Philadelphia hip hop artist Pnpmar realized he wouldn’t find a helping hand in the music industry.
So he decided to help himself. Tired of not being heard or having his sound completely together, he learned to produce his own beats and is now forcing his way into the business. The culmination of that work: Pnpmar’s second album, For The Culture, which was released in May.
“Making the album was like alright, I’m going to force my way in so I can do this shit on my own and I can make good music and I have something to talk about compared to all these other artists that make catchy songs that get played out in a month,” he says.
“Until you fully teach yourself and get as far as you can you’re not going to get the recognition you deserve. That’s when everybody wants to help you up and be a part of what you’re trying to create. Once you build up the confidence for it and the work ethic for it, everything else falls along with that. The universe puts people in your path to help you climb higher.”
Drawing inspiration from his feelings, his imagination and personal experiences – and grappling with his own mood swings – Pnpmar produced the album in six months and said he’s finally arrived at his own sound.
“This album is when I fully gained confidence in my music and was able to say what I want to say,” he says. “I feel like I found my own sound but it still isn’t perfect yet. I have these music highs I’m still chasing that’s going to come for me.”
Pnpmar describes his sound as hip hop and R&B from all ages and he’s listened to anything and everything while crafting it. He loves jazz and alternative music and listens to artists ranging from Billie Eilish and Justin Timberlake to Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. His favorite song is the 1960 blues and soul classic “At Last” by Etta James.
His own mental state helps him create music.
“I have chaos in my head but on the outside you can’t tell,” he says.
He’s his own therapist, too, and discovered that music provided an outlet for him to analyze himself, comparing the process to listening to a clone of himself talk.
“Sometimes I may be feeling upset and not know why I’m feeling upset,” he says. “Then I’ll be freestyling and whatever comes out comes out. It’s my self conscious telling me what’s up and this is why you’re having anxiety or this is why you’re sad. We all have a bunch of hidden thoughts we don’t realize unless we tap into them.”
That doesn’t mean all his songs are serious. “Said It,” the 13th track on the album, arose from Pnpmar wanting to create a party vibe while feeling particularly confident. It was while producing that song he became the most confident in his hip hop abilities.
The song is followed by “Praise To The Up Most,” the final track that talks about suicidal thoughts and being saved by yourself or a higher being. It’s an especially lyrical song with Pnpmar trying to recreate the imagery in his head.
“My music is very diverse,” he says. “One day they might get a hype hip hop song, next day an R&B song, the next day a soulful lyrical song where I’m just talking, just rapping and talking about some real political stuff, some serious issues.”
A self-described “beat addict,” Pnpmar already has enough of them for his next project. For now, though, his focus is on creating more visuals in support of For The Culture.
“The only feedback I’ve been getting is positive feedback,” he says. “When I go into detail about it and explain what For The Culture means and why I made the album, they’ve only been giving me good feedback.”
Follow @pnpmar on Twitter and Instagram and Pnpmar on YouTube.
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