|Photo courtesy of the artist|
Chicago indie rapper Phillip Morris has definitely gained traction with Minneapolis fans over the last few years -- so much so that he recently decided to move here.
He first began to make a name locally through his connection to Sean Anonymous, and recently dropped a full-length collaboration, entitled The Sick and the Dead, with Sean's group Wide Eyes. Morris has quickly made himself a presence in Minneapolis, and Gimme Noise caught up with him to talk about his album release show on Friday and his other assorted gigs around town.
Gimme Noise: Tell me about working on the album with Wide Eyes.
That was a lot of fun. I've been wanting to collab with those guys for a while. Me and Sean had done a couple collabs already, but never a full album of stuff. I've known Wide Eyes for a while. I'd say Wide Eyes are responsible for me being as popular as I am in this city. The first big show I did was their video release for "Borrowed Time,"
I think it was sold out, or really close to sold out. It was a huge crowd. It was I think my fourth time going up to Minneapolis. After that the momentum just kept going. I love those dudes and have a lot of respect for them. Working on this album was great. It was also really nice because Sean went ahead and wrote a lot of verses and hooks for stuff off the bat, so I already had a lot of concrete stuff to work with.
I work really well when I don't have to think of a concept for a song. Collaborating I can just do that a lot more quickly. I overthink it when I write my own stuff. That's why I come out with an album every two years or so. Working on this album was really tight. I also got to know all the members of Wide Eyes a lot better by working on this album. I already knew Sean pretty well, but got to know Tony Phantom, DJ Name, and Dimitry Kilstorm a lot better through the process of it. It's some of the best stuff I've written in quite a while to be perfectly honest.
Was it different working with them in a full-length capacity instead of just collaborating on a single track?
It was nice trying to figure out where I fit in in the mix of Wide Eyes. I feel like my style is a bit more comparable to Sean's; it's very calculated, mathematic, heavy emphasis on syllables and timing. Tony Phantom's style is more like prose poetry, still very wordy and complex, but it's also loose, very loose. Finding out where I fit into that and trying to be a happy medium between those two was nice, because it allowed me to make some adjustments to the way that I spit, and play around a bit more. It was a fun challenge.
What prompted your move from Chicago to Minneapolis?
Chicago was kind of slowly eating away at me, at my soul. I'd been living in Chicago all my life. I love that city. It's a wonderful training grounds. I'm really happy I started off there and made a name for myself there, because it's very hard to do. It's huge. Everybody's a rapper. Everybody here is a rapper too, but everybody in Chicago is a rapper or promoter or quote unquote record label owner with only five dollars in their pocket. There's so much stuff going on all over the city, and the city's so huge. It's a lot harder to get people out to events from different parts of the city.
My impression is the scene is kind of divided.
It's segregated in a lot of ways, outside of the music scene, so the music scene reflects that. But also it was just a rough city in general. I felt like I had kind of worn out my welcome. I had been coming up to Minneapolis for a couple years already, and had already developed a solid fan base up here. I just thought it would be the next logical move for me. A lot of stuff fell into place for me when I was strongly considering moving up here, because I stayed up here for a few weeks in August, when Lizzo and Dimitry asked me to [take over] Auto-Tune Karaoke [on Monday's at the Nomad].
That's when [former host] Lizzo was on tour, and Lizzo was like, maybe you should move into my room, and I was like, cool, you live with Sean Anonymous and that's my best friend! Those things fell into place with no work on my part. I'm a firm believer in signs. I took the plunge, and here I am.