Oakland, CA — Hyphy, as coined by rapper Keak Da Sneak, is a musical movement that dominated the Bay Area in the early to mid-2000s. Although the spirit remains within the region, the movement tapered off towards the end of the decade. P-Lo is one of the few acts spearheading the spiritual movement within the Bay Area. His discography is chock-full of hyphy inspired slaps, just listen to “Put Me On Something” featuring E-40 or “Same Squad.”
Outside of providing guest verses for his friends like G-Eazy and ALLBLACK, "Somethin' Light" is P-Lo's first solo offering since his full-length project "PRIME" was released last July. "Somethin' Light" contains hella mainey high-pitched singing and ballad-type hooks enveloped in hyphy and slick verses. Here, P-Lo juxtaposed love-ballads with next-generation hyphy sounds. We talked to P-Lo and he breaks down how each of the songs came together on his latest offering, “Somethin’ Light.”
Sam: Walk us through the creation of 'Hella Fun.' Jay Ant's hook is so infectious, how'd that song come about?
P-Lo: We start with 'Hella Fun,' to me, it's like the evolution of Bay Area music. I think it has some elements from the Bay and it has elements that bring something new and something to elevate it. I feel like someone like Jay Ant, who is a forward-mind in Bay Area music, to be on it is special. It was cool because the song had the beat for a second. And me and my manager, David Ali, went to go grab some food and I was just like thinking about the beat like on the way to go get some food, so we ate. And when I came back to the studio, Jay Ant happened to be there. I was just like, 'Yo J, you think you could sing something.' I had pulled up the beat and he just started saying the hook. I guess it was an idea he already had written, and I was like, 'Bruh what if you just started singing it hella mainey.' Like lowkey on some high strung crazy shit. That's how the song came about. Not only as an artist but as a producer, I want to push the sonics of Bay music.
S: 'Luh U' is a catchy romantic ballad, tell us how that record came about.
P: 'Luh U' is a song written about a friend. Written about someone I found special. All of it's really cool. There's different versions of that song. There was a part of the song where it's just literally — I played those chords and built the beat out after I recorded the actual lyrics. Just catching the initial feeling from those chords is super important. On the song, it [those chords] gives you the romantic kind of lovey-dovey mood. Yeah. Then I ended up getting Bosco to do the top box on it, and Bosco is a super legend. He's famously known for playing the talk box on Kanye's 'The New Workout Plan.' They also sampled that for J. Cole's 'Work Out.' [He starts singing workout] Since then, he's made cleaner shit. But he's that dude, Bosco, is an alien. He's from out of this world. He's super dope.
S: What does it mean to have Bosco on a record?
P: Ah man, it was an honor because he has been around everyone. From John Legend to Kanye to Drake and T-Pain, everyone. He was actually telling me, like 'Yo man, I've been around Drake and I been around T-pain, Kanye, John Legend, before they were even who they were.' and he was like, 'Yeah man, I got a good feeling about you.' I feel like someone who's like been around those people and been around those people that are creative geniuses, you know what I'm saying. Just for him to be like, 'I have a good feeling about you,' is a rite of passage — an affirmation. So yeah I know that I'm just in the right place and that's where I was supposed to be at that time.
S: How did you and Bosco meet?
P: My engineer was like, 'Yeah I know the dude that plays talk box' because I’ve been looking for somebody who does it. My engineer, Miggy, was like 'Yeah, I know somebody, he's some OG dude named Bosco.' So I followed bro on the gram hella long ago. I ended up hitting him up on the gram 'Yo, you in L.A. anytime soon? I wanna get in with you and do some stuff.'
S: 'Type Beat.' What were you trying to prove with that record?
P: Oh bro, this is the record that really got a story for sure. So one of my patnas, I've known him for years, I'm not even gonna call him out but he's one of my great friends. I live in L.A., so he visits me every once in a while. We were just catching up, whatever, alright. He played a song and I'm asked, 'Who did this beat?' And he said, 'I don't know bruh. I found it on YouTube. I just searched P-Lo type beats because you wasn't giving me any beats. So I went on YouTube and found one.' I was like damn, that's fucked up. I was damn near taken aback. I was like, 'Damn bruh, you just gonna go around me?' But I wasn't even mad like damn this is a really good type beat because the song slaps.
Maya: That's crazy because you have a sound that defined that you can go on YouTube and search 'P-Lo type beat.' You're at that point; you've created a whole lane.
P: I mean, that's an honor itself.
S: So what happened after that?
P: After I found out the song slaps. I just went to the studio and I started making a beat and rapping, 'This ain't no type beat.' I just started going but that's where the whole inspiration for the song came from. The feeling that I got from that moment. I asked myself how do I capture that and put that into the song. Songs are just like moments that happen in your life and you've got to somehow like capture it and put it into song form.
S: I guess, piggybacking off that, what does 'Somethin’ Light' mean to you?
P: Yeah, I haven't released anything since last July. As far as project-wise, I just wanted to give people 'Somethin’ Light' before the actual thing comes. Something light is, you know, it's not too forced. Just something light, something for you, it's a light blessing. It's not too overbearing, just something light.