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Pumpkinhead - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  


February 2003

These are the transcripts of an interview conducted with Pumpkinhead on February 11th, 2003 by DJ L.K. (Low-Key).

The Brooklyn born emcee has been putting out quality material for years and has a new EP out now entitled "A Beautiful Mind". He is also working on his up and coming full-length album "A New Testament".

MVRemix: First off for those that don't know, introduce your self and explain what Pumpkinhead is about.

Pumpkinhead: My name is Pumpkinhead I am from Brooklyn, New York. I have been around for a minute now, my first single I released was Dynamic on Makin Records. After that I put out Wack Mc's, which you probably hear in the background. I been on the battle scene for a minute, I was in 3 blaze battles, should have won all three but we wont go there. I've been on MTV's DFX, I've been on BET, man I paid my dues, I've been in this underground game for a minute

MVRemix: A lot is made about your name, I know your mother gave it to you, do you ever get tired or irritated with all the questions about it?

Pumpkinhead: I think now a lot of people know that my mom gave it to me, the question is now why did she give it to me. Ya know, that's the question I get a lot now is why? Why did she name me that, or why did I decided to keep that as a name.

MVRemix: Have you ever thought about changing it?

Pumpkinhead: Not necessarily changing it, I have thought of doing records under other aliases. Just to get away from that for a quick second, but I'm always going to be Pumpkinhead regardless.

MVRemix: Describe the progression from your earlier work like Wack Mc's & Dynamic to your material now on "A Beautiful Mind".

Pumpkinhead: I can say maybe that I was a little more spaced out when I did Dynamic and Wack Mc's. I was definitely spaced out; I was a lot younger than I am now. Those records came out in like 96'. I have definitely progressed, I am more creative, my creativity has definitely blossomed since then. I am into doing more stories and less battle tracks. Just making beautiful music and not just rhyming on a beat, just for the hell of it. That's definitely one of the ways I have progressed. I'm also very quick now in the studio, I can do a song in like 45 minutes. I can write and drop a song in 45 minutes. Its hard, a lot of people can't do that.

MVRemix: Talking about making songs, one of the tracks that struck me like that was "The Beginning", which is a very powerful song. What was the idea behind that?

Pumpkinhead: There was actually no idea behind that, I was just in the studio, under a lot of stress, a lot of pressure and I just wrote what I felt at that time. I just let out my feelings onto paper and onto a beat, there was nothing specially set up. I was in the studio, I was mad and I heard that beat, and I said listen I want to do a track to that. And I wrote to it and that's what came of it.

MVRemix: One of the more personal tracks, which I will not be able to pronounce, is Mujer Triste. Give us the insight behind that.

Pumpkinhead: A lot of people think it's about my ex girlfriend, but its not. I have been through a lot with women and I am sure a lot of men have been through things like this with women. Where they have went out with a girl and they separated and still remained friends, but still had those feelings for each other. And the girl dealt with horrible dudes that straight up abused them and all that, but yet they stay with them. I'm just talking about being there for that person no matter what. Me, when I have ex girlfriends, as long as she didn't do anything horrible to me, I try and be her friend, because you have been with that person for a year or change. And that's what you started out as friends, so why cant you end it as friends. So I am just talking about being there for that person.

MVRemix: Why Does Pumkinhead feel Blacklisted?

Pumpkinhead: At one time I was on Makin' Records, and I ran with a crew called OBS. I had a manger, whose name will remain anonymous; me and him had internal squabbles. I did some real foul shit to him cause he did some real foul shit to me. So he decided to start spreading some untruths about me, talking a lot crap, telling people lies, and trying to get me blacklisted. He tried telling me I am going to be blacklisted, I am not gonna get any radio play or nobody is gonna like your music, I am gonna make sure you go under. But it never happened, cause I'm here now, I have an EP and I am not blacklisted. I no longer feel blacklisted; I did at that time, but not any more.

MVRemix: The album is dope as hell, I gotta tell you that.

Pumpkinhead: Thank You!

MVRemix: What were you trying to accomplish with this album, any overall theme?

Pumpkinhead: You know what, I just went with the flow and I made some music. It's different, none of the tracks sound the same, all the tracks are different, all the concepts are different. I didn't purposely set out for all the tracks to be different, but that's what an album should be like. I don't wanna hear boom boom boom, then hear boom boom boom. Ya know what I'm saying, its like the same pattern, I don't wanna hear that throughout a whole album. Ya know what I'm saying, I want it to be different and diverse, and I want the concepts to be different. I want something to catch my attention. I don't wanna hear an album will all battle tracks; I don't wanna hear an album with all party tracks. I want it to be all mixed up into one, I want you to do something special with it. Don't do the same thing that everybody else is doing.

MVRemix: That was going to be my next question, it seemed while a lot of the underground emcees are all about battling, you came with a broader spectrum of things.

Pumpkinhead: Yeah man, that's what I'm about. Like I said I didn't do it purposely, but once I sat down and listened to the EP, I was like this is the way an album should be. I think that's what I'm gonna shoot for with the LP is definitely have different tracks on there and working with a lot of different producers, and making sure the sound is different. Even the quality, ill do a track that sounds so crispy and so clear and ill rhyme over static and the shit will be hot. Ill rhyme over static and a break beat and we can make it happen. And it can sound shitty, the shittiest mix, and we still can make it happen. You can do something with anything man; you just gotta be creative with it.

MVRemix: If there was one thing somebody could take from your album what would you want it to be?

Pumpkinhead: Don't be afraid to be different I guess. Just do what you want to do.

MVRemix: How has your situation with Third Earth Music been?

Pumpkinhead: It's been good I can't complain. Well, I'm lying, Kimani is a tyrant and he holds me hostage in the basement and forces me to make music or he will get Mr. Len to sing in my ear all day and I don't want that. Na I'm serious, they are cool, they are very good and I enjoy working with these cats. Hopefully we can work in the future more with the album and stuff. They are behind me 100%. They enjoy my heart and they enjoy what I do and I enjoy how they take care of it and how they handle business.

MVRemix: Who is the best emcee ever to come out of Brooklyn?

Pumpkinhead: Wow, um (thinking) you know what I'm am not gonna say what people always say. We all know that Biggie was definitely great in his time, especially "Ready To Die", that was a classic album. But one person that gets slept on constantly is Buckshot Shorty. Buck Shot from Boot camp, and we are talking about emcees here, were not talking about rappers. BuckShot is definitely, to me, one of the best in Brooklyn, one of the best ever to come out of Brooklyn. As far as his songs, he has classics like crazy, and when the brother is on stage the brother do the damn thing. He don't play around, he's got impeccable breath control, he's got stage presence, he moves so fluid on stage. I just got off of tour with these guys and I just realized this, like damn this dude is ill. I always had respect for Buckshot but my respect is at a higher degree now. He's definitely one of the best!

MVRemix: Are we gonna see a collabo on the new album?

Pumpkinhead: Oh yes, definitely, I will be working with a bevy of the Boot Camp Crew. I definitely made friends with the Boot Camp. Those are my dogs, they are cool people.

MVRemix: Who's your favorite emcee of all time?

Pumpkinhead: Ummm, my favorite emcee of all time would have to be, it's a close call, its kind of a toss up. It's between Redman and I say Busta from the Woo-Ha days, not Busta now. Not Pass The Courvoisier Busta. Were not talking about the "Make It Clap" Busta. Even though I bought his album, I still support the brother. I just like the music more he made back in the days.
I think everybody can say that.

Pumpkinhead: Yeah, oh and you know what, cause a lot of people shit on this man and there is no reason to shit on him. I think Slim Shady is definitely a very ill emcee.

MVRemix: That's gonna lead me into my next question, did you see Eminem's 8 Mile?

Pumpkinhead: Yeah.
Did you think it represented battling accurately or was it too Hollywood?

Pumpkinhead: I didn't think it was too Hollywood, I actually think it captured somewhat the essence of battling and the battle scene. As far as the shots inside the venue they did. Definitely, I think it was dope, it caught my attention, from when he was in the bathroom by himself listening to music. I have done that, I have been in the bathroom with the door locked, listening to something to get my hyped and rhyming to myself before a battle. I have done that before so I can definitely relate and I definitely think it came from him and he definitely wanted people to see what the battle scene was like. I think there could have been more of it in the movie, but the little bit they did have in it was correct.

MVRemix: What do you think of this whole Benzino situation?

Pumpkinhead: Aight, I don't know Benzino, I don't know anybody from Made Men or nothing like that. I know Em, I know Slim Shady, I have chilled with him for a second, I have talked to him. He is a real emcee to me, Benzino I can't say the same for. He has done his thing, but how are you gonna try and down the next man? Yeah he might have sold a lot of records cause he was a White boy, but he was a White boy with skills that sold a lot of records. Vanilla Ice sold a lot of records, but he was wack, that's the difference. Em is not wack! You didn't see Biggie doing songs with Vanilla Ice, you didn't see that. I'm sure if Biggie was alive now he would do songs with Em. I believe that there is a machine, quote unquote, he says there is a machine behind this whole thing, I agree that. That part I do agree, but I don't think Eminem has anything to do with that. And for you to be like, blah blah your white, Benzino your half white, what are you talking about, stop it! I don't know if you saw the last issue of the Source, but it's pretty heavy, he's got a comic book in there.
Yeah I saw that shit.

Pumpkinhead: That shit is horrible. He's just making it bad for himself.
He just killed his own career.

Pumpkinhead: Exactly.

MVRemix: Aight switching onto a more serious topic, should we go to war with Iraq?

Pumpkinhead: Hell No! Hell motherfucking no!
Give some reasons.

Pumpkinhead: I think Bush is just trying to follow in his daddy's footsteps and finish what his dad couldn't finish. Listen to him, he's like "I don't care what anybody else says and the U.N. says we are going to war regardless". What type of shit is that for a President to say? This man is from Texas; this man was for execution. To me, he's a fucking puppet; he's a puppet who hates anything that has color to their skin. Him and his daddy could motherfucking kiss my big black ass. Now I gotta be careful where I walk and what the fuck I do because of them, because they want to start a war. There is more to that, this shit is over a lot of shit. This the beginning of the New World Order were talking about now. We have been talking about it for years, this is the beginning of it, just the beginning, and we got a long way to go.

MVRemix: Do you think people fail to recognize that?

Pumpkinhead: Yeah, I think so. Honestly, people should stop talking about it and do something about it. If we don't want him as our President, he doesn't have to be our President. That motherfucker could straight get impeached, we can impeach him if everybody just came together and did it. Nobody wants him as our President, except the White folks, and there are a lot of White folk that don't want him as President. Why cant we all get together, there is more of us than there is of them.

MVRemix: I know you have your record release party tonight. I heard your live shows are crazy! Give me 3 aspects of what you think it is to be a good live performer?

Pumpkinhead: Clarity, energy and control.

MVRemix: You have basically been around the world touring, where was your favorite place that you visited?

Pumpkinhead: I tell everybody, Australia. I packed a house twenty five hundred people there just to see me. I did four shows; one was twenty five hundred another was fifteen hundred, then like six hundred and like eight hundred people. Just to see me, and I am just an underground artist.

MVRemix: Would you say the over sea's Hip-Hop scene is better than over here?

Pumpkinhead: I think they got a lot more respect for the art. A lot of people here are too proud to clap they hands, are too proud to say you did a good job. Out there they make you feel appreciate, like what you do inspires them, and not like "damn fuck that nigga I wish I could do that shit". Or them being hateful and all that hate in their blood; get all that hate our your blood man.

MVRemix: When is "The New Testament" gonna drop?

Pumpkinhead: Fall.
What can we expect from that?

Pumpkinhead: I'll say three names, Da Beatminerz, E-Swift & Pete Rock!

MVRemix: Wow [Low-key gets excited], now that is a line up! How did that come about?

Pumpkinhead: Just brothers showing me love man. Pete Rock has all my vinyl; I did not know that until I met him.

MVRemix: What about guest appearances besides Boot Camp?

Pumpkinhead: My family man, Jean Grae, Brooklyn Academy. I might do something with Phil Da Agony. Other than that just close peoples.

MVRemix: Besides the album, you got anything in store for the future?

Pumpkinhead: Not really, maybe a DVD or something like that.

MVRemix: Got any last comments or thoughts?

Pumpkinhead: Just support real Hip-Hop. Don't feed into the bullcrap and let you think its Hip-Hop. Cause what you think is Hip-Hop is actually not Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is a culture, its not just music. We work with 4 elements, support all of that
And go cop the album!

Pumpkinhead: Go cop "A Beautiful Mind". Actually I have another CD out called Time Chronicles. Which is a compilation I put together myself. Its got a bunch of old joints and some songs people haven't heard, like a song with Talib Kweli on there from way back in the beginning before Kweli singed to Rawkus. I also have a mix CD which I put together with my DJ called USA Mixtapes. My DJ DP1, we put that together its called Underground Starving Artists USA Mixtapes. It's just a regular mixtape with just underground stuff.
Any exact place they can get that?


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