Plastic Little

Tuesday, 09 January 2007

“Anybody that listens to just hip-hop is dumb,” says Plastic Little’s Jayson Musson over So-Co and lime at a local Northern Libs bar. He and fellow Plastic Little MC Jon Folmar are waxing philosophical over the nature of hip-hop, girls, art school and Ghostface Killah. Fresh on the heels of the release of their second (actually) critically acclaimed album, She’s Mature, P-Little is poised to take over the world with a U.K. tour and a slew of party-ready remixes. As if guests from Ghostface, Amanda Blank and Spankrock aren’t enough, She’s Mature also features some of the most bitingly funny, on-point phrasing hip-hop—or any other genre—has heard in a while. Ground Control caught up with Folmar and Musson on the eve of 2k7.

So what’s your resolution this year?
Jayson: Every year I make a vow to not eat meat. Four days, and I’m eating chicken fingers.

Plastic Little started in art school, huh?
Jayson: I was in another band with Jon and that band broke up, and I wanted to do a new project with Kurt, and eventually after a year, I asked Jon if he wanted to join us. A couple of years ago we released Thug Paradise. Our friend Roxy gave a CD of us to her friend A-Ron who does aNYthing, and he liked it enough to want to put it out. This time, Max [of Free News] recorded and produced a lot of our shit. And he had the idea to put it out as a picture disk. It would be nice at some point to have A-Ron and Max work together. They’re both 100 percent Jewish.

I’m assuming you guys saw the New York Times article that Rob Walker did on subcultures and branding.
Jayson: If [A-Ron] ever gets a chance to throw our shit up, he does it. It was validating.

You worked on She’s Mature on and off for two years.
Jayson: Even a lot of the new shit is old shit now.

Why did it take so long?
Jon: We weren’t even really working on a second album, and then the opportunity came to put together a second album, so we did.
Jayson: We had friends who liked it and pushed us to do another one.

It seems like PL is sort of community-fueled in a way.
Jon: I think that a lot of Philadelphia shit is like that. We all know each other and it just makes sense to support each other. I feel like there’s a lot of shit going on like this.

Music here is really tied to the visual art community, too. Jayson, in Philadelphia, you seem to have made as much a name for yourself as a visual artist as for what you do with Plastic Little. You’ve released two volumes of your work, called Too Black for B.E.T.
Jon: You’re like a real artist.
Jayson: I am. Yeah, I pretty much make text-based rants that are primarily meant to be funny, but there’s a lot of political and social overtones to it.

I feel like there’s a lot of searing anger to what you do, too.
Jayson: Oh definitely, that’s the funny part. Nah, I don’t know where this vitriol comes from. I think it comes from being, like, fat and a teenager, and observing social hierarchy and feeling like I didn’t have any outlet to improve it.

Can you recite any of your posters?
Jayson: Like, some of the short ones? Okay, well, like, ‘The fastest route between obscurity and fame is a straight line of cocaine with the right person.’ Or, the Osama/Jesus one says ‘Beware of persuasive men with beards.’ That came about in post-911 anti-Muslim climate. There were all these white people who thought I was gonna, like, rape their sons just because I had a beard and the right skin complexion.

Didn’t you dress as Osama bin Laden for Halloween one year?
Jayson: Yeah, yeah, we have the same good cheek bones.

You live with an artist, too, Matthew Kuczynski. You guys play a lot of World of Warcraft, don’t you?
Jayson: My roommate has an art dealer, so he paints and sells paintings and doesn’t have to be anywhere that he doesn’t want to be. He can go from painting to Warcraft to whatever. When I came home last night he was playing Warcraft. When I woke up, he was playing Warcraft. He’s got a really great work ethic though. He was just at Art Basel. He called me from the hotel and said, ‘Alright, I’m at this hotel and I convinced the bartender to play She’s Mature. It’s playing out on the balcony and on the street. It’s the skit right before ‘Y’all Niggers Dead’…okay, the hostess behind the desk just told the bartender to turn it off…they’re arguing now…okay, they’re keeping She’s Mature on now.’

How is She’s Mature different than the last one?
Jayson: I feel like it’s about bad decisions and relationships—making the worst decisions—the dark side. She’s Mature definitely references dating the wrong people.

So let’s talk about some of the collaborations on She’s Mature. Let’s talk about Ghostface on ‘Crambodia.’
Jayson: We found out about that about four days before we recorded it. The album was done…
Jon: …And then Max called and said, ‘So hey, how do you feel about Ghostface being on the album?’
Jayson: I had just gotten home from work and was taking a nap, and I was like, ‘What the hell are you talking about? Are you on mushrooms?’ Of any member of the Wu, Ghostface is, like, it. I’d make him pasta and we’d watch Annie Hall together.

And now it’s a single, and it’s been remixed several times.
Jon: The melody is a dancehall rhythm, so I guess it works. I made a beat and gave it to Max and he spruced it up. Amanda Blank’s on it, and Spankrock’s on the single as well.
Jayson: Pink Skull did a remix and Hot Chip did a remix.

How did that happen?
Jayson: I’m nuts about Hot Chip and Kurt’s a big fan boy. We were at an after-party after they played Philly last time and Kurt was fucking trashed and he went over to Hot Chip and talked to them for about five minutes. And the dudes were so nice, they decided to do a remix.

What’s next for you? Are you guys going to tour?
Jayson: We’re touring in the spring. We’re going to England at the end of March. “Crambodia” and “Driz Hollering” are going to be released as a single in England. Depending on how that goes, Spankrock wants us to tour with him. That will be awesome. He’s like the Buzz Aldrin of partying.

She's Mature is out now on Tonearm Records. Buy a copy here.

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