Deductive reasoning tells me that my first time hearing Project Pat was probably Three 6 Mafia’s “Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp,” though my earliest memories of Pattuh are seeing the music video for “Chickenhead” on Rap City and hearing “Break Da Law 2001” on Funkmaster Flex’s 60 Minutes of Funk, Vol. 4. I don’t remember which of these happened first, but what I do know is that shortly after, I got my hands on Mista Don’t Play: Everythang’s Workin’, and it blew my fucking mind. I’d never heard anyone rap like Project Pat before, who bent lyrics by way of a roller-coaster ride of inflections over nightmare-style production from Juicy J and DJ Paul. Anyway, Project Pat headlined Santos Party House last week, and I met him for tacos in Brooklyn a few hours beforehand. He came into the interview on something of a dour note (he wasn’t hungry, for one, and I made him come to Brooklyn, for two), but he couldn’t help but soften up when he realized I knew every single thing about him. There were a lot of questions I planned on asking, but somehow, we just kind of ended up watching Adventures in Hollyhood on my laptop.
Noisey: How did you learn to rap so good?
Project Pat: The Hypnotized Minds thing was all Juicy’s dream. He brought me in to be a part of it, and I saw the money, so I came along, but I remember Juicy was always pushing me. Telling me, “Do something so that when you come on, they’ll know it’s you.” I used to have this little CD with all these nursery rhymes on it, actually there was two of these nursery rhyme CDs. So, I would listen to the melody of the nursery rhymes and replace the words in it with street words. That’s really how I started to rap. I’d swap the little kids' words out and put street words in there with the same melody. I used to do that a lot.
How did the second verse of “Chickenhead” get written?
I wrote it. I wrote Chat’s part, but Paul was the one who told me, “Why don’t you write something where you and her are going back and forth?” So I wrote it. Let me tell you something. I was just walking up behind this girl going over to my cousin's house. And she just… I don’t know man. Her hair was just fucked up, and she was just all fucked up. And I was like, “You’re just a chicken.” I was messing with her saying “Bawk Bawk,” and that’s how I made the song up. Went to the studio a day or two later and Juicy made the beat and we recorded the song. I knew it was a good song, but I didn’t know it was gonna sell a million copies. You could have never told me that.
And when did it go platinum?
It went platinum in like seven months. I was locked up, actually, when it went platinum.
I was locked up for the gun. I had been on parole, and then I got sent back for like five months, and by the time I got out, it had already gone platinum.