Every time Rolling Loud announces a new festival, there are a few artists that you can almost always expect to see on the lineup. One of those names belongs to Florida underground rap phenom, Pouya.
Ever since the inception of the world’s largest hip-hop festival, Rolling Loud, Pouya has been rocking the stage in Miami, California, New York, and everywhere in between. At this point, he’s a mainstay at Rolling Loud, performing fan favorites including “Suicidal Thoughts in the Back of the Cadillac,” as well as newer moshpit-friendly records like the Denzel Curry-assisted “Wig Split.”
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At only 26-years-old, Pouya has built a legacy for himself beyond just music, representing an underdog figure in hip-hop and rising out of the underground to become one of Florida’s most popular artists, despite never switching to a sound preferred by the mainstream. Pouya is still doing exactly what initially brought him to notoriety, and he continues to evolve as an artist, especially on his most recent album Blood Was Never Thick As Water.
Exploring different musical genres on the project, including jazz and other styles, Pouya stayed true to himself and opened up like never before. We caught up with the rapper backstage at Rolling Loud New York last month, where we spoke about his status as a Rolling Loud mainstay, his fitness journey, anxiety, the current state of Florida rap, and, of course, his new album.
Read the unabridged editorial copy of HNHH’s new interview with Pouya below, and catch him on tour with Jasiah before the year closes out.
Image provided to HNHH by the artist’s PR
HNHH: What was it like performing this year at Rolling Loud New York? And are there any differences between the crowd in Miami and in New York?
Pouya: The atmosphere is great, the energy is great. I feel like in New York, we really got to work hard to please the crowd. Somewhere like Miami, they don’t care. They just wanna turn up. But in New York, they wanna hear you, and if you’re not fire, they’re not gonna really… I knew going on stage that I was really gonna have to rap my ass off, or else they’re not gonna fuck with me.
Most definitely. You just dropped your new album, how’s everything going with that?
I just dropped my new album, Blood Was Never Thick As Water. It’s going great. It’s being received really well. About to go on tour— the tickets are selling, the merch is selling. I’m so blessed. I’m so grateful right now with how my album’s going. People really love it, and I’m honored.
How does your new album differentiate from your older catalog?
All my albums, I always try to step into a new world. If you listen to my albums, one album won’t sound like the last. It doesn’t mean that one album is particularly better than the other— they’re just different. I feel like this album is more jazzy. I did a lot of slower, jazzy… this album was more instrumental— a lot of saxophone, and violin, and piano. I was very inspired by the movie Taxi, the soundtrack for that movie. I really loved that soundtrack, and when I heard it, I was like, “I wanna try to incorporate these jazzy sounds with rap music,” and I feel like I did pretty well on the album.
Are you excited about the tour coming up? A few years back when you were going to Europe, you were talking about how your anxiety affected traveling for you.
I still deal with heavy anxiety before shows, but I’m still excited because the shows are great, and once I get on stage, all that anxiety goes away because the crowd shows me so much love. It’s before the shows where the anxiety hits. But I love it.
You’ve been working on your fitness this year, putting on some muscle and keeping your fans updated throughout the journey. What inspired the change?
Honestly, what really inspired that is I was just looking at myself one day and I was like, “I’m a scrawny little bitch, I need to get some muscles.” I love myself. I love the way I look regardless, but I was like, “I’ll probably look better with some muscles,” I’ll be healthier as well. It’s really more for the health. I knew it would help my anxiety. I knew it would help with depression and all types of mental issues. I knew it would be good for my life and that there would be benefits from it.
Absolutely. You’ve performed at so many of the Rolling Loud festivals at this point. What keeps you coming back?
I was there since the first-ever Rolling Loud. Matt and Tariq, the guys who run Rolling Loud, are really good friends of mine. They always take care of me, they always make sure I’m booked, they always put me on the best stages, they give me everything I want, they watch my set. I’m so grateful for those guys. I will always support Rolling Loud because they supported me from day one.
What do you think of the current state of Florida rap?
It’s great. We got a lot of great rappers. We got Denzel Curry, we got me, we got Fat Nick… Ski Mask the Slump God, DJ Scheme. There’s too many to count. It’s great. We all support each other, and it’s a family out there.
What’s coming up next for you?
Music videos— more music, more albums, more mixtapes, more touring. I feel like I’m nowhere near my pinnacle or peak yet. I feel like I got so much time to say what I got to say. Just more music.
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Check out more of our interviews from Rolling Loud last month, including “Fivio Foreign Provides Album Update & Speaks On Working With Kanye West At Rolling Loud NYC,” “SpotemGottem Declares DaBaby Had Best ‘Beat Box’ Remix,” “Rico Nasty Reveals She Lied About ‘Nightmare Vacation’ Follow Up Album, Shares Favorite Part About Rolling Loud,” “Coi Leray On Why She Picked DaBaby For ‘TWINNEM’ Remix & Justin Bieber Studio Session,” and “TheHxliday Is Switching Up His Sound & His Look.”