At the beginning of the year everyone wants to focus on new albums from Drake, Jay and Kanye, but in reality it's the unexpected project from that great new artist that ends up making the year a success. I mean, why keep hanging onto that Jay Elec album when there are artists actually, you know, making music?
If you are only focused on the blockbuster albums, you'll miss the real meat, as the best projects of the year always come from the artists you might not yet even know. Case in point, Hannibal King'sFloral Print. The Queens beatsmith-turned-emcee showcases his dynamic style and mastery of both production and rapiddy rap on Floral Print, and the result is a hip-hop lover's dream; this is just pure, unfiltered hip-hop and the world is better off for it. Released in early September, Floral Print, has been in my rotation constantly and is sure to crack my list of the years best projects.
So keep waiting for that shitty-sounding, :15 second Kanye leak. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy this beautifully crafted album. If you want to join me you are more than welcome to, but first, meet the man behind Floral Print, Hannibal King.
"Growing Pains Pt. 2" is ahead of "Pt. 1" on the tracklist, I'm curious why you did that.
"Honestly, it just sounded better that way to me. "Pt. 2" was recorded after "Pt. 1" but it felt like it had a more upbeat tone than "Pt. 1," which fit the tape a bit better. Realistically they should be the other way around numerically, but that kind of stuff always felt secondary to the music."
Has the woman (or women) mentioned in the song heard it? Have you heard from them?
"I can only assume; a lot of the stuff is based on old, old interactions that I only really had an opportunity to speak on now. I've had people ask me if a song was about them, but besides that it's been pretty quiet."
One more "Growing Pains" related question - where did you get all the samples from? Did you have them in mind before the concept or did you add them after?
"I wrote and produced the records first and then found the samples that I thought would best fit the songs. In terms of "Growing Pains Pt. 1," I wrote the entire record before I even produced the record for it. Sometimes I just need to write, even if I don't have music. Being a producer, it makes it easier to build around the writing."
You produce and rap, do you consider yourself a producer first and a rapper second? Which did you learn first?
"I was a rapper first, but this was some 10 odd years ago. After rapping in high school, I gave it up to produce at 18, and at 25 now it's all I've ever known. These days I consider myself a rapper first and a producer second, mostly because it's where my passion is currently at. Maybe in the future it will reverse, but as things stand now I consider myself a rapper first."
The instrumentals are a nice touch, why did you want to include only instrumentals?
"I will ALWAYS love producing and I feel like that's what a lot of my fans want from me. For me it's natural, sometimes instrumentals are the glue to keep a record together. I've been influenced a lot by artists like Madlib, J. Dilla and MF Doom. All of them include instrumentals in their rap projects and it's something that I've found myself doing as well."
If you had to pick one song off the project to play for the President, which would it be and why?
"It would easily be "Gospel." I think Gospel is my most heartfelt record on the project and it really gives insight into myself as an artist. I think the President could appreciate the things I'm saying in that song and the struggle that is felt between mine and Jabee's lyrics."
How long until you begin working on your next project? Do you find you need to take a step back first?
"Not at all, I'm already at work on the next project and everything in between!"
Floral Print can be downloaded for the low low price of free 99 right here via The DJBooth. If you want to keep up to date on all things Hannibal, be sure to give him a follow @HanniFresh. Be sure to check back at the Booth early and often; when he drops something I'll be sure to let y'all know. Until then, just enjoy the rap goodness that is Floral Print.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]