Local Rapper IP Is Ill Talks Smoking Weed, Working "Solo" and -- Smoking Weed

IP is Ill smokes weed. Like, a lot of weed. It's kind of his thing.

Known for his work as one-half of local hip-hop duo, Numbers, IP has never been shy about his toking, but don't get it twisted; he's not just some slacker pothead. (No offense to those of you out there -- you guys keep being you.)

Right now, IP is waist-deep in tracking his first solo project in five years, recently releasing a video for the single, "Stressin'." "Somebody asked me the other day, 'Why do you smoke so much,'" he says on the track. "So I sat down and I wrote this song."

Throughout the record, IP talks about the trials of everyday life, the pressure of supporting his family and struggling to make it in the rap game while dealing with shady promoters. "I also talk about the reasons that I smoke and I express the different ways I'm thinking when I do smoke," IP says.

See also: Numbers: Phoenix Hip-Hoppers Explain "Attack of the Robots" Arizona Hip-Hop Duo Numbers Continue Chasing Paper with New Album

Although Numbers doesn't have anything in the works soon, Izzy continues to support his partner as he looks to establish his name in the local hip-hop scene and beyond.

Up on the Sun: What's the good word with you guys? IP: I've just been working on my solo album right now, basically staying in the studio and focusing on that. We haven't done too many shows lately because we've just been trying to get this record done.

What prompted you to put out a solo album this time around? We did the whole Getting Paper series, and I did a solo album about five years ago with Ill Al the Anglo Saxon, but I haven't done anything straight by myself in a while, so we wanted to take some steps towards that and see what we could do. I want to see if I can take [record label] Charizmatic to another level by doing something solo. I want to be able to tell my story and show people who I am.

Izzy is still behind me and he's basically producing the project, so it's good.

What are the differences of working together like this as opposed to penning a record as Numbers? On this album, the beats aren't necessarily all made by me. I plan on getting on there, but he has some other producers on there and that's whats giving it that different flavor and letting IP express himself as an individual.

What kind of feeling is this album going to have? The feel I'm going for is more soulful in how I express myself. I do smoke a lot of weed, I mean . . . that's my thing.

Izzy: [Laughs]

So there are a lot of songs generated to that way of thinking. And I also talk about the reasons that I smoke and I express the different ways I'm thinking when I do smoke. I have a song called "Me and My Pipe" that talks about what I do before I go to sleep. I express how I smoke some weed from my pipe and I talk about the thoughts that go through my head while I'm in that frame of mind.

Izzy: I think he's trying to relate to people more, and how they escape their daily lives with their vices. I think that's the overall message that he's trying to convey.

So are you pretty active in the legalizing marijuana movement? Obviously you feel strongly about it, you talk about it in your music... It's more of a personal thing with me. I definitely support the movement, I'd love to be able to have it on me at all times, but I'm not really an activist or anything like that.

It's more about expressing myself, my state of mind, and how it affects me. Everything generates around that.

Izzy: Yeah, we're not really vocal outside of expressing ourselves on the microphone.

As a family man, do you worry about how vocal and open you are with your smoking habits? Not really. I play my music for my daughter; I don't cuss that much, and a lot of my older songs don't talk about weed that much. So most of the time when I do play my music for them it's stuff that I know is cool to listen to. "Stay Awhile" is something that I play for my daughter.

What I write is what I write -- sometimes it's fucked up, but I'm not killing my wife like Eminem, or anything like that.

What's the status on the album? It's going to be called All Gold Rhyme Book. It's definitely not ready to rock; we're waiting until next year to release it. So we're still out here doing it and putting in work.

Izzy: What I like to do with IP is, expose him to as many different types of music as I can and then see how he gets inspired.

Where does Numbers stand right now? Do you guys have anything planned in the near future? I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. I don't think it's in the picture at the moment just because we have other artists on the label that we're focusing on as well.

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