An Interview In Which Californian Rapper Antwon Diagnoses Me With Depression


This story is over 5 years old.


An Interview In Which Californian Rapper Antwon Diagnoses Me With Depression

We also talk about minions, jail time, and dressing as a giant pumpkin for money.

All photos by Alex Johnstone

Antwon is one of those people who makes enough money to be a full time musician, touring and writing, but not quite enough money to be rich as fuck. That being said, he did have a sizeable wad of cash in his wallet when we met.

We met, during his Australian tour, in the middle of the Botanical Gardens in Sydney on an extremely hot day. Under the shade of a tree, we talked about The Twilight Zone, fraternities, and the fact that I probably have depression.


Where to begin: Is there an album coming out soon?
Yeah. I been working all last year and this year on it. I have two things coming out—a sort of, album before the album, and then the album, probably by spring next year. It's all fully produced by the same person, XXC.

What's it sounding like? 
I don't know… I don't really like to describe sounds, like….

I suppose the sounds should speak for themselves. Which is why interviewers are useless. 

Album reviews also. My entire livelihood. 

What have you been listening to?
A lot of metal and a lot of rap. I been listening to a lot of The Softies' stuff, Tiger Trap, that kind of stuff.

Have you ever done a punk rock jump? 
A punk rock jump?

Yeah, like when you jump in the air and one leg is tucked under you and the other is sticking out the front? 
Oh yeah! I used to when I was a little kid, I used to do that all the time! I used to stage dive and stuff but I did it so much that I think it kinda wrecked me.

I think it's really bad for your knees. 
Hell yeah.

I did the punk rock jump many times at Listen Out recently. I drank a lot and got a bit excited. Segue: Do you play many festivals?
I've only played like a couple. I was supposed to play the festival circuit this year but I had a shitty booking agent and he didn't put the proper forms in.

Hmm… That seems like… their main job.
Yeah this guy sucked.

How do you fire someone from your team?
Oh my manager does that. He's a really great manager.


What's the best movie you've watched this year?
I watched the Jake the Snake documentary, it was really good.

I don't know what that is. 
He's a wrestler.

Cool. Have you ever watched the Minions movies?
Hell yeah! I'm down with the minions. Very down with the minions.

Are you being serious? 

Do you have a favourite minion?
Is Bob the one that plays guitar? He's my favourite. The minions are tight. They're very positive.

You really love them.

Would you adopt one as a pet?
As a friend, yeah. They're so loyal!

There's very popular theory about the minions: Because they always work for the most evil ruler of the time, some people think they would've worked for Hitler.
True. True. I think they did.

So actually, the minions are not tight. They might be evil.
In theory they're tight, but in practise, they're evil. Isn't everything?

Am I kink shaming you?
Ha! Minions are a kink?

I don't know, but there are definitely people on the internet who are into minions in a sexual way.

Yeah I've seen drawings of them like, with fishnets and eyelashes, and wearing lingerie. 
Oh my god, sexy minions? Ha!

I saw these hand-knitted thongs on Etsy for men, and you put your dick in the minion part of your underwear….
Why would they do that?

I don't know. 
I would never.

I wonder how many people have minion tatts…
I don't know, but I should get one — somewhere you wouldn't see it.

What's your dumbest tattoo?
I have a tattoo of a pizza, like a stick n poke, from 2010. Me and my friend used to eat pizza a lot. I would wait for him to get off work and I didn't have no money, so I'd meet him at the pizza place and then we'd go back to my crib and smoke weed. I lived on a couch in Philadelphia and it was during the winter and shit. It was wild. It was my first time living in snow, I'd never done that before.


I don't know how people do it.
They don't, they move to California.

True. What was the worst job you ever had?
I held a sign at Togo's, like a sandwich shop. Oh I also held a sign at another one, but it was Halloween so I had to wear a pumpkin suit that went up to my neck and then just past my knees. The job wasn't even that bad, though. It was the fucked up shit I would see. People would drive by and be like "Faggot!"

Oh man…
And one time I saw this guy beat up his girlfriend and then just drive off. So I'd see all this shit and—

—You're just stuck there in your pumpkin.
Yeah, it was fuckin' weird. You'll see everything in the world if you just sit on one street corner and just stay there.

What city was that? 

Fuck, some extremely intense shit is going down in Silicone Valley. We we talking about Downtown LA before, that place is crazy. It feels like everyone is on the craziest drug…
Yeah, some of them. Some of them just wanna live on the street.

Oh really?
Yeah. When I went to jail there was a lot of homeless people there. I didn't know they were homeless at the time, because when you're in jail you're wearing the same shit, but then I'd see them on the street later, when I got it. It makes sense, because when you go to jail you can literally get healthcare for free. They'll say, you know, "you gotta pay this" but you don't actually have to pay it. It doesn't really matter if you're just gonna go back to jail.


What did you go to jail for? 
I went to jail for graffiti.

That's fucked up. If it wasn't prison, it would be good to get away from the real world for a while. I sometimes just want to get hit by a car or something so I can go to hospital and take some time off. 
I knew someone who got hit by a car and all their bones broke in their body and they were in a full body cast. And they had to pull the plug. You don't really wanna get hit by a car. Do you?

Kind of. 

Maybe I just wanna get cryogenically frozen. 
You just wanna sleep for a really long time?

For a really long time. 
You sad?

You got depression.

I just don't like how much you have to talk to other people all the time, in life. 
I feel that. This sounds like a Twilight Zone episode, like somebody says "I don't wanna talk to people" then they find a number, and it says Don't Want to Talk to People? Sign Up Now! And they take your voice box out and give it to people that are mute and stuff…

That's good. It sounds like an episode of Black Mirror
Yeah, true.

They kind of predicted the future of Britain with the episode where the Prime Minister fucks the pig. Like, David Cameron really did put his penis inside the mouth of a pig…
That's a real thing?

Yeah! He did it when he was getting hazed at University I think.
Yo that's wild. …Why the hell would you wanna be in a frat?

I don't know. 
It's like the worst thing ever. They're the shittiest people ever. Literally. They have like, crazy history of violence and abuse and racism and shit.


Frats are like the personification of that meme where there's a bunch of boys in different coloured pastel chinos and the caption is like "You can't arrest me, my dad's a lawyer." 
I literally have seen that. I played a show in Athens, Georgia, and there were multiple groups of guys just wearing the exact same thing in different colours.

I don't get it. What would you study if you went to college?
I wanted to do women's hair. My friend Tim was in the West Bay and he was doing women's hair and making tonnes of money. He was like a punk dude who just made hella money cutting hair. That's what I wanted to do.

You wanted to make money or cut hair?
I wanted to make money. Then I went to jail.

Are you doing what you want to do now?
I think this enables me to do what I want to do. I like to record, a lot. I like finding people and coming up with new ideas, it's really fun. That's my favourite thing.  if I meet someone and we fans of each other's music, I'll be like "we can go to my space and record." Sometimes it's cool and sometimes it's kind of awkward and weird. I'm kind of a shy person so it helps hanging out with people.

What about touring?
Being on the road is really cool but I get like a machine, you know? I'll just sleep wherever: in the back of the venue if I have to.

When did you move to L.A.?
Like two years ago.

Do you think there's any city you could live in forever?
No way! That's probably why I like to be on tour. It's just good to get away for a second. Right now feel like I'm on vacation rather than on tour. This is the first time I've been able to be around stuff like this — beaches, nature, you know? Usually if I take a vacation, I'll go to New York, but you can't really vacation in New York.


No. So if you could collab with anyone who would you like to collab with? You can say minions by the way, just so you know.
Yeah, off top: Minions. And Shaq, Shaquille O'Neil. Maybe Barack Obama?

Did you ever want to be famous, or did you just wanna be rich?

It sometimes feels like… Why be alive if you don't get famous and be rich?
For reals. I don't know, being rich is whack. Being famous is cool, 'cause I don't have to pay for shit. That's what I like.

One of life's biggest paradoxes: When you can finally afford it, it no longer costs anything. What's the best thing you ever got given for free? 
Maybe like a Beats pill? That was cool.

Yes! I feel like they are giving those out willy nilly. No offence. 
Yeah, true. But I use that shit.

What would you do if someone gave you a voodoo doll of yourself? 
I'd burn it.

Follow Antwon on Soundcloud