I first met Bay Area rapper Antwon on the internet. Weird, right? Impose Magazine asked me to write down one of my dreams and Antwon interrupted it as a part of their Traps in the Midst of Dreams segment. Basically, my dream was about Johan from Iceage getting murdered by bouncers, and Antwon thought the hammer to the skull was “rad/wild.” Fast forward a few months and about a zillion tweets, and our agents arranged for my band White Lung to tour down to Fun Fun Fun Fest together. I didn’t know much about Antwon except that I really liked his music (his latest release, “Dying in the Pussy,” makes me want to dance like a sexy newborn horse), that he was friends with those guys in Deafheaven and that he once played bass in Philadelphia’s most underrated punk band, Leather. So, in honor of our union, I decided to Skype with Antwon about his life so that when we spend three straight weeks pillow-talking every night, we'll have a base coat all laid down already. Turns out we are both feminists, RHCP fans who harbor anger, and don’t believe in sleeping bags.
Noisey: Tell me about the first girl you ever crushed on when you were a child.
Antwon: I don’t know. Oh, I know. There was one girl in my school, but I never talked to her. I didn’t know what to say.
Were you shy as a child or obnoxious?
I guess I was shy with girls. I used to make out with my family friend. I remember that. Now she’s married to a marine.
Did you ever have a band that changed you and made you want to play music?
Maybe Green Day.
Dookie? When I was in grade four, my friend Alyssa and I were obsessed with that album, but we weren’t allowed to listen to it so we had to sneak into her sister’s bedroom to play it.
I was into Insomniac. That was the one I listened to the most. It was a really underrated album. Most people think of Dookie.
You like the pop-punk.
Yeah, I played in some pop-punk bands. One was called Sour Patch and the other How to Summer.
You know lots about punk, which makes you a cool rapper to me.
Yeah, I know about punk, but mostly Discharge.
I love Discharge.
Discharge is tight.
When I worked this horrible job at this corporate coffee shop, they used to make me clean the sinks at night, and I loved it because I could put on my head phones and blast Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing and just scrub my anger away. [You and I are] going get messed up and listen to Discharge... So, our tour together. I think most people would see it as a little unexpected, but I think the combination of our music makes perfect sense.
I agree. When I was younger, I was into rock music, you know what I mean? People always just go to rock, not rap. Rock 'n’ roll is a black people’s music. I don’t see a reason why not to.
There is drive and aggression and the same kind of energy is created at both punk and rap shows that you don’t find elsewhere.
I like jock hardcore.
The only jock band I like is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Hell yeah. My boy Flea.
I am a John fan.
No. Bogus. Urgh.
Are you serious?
Dave Navarro! [Laughs]
Ew, no. Tour is cancelled. I can’t talk to you anymore.
[Laughs] Seriously, “Suck My Kiss” is such a hard song. It’s so wig. When I was a kid, I would put a sock on my dick just like they did. I did that for real. I thought they were cool.
Why do you have a towel on your head right now?
Because it’s hot and I am a rapper.
Someone told me the other day that R. Kelly is illiterate. Isn’t that insane?
What? Whoa. My mom used to have R. Kelly records. She would play 12 Play. I got her copy and played it when I played Grand Theft Auto.
Who is your favorite rapper?
Really? Why do you like him?
Because he’s a bad ass. He used to be a lot more vulgar in the 90s on his first few albums. Gritz Sandwiches then The Polyfuze Method are so good.
Do you like country?
I fuck with Taylor Swift.
Ew. No. I’m an Avril girl myself.
Do you ever see her up in Canada?
I saw her play once. I had to review the show for the newspaper. She did a one handed cartwheel then yelled, “Fuck yeah!” It was insane.
I love pop music, but I like it when women are sexually explicit in their songs. It’s cool.
Every White Lung song is about men, drugs or sex—usually about how they all combat in my head with my feminism. What else is there to write about except sex?
This girl called me a feminist one time because she was talking about female beauty standards and how it sucks that women are expected to shave their body hair and I said I didn't care what they did. Shave or not.
You supported our right as women to control our own hair. [Laughs] It is a crazy double standard, but that’s changing. Have you ever gotten a wax?
No, but I trim my pubic hair. I can't wear tight pants with long pubic hair.
You love tight pants.
Yeah, when I was younger, you couldn’t get tight pants. The only ones you could get were Wranglers; they were stretched and shitty as fuck. I learned to take in my own pants with green wax dental floss. I got really good at sewing by hand. It was the dark ages.
The dark ages of skinny jeans.
People just don’t know.
With the tiny, low-rise zippers. I've got a big butt, so I need high-waisted jeans to keep it all in.
Are you high-maintenance on tour?
No, I suck at touring. I never bring anything with me or I forget it all. I don’t like carrying a backpack, so when I leave the house, everything I have better fit on me, in my pocket. I don’t even have a wallet.
That’s cool. I don’t bring shit on tour. Even when we first started, I never brought a sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags are so dumb.
Right? It’s just one more annoying thing to carry. There is always someone who will accommodate you. What do you feel when you are on stage?
I feel hatred. I feel angry.
I understand that. I come from an angry place.
I kind of have to be angry or else I would feel silly. I have to channel a serious emotion that won’t make me feel dumb. My lyrics come from me—a part of me I don’t want to live, so, you know.
Did you grow up religious?
I was baptized Catholic, but my mother would take me to this Christian church, which I thought was cool because MC Hammer was one of the pastors and so was Reggie White, who played for the Green Bay Packers. When they were doing that, though, you couldn’t go up and ask them about their careers outside of the church. Like, you couldn’t go up and acknowledge it; it was all “I want to be saved,” whatever. I remember these kids tried to get autographs, but that did not work. It was called Jubliee [Christian Center] in Sunnyvale. Also, my mom worked late nights, so I did a lot of after school programs. My mom would drop me off at the church Salvation Army program. They made us read the bible, which I hated. There was one cool kid. When his mom went to the gym, we used to play tag in the dark in the house.
White Lung x Antwon Fall Tour dates:
11/1: Barboza – Seattle, WA TICKETS
11/4: Strummers – Fresno, CA TICKETS
11/5: Soda Bar – San Diego, CA TICKETS
11/10: Rubber Gloves – Denton, TX TICKETS
11/11: Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX TICKETS
11/13: Pub Rock Live – Scottsdale, AZ TICKETS
11/14: Beauty Bar – Las Vegas, NV TICKETS
11/15: The Echo – Los Angeles, CA TICKETS
11/16: Crepe Place – Santa Cruz, CA TICKETS
11/17: Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA TICKETS
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