What's the best way to get acquainted with Queens rap collective World's Fair, the self-proclaimed scoundrels of the party? Via imbibing a plethora of drinks, of course -- and checking out their new freebie album, Bastards of the Party, which you can cop now over on the Fool's Gold site.
The 13-song listen showcases the talent of MCs Nasty Nigel, Lansky Jones, Remy Banks, Cody B Ware, Jeff Donna and Prince SAMO, while DJ Thoth holds down deck duties. It also happens to brim with references to beer and liquor-fueled shenanigans -- which seemed like a fine excuse to corral the kids into Ontario bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and ask them to soundtrack their favorite songs on the album with signature drinks. Anecdotes about a brawl at a now-defunct dive bar, Nas's E&J era, and how to crash a P. Diddy party ensued. Bottoms up!
What sort of drink would a '96 Knicks be?
I think it's like a hard cocktail. A '96 Knicks is like a ginger-whiskey, ha ha.
Why does the drink match the song?
'Cause it's chill yet it's hyper. The ginger ale adds the chill to it but the whiskey adds a kick. The '96 Knicks team was basically a team that was the badasses of the league and they had a real heated rivalry with the Miami Heat and in a couple of games they got into fist-fights with the Heat. We identify with that, like we're the underdogs.
Would you endorse drinking a '96 Knicks while playing ball?
Why not? I know Nasty Nigel would suggest that! But for me, my coach would never allow that. If someone wants to do that though, I'd say you need to try and act sober as much as possible and retain your focus.
You called the album Bastards of the Party. What's the most outrageous behavior you've been involved in at a party?
I guess we were at this spot called Panda Bar R.I.P.. It was like a chill dive bar with a smoke section in the back of it. We got into a little scuffle with some dudes, beat 'em up, then they ran right off. We had all our jackets ripped and people were telling us we had scratches on our faces but we went right off to another party.
What started the incident?
Nigel was dancing with some girl and another guy thought he knew her and tried to say what's up and he started a little commotion for no reason. Nigel was the peacemaker, trying to calm it down. I walked over to try and peace it out -- the guy overstepped his boundary.
What would a Blisskiss drink involve?
A Blisskiss would be like a decent 25-year Glenlivet. I had that one time, that's how I know. I love Glenlivet, I'm a big fan of all their different ages -- I drink 12-year normally as that's the most readily available one -- but one time I had the 25-year and it was just perfect. My first scotch was Ardbeg, but Glenlivet 25 is perfect.
What's the difference between the 12- and 25-year versions?
Oh, it's got this smoke to it. The smoke that I liken it to is more like a blue smoke. It's hard to translate, but this whole bliss concept is based on this color palette of blues and when I taste the 25 I felt that smoke and that mist and that's how it translates to me.
If you could endorse Glenlivet 25, what would you say?
Oh, wow. What would I say? Damn, I need a moment.
We can come back to that. How did you get into drinking scotch?
It was when I was coming up to the age of 21 and I had my first cigar -- that's how you pair it. You get into different whiskeys and single-malts and you learn to pair them with the right cigar. Prior to that I wasn't able to legally drink and I wanted to smoke my first cigar with a drink.
Where did that ambition come from?
Maybe a couple of years prior I was a fan of James Bond and I wanted to live that life. Granted, James Bond never really smoked a cigar and that was never his thing -- it was more a martini -- but I attributed that lifestyle to cigars. When I got to like 18, 19 years old I knew if I wanted to try a type of vice it would be that. So I decided not to touch any scotch or cigars until I was 21 and for my birthday I went to the Cigar Inn, which is in Midtown, and you go in there and you got your Wall Street guys and a whole bunch of people in there and they just welcomed me with open arms, man. They have lockers in there for members -- they don't sell liquor there so you can keep it in the locker and you can drink it in there.
I remember this guy, this lawyer, and another guy I met that night gave me some Ardbeg 10 which tasted like Robitussin or something -- but in a good way. It was a whole other world and cigar smoking is a very social culture and you just keep learning and trying different things.
Which albums do you recommend listening to with a cigar and scotch set-up?
[Pulls out iPhone] Lemme look it up, it's Miles Davis in Paris. It's a live album, I still can't pronounce the French title, but that right there is 1- tracks that's almost like sitting in the back of a luxury car getting chauffeured around and you have leg room and you can just play that. If it's not that, it's gonna be something super juxtaposed like Jimi Hendrix or something in that vein -- it would be awesome to hear that with a cigar and scotch. Actually, can I do the endorsement now?
Yeah. [Reads off iPhone] Glenlivet 25 is the first installment in the bliss series encompassing fun times, a beautiful view and a liquid B.P.M!
You're on the song "Heathrow." What would that song's drink be?
I want to say like a Jameson with like a black cherry Coke. So like a whiskey with the flavoring of the cherry and like a mint leaf to give it like a dark and refreshing flavor to it.
I take it the song's named after the airport in London?
Yeah. When we went out there I want to say all I drank was whiskey. Literally, I was finding any reason to drink -- not in a weird depressed way but I was enjoying the culture out there. I would wake up at like seven in the morning just to get ready to go out and drink.
So you were drinking whiskey before breakfast?
Yeah, I would have that and there was this really cool cafe in the corner… [Nigel orders a whiskey and coke, with a maraschino cherry] Everyone's gonna be like, "He's such an asshole for ordering a cherry." But, yeah, we were supposed to be on tour to a bunch of other cities but the tour we ended jumping on got cancelled so we ended up just doing a couple of shows in London and a festival out in Belgium. It was pretty cool. The only Americans that were performing there were like Snoop Dogg and us.
Did you perform before or after Snoop?
We went before. If we went after that would be horrible. "Sexual Eruption" is the greatest song of all time and you can't just follow that song.
How did the crowd take to your show?
There were so many tents and we were at the electronic tent and it was nothing but DJs and we were the only live rap act in that tent and the act before us canceled so they said we could either go on at our regular time or go on early for two hours. So we did the two hours; we had DJ Thoth play for an hour while we were backstage with a live microphone just screaming random shit. We did a 40-minute set catered to the electronic crowd, I guess. But it was funny because I didn't think anyone really knew us but when we were done somebody just screams "Kids From Queens" which is one of our early singles. They started a chant and we were like, 'Wow, people know that?' That song is like the super boom-bappy rap, which is not the electronic style. But they loved it.
What's the Panda Bar incident?
Ha, long story short we were hanging out at Panda Bar and one of our friends from L.A. was visiting and I was with my friend and some guy walked up to her and I guess he was trying to get her number and she wasn't having it and he gave me like a funny look and extended his hand to give me a handshake. But he ended up punching someone and we all got into this really big brawl, security literally picked us up and tossed us out, and the fight continued outside. I ended up ripping my favorite coat, like literally every button flew off.
What was the coat?
It was this trench coat I got at a thrift shop and I left my iPod in there and they ended up stealing it. The cops came, arrested us and not them, and it ended when this security guard came out of nowhere with these big metal rods.
Is there a moral to this story?
Not really! There was no purpose to the fight whatsoever. It's that and boroughs tend to fight each other and those guys were like, "We're from the Bronx -- fuck Queens!"
On a happier note, what would a Bastards of the Party theme night be like?
It would start off with us being too cool for school, we all sneak in whether it be alcohol or weed, and just keep to ourselves while everyone else is like, "Look at these assholes. How did they get in here?" That's like the sort of party we always crash.
Which celebrity party would you most like to crash?
P. Diddy is like my number one -- there's a couple of P. Diddy references in the album I make.
How would you crash one of P. Diddy's Hamptons parties?
I'd dress up for it, all white: I'm gonna have like canvas boat shoes, all white, no socks, with pants above the ankle with like a gold ankle bracelet. I've been picturing this moment all my life. I'd have like a deep V on the blazer to show off the chest hair and an excessive amount of chains.
Which rapper would you borrow the chains from?
I think Kanye West right now has a super tasteful amount of chains that are not like too big or too skinny. I'd definitely borrow some chains from Kanye.
How do you react when P. Diddy's bouncer tells you you're not on the list?
I'd say like, "Oh, back when Sean had the campaign for Vote Or Die I was running the campaign and I was part of the reason it went as hard as it did as I was running the street team."
Is that true?
Yeah, I did. And they'd be like, "Okay, it might be a mistake." Then you just point to the first dude's name on the list, say like it's my stage name.
Which song on the album would you like to suggest a drink for?
I'd probably say "Get Out." That song would be like E&J [brandy] straight. That's what it sounds like to me. The song is aggressive and depending on what you're looking for in the song you could be angry or happy, it could be a good night or a bad night, and that's how I feel when I drink E&J.
When was the first time you drank E&J?
First time I was probably like 17. I thought it tasted gross, this shit is disgusting! But it was cheap.
Were you inspired to drink E&J after listening to rap songs?
Of course. At that age, E&J and 40s was all that rappers talked about.
Was there any one particular rapper who is responsible for your E&J sessions?
Nas, like when he was saying, "I keep some E&J sitting bent up in the stairway."
Did you picture yourself as a young Nas drinking E&J?
Not really, I was more like, 'This shit sucks!'
If you met Nas now would you ask him about his old E&J days?
I would love to 'cause I drink E&J still. But you know he's probably so far removed from that point I'm pretty sure he hasn't sipped E&J in decades.
Do you think Nas needs to get back into E&J for the sake of his music?
Nah, 'cause if he was talking about sipping E&J in the stairway no one would believe him now. When was the last time Nas was sipping E&J in a stairway?
Maybe a couple of years ago when Kelis kicked him out?
Ha, maybe! Maybe he went on an E&J binge!
Being from Queens, who were the first rappers you idolized?
I don't think Diddy gets enough credit as a rapper and I know people are looking at me like I'm crazy for this, but that golden era of hip-hop, the Biggie era and the post-Biggie era, Diddy was everywhere. I remember being a little kid and thinking he was a genius and he's cool as shit and he looks like my uncle. He was just the man. I'd say Diddy was the first person in the rap world that I idolized.
Have you ever met Diddy?
Never. I'd like to though.
If you were in the studio with Diddy, what direction would you give him?
Honestly, if I was with Diddy I'd have nothing to say -- I'd want to hear everything he has to say. If I could get him to do some ad libs, like "Take that, take that," that would be it.
Why doesn't Diddy get as much respect as he should?
I think 'cause a lot of people don't understand his position in a lot of things. A lot of people talk about Bad Boy with like Diddy putting himself all up in the videos and you're gonna only get one album and that's gonna be it for you unless that one single hits. I don't really know if that's the case, but if Diddy gives me that opportunity to make that one album, it's gonna be the best album possible. I'm gonna be taking that chance. I think a lot of people misunderstand his position. At one point the biggest thing in hip-hop was the shiny suits and all that, then out of nowhere it became anti-shiny suit rap and all anti-commercial. But it has its place and its time: I don't wanna be in a party listening to Dead Prez. No disrespect to Dead Prez -- I'm a huge fan -- but I don't want to hear that at a party. I want to hear the Diddy-esque songs, the commercial shit. Everything has its place.
Have you ever owned a shiny suit?
Ha, ha, no, but if I had got one when I was like ten I'd have worn it every day. I'd have got a green one, like Mase. I remember seeing that and thinking, "Man, that green is clean."
The album ends with "Blacklisted." What would that be as a drink?
Probably something illegal. So maybe like a Four Loko. That's like the pre-game before you go to a party, you drink like two Four Lokos.
How would you describe the taste of it?
Like gasoline! It's very bad, like poison. You could probably definitely run a vehicle on Four Loko! That drink actually ran our lives in I'd say, like, 2010. Everyone would be in the studio and we'd all drink Four Lokos. We'd record everything in my basement.
How did that affect the music you were making?
It made us a lot closer. It also made us realize that we had to compartmentalize and say that we had to work out when it's time to hang out and when it's time to work. We could be here and turn it into valuable time or we can goof off and play NBA 2K all day. We wanted to work on something for the foreseeable future to better our lives. That plan worked for a while but I'd be there a lot of times -- I engineer a lot of the music -- and I realized I had to be the one that's always focussed 'cause it's my house and it's my comfort zone. I have to put all the bullshit aside and get work done.
What's the studio like?
We've changed it around a lot. When I first started it basically looked like my room but with a mic stand in it, but now I partitioned it off so it's an actual studio. It's The Cave, we call it The Cave. The Cave is cleaner now but there were times when it wasn't.
Does the remodeled Cave involve any Ikea furniture?
It's very helpful, man, you get a lot of cheap shit there. I plan to go back soon. A while back my computer desk was from Ikea, now I have those little seats, these pillar like seats, that are from Ikea. I have like four of them. If I had more money I'd be shopping there every weekend. It would be a problem, man. You get to sample a lot of great furniture there -- it's the Costco of furniture. You get to sit on the furniture, lay down, it's like Sleepy's but a hundred times better. Sleepy's is weird 'cause you lay in the bed but I don't know how many other people have been there. It's weird.
Would World's Fair ever do a song about Ikea, if the money was right?
This guy Nigel would shut the idea down straight away, like, "Nah, that's corny." It would be kinda cheesy. [Pauses] How much money we talking?
What if they paid you in as much free furniture as you wanted?
So like a 30-second quick song, yeah? Hell yeah! [Pauses] But this might mess with my image. People will be like, "This guy's doing Ikea stuff, he's meant to be the bastard of the party and now he's selling Ikea furniture."