P.O.S. Will Knock You On Your Ass

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…when you deliver a song you want that song to have a clean, cohesive package, and these days, for me anyway, I like the idea of having a clean, cohesive album. Too much combination could take away from the album, make the album feel more like a compilation, you know? It's just a matter of figuring out the right way to do it.

Hip-hop producers have drawn from many sources to create the next hit, from the traditional James Brown or Sly and the Family Stone, to the musical Annie or, wait…Supertramp?

New York hip-hop band Gym Class Heroes uses a sample from Supertramp's "Take a Look at My Girlfriend" in its breakaway top 40 hit "Cupid's Chokehold," which is holding steady at the top of the charts. It is the chief reason they have hit the road, on their tangentially named "Daryl Hall for President" tour, and their running mates are a motley crew of independent artists. Canadian rapper K-OS (pronounced "chaos"), skater punk group Rx-Bandits, and Rhymesayers' artist P.O.S. combine for a show that can best be characterized as "diverse, diverse, diverse."

Rapper Stefan Alexander took the name P.O.S. in his early days as a young black punk rocker in the Minnesota basement scene, and he is rapidly proving his mettle as an artist with uncommon diversity. His last tour was with burgeoning indie rockers Minus the Bear, and his current tour sets him with a representation of hip-hop and punk, and yet every grouping seems to just make sense. Call him what you will (and the acronym is intentionally undefined for free interpretation) but he's the real musical deal.

P.O.S. has a style that fits in with Rhymesayers' lineup quite nicely. His lyrics are abrasive, articulate, scathingly honest, and deeply personal, all over mohawk-bending beats sampled from a myriad of musical influences. His showmanship, his seemingly limitless energy onstage, his thumb-wrestling challenges, hearkens to a basement thrash show; yet his deep comprehension of hip-hop, both presently and historically, lends authenticity to what could otherwise be written off as a Kid Rock wannabe. A perfect example of this comprehension is his tribute to classic hip-hop on "De La Souls" off the 2006 release Audition. To top it all off, P.O.S. has a second, purely punk band called Building Better Bombs, which released their first full-length album this year.

We caught up with P.O.S. for a quick chat as he was heading out on tour.

 

What can people expect from the tour?

A really, really, really diverse, diverse, diverse set of bands. K-OS is brilliant, Rx-Bandits is awesome, and Gym Class Heroes is one of the tightest bands I've ever seen live.

What's it like going from basement punk shows to playing larger venues?

The Minus the Bear tour and the second Atmosphere tour we played some pretty huge venues. I don't know, it always feels kind of the same in big venues. You gotta worry about the first three rows first and foremost, because if you start getting the first three rows to make some noise, chances are the guys behind them will start feeling it, too. I don't have very good vision, so the first three rows are all I see anyway.

Do you prefer the larger venues?

Right now, my favorite is a packed 300-350 house. This tour is 1,500 to 2,000-person venues.

If you could pick a tour to be on, what would be the lineup?

Lets say us, El-P, Dillinger Escape Plan, and TV on the Radio.

Explain Ipecac Neat [P.O.S.'s self-released first album].

We were trying to think of something horrible, something just awful. We wanted the title to sum up the theme for the record. We were thinking it was really abrasive; a lot of it is really aggressive, a lot of different topics, and we just wanted to just be like "alright, shoot this shot of Ipecac neat, you're just gonna puke this up and that'll be it."

Any potential collaboration with P.O.S. and Building Better Bombs?

I don't know. I mean, I've thought about it, and it never really seems like a good idea. But I'm sure if I think of a way that I wouldn't feel embarrassed by it, like a really good way to pull it off, then it'd be really cool.

Do you feel like the two are hard to put together?

Not at all, but when you deliver a song you want that song to have a clean, cohesive package, and these days, for me anyway, I like the idea of having a clean, cohesive album. Too much combination could take away from the album, make the album feel more like a compilation, you know? It's just a matter of figuring out the right way to do it.

What do you want to say about hip-hop?

2007 is gonna be the year that all the hip-hop that came out in 2001 and 2002 is gonna make good again. And I'm hoping that's true, because hip-hop's been really boring for a while. I'm not trying to say that I'm doing something that anyone else isn't; I'm just saying first and foremost I'm a fan, and I've been waiting for records to come out and knock me on my ass, and I haven't heard one in a minute. I'm looking forward to the El-P record, the Aesop Rock record. The TV on the Radio record was great; Brother Ali's record is out of hand, too.

What is the future of hip-hop?

Hopefully people stop being idiots all the time. I think people are getting tired of it.

Mainstream or underground?

The thing is, nowadays it's pretty much the same. I mean the subject matter is still a little smarter on the underground level, but just in general, it's all pretty boring. | Jon Rayfield

 

On tour with Gym Class Heroes, Rx-Bandits, and K-OS

 

Tour dates:

3/1: Orlando, Club @ Firestone; 3/2: Atlanta, Masquerade; 3/3: Nashville, Rocketown; 3/4: Cincinnati, Bogart's; 3/6: Cleveland, House of Blues; 3/7: Grand Rapids, Intersection; 3/8: Detroit, St. Andrew's Hall; 3/9: Toronto, Opera House; 3/10: Montreal, Le National; 3/11: Ottawa, Babylon; 3/13: Columbus, Newport Music Hall; 3/14: Indianapolis, Irving Theatre; 3/15: Chicago, House of Blues; 3/16: Sauget, Pop's; 3/17: Lawrence, Granada; 3/18: Minneapolis, First Avenue; 3/20: Englewood, Gothic Theatre; 3/21: Salt Lake City, Avalon Theatre: 3/23: Seattle, El Corazon; 3/24: Portland, Hawthorn Theater; 3/25: Orangevale, The Boardwalk: 3/26: West Hollywood, House of Blues; 3/27: San Francisco, The Fillmore; 3/28: San Diego, Soma; 3/29: Anaheim, House of Blues; 3/30: Phoenix, Marquee Theatre; 3/31: Tucson, Rialto Theatre; 4/01: Albuquerque, Sunshine Theatre; 4/03: Dallas, Gypsy Ballroom; 4/04: San Antonio, White Rabbit; 4/05: Houston, Meridan; 4/06: New Orleans, House of Blues

P.O.S. on the Rhymesayer's Site 

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