Exclusives Interviews 19 June 2020
Author: Daniel McNab

GRM Exclusive: Potter Payper talks new EP, his time in Prison, Potential Collaborations & ‘Training Day 3’

19 June 2020

2017 was a very important year in UK rap music and saw a giant leap in success for many UK artists, with the likes of Nines, Giggs, J Hus and Stormzy all achieving top five chart placements with their respective projects. However, in a year that saw UK rap reach unseen levels; it also saw the incarceration of one the top lyricists in the scene, Potter Payper, who received a lengthy sentence to the dismay of his wide fan base.

Potter Payper first demanded the attention of the scene with his 2013 Blackbox freestyle; displaying his versatility, passionate delivery and outstanding lyrical ability.

He would then follow this up with the first Training Day mixtape; which would take his popularity to another level and is widely regarded as a hood classic. The tape saw Potter paint a realistic, vivid picture of the street life and convey a deep pain that resonated with many people across the country.

His lyrical skills were further shown on following tapes 24 and Training Day 2 and Potter even saw some chart success with his commercial release One Day but unfortunately, trouble with the law hindered the Barking- rappers’ career. However, three years and 2 months later, Potter has finally been released and has had a complete refocus.

How has your mind state changed since you’ve been away? And since the release of your last project Regina vs Jamel Bousbaa?

“Basically, when I put out that project (Regina vs Jamel Bousbaa), I was recording for a mixtape called Real Back in Style, but obviously I went on the run and I got arrested. So, I’m sitting in jail with 12 -15 tunes there, I got a couple good features like Blade and Skrapz. So, I just put them together and put it out. My mind states changed completely since then. Now, I am just fully in tune with what man wants to do because back then I was literally on the run for my life and even when  I was recording, I wasn’t really comfortable with my surroundings and I was just doing it as an outlet at the time; a way for me to just vent before I went mad. At that time the music ting itself wasn’t sustainable for man to really make something out of it.”

So, are you happy with where the current music game is currently?

“I’m really happy, I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, and everything is the will of God. For man to come out now is a blessing and man’s just grateful to be a part of this ting right now. There’s bare people breaking their backs to get where mans at so I got to take in and appreciate what I’ve achieved.”

You have a new EP dropping called 20/20 vision, what was the exact reason for this title?

“Obviously it’s like 2020 now and I went away in early 2017 so for the longest time I had 20/20 vision. I been looking forward to this for years just sitting in a room.  Also, you can look at it like I see clear now, before it was blurry coming more like 8/8 vision but now man really sees where I need to be; what I need to be doing and what steps need to be taken to get there. Since man’s come out I’ve recorded 30-40 tunes in the space of days. I went from jail straight to the studio and I’ve shot a documentary, so you will see. At the end of the day put the beat on and I’ll spit, that’s how man came into this ting, not on a singing or one hit wonder vibe.”

Speaking of your freestyles, do you have a personal favourite?

“Ahh there’s a few fam, there’s a few. Obviously a classic for me is my Link Up TV Behind Bars one but also my second Daily Duppy on GRM daily. But also, I done a couple freestyles on Capital Xtra with Westwood that have been taken off the internet, I don’t even know where they’ve gone but they were cold. But there’s plenty more to drop and with this new ting; I know people are going to be feeling that one.  So, I’m just really looking forward to dropping new shit.”

You’re a rapper known for your high lyrical ability, are you rating the current talent in the scene?

“Yeah man, like there are man that are good, man that are hard and man that are seriously hard. The people I would put up there are already established, they don’t even need man to say their names. I’m rating everything about the scene right now, but what I rate most is the business side of this ting and I’m seeing people elevate themselves and getting everyone off of the street ting; creating jobs for their people. I got a team of people around man that are really certi and I trust them so I’m in a good space.”

Do you have any potential collaborations in mind?

“That’s what I’m the most excited about. I sat in my cell and really thought man have to be doing these things. I really want to embrace the scene cos before I was on some ting, like if we’re not dargs then why are we gonna falsify the ting but now I see we’re coming together to make music, so lets just come together and really make it happen.”

“Working with people like this could influence me to come out my comfort zone and you never know what could happen. I’m trying to be versatile cos man just think Potter Payper, bars and pain, so I’m trying to work with a lot of man.”

“Man’s trying to get bread and move my family and people out the ends, get them secure and then give back to man’s community. That’s when you know you’re accomplished in life.”

Your project One Time saw chart success, are you still interested in chart success?

“Yeah, but you see before we were only hitting the hip hop charts but these days, they’re hitting the national charts. Man’s in the segregation unit in my cell eating custard creams at 1 in the morning and I’m seeing the charts in the newspaper and 6 out of 10 are UK artists. I’m just looking at it like, this is what I need to be doing.”

“When I was in jail, people were writing man and even prison officers were coming up to me saying why did you sell drugs, you should have just stuck to the music. It had me realising everyone likes mans music and right now there’s bread in this ting so I don’t need to be doing nothing else, I’m a rapper.  I’ve made mistakes that I refuse to make again, that’s all past me now and I’m done with that.”

What would you say is your favourite track off your new EP?

“My favourite tune would be “PMW” (Pussy Money weed). It’s the last tune and it’s my favourite, like I fuck with it differently. The beats hard, like if you’re in your car, you can bang that one. You’re gonna feel it; take it to the chest.  But the “20/20 freestyle”, that I done a video for, is cold as well, and hopefully people really take that one in.”

There was a line on “20/20 freestyle” where you discussed prison being easier before. What made it more difficult this time around?

“Just knowing I’ve got shit out there, the other times I been jail in my life, I didn’t have things going for man when I was just shotting food. I’d go jail for a year or a year and a half, then sit in jail thinking when I get out, I need to pattern the block and that was man’s mindset because that’s all I knew.

Even this music ting put more pressure on man and that’s something I want to let man know, don’t get yourself bagged for trying to do this ting. Spit what’s real to you and the rest will come. You think Future and all these guys people listen to are really selling crack? We scrutinize our artists too hard. I could even say I’m hypocritical because I’ve said fuck my man, he’s not real but that’s a myth, this is entertainment. I’m just trying to tell people the real shit and what’s really going on.”

On the track “Filthy Free” you speak about loss, who exactly were Kevin and Reese? And how difficult was it dealing with your loss while being in prison?

“There’s been a lot of loss around man. Everyday man are dying out here, it’s not a joke. Kevin was one of my day one bruddas and really pushed man to do this music ting and he passed away in 2014 when I was in jail and I took that kinda hard. This time round, while I was in jail, my other friend, Reese, passed away like it’s just one of those things, man deals with it but never really deals with it if you know what man’s saying. Its traumatising.

People haven’t been where I’ve been. I’ve been places and situations that will push certain people over the edge. But all I’ve got say is everyone is losing people out here, not just in the streets, just in general. Especially in these current times with Coronavirus, I got bredrins that have lost their mothers. Life’s serious and that’s why I’m done with that wasting my life in jail ting.”

It’s important for you to speak about this for the younger generation who take it all for a game

“But It’s a bit hypocritical for me to say all this now. When I get to a point when I have elevated myself literally, that’s when I can really start turning around and telling man, let me help you find something else. But you can’t take a lifestyle away from someone without providing something else, another avenue. I can’t be telling man stop selling food when that’s what I been known for, even though I’m old and done with it now.”“You gotta know what you’re doing and don’t get bagged self-snitching on yourself in your raps because they do use it. They used it against me. They forced man to go guilty off the back of that, and I got done on conspiracy to supply. In time maybe, I can be in a position where I can advise the youth or sit down with GRM and do a lil podcast or something but that’s a whole other story.”“I would just tell man put disclaimers on your vids. I’m trying to eventually do a documentary about the justice system right now in the UK and what’s going on, the state of prisons and the immigration system because if you’re not in it, it’s easy to be none the wiser. A lot of man in heart-breaking situations and in jail for things they didn’t do.”

So back on to the music, can we expect a Training Day 3?

Training Day 3 is definitely coming, man’s just recording, recording, recording. I’ve got such a selection of riddims even right now, if I went to the studio, I could drop it today but right now I’m gonna just keep recording. I got this EP dropping so I’m gonna let that sit with them and then I’m gonna see when will be the proper time to drop Training Day 3 cos the timing is everything.”“But yeah I’m planning to drop Training day 3 this year and then looking at a next project that will be collaboration heavy because I haven’t really done a collab project so I’m really gonna start going studio with my favourite artists right now and make some serious bangers. I’m just excited to see what’s gonna happen.”

What would you say is your favourite tape you’ve done?

“Ahh I would say the favourite one I’ve done is this EP, 20/20 Vision. Fam with everything else I’ve done; I have never given it 100% from start to finish. I’ve always been involved in other things but now, I start my day with music, I finish my day with music, I go home, chill in my house and I feel comfortable in my life. It’s something everyone takes for granted because when you’re living a certain lifestyle it’s not like that. This trapping ting and road ting isn’t all roses if you’re really in it, so It’s a very good feeling and I owe that to music.”

On both the Training Day 1 & 2, Mover was the only feature, do u still speak to him often?

“Yeah, I got an EP I want to drop with Mover with tunes that no one’s heard. But right now, that depends on a lot of things, like if I’m with a label, they might move funny with it and might not want to release it, due to his sentence, but if it’s independent, I definitely will. I know my fans want to hear bars. Obviously, what’s popping right now really is popping but there’s a lot of it going round and there’s not much else, it’s either drill or wave.”

Have you thought about jumping on a drill or afrowave type song?

“Yeah I got a couple tunes that could be considered wave, I might of broke out the autotune on a couple tunes; moving like Luther Vandross, hitting them serious notes, but that’s all to be seen and I need to get back in the studio and see what’s going on.”

Be Sure to keep it locked on GRM Daily, for Potter’s new video and EP.