lie" is becoming a huge hit. When you recorded that song, did you expect that it was going to be as commercially successful as it's been?
Yes, I did. Because I think Drake has this power of just really understanding radio, period. And I think I have the power to understand what people like to hear in close settings, like cars and clubs and things like that. And then we just combined the chemistry, and when you do that, you just got some ear orgasm, you know what I mean? That's what I think it is. We just did a tour together, and every time it dropped it was 20,000 people every night just rocking out to "No Lie," so that's just a blessing to work with a dude that's as smart as Drake, you know what I mean? I'm just looking forward to dropping my album. August the 14th.
Before you found out you were doing this show, had you heard of Passion Pit?
No, I haven't heard of Passion Pit, but I am gonna go do my research on the group, because they're fans of 2 Chainz, and I feel I owe that to them.
Do you listen to any rock or pop music?
I listen to pop stations when I'm listening to the radio. I don't listen to urban stations. At home that'd be 105.7, so they play a lot of Maroon 5 and Dev.
What's your favorite hit right now?
I'm on Dev's joint, "In My Trunk." I like the Goo-etta song, with Nicki, "Turn Up"...
"Turn Me On," David Guetta?
I love that. [sings] Hey, hey, come alive, come on and turn me on...
You think that's a better song than "Beez in the Trap"?
It is. I like "Moves Like Jagger."
Do you think that your music will appeal to Passion Pit fans?
Well, I do music from the heart. So I hope it just attaches to whatever has the same ideal. That's my goal, just about having truth in music, and if you have truth in music, it should apply to all kinds of people. We've all had stories to tell, we all have a good and a bad side, a good and a bad day. I feel like if I can touch on things that are truthful, then people can relate to them no matter what skin color or what genre of music it is.
Is this kind of show something you'd like to do more of, the crossover between genres?
Yeah, because it deals with actually attaching yourself to another brand and sharing fanbases and opening up doors for them as well as for myself. I think there needs to be more of this across the board, period.
What are your plans for the summer?
I'm going on tour with Nicki Minaj. So it should be cool, there should be a lot of Barbs, a lot of true. And then the album is August the 14th, which I'm so excited about. I'm in the mixing process, so I'm just running around listening to these mixes. And I tell you people, we have a problem on our hands, OK? Yes, we do. Good music coming.
Since you changed your name to 2 Chainz, would you feel weird if you wore more than two chains?
I always wear more than two chains.
You're only wearing two right now.
Yeah, because I forgot to pack all my jewelry. And I didn't know beautiful women like you were gonna be here, or I would have worn like eight chains.
Because that attracts beautiful women?
Well, you can see, with my height, I can see if you're looking at my eyes or my chains. Then you know how to approach the situation.
Where do you get your chains from?
I'm just a vintage collector, as of a year and a half ago. I've just been wearing a lot of vintage jewelry, a lot of vintage clothing. I've just been trying to go left, and I see a few people going left as well, which is perfectly fine with me, but just know who started going left first or whatever.
That's what it is.
uncapped's next stop is Portland's Lumberyard BMX Skate Park on July 11. Stay tuned to find out the lineup.