For hip-hop fans who haven’t heard of the ongoing monthly event Rhyme Craft at the Mine Shaft in Madrid, consider this as your formal invitation for the next (7 pm Thursday, October 7. Free. Mine Shaft Tavern, 2846 Hwy. 14, Madrid. (505) 473-0743). It’s a real doozy too, as Sacramento-based MC and lyricist Mr. P Chill returns to New Mexico once again with lighted takes, sick rhythms and a bit of that ACAB action layered on top of his combination. old-school / new-school sounds. The lenders are iconic locals like MC Slader, OG Willikers, and DJ D-Monic, all of whom are also somewhat familiar with the boom-bap. It’s been about four years since our last contact with P Chill, so we thought the days of the pandemic might have armed him with a thought or two when it came to answering questions.
As a socially conscious rapper – and given the shape of the world – do you perhaps find yourself too much inspiration / material at this point?
Yes and no. There is certainly no dearth of things to say in music, that’s for sure. Sometimes I find it overwhelming, because even though I’m a socially conscious rapper, I like to write things from a personal perspective that don’t reflect the woes of society, and sometimes when I’m trying to write this personal stuff, the social stuff comes instead. It annoys a bit. My last album, LIFE, Where Living in fragile environments, were meant to be personal stories – LIFE was an acronym for “Love in Full Effect”, and a third of the way through the album started to become something else.
I had been dealing with anxiety and depression, however, especially last year during the pandemic. My anxiety and sanity came to the fore, and around the same time last year I felt like I had had complete depression and had an anxiety attack of three. weeks. I have cubs all the time, but this was a whole new shit. I lost my mom in 2019, and I’m still trying to write something in her memory, and that was one of the things I was going to post, but I never got to finish. Music … It’s like self-medication, but in a really healthy way, although I spent a good part of 2020 smoking all the weed I could get my hands on and drinking all the beer, and I know I’m not the only one.
As for the world, being socially aware, in my experience, things that lean to the right lean against people of color. We can’t forget that I’m a white rapper, and we can’t forget that hip-hop culture was created by people of color in New York City. Anyone who won’t give him respect is… I’m a guest in the hip-hop house. I don’t own anything here. But I am grateful for it. You have to respect the elders. Culture. I’ve been given a rig, the mic is in my hands, and if I were to go out and just do songs that make me feel good, that would be terrible. The hip-hop that has inspired me since I was young is socially conscious. Heroes like Chuck D who got the message out first.
You often go on tour. Did not being able to do it impact the way you create?
I felt like I was spending a lot more time focusing on creating. I had time and I was not distracted. I was able to give my full attention to my last album, which I think really helped me. I did my song about mental health, which was the last one I wrote before COVID, it’s called “Morning Coffee”. The next one I wrote was actually a song with Doodlebug from Digable Planets called “Social Distancing”, and we just hit that. I did a song called “Millions of Militants” about everything from the far right, the Proud Boys, Fox News, Trump. This song was wild – for the first time, I was afraid to release something. I was like, “I’m going to say it, I’m going to do it, but what’s going to happen?”
I also had money set aside for the tour, a bunch of stuff lined up that left, and that’s when I ordered 600 masks that said “COVID Sucks”, – and that ‘ was at a time when people had a hard time getting masks – and I just gave them away. Usually my music is how I try to solve problems, but when I couldn’t do it, couldn’t leave the house and didn’t quite realize that streaming was a solution I just wanted to fill those voids with other ways that I could make a positive difference.
Sounds like you try hard to play New Mexico whenever you get the chance, eh?
Years ago, I fell in love with New Mexico. The people there are absolutely wonderful. When you’re on the road you miss your family, friends, and cat, but you’ve got people you’ve bonded with over the years and that makes it a bit easier. Especially in Madrid. I told my wife it was on the list of places we could retire. I always give myself a little extra time to talk to everyone I know in this city.