Many thousands of musicians from almost every genre of music will be in attendance this week in Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest Music Festival with the hope of creating waves, creating buzz and gaining new ears for their songs.
In the crowd this year is Little Rock rapper Pepperboy, his most recent album 3 Volleys, will be released on Tuesday.
“It’s gonna be something else,” says the slim soft-spoken Pepperboy who is sporting his signature camouflage bandana at the south-west corner of his Little Rock home on a bright Saturday afternoon.
This will be his first journey to SXSW the festival, which runs from Friday to March 17th. He’s going with his fellow Little Rock rapper and longtime friend 607 who he worked with on the recently released Mixed Messages EP.
“There’s a lot of people waiting to see me,” he declares. “It’s gonna be history.”
The show on March 14 scheduled for The Eastern 1511 E. Sixth St. located in Austin isn’t part the festival’s lineup however, it is an event hosted by Texas hip-hop brand and DJ Ghostpizza as well as Boston-based blog SteadyLeanin’.
“There is no one that sounds like Pepperboy,” says Miguel Nelson of Ghostpizza. “His work is consistent and solid. Pepperboy as well as his songs fits the style the show.”
Pepperboy real Name
It’s his real name, Jerry Davie. Pepperboy was a result of a take of Hot Boy. He was born at Little Rock, graduated from J.A. Fair and then attended Philander Smith College for a few years.
Hip-hop was always in the air in his childhood, and his most favored artists included Ice Cube and Master P however it wasn’t until he was serving for four years in the Varner and Tucker units of the Arkansas prison system, convicted of drugs and weapons charges that music was something he believed could be able to do.
His prison release in 2001 was followed by his debut in 2002 Straight Off The Block.
“When I was locked up, that was my goal, to get out and do music,” the singer declares. The first album provided him with the confidence he needed go on.
“My name began to bubble all over the neighborhood, and I kept going with it. I was sure I was carrying something. I heard a message through my songs.”
This message is partly, to stay clear of certain of the routes he’s taken.
“Don’t go down that road,” he advises. “There can be some bad consequences.”
He’s released an album every year from 2002 except for 2005, when he was caught through a bout writers block.
The album he released in 2012, Days of Grace, attracted the attention of Spin magazine, which called it among the top recorded albums of the year.
“If he’s part of rap-gone chillwave,” wrote the writer Brandon Soderberg, “it’s because the openness of the scene has allowed for the old soul to get through. With his savant-like honesty, is a man who gets up every day and is able to feel the suffering and pain of the world before he returns inside and tries to beat it out.”
Childhood friend and production partner Feezio from Little Rock calls Pepperboy a “street poet. Every single thing he creates is unique. He doesn’t make anything up. He’s the most authentic rapper I’ve ever met. He’s seen so many things through life and knows what he’s aiming to achieve.”
He received the honor of a shout-out (along along with Nas) in the form of Berkeley, Calif., rapper Lil B and provided the beat for Lil B’s “My Life,” and in an MTV.com interview on Little Rock hip-hop notables, rapper SL Jones said Pepperboy was a legend living on, who was an “great storyteller, and you can feel his pain.”
Pepperboy represents the Southern part of Oakland’s Green Ova label, which also has the artist and Pepperboy co-founder and head of the label Squadda B.
The first time he heard about Pepperboy on the internet, Squadda says.
“He does not make a fuss” ***,””, he says when asked what is it in the style of Pepperboy that makes him stand out.
Pepperboy is a cloud-rap artist in the subgenre. Beats producers upload to him online. The beats are usually ethereal or ambient. His lyrics are based on current events.
3 Volleys explores topics such as the terror attacks on September. 11th, 2001 and terrorism; war and The Battle of Mogadishu that inspired the movie Black Hawk Down; the Boston Marathon bombings; street life, and even Anne Frank.
“It’s the album I always wanted to make,” he adds.
Many of his recordings can be found at his band camp site, bandcamp.com/tag/pepperboy, and at greenovasouth.com.
“I’m hyped about that,” said the actor about Austin. Austin show. “When the people see me, it’s gonna be big, man.”