When you have two tattoos, you’re in a different genre than when you have one, and you have to be careful. My philosophy there was, when I’m on the right side, one of my tattoos will always stay as my signature. On the other hand, one of my tattoos can be in a different style, and I’ve learned to keep them different. I also have a tattoo on my hip, something where it’s a big white heart. I think it’s important to remind yourself at various points of your life that tattoos will be permanent.
You’re a hip-hop fan. Why does hip-hip-hip mean hip-hop?
Just like that.
What do you feel is hip-hop at its core?
It reminds me of how young I was. I was like a nine-year-old kid, but still. My father had just left on his honeymoon. He was just visiting from New York. He’d come up to Baltimore once or twice, and then I’d be on my own. Baltimore’s one of those old cities, so all the kids are like, what are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m still here!” You know I feel there’s an element of that. You feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. Hip-hop was formed out of a place that was in a lot of fear and a lot of pain. Black people in Baltimore were really afraid. A lot of African-Americans left because it was so difficult to work and survive. The people who left were, “My kids will be better off than we were.” Then you got the rap-culture that started to come out that was more hip-hop, more pop-culture, and it was more fun than it was real. It allowed you to be yourself. People don’t realize how much that has influenced hip-hop. I’ve gotten to hang out with all of them. They’ve been really great. Most of them, even when they’re not doing stuff, they’re talking to me on the street, because there’s always a way for me to get in touch with them. People who leave, they always had this kind of way of communicating and being like, “I will not leave!” It felt like like a big party.
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