Exclusive interview with Stan Ipcus
First off, download Stan Ipcus’ fire remix of “Nothing To Worry About” along with Peter, Bjorn and John, here. Now that you checked his style, we’ll give you some info and background on the Ip. You might have heard him rhyming with Matisyahu on any of his many guest appearances or if you are really hardcore, Modular/Shemspeed you might have caught him back in the day on WMUC freestylin’ on Shemspeed founder, Erez Safar’s radio show. Either way, Shemspeed got down with Ip on some background checkin type of interview styles, check it here.
Q: How did you come up with Stan Ipcus? Did you really like “The Mask” THAT MUCH?
A: Actually it’s a nickname that was given to me back in high school by my boys. It was right around the time that The Mask came out on video. Kind of an inside joke, it’s hard to explain, but it stuck like crazy. We definitely were big Jim Carrey fans back then. Ace Ventura was my favorite movie in those days. The Mask is OK, not as good as Ace, but it’s funny to watch now just because of all the name drops. I started rapping around the same time I was given the nickname, so I just called myself on my songs what all my boys were calling me. Before that I was D-Nice, but there was already a rapper with that name so I figured I’d stick with Ipcus.
Q: A lot of the Jewish Rappers now Y-Love, Kosha Dillz, DeScribe, Nosson Zand…seem to have a mission to their music driven by their religion. Do you relate to that at all?
A: Not really. I’m not very religious, didn’t grow up religious either. I never went to Hebrew School or had a bar mitzvah. I did play basketball for the JCC though! I respect all those guys, I mean, I’ve performed with Nosson a couple times he’s a great guy, mad cool and funny. And of course Matisyahu is one of my best friends, we’ve known each other forever. I saw him go through his whole religious transformation, though truthfully he was always very spiritual. He’s always been a sparkseeker. And my boy Moshe from Shem’s Disciples, he’s very religious and a close friend of mine. Personally, it’s just not why I make music, and not what drives my content. I’m very into Jewish humor though, and that plays a big part just in my everyday wit which carries over into my music. Larry David, Woody Allen, my uncle Steve, my cousin Chris, my Pops, those Jewish jokesters have influenced my music more than any religious service ever did.
Q: What would you say is your biggest passion in music? What drives you to write?
A: I’m more driven by my own life experiences, my family and friends, relationships with women, music that I listen to, the area where I live and grew up, slang I use with my friends, my culture, stuff like that. I have my spiritual moments and songs with deeper meanings, but mostly I make music because I want it to sound ill. I want to make dope songs, with fly beats and sick lyrics. I grew up on NYC mixtapes, 90’s rap, with street beats and real cool lyrical content and styles. That’s the path I follow, but with my own influences and culture mixed in. Sharing my style of rap music with the world, what it is and where it comes from, is basically what I’m all about.
Q: We know that you grew up with Matisyahu in White Plains… What was that like?
A: White Plains is a really great place to grow up. Matis and I both came to White Plains as little kids via Berkeley, California, which is a crazy connection. Total coincidence, our families didn’t know each other before White Plains or anything like that. We grew up a few blocks from each other in a neighborhood called Highlands, which is in the middle of White Plains, very middle class. If you go down the hill one way, you’re at the housing projects. If you go the other way, you’re at some of the nicest golf courses in Westchester County. It was the best of both worlds, because it was a diverse community and we were exposed to alot right at home. Plus we could pop into NYC like it was nothing, on the train or in the whip, so we spent lots of time in Manhattan and the Bronx. Mostly all we did was play ball after school and on weekends, and go to parties and hang out with girls. My first times rapping for people were at parties over Matis beatboxing. We started together. Of all our friends, we were the ones who were the most into music. We’ve been performing together ever since, all through college, and still to this day through all his success, he still brings me out at his shows to rap. I mean, he put me on his Epic Records album, and I don’t even have a record deal! No one at his label even knew who I was. Actually, if you listen to our song “WP” it will tell you exactly what growing up in White Plains was like for us.
Q: You two have gone different directions in terms of music, you doing rap and Matis .. while sharing that rap style, you all have….rap seems to be something that he will throw into the mix once in a while.
A: Matis can rap, don’t get it twisted. But he can sing too, and beatbox, and he’s always been into live instrumentation and just sound in general. He’s a talented guy. Me, I’ve always been a rapper. The way I talk, the way I am. I’m just a rapper. It’s very natural, it’s not forced one bit. I love hip hop music, especially that real NYC street sound. I’m a big reggae head too, don’t sleep, and soul and indie rock and all that. And I play the piano, my moms a piano teacher. But rap is my bread and butter. I spit fire.
Q: That Peter Bjron remix is hot. What’s the story behind that?
A: Well I heard the song on Kanye West’s blog, and I thought immediately that it would be dope to rap to. So I looped up the break in the beat, and wrote a couple verses to it, arranged it into a rap song structure, and recorded it the next morning. Nahright.com posted it on their site about 5 hours after it was done. Isn’t the internet amazing? I really want the band to hear it, Kanye too. It’s gotten some great feedback. I’m a big indie rock head. I love The Shins, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, all that type of stuff. I listen to those bands more than I listen to any of the rappers out now.
Q: When is your next album coming out and is it on a label? if so, which?
A: Good question. Honestly, I’m unsigned. I have no manager, no booking agent, no producer, no nothing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my songs on major radio stations like Hot 97 and Shade 45 and the big hip hop blogs like nahright.com with no representation, but of course I would love to get paid to rap, and to release an official album. My last project, BACHELOR PARTY, I just put out for free via nahright.com. All my projects have been like that basically, with the exception of a single I have on Itunes called “Westcheddar” through one of my college friend’s indie label. That situation never amounted to anything. I’m talking to one indie label now about a new project, so we’ll see. It’s hard without management, no one take you seriously even if they do like you. I’ve been pursued by a bunch of big labels, they just never were the right fit. I’m in my own lane that’s kind of hard to figure out. I’m not a gimmick, so it’s confusing for people to grasp. Get at me though, I always have my eyes open for the right business situation. It just hasn’t come along yet. I do rap for the love though. I’ve always worked with the youth, and still do. That’s how I make my money, that’s my career, directing after school art and music programs for kids. But I was born to make rap music and I deserve the opportunity to do it professionally, it’s just tricky. The music industry is weird.
Q: Anything else you wanna share?
A: Yeah, check me out online. Go to myspace, check out my website, my youtube videos, my blog. I’ve got a lot of material out there, so if you’re into Stan Ipcus, there’s plenty on the web for you to enjoy. And thanks to Shemspeed for the love. Peace.