Sole on the perils of pushing boundaries: "If I go to jail on some bullshit, I'll do a correspondence course and come out a professor."
The album sounds really cohesive, despite the fact that beats are coming from half a dozen producers. Were you trying for a certain sound? Or was that happenstance?
That was the stuff that got me juiced. I wanted music that was kind of gangster but also free and experimental and ambient. I tell producers Godspeed meets Jay-Z and see what they do with it. There are a few people I really clicked with. Part of that was getting it mixed at Colorado Sound, having a good engineer that knows my sound and is able to mix everything to sound consistent. That was the whole reason I did Kickstarter was so that I could get the record to sound how I wanted it.
Were the beats part of what pushed you to write so hard?
Yeah. I don't write unless I have a beat. "Denver Nights," I heard that beat and was like, 'I wanna do a pervert club flow, but instead of doing club shit, I wanna talk about Denver.' It's hard to tell how I write stuff. I try to record a lot and only keep the good stuff. It's very instantaneous. I don't give a fuck. I just record. There are points on this album where I've just given up. I don't care about being the next big thing. I'm happy with what I do. I don't give a fuck. I'm not gonna beat myself up if I'm not a Pitchfork darling next month. That's what I like about the album.
Who have you been listening to lately? Was there anybody that influenced the direction of this record?
No. Typically, I'm not in competition with other rappers like that in my head. If anything, I'll listen to Jay-Z, or Lil Wayne, or Kanye or Drake -- some mainstream shit -- and hear a rhythm or a cool way they use space in a song. Those four. Those guys are artists. When they record, a lot of the stuff they do is freestyle; it's not written. They just go. I try to use a lot of those techniques. I try not to be attached to what I had in my head when I wrote it, to let it go. Right now I'm listening to Kendrick Lamar and Andrew Jackson Jihad pretty much. That Kendrick Lamar, that's the first album in a while that made me want to rap more.
The timing of the day after the election seems appropriate. Did you vote?
I'm a Libra. I was very much 'Fuck the vote all along,' but I ended up voting for Jill Stein. I wasn't gonna vote, but then I met them when they were in Denver, and they're basically what I believe. Obama's gonna take Denver anyway, so I can be one of the people who voted for Jill Stein because she's fucking awesome. Electoral politics, everything about this election pissed me off. All of a sudden, for two months, everyone is tuned in and giving a shit, going into cold sweats at night, saying we gotta get Obama elected.
"It doesn't matter who we vote for -- we're getting drones." I voted for weed legalization, I voted for the public schools, and that vague bullshit about Citizens United. My main point is if you're gonna vote, that can't be the extent of your civic duty. You're a member of a so-called democracy in this society. Nothing changes if you don't stop the machine. If the extent of what you're willing to do ends on the day you vote between Coke or Pepsi, we're gonna wake up in Greece. That's what I'm saying. You got the president you wanted; are you gonna wait another four years to give a shit?