Backstage Pass With Buddy At LOVEBOX 2019: The Compton Rapper Talks Weed, Wells Fargo & Dragon Ball Z
The Noisey tent was full to the brim – as the Plus Sounds DJ’s kickstart the rowdy atmosphere at Lovebox this past Saturday – for the Places+Faces Takeover. The energy-crew is already hyped-up by the time surprise performer Buddy walks cooly onto the stage with a colorful back-drop of flashing anime fight videos. Even so, they immediately begin hysterically screaming and chanting his name in excitement.
Throughout his set, Buddy proves himself to be a triple-threat –rapping at lightspeed, singing his own hooks and dancing his a*s off before jumping into the crowd mid-mosh-pit. It seems to be characteristic of Buddy to command the stage with a charismatic demeanor and explosive energy.
Former protégé of Pharell Williams and the late Nipsey Hussle R.I.P – in the last three years alone Buddy has released two EP’s – 2017’s (Magnolia) and (Ocean & Montana) – as well as one breakout full-length LP in the form of 2018’s Harlan & Alondra. Now almost a year to the day since he blessed us with his debut album – which is based around telling the story of the streets where he grew up – Buddy is back in London and gliding seamlessly through its infectious track-listing; reminding us all why Compton remains the mecca of hip-hop and rap music to this day.
We got the low-down on Buddy back-stage after his incredible set, which he closed off with the crowd-favorite “Black”. When we find him, he’s perched on a sofa in his dressing-room – shirt-off, feet up and wearing a pair of shocking pink Gucci shade’s which he’s nicknamed “The Pink P*ssy’s”. Buddy’s in a playful mood, and presumably still buzzing off the residual adrenaline leftover from his success of a performance. Here’s what went down during our whimsical chat with everyone’s favorite friendly local rapper!
We just came from your set and the energy in the crowd was crazy, how did it feel up there?
Man, I smoked a blunt right before, so I was high when I walked out there. It took me like three songs to really get a grip on life just because I was so stoned! Nah, but I was taking it easy; it was cool because I felt like the crowd was feeding off my energy. Right after Trouble On Central, the adrenaline kicked in and I took it up to fifth gear and just started moshing and crowd-surfing – it was dope!
What can people expect when they come to see you for the first time? How should they prepare themselves?
I want them to feel it, that’s all – that’s why I’m not always too distraught when crowds don’t really move and they’re more stationary and engaged – because I want them to see what I’m doing. I want them to listen first and foremost. Furthermore, I want them to feel the emotion that I’m bringing to the stage – I don’t want them to just be on their phones recording everything. I want it to be real, and to feel like more of an escape for them!
How do you feel like the crowds react to you in London, as opposed to in other cities?
It was turnt, you know what I mean? Obviously, it’s London, and we’re performing on the Noisey stage at the Places+Faces takeover. I feel like Ciesay and them naturally draw their own crowd, so for me to get the opportunity to take control of the stage is just a blessing. I’m glad the crowd f*cked with me though.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I’ve been getting into stretching lately – I’m actually a yogi on the low-gi.
Can you describe your sound in three words?
That sh*t tight!
What was it like having Pharrell as a mentor when you first got into rapping at 15?
It was super cool! I was kind of just taking everything in, you know. I would watch how everyone worked because it was all new to me, it was a brand-new experience at the time. We were in Miami; I was staying with my mom. I remember I used to have to sneak out to smoke back then when I wanted to catch my lil’ vibe, you know? I’d say I had a little less freedom back then. Still, it was cool.
Did he give you any stand-out advice whilst you were coming up that stuck with you?
He always told me to just be myself, to not conform to sh*t.
Which I feel is not easy to do in an industry where everybody wants to be liked, right?
Yeah, especially when you get thrown into it obliviously, and then you start coming across people who try to steer you in the wrong direction – telling you what they want you to know or do, rather than what the f*ck is real.
How do you then learn to distinguish between what’s real, and all that other fake sh*t?
Man, I’m still learning every day – I just know my bills are real, my friends and family are real, energy is real, and that life gets real.
What’s your favorite song to perform at the moment?
I really like performing the new song “Wells Fargo” because it goes so crazy when I perform it solo – I just can’t wait until I get to perform it with JID, and Guapdad4000 and Earthgang all on stage together. When I’m up there on my own I‘ll only be rapping my part – I don’t know them n*ggas lyrics because they be rapping too damn fast! So, for now, I’ve got eight-bars and then I just let the other eight-bars rock! I think it’ll take some pressure off having them up there with me – I’m excited for it!
You looked pretty sharp during your performance today – can you talk us through your outfit?
Oh, you already know! The sneakers are my homie Birdy – him and Nigo made the shoes and the socks. The homegirl Mackenzie made these pants; she be tight, she be doing big stuff! Then I had on the Human Made “Girls Don’t Cry” shirt – that’s another collab from my boy Nigo; the Tokyo homie. Then I just came up from my other personal stylist Lauren, she threw me the Playboy shirt super last minute – it just has a bunch of archival Playboy covers collaged all over it – I think it’s tight. I was doing a whole thing with red’s and pink’s – love and sex you know? I call these here the Pink P*ssy’s” – no matter where I go today, I’m gonna have pussy on my face haha!
And is that a dragon on your chain?
Oh yeah, this is Shenron from DragonBall Z- the eternal dragon. I’m a big time DBZ fan – I love Goku and the whole crew!
Are there any other artists who are at Lovebox today that you want to see perform?
Hell yeah! I want to see Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson and Lizzo – I had said “what up?” to Lizzo earlier. Man, she’s so fine; she’s got asssssss!
What would you say are your Top 5 festival essentials?
Uh, weed… Yoda! Man, whatever Yoda’s got, wait let me see. (Naturally, Buddy pulls out a Yoda backpack and instigates a Lovebox Festival –edition “What’s in my bag”.)
Oh, so Yoda’s actually in the cut? Is there a story behind Yoda?
Yeah, I got Yoda when Vince Staples took me to Disneyworld, and we hit the gift shop! I got weed in here, a Beats pill, a portable charger, a regular charger, an extra T-shirt because I been sweating my sh*t out, I got a hairbrush because I’m a nappy boy and then oh, some more weed. Sh*t edibles…these were a gift – *Buddy Charms*- y’all want some?
Of course! Have you got any plans for the rest of the summer?
I’m trying to go crazy this summer! I’m on my hotboy sh*t – we up 2300 points; shout out to Coach Future, Carmello Anthony…Tristan Thompson – just kidding! I’m on my real hotboy sh*t though just know that!