P.A.P.I is an East Coast hip hop veteran, first breaking into the game in ’96 as part of the duo Capone-N-Noreaga with rapper Capone. In ’98 Noreaga released his solo debut N.O.R.E., and after a few more albums under Noreaga, he officially changed his stage name to N.O.R.E.
“I am proud to [have taken] place in the late 90s– ’96, ’97, ’98. I am proud of that era,” said P.A.P.I. “But at the same token, I don’t want to grow on that era. It is over, it is done with. I am ready for the 2013’s.”
P.A.P.I. explained that he changed his name again -now an acronym for Power Always Proves Intelligence- to reflect the change in times. “I think a lot of people are so stuck in the 90s… it was a great era, [but] I am ready for the new generation. I am ready to take on the challenges of competing in the new market. I just wanted to do something different.”
The rapper acknowledged that there are many in his generation who hate on the newer batch of artists, but he insisted that he is not one of them. “What makes you old is to keep doing old things. Not to say I am gonna basically fit in with the new generation, but I don’t want to disrespect them neither,” he said. “They got a wave going on, they got a great sound that’s going on,and I think years from now people will come back and look at this era and say ‘you know what? This was a good era.’”
P.A.P.I. isn’t afraid to work with these young guns –his latest single, Tadow, features 2 Chainz, Pusha T, and French Montana. “These are guys I have known for years and the new generation might look at them like they are new guys, but they have actually been around forever.”
Student of the Game is P.A.P.I.’s upcoming sixth studio album, and it is set to be released later this year. He mentioned that the album will contain tracks that both generations can appreciate. “I am showing people that I am an actual student of the game,” he explained. “I am a student of music, before I was a student of just rap. Why not show that I am versatile?”
And although P.A.P.I has historically taken pride in doing things by himself, he did not dismiss ever signing to a big label in the future. “If the right opportunity presents itself, with the right business executives that respect my work, of course,” he mentioned. “As of right now, I am enjoying doing it independent.”
Check out the full interview here: