Rising rap star Purubian is back for the first time.
Let me explain. This Midwest-born lyrical lion was a regional star as a member of hit rap group in Flint, Mich., as he took all that anger and rage from the ghetto-fab episodes and stored it up in his chest and spit those hot emotions onto wax.
Purubian and his group caused enough thunder in “Flint-town” that they got the attention of Warner Bros. records and Tommy Boy Records and dropped mean mixtapes such as Playing for Keeps.
After laying low for a good minute, he pops up in Atlanta, a new incarnation of the young kid from Flint, rocking his own beats and studio through the flamboyantly-titled mixtape Cocaine Cush Codeine, featuring the equally bodacious single and video “Boss S—.”
You have to be able to bring the noise when you storm out the gate with a mixtape wrapped in the name Cocaine Cush Codeine, which stands out like neon lights. Before you jump to conclusions, the title not necessarily what you think.
“There’s many ways it can be viewed. But those three, if you do the research on them, those are three of the most addictive drugs. That’s what I’m giving you in my music. My music is addictive,” he explains. “You’re going to go to sleep to it. You’re going to wake up to it, ride to it all day. It’s going to the music you dance to at the club and then when you leave it’s not over. You’re going to listen to my stuff when you wake up again. You’re going to listen to it on the way to the club. You’re going to listen to it when you leave the club. It’s going to be the soundtrack to your life. I’m gonna lay it out for you.”
He’s laying it out … with this own style and under his own independent label, Purubian Productions/GMM and bringing that style that you’ve never heard before.
“You come with your own style, so you don’t sound like anybody, if you take the s— seriously. If you don’t take it seriously, you’ll sit around and sound like another m—-f—- all day,” he said with disgust in his voice. “But if you are serious, you’ll keep f—– with it and punching with it until you say ‘okay, that’s my sound right there!’ I don’t sound like nobody else. I kept f—– with it until I found me.”
You’ll definitely see that Purubian found it with devastating tracks like “Cocaine,” a straight club-banging anthem that wraps intoxicating melodies and smooth background harmonies around his chillingly cool cadence as he spits about that life in the mix. He also blows up the set with “Leaning and Trapping” and accompanying video that has him poised to crack open the small window to mainstream hip hop success.
Today, Purubian does it again through his video for the debut single “Boss S—“ off of his current mixtape, Cocaine Cush Codeine.
“Everybody in every hood all over the world, from New York to Cali can relate to my music,” says Purubian. “As long as you’re getting money, you’re trapping and you can relate to my music- even if you’re selling cars.”
“If you come where I’m from and can relate to what I’m saying, it’s gonna be addictive. But … everybody gonna view their own way. Music is about guessing anyway. Curiosity. It’s all about making you think,” Purubian continues. “Even with Nas and Jay Z, they would say s— in riddles. Lil Wayne carried the torch. And you be like ‘damn, did you hear what he said? Run that back.’ There are messages in there, but you gotta catch it. Music has gotten away from that a little bit, but some people keep it rocking.”
The songs and video are not the only things that are rocking; his rap name also got people’s attention.
“Purubian is a metaphor for ‘pure.’ In the hood, it’s a metaphor,” he says. “Some of the best. Top shelf. If it was wine, it would be top shelf. It was cognac, it would be XO or Louis XLIII, the truest form of this.”
Purubian got his first taste of the game a member of much-respected Midwest group Skanbino Mob back in Flint, about an hour north of Detroit, a place where the weak are devoured and excuses are unacceptable. The runaway success of the group’s regional hit record “Killas On Yo Team” got the boys their major deal. While their debut album Playing For Keeps was jam packed with thumping beats and creative lyrics, the label failed to properly promote the album, leading to nominal success.
“The deal was good,” Purubian remembers. “It put more money in our pockets. But it wasn’t promoted correctly. We did promo tours and a few radio interviews but they weren’t spinning our music.”
When the doors to Tommy Boy slammed shut, Purubian’s dreams could have slammed shut like a coffin as well. He was at a crossroads. He later decided to make that move to the Black Hollywood and the epicenter of American rap music in order to get his “second wind” in the music game.
Even more importantly, he had to get his “focus.”
“In a nutshell, I moved to make the transition. When you are the product of the streets and the record deals don’t just come flying in, you’ll find yourself one leg in, one leg out. You’ll be halfway in the streets and halfway in the studio. So I separated myself from Flint to be 90 percent focused on the music and to not be 50-50 in the streets,” he said. “Because it’s a thin line. The rap game is really like the crack game. You can get dead or you can get locked up — Tupac, Slick Rick, whomever. Biggie wasn’t even selling anymore drugs. He was just rapping. But it’s a thin line. And when you are performing, your music is in the streets. When I’m peforming, I’ll be in the clubs.”
Purubian was able to find that “second wind” by rededicating himself to his craft and building his own studio from the ground up so that he could have much more creative control than when he was inside the group in Flint. And, he was able to take the lessons he learned to take his game to the next level.
“That’s what happens to a lot of young artists when they first come into the game. When you are 16, 17, 18 or 20, you don’t know nothing about a contract. You just know that this person is telling you that your song is going to be on the radio. You’re going to be performing every night for the next 60 days and here’s a quarter of a million dollars so you don’t have to work anymore at the mall or wherever you work at,” he said. “For a young m—-f—-, that’s a lot of money. So if you don’t come into the game with someone who will tell you … that’s the trials and tribulations of the game. You gotta take that lump. The key is to learn something from it and get your second wind. In the end, you gotta be driven. A lot of times you don’t’ get your second wind. It’ll beat the fight out of you. So they say ‘f— it’. But that ain’t in my DNA. Hell naw! I gotta keep on pushing.”
Purubian is currently pushing his new mixtape under his label Purubian Productions/GMM. And, with more mixtapes en route, Purubian definitely feels he is on the precipice of breaking it wide open in the rap game.
“2015 is about work, work, work, building the company, making the music and getting it out to the people,” he said. “When you’re independent, it’s about who working the most. You want fans saying ‘I don’t know who he is, but every time I see him, he look like money. Every time I see him, he performing. If you ain’t a hater, you gonna salute it from a distance. But it’s about working.”