2011. I'm backstage at our A3C show and Pill is waiting to go on. This was at the peak of his MMG-affiliation and I'm trying to get a good look at his chain without making it obvious that I'm trying to get a good look at his chain. In my memory it was roughly the size of a small horse, which couldn't have been true, but maybe wasn't that far off either. The "Pacman" beat comes on, Pill steps onstage and the crowd loses its mind.
While his relationship with Rick Ross would eventually come to an end not long after - he insists he was never officially signed, only closely affiliated - I continued to loosely follow Pill and he continued to put out music. But when "Represent" randomly shuffled into my headphones about a year ago I realized that I hadn't actually heard from Pill in a minute, his last song that we posted had been 2013's "I'm Hard," and when I called the DJBooth team together to track him down, all we found were question marks. His Twitter and Facebook has seemingly been abandoned overnight, even when we asked around Atlanta no one seemed to know where he was. For all intents and purposes, he had vanished.
Yesterday my phone rang and it was Pill.
Let's cut to the chase. Yes, Pill had been in and out of jail by his count for a year-and-a-half, starting in early 2014 until he finally got out for good in June of 2015. No, he's not particularly eager to talk specifics, referring to his time locked up generally as "a little trouble," but that's not because he's scared or ashamed. He's just laser focused on moving forward and leaving the past behind. "I had to get my mind right," he said. "Removing all the negativity from my life, making sure I'm moving in the right direction."
Life comes at you fast, but I'm not going to cry over spilled milk. I have the blood of kings, I'm never going to die and give up.
That direction includes an unexpected pivot, he wrote a script called Soul Snatchers while incarcerated that he's working on having made into a movie, and is looking to follow up his 2011 role in the film 96 Minutes with more acting work. Plus, he landed the song "Big Bank" in the movie Spring Breakers entirely on his own, without help from his label or publisher, and is confident he can do something similar again. But for the most part his focus is back on music, getting all the music he wrote in jail out of his head and notebook and into the studio.
All that work will culminate in an album that has to be considered a comeback effort. The forthcoming Over the Counter Drugs project will continue the storyline of his previous albums, from The Prescription to The Diagnosis to The Epidemic, and while he says that he may end up including a guest feature or two, for the most part the album will just be him. He's got too much to get off his chest to take even a verse or two off.
Over the Counter will be an entirely independent release, putting Pill in the unique position of having stepped on nearly every rung of the music industry ladder, from major label deals and superstar co-signs to true one man operations.
"I've been through all the levels of the game," he explained. "Independently you don't have to answer to anyone. You move at your own pace, are only around the people you want to be around. You don't have to be dependent on what they say in order for your project to drop. I'm able to contact as many people as they [a label] could because of how long I've been in the game. I've put in work."
The first step in his public comeback effort began today with his new song "Won't Blame You," which we premiered exclusively. But his private come back started months and months ago, locked up, every day only growing more determined to prove to himself and the world that he's capable of greatness. So welcome back Pill, it's been too long.
Let these people know where I stand. I give no fucks.