In a week full of Yeezus projections and Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, it is very easy to forget that the backbone of hip hop rest in the underground and indie scene. While Ye is wearing kilts and flying across the world to work with super-producers like Daft Punk and Rick Rubin, P.T. Burnem sits on the other end of that spectrum, fixing the brakes on his motorcycle in the back of his apartment complex. “There is nothing more indie than hitting the road on this bike,” he tells me with a smile. “What happens when it rains,” I ask. “You get wet,” he replied.
P.T. is about to embark on the definition of indie – the Gas Mask and Gold Dust tour (with Something Complex) will do 14 shows in 14 days, going up the east coast. The tour starts this Friday at 13ainbridge Collective (1300 Bainbridge St.). Joining the Gas Mask crew for the RVA portion of the tour is: Baltimore rapper Adam Selene of Collectible Humans, the hardest working man in hip hop Black Liquid, and The Honorable Sleaze (Graphic Sleaze to you).
P.T. has some surprises lined up for the tour. “You meet a lot of interesting people in indie rap…I met a guy that was selling gas masks and I will be wearing that for the tour.” For those of you who have seen a Burnem set before you will not be surprised to hear that his set will contain the same hard hitting, aggressive, and conscious rhymes that have served him well from the start of his career. “You can expect bombastic style beats, heavy hitting, aggressive sounds, which I do all myself on the MPC, rap without a whole lot of [extra]. I value the DJ, the graffiti artist, the breaker, but that’s not my set, my set uses rap as a style of vocalization…” P.T. also has a strong desire to rap about what is happening in the world around him and the world within hip hip. “There is no misogamy, no homophobia, there are certain aspect of rap that we want to lay to the side. There is not a lot of macho talk or stuff like that.”
P.T. is a bit a of a throwback when it comes to activism and art. He takes the Public Enemy approach and feels that RVA is not only a good fit but “the best fit of activism and art that I’ve seen in the U.S…A big part of it is knowing Swordplay (fellow indie rapper and roommate), activism and art go hand and hand. I was able to get easily connected into social groups and it’s special here.”
Broadway Street by P.T. Burnem
The GASMASK AND GOLDUST TOUR kicks off this Friday at 13ainbridge Collective (1300 Bainbridge St.)