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Topr and Conceit – Moving on to Gurp City


Next Friday, May 16 San Francisco rapper, TOPR, will arrive with his crew – Dick Nasty, Foul Mouth Jerk (GFE), and ATM – ready to perform with Denver’s Input and Drzen at the Kaffeine Buzz Street-2-Screen graffiti and hip-hop party at Falcon Bowl. But first – Kaffeine sat down with TOPR and Conceit, who are both local legends in San Francisco Bay Area rap and are united in their focus on expanding the recognition of themselves and their crew while maintaining an allegiance to the self-motivation of independent hip-hop that is undeniably the most singular influence on their style. Well, that and maintaining a healthy buzz…

The two rappers have collaborated on numerous singles, mix-tapes, albums, groups, and expansive crews during their years in San Francisco.

Having just disbanded his Strangeface collective (which included TOPR and dozens of other members), Conceit recently took first place in a YouTube Video contest, winning him an Interscope record deal and $10,000 from Guitar Center. As a result, he also garnered attention from local press and, via the internet, from individuals all over the world.

TOPR is currently working on his fifth album as a solo artist, and has worked on two full-length collaborations (one with Conceit and one with Foul Mouth Jerk) as well as numerous featured appearances on other artists’ albums and on mix-tapes. His discography alone is impressive for an unsigned artist, and his skill and talent are a further surprise that he remains independent. Having got his early performance footings as one of the house acts at San Francisco’s now closed Maritime Hall, Top has opened for huge acts like KRS ONE, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Kool Keith, Goodie Mob, Mix Master Mike and Z-Trip

Silver-tongued banter comes naturally to the two rappers, raised on freestyles and street-side battles next to their local watering holes. Peppered with foul language, Nanny 911 would be hopelessly outdone in the house of Gurp City, as the phrase ‘fuckin-ahhhh…’ replaces ‘umm…’ and nearly every sentence ends with ‘…and shit.’

They finish each other’s sentences constantly. The eternal dialogue with this duo (and the rest of the Gurp City crew, for that matter) is an endless piston-like rattle that frequently crescendos in agreement, where both parties are saying the exact same words at the same time in a battle simply to see who can say them the loudest. In unison, the thundering peaks compound their individual knacks for being irrefutably convincing; and as the liquor flows (and it does) the thunder gets louder and more regular—and more hysterical, indeed.

Kaffeine Buzz: Let’s start off with some background on Gurp City and how you got involved.

TOPR: Gurp City is the brainchild of Thuggie Fresh, from Chico. He used to bring artists that he was into up there to do shows…

Conciet:: …like Z-man, Eddie K, Sacred Hoop…

TOPR: …local Frisco stuff. And I had known Sacred Hoop and those guys for years cuz I used to do stuff at Stanford in Palo Alto where fuckin’ Luke Sick’s from, so I knew them. And then me, Z-Man and Boac did Warped tour two years ago. Conceit drove for part of it, but he got food poisoning or some shit…

Conceit: Yeah.

TOPR: …Half way through…

Conceit: I bitched out, so…

TOPR: …We needed a driver. So Thuggy stepped up, and that’s how I got hooked up with [Gurp City]. I started going up to Chico and doin’ shows with Z-man and those guys up there…

Conceit: …And then I went with TOPR and basically the cycle began. They were always doing the Gurp City thing; but at that point they were trying to take it more seriously, and pushing it outward—more than just like a Chico thing…

TOPR: What it comes down to is, it’s a group of artists that this certain crew of people in Chico were really into. A lot of [the Gurp crew] used to go see me with the Earthlings at Maritime Hall. They’ve always listened to Eddie K, Z-man and Luke Sick. When I started kickin’ it with those guys more it all gelled. It’s not like everyone sat down one day and said ‘this it what it is;’ it just kinda happened. Thuggy moved down here while I was working on Legalize Murder, and G-Pek—who was his partner—made a lot of the beats for that. I started bringing Conceit around more, and we all became tighter and tighter.

KB: What’s the official tally of people on Gurp City?

Conceit: It’s a lot.

TOPR: It’s not like you can just name them all right now.

Conceit: It’s a collective…

TOPR: …Of artists. There’s like, punk bands involved in it, like One In The Chamber, and…

Conceit: …There’s MC’s producers, DJ’s…

TOPR: …Bloggers…

Conceit: …Artists…

TOPR: …Journalists…

Conceit: …Web designers.

TOPR: But musically, Gurp City All-Stars is the core group. That’s me, Conceit, Eddie K, Z-man, Brandon B, Luke Sick of Sacred Hoop, DJ Mars, DJ Quest and G-Pek on production.

Conceit: Like we said, a lot of people are in it, but right now the focus is on the cats that are tryin’ to get the shit out there.

KB: TOPR, when did you get involved with the Earthlings?

TOPR: I met them when I was pretty young—like 16 an’ shit. That’s me, Bootleg, Boac, Dick Nasty, Safari… A bunch of those guys have moved away and stuff; but that’s pretty much the group I came up with performing at Maritime Hall.

KB: Was Maritime Hall the only spot for hip-hop at the time?

Conceit: It wasn’t the only, but as far as a large venue that brought quality artists out, that was the only spot. There were other paces like Kennel Club—which is now The Independent.

TOPR: The (Oasis)

Conceit: …and DV8. There was a lotta clubs, but they focused on smaller independent acts, or up-and coming acts that were getting their name out; but as far as seeing bigger acts and hip-hop legends, Maritime was the only place.

TOPR: Maritime had a capacity of like 2,400; and at the time (fuckin, ahh…) Bill Graham owned all the major venues and he wouldn’t book hip-hop, he wouldn’t book punk rock, and he wouldn’t book reggae. Basically, other clubs assumed there would be violence if they booked black artists or punk bands.

KB: Some clubs still won’t book certain acts for the same reason.

TOPR: Well, there’s still turf music where violence does break out.

Conceit: But it’s also a matter of having the right security.

TOPR: At Maritime, like, Wu Tang would play and we’d have turf fools in the crowd; but the shows would go off without a hitch.

Conceit: It’s a matter of having mad security…

TOPR: …and just knowing how to handle the crowds and shit. So Maritime offered a larger venue for national acts who weren’t even playing those size venues anywhere; and they also had a lot of local openers. That’s how I came up—around cats like 7 Gen, Bored Stiff, Hiero, and Living Legends. A lot of those guys got their start opening at Maritime. Now everyone books tours as a package and local acts rarely get to perform at big capacity venues.

Conceit: It’s kind of a shame, cuz for the City, that was a huge stepping stone.

TOPR: And, there’s no all-ages venues anymore either; Maritime was all-ages.

Gurp CityKB: Conceit, you were the head of Strangeface crew until it recently dissolved. Can you give some background on that?

Conceit: It was like ’99/2000, Strangeface started out as a collective. At that time I was in a group called Underground Prophets with four or five members of Strangeface, including Optic, Wordsmith, Rush… but I’d been in numerous groups throughout the years, and during the time I’d been doing music, I had friends that did music too, and different collectives that I knew throughout the City and throughout the Bay Area. It seemed like everyone was pushing toward the same goal, but not working together on it. So it became, over the years, different people that I worked with—that I respected—as well as the group I was currently working with. It became a network that I put together with cats who were like, ‘alright, look, we got DJs, we got producers…’—kinda like the Gurp City thing— ‘these cat’s that MC, and we’re all on the same page; we’re workin’ to the same common goal.’

TOPR: Basically, it was all Conceit’s friends.

Conceit: It wasn’t really like a group, ya know; it’s not like a gang, but it’s some shit we can all rep. While everyone had their solo careers and careers, and did what they do, in the meantime it’s a collective that’s pushing towards something, like we’ll do a mix-tape and book shows and whatnot. Also, if you come to Frisco and you ain’t from here, and you go to some shit, you holler out ‘Strangeface’ most likely there’s somebody there.

TOPR: Also, back in the day there used to be open mics at Java House on 5th and Clement (then moved to Rockin’ Java on Haight) every Monday—for all ages—would open the mic up and fools would be able to get a couple verses freestyling. A lot of the Strangeface cats went to the open mics and sharpened their skills.

Conceit: A lot of us knew about each other, but there we were actually sittin’ and talkin’ face-to-face. Top and Megabusive battled there back in the day and ended up both bein’ in Strangeface.

TOPR: The thing ended at 10:00, and we’d all go get 40s and just freestyle and drink in the park. That’s how we got to know each other. It’s also how drinking got so deeply engrained in the Strangeface mythos.

Conceit: Strangeface was about music, but it was also kind of a bond. We’d be out partying, working on music, freestylin’ or seeing each other in the streets or at clubs or at parties, you know. We’d either be rappin’ or drinkin’.

TOPR: Usually doin’ both.

Conceit: There were people who just gettin’ started, getting’ serious about making music, and there were people who were established, like Top.

TOPR: We were two of the older members. When we met Rush and Optic and Wordsmith, they were like 18, 19. We ended up in the park drinkin’ and freestylin’ cuz they couldn’t get into the clubs and shit.

Conceit: Because they were underage they wouldn’t normally be able to book shows. We’d book shows and actually get ‘em into the clubs so they’d get the exposure. But the whole time it was just a collective. It was my baby—my brainchild.

KB: Is there any other group around that’s—loosely, but nonetheless—organized like that?

Conceit: Bored Stiff is a group and a collective. There’s different cats; there’s Think Beat (Secluded Journalists), Gas Mask Collective… but those are still smaller, like three member groups, four member groups. Bored Stiff is like a seven man team.

TOPR: Seven Gen.

Conceit: Actually, Seven Gen was a crew that was around in the ‘90s in Frisco that was members of Board Stiff and different collectives, but they disbanded.

TOPR: There’s probably a lot of other collectives out there; but we probably don’t pay attention to ‘em too much.

Conceit: Honestly, I gotta say, Strange ran shit for a large period. I mean, we still do. Strange was like 30 members at one point. Not everyone was artists, but…

KB: And you guys just disbanded.

Conceit: It’s still there in the heart. We’re still friends. It’s all cool. It just came to a point where everyone believed in it the way that they used to; and everyone was goin’ their separate ways—which is what it was intended to do: to get everybody on they’re feet.

KB: We thought you did this to get famous.

Conceit: Yeah. (Both laugh.) People still get on me about that shit. They’re like, did you plan this shit? This shit popped off like, right after we disbanded. (Referring to Conceit’s recent YouTube success and resulting recognition on the front page of San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook and elsewhere.) It was just to a point where, I look at it like ‘I love ya’all, and, I don’t wanna hate y’all. And the way we’re headed…’ I held my tongue on a lot of things and it finally came to a point where I was like, ‘I don’t like what we’re doin’ with this, so I’m backing out of it.’

TOPR: You also have Gurp City All-Stars, which are all older, more established musicians like us, who all kinda have the same view on music cuz we all grew up in the same era, and we all have been doing it for a long time, and all respect each other’s music. There’s no older brother-little brother goin’ on there. We’re all kind of in the same boat. We’ve all kinda been underground legends in the Bay. We’ve been tryin’ to do shit for a long time.

Conceit: That wasn’t my reason for pullin’ outta Strange, but I can slightly say that’s the step I woulda liked things to move forward to, and Gurp City is definitely pushin’ it a little more serious.

TOPR: Gurp City is more on the same wavelength I am as far as what I wanna do with the next couple years of my life.

Conceit: And, more-so, everybody’s on the same page. It’s like he said. Me and the cats—everybody in Gurp City has put in their dues and gone through all these experiences. It’s cats with common goals, knowing what they gotta deal with and knowing what they wanna do. Strangeface, it was great. It was nuts.

TOPR: Strangeface was a lotta young bucks, and we brought up those young bucks; and now those young bucks are older and they don’t need us to bring them up anymore. They got their own shit goin’ on. You gotta let the birds outta the nest. We’re some old men hanging out with some other old men now.

TOPRKaffeine Buzz: Bay Area rap is starting to get some serious recognition these days. Who do you see coming up on the horizon—besides yourselves, of course?

Conceit: (Laughs.) This asshole named TOPR, You gotta Love ‘im. No, look… the Bay Area has always been on the rise. On the national radar, it hasn’t—the Hyphy movement helped build a lotta that—but financially and successfully, as independent labels, the Bay has been self-suffucient for the longest period of time. That why you almost don’t see ‘em on the radar, cuz you got companies like Hiero[glyphics] or Quantum or Sick Wit It Records or Git Lo.

TOPR: Stones Throw.

Conceit: Things of that nature. So the Bay has been on the rise; it’s just that on a mainstream perspective it hasn’t. As far as that goes—the hyphy movement—I have nothin’ against how it started. Now it’s a little played out, and you can fuckin’ quote me on that. But like, E40’s bringin’ up a lotta tight talent, you know; I mean Turf Talk is one of my favorite dudes outta here. A-wax is another dude—and that’s mob shit—but I grew up on that shit, so I like it. As far as independent shit, there’s a lotta groups. Besides myself and TOPR over here who’ve been killin’ it…

TOPR: It’s almost like two different genres of music. It’s all hip-hop, but we’re doin’ more traditional breakbeat sample/loop-based rap music and shit.

Conceit: We’re not playin’ shit that’s marketably as cohesive as some of the other music is. Right now what they wanna pick up is not the music we wanna do, but we’re starting to see a change with that.

KB: Do you think that the radio popularity of the Dirty South is part of the reason Hyphy got recognized?

Conceit: It’s like the Bay is getting its just due late, because, like, the Crunk movement is kinda based off old Bay Area sound. The old Bay Area sound is heavy 808s and synths and sample-based; it was heavy 808 old Too Short. They were on that type of level, and the South kinda flipped it—gave it a twist, blew it up—and then Hyphy came back and was the Bay doin’ what they normally do but speedin’ it up. It was here first.

TOPR: You always hear Hyphy artists comparing themselves to Crunk. All the terms Hyphy and Crunk are is marketing terms.

Conceit: Exactly.

TOPR: Really, Hyphy is just faster mob music. It’s an easy umbrella to put over it for those fools to have a little solidarity—they can come together and be seen as a movement. Unless you give something a genre—an umbrella name, you not gonna get the media. The media didn’t start talking about the resurgence…

TOPR and Conceit (in unison): …of Bay Area music…

TOPR: It never went anywhere. It’s the same guys who were blowin’ up in the early 90’s doin’ Bay Area music are STILL making Bay Area music.

Conceit: The Hyphy movement IS E-40. E-40’s been killin’ it since I was in middle school. It hasn’t changed.

TOPR: But now it’s something where you can go, “There’s a movement; there’s a ‘Hyphy’ movement.” Everybody can rally around it. The fans rally around it. People start believing the hype. It’s just another term for Bay Area turf music.

Conceit: As far as cats comin’ up, cat’s have been comin’ up; but as far as cats getting focused upon—as far as underground hip-hop—we haven’t swooped that, nationwide.

TOPR: As far as traditional, B-Boy, breakbeat style hip-hop, the Bay Area doesn’t really get looked at… except for Hiero and shit.

Conceit: …And there’s plenty of it out here. That’s the whole hype. There’s like a cornucopia.

TOPR: Look at Sacred Hoop. They were a huge part of the mid- to late 90’s 12 record revolution, where 12-inch records, for DJ’s and independent rap, was how that stuff was getting pushed the hardest. Sacred Hoop was a really big part of that in the Bay Area.


TOPR and Conceit are two of the long-lasting—and remaining—legendary underground rappers in San Francisco. Both are long-time representatives of the Gurp City crew, both have prolifically put out music over the years—in collaborations and solo—and both are still running their game in Frisco and elsewhere today, as hard or harder than ever.

TOPR recently released his first video, for “Security Security” and is currently wrapping up the recording of his fifth LP, aptly entitled Marathon of Shame (a reference to the glorious ‘walk of shame’ we have all had to make after a night of drunken debauchery; TOPR apparently has made a living out of this walk.) And Conceit recently won a YouTube video contest, proving that the music is still important with his visually stripped down offering for “Scissors and Glue.”

When we last chatted, the duo schooled us on their history and the artists they came up with. Conceit recently disbanded his Strangeface crew which included TOPR and countless others (incidentally, SF Weekly’s 2007 ‘Best Drunken Hip-Hop Crew’) and is currently focusing on Gurp City and his solo work, while TOPR is gearing up for his biggest year of touring armed with Marathon…

In this session we pick up where we left off, discussing the bigger picture of Hip-hop, digging a little deeper; and we get some opinions and advice on how to not necessarily make it… but at least survive—to at least make a living—as an artist in the dynamically changing world of music.

KB: How do you make the leap, or do you even want to?

TOPR: With Atmosphere and Living Legends and stuff, it’s just a matter of being at the right time and the right place. There was a time in, like 2000/2001, that underground rap music was cool with the kids. It was part of the youth culture trend. Listening to underground rap music was hip. When I lived in Asheville, North Carolina, I met cats out there who were listening to underground rap music from the Bay. [Atmosphere and Living Legends, etc.] got in on that wave, had enough product out to take that popularity and build off of it—and blow off of it. Atmosphere was one of the only groups from the Midwest doing that shit. They were able to build a huge fan-base, so by the time trends started to die off, they situated themselves at that time in such a way that they could sustain.

Conceit: It’s all so plain and simple. The market wasn’t as flooded. At that time—and it goes for main stream music; it goes for underground music—the market is flooded as fuck right now. With the upgrades in technology—as far as, like studio equipment—you used to have to really save your money and go to a studio if you wanted to have clean songs. With computer programs and upgrades in home studios, everyone can go and rap.

KB: Everybody’s a DJ, everybody’s a journalist.

Conceit: It’s really tough right now because those groups you spoke of struck before the resources had been tapped; now it’s tough to stand out. I don’t have huge expectations for shit, because I try to do things and get what I want out of it immediately.

TOPR: I don’t have expectations cuz I’m a loser and I know shit’s not gonna work out. We’re old men!

Conceit: We’re grown-ass men, but we’re degenerates. We’re degenerate old men AND we’re jaded, to put it perfectly honest. We’ve been through so much shit with this fuckin’ music industry, whether it’s on levels of record deals or just basic bullshit in the industry, you get to a point where you’re like ‘I’m gonna make my music and try to do exactly what I do, as well as have some sort of a business mind about it.’ We’re gonna make the most of it, but we don’t expect to be handed shit.

TOPR: We’re not bright-eyed, bushy-tailed fuckin’ stars in our eyes with the dream of bein’ a major label, like, Eminem or some shit…

Conceit: …on MTV doing Spring Break. If that happens, you bet your ass I’ll be there. With a beer bong. But I’m saying, at the same time, that’s not the motivation. The motivation is, we know what we do; and we’re good at what we do.

TOPR: You just get it to as many people who will listen to it. Street musicians now have fucking CDs. Like the dude with some shitty flow at the BART station’s got a fuckin’ CD.

Conceit: You gotta give the BART kids their props though. They got hustles. Powell Street, they got the dude who’s got the CDs, but he’s got a street team of like five dudes.

TOPR: The kind of music we make isn’t for everybody, cuz most people are fuckin’ robots.

Conceit: If this type of music was played on the radio, we probably would be what mainstream music is; but there’s a catch to it, because people aren’t complete robots. It’s just that not everybody takes music as seriously as we take it.

TOPR: With the changes that the music industry is making, in terms of technology, you don’t have people buying the albums and reading the liner notes. It’s not just that the market’s flooded with people making music, it’s the way people’s intake of music completely changes. You have people who used to buy an album—who used to listen to it, and you’d read the liner notes, and you’d see who made what—basically everything about that experience… An album was an album, was an ALBUM. Now music is listened to in bits and pieces, and samples. You download these two fuckin’ songs off of a blog.

Conceit: You don’t—get—the whole package.

TOPR: The kind of music I’m into, every album’s a fuckin’ concept from beginning to end—how an album is supposed to be heard.

Conceit: It’s like watching a movie and falling asleep three fourths of the way through or half way through it. That’s what people do now.

TOPR: …Or like walking into a fucking conversation and listening for five minutes and then walkin’ away; and thinking after that five minutes you got the whole entire gist of an hour-long fuckin’ conversation. And it doesn’t even add up. That’s why so many people are making bite-size music. They’re making songs that are easy to hear once.

Conceit: It’s like MF Doom, lessening the length of shit. You got Doom doin’ songs that are like a verse…

TOPR: He only does one-verse songs.

Conceit: …or two verses and no hook, and like, you’re out. To consumers and people, that’s new shit; but as far as old four-track shit… Yeah, you do songs like that, but now cats have to. ‘OK, cool; here’s this real quick.’ It’s like an A.D.D. nation.

TOPR: Traditionally music was always made by the people with the best record collections; and that goes with everything. That goes with rock music. It’s the people who know the good obscure bands who are influenced in a certain way to make good fuckin’ music. With hip-hop, it’s people who know the fuckin’

Conceit: …Their past! The PAST!!

TOPR: They know they history. They fucking make good music. Now, that’s completely swept under the table. You have a whole generation of kids who don’t do homework; or, because of the way music is bought, consumed and marketed, there’s no past or future. It’s just this instant gratification. It’s fast-food music. You don’t have music connoisseurs like you used to have.

KB: How do you approach marketing yourself in this atmosphere?

TOPR: Adapt.

Conceit: You do. You have to adapt. I’m a die-hard, like ‘fuck you, I don’t have to pass the torch. I like things the way they were.’ But to realize, like… to succeed, there’s ways. You have to fight fire with fire. Find out what this industry’s working with, find the loophole and use that. Number one rule: Keep making quality music, cuz at the end of the day that wins over all of the bullshit out there. But there are ways. Thuggie Fresh started Gurp City Digital to get us technologically up there.

TOPR: Licensing.

Conceit: Myspace. Back in the day, there was no Myspace. If you paid dues or people knew about you, it was cuz you got your shit in those people’s hands.

KB: True, but that’s still DIY. The way the market is changing is that everyone now has to market themselves the way you always have.

TOPR: Quote me. ‘Myspace pays my rent.’

KB: Record sales?

TOPR: Not just record sales. Booking, touring…

Conceit: There’s so many options with Myspace. There’s producers that hear your music from other places that send you free beats.

TOPR: …Or someone who handles their local scene. You connect with them through Myspace and then you network through them.

Conceit: I liked Friendster.

TOPR: Myspace is corny in the sense that any asshole who makes an album can make a Myspace page, add a million friends, but they don’t have real fans. They just spam the shit out of it. For a real artist who’s dedicated to finding who their real fanbase is, there’s no stronger way to connect than to have some form of one-on-one conversation with them.

Conceit: And you can give people music directly, instantly. I do a song today; I can have everyone on Myspace hear that song. It’s not even for money or marketing means. You can get heard.

TOPR: There’s two ways I look at marketing now. One, I’m thirty years old, and I’m kinda young for a lot of the music I listen to and I make. There’s a lot of guys who are my age or older who are still growing. Rap’s growing; it’s not a young fuckin’ sport anymore. There’s guys my age who wanna hear the kind of music I grew up listening to. They’re always there, and you just gotta fuckin’ find them out there. The other way is niche marketing. When I was in high school there were 16 year-old kids in high school who don’t fit in and want to reach out and listen to music that actually affects them or relates to them in some way, so that they can be like, ‘Look, I don’t buy in to all the bullshit.’ There’s people out there who wanna listen to someone sayin’ ‘I march to a different drum. I have a soul.’ That’s why a lot of my music speaks to people who don’t feel like there’s anyone else who can relate to it.

Conceit: Going back to marketing—how to adapt, it’s like, make quality music. Even with these outlets that are popping up—these advancements in technology an’ shit—use that shit, but stick to making quality music. And if you are gonna put it out there, don’t dick your fans; they’ve been dicked long enough by the industry. That’s the beautiful depression of the industry right now. They are going out of business. Tower Records—as nostalgic as it was for San Francisco, the North Beach one an’ shit… I watched Rainbow Records go out of business because it sold records, and Star Records because it sold records. I went to Tower when they went out. They fucked me out of CDs. They owe me money. They screwed a lot of people over. But it’s beautiful to see that happening because the industry set themselves up for this; and as much as it hurts because those outlets aren’t there, It’s OK. You just might HAVE to use Myspace these days, but notice, the record industry is crumbling. Hustle a little more so that you can bubble off of them crumbling. They set themselves up, and they deserve it.

TOPR: It like he said, you make good music; that’s job one. There’s less people in the world who appreciate good music now, but there’s more opportunity to reach the people who DO appreciate it.

Conceit: Exactly; we can convert! It’s all about conversion, dude.

TOPR: Pretty soon you’re gonna be putting albums out for free, cuz you don’t need record labels anymore. You don’t need to sell albums; you make all your money off licensing, merch and shows.

Conceit: After I won the YouTube thing, and after things started fallin’ through, I put Wasted Talent up for free download because I started seeing such good feedback from people. I looked at it like, ‘I’m movin’ on to the next thing.’ I’m working on the other album right now. I got somethin’ else to put out. These people wanna hear the music—and you know some of ‘em are probably cheapskates; and some of ‘em probably haven’t heard about me, so they don’t wanna risk it. Am I gonna be stingy and be like, ‘If you’re not gonna buy my shit, I’m not gonna fuck with you.’? No! I’m gonna get it out there.

TOPR Or, they’re spoiled as fuck. Conceit when’s the last time you bought an album?

Conceit: When’s the last time you paid for a show?

TOPR: (Laughs.) I don’t buy fuckin’ albums.

Conceit (Laughs.) When’s the last time you bought a fuckin’ shirt?

TOPR: I only buy hats and shoes.

Conceit: Shoe sponsorship is the last… Boxers and shoes are all I need and we’re good.

KB: What’s up with all this YouTube stuff. Is the record deal going down?

Conceit: Interscope tried to fuck me (but) I’m not gonna let ‘em fuck me. Guitar Center—I’m playing phone tag with them. Interscope sent me the contract, and I don’t like the contract.

TOPR: Kunta Kinte wouldn’t have signed that fuckin’ contract!

Conceit: It’s not even about money. It’s my likeness. They’re trying to fist me with a Freddy Kruger claw. There’s no guarantees right now, and I’m not seein’ any bread out of it. I already sent it back to ‘em and I didn’t sign it. Basically, what I do for them they have full ownership over—whether they put it out or not, if it blows up or not. Plus they own my name, they own my likeness. Even if they don’t put out my single, I cannot put out anything else for nine months; and after that point they can still try to renegotiate. I have things in the works right now that I wanna put out. Why am I gonna halt myself on the progress of my music so those guys can decide whether they wanna fuck me a little harder?

TOPR: For the record—for all ya’all shady cats—friends we know or friends we don’t know: Conceit is not breaded up.

Conceit: I have NO CAKE. Kaffeine Buzz is buying drinks and TOPR spotted me a pack of stoges yesterday. And when I am caked up, if you don’t know I’m caked up, you’re never gonna know I’m caked up. But for all my folks, when I get those G-Unit Suede headbands and those Vitamin Water 30-packs…

TOPR: Fools are looking at it like, ‘he won this contest’; but it’s like you won like a contest to be a guest star on That 70’s Show, and then you’re gonna have an acting career.

Conceit: The biggest payoff was having the video seen.

TOPR: The ten grand in equipment is good.

Conceit: But I don’t even get it all. Basically I get ten thousand cows that I can trade for three magic beans—or two daughters of the village wise men.

TOPR: The flying Bentley is not in the garage yet.

Conceit: It’s assembled half way through Wasted Talent though

KB: It seems a little suspicious that you’re apparently cleaning a UFO, but you’re claiming you don’t have any money (pointing to a package of “UFO” brand kitchen sponges Conceit is bringing home from a neighborhood mini-mart.)

TOPR: Like I said, sponsorships, dude.

Conceit: It’s a sponsorship from SPACE.

Conceit: Back to reality, though. One thing about mainstream exposure is like, I respect Hiero on a strength because they ALL got signed to Jive at the time. The Extra-Prolific cats, Del (tha Funky Homosapien), Souls of Mischief… and they got dropped practically after the first albums, but the exposure they got from that allowed them to be one of the stongest independent—not just outta the Bay, but world-wide—record labels. So, I’m saying, if you get on a major [label], start your own and catapult off of that. Get the fuck off of theirs and start your own shit, man.

TOPR: And fail. Like us. (Laughs)

Since this interview, TOPR has slated The Marathon of Shame for release in February 2008, and plans to kick off an eastern US tour in February and a western US tour in March. Conceit has landed the cash prize from Guitar Center that he won through YouTube and has successfully negotiated the G-Unit contract with Interscope Records.

TOPR is currently on tour in Colorado, playing two in-stores at Independent Records – Thursday, May 14 at 6pm in Colorado Springs and Friday, May 15 at the Denver store at 6pm; performing Friday, May 16 at Falcon Bowl (next to Gothic) at the Kaffeine Buzz Street-2-Screen Party, and Saturday, May 17 at Redfish Fish House in Boulder.

TOPR documentary trailer
Uploaded by DianaManfredi
Street-2-Screen – TopR
Street-2-Screen – TopR

View Conceit’s winning “Scissors and Glue” video:

View TOPR’s “Security Security” video:


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