Pell seeks to inspire others to chase their dreams, not flaunt their wealth.
“Aw hell naw,” the rapper says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “Please don’t ever let me get like that. Never. Never. Just call me out on it.”
The 22-year old rapper and singer has a distinct style that blends the old with the new. He recently released his debut album, Floating While Dreaming. He is a storyteller, weaving his life experiences with melodic beats. The album’s title describes how he lives his dreams and inspires others to chase their own.
“It was basically something that I wanted to connect with fans,” Pell says, “and people who haven’t heard my music even that are chasing goals. It’s for the everyday dreamers out there that like have a goal and have a beginning point and an end point to where it takes to achieve their goal. That in between time where you’re getting to your destination, that desired result, that goal, it can feel like you’re floating and just going through the motions. And I really wanted it to be a release from all of those feelings and all of those day-to-day stresses that you go through trying to chase a goal.”
Pell says jokingly that he is a quitter because he quit school and then quit his job at a dollar store to fully pursue his music career. His favorite song off Floating While Dreaming is the Ludwig Goransson-produced opening track, “Dollar Store.”
The New Orleans rapper says the song sets the tone of the album because it explains his personal experience in chasing his dream. It describes how working at Dollar General, he was preoccupied with music and couldn’t focus.
“It was just a temporary thing for me to find the funds to start like attacking my dreams head on,” Pell says. “It was only a matter of time before I quit, so it was just like, it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t what I needed to be doing and it wasn’t helping me get any closer to my dreams. It really wasn’t beneficial to me outside of I guess a little bit of responsibility, you could say. Other than that, that obviously inspired the song, ‘Dollar Store’ because I feel like a lot of my time there, I was constantly thinking about music. And it was kinda like the time that I was spending away from music was so prevalent when I was at work.”
Pell Discusses "Dream Rap" Label
It seems like Pell’s decision to fully pursue his music has paid off. Fader called Pell’s music “dream rap” when it streamed the song “Eleven:11,” which appears on Floating While Dreaming. The publication says it chose this label because of the content of Pell’s music and the ethereal sound.
Pell says he generally despises labels on his music because he doesn’t want listeners to have preconceptions and also because he thinks his music transcends labels.
“I just want people to hear my stuff without any false pretenses,” he says, “without any reasoning other than they want to try something new or like be exposed to new music. I don’t want it to come from like any place other than like where I take them.”
But he doesn’t mind Fader’s “dream rap” title.
“I think that’s very cool,” Pell says. “The reason I think it’s cool is because I get why they would call it ‘Dream Rap.’ Because obviously a lot of my music is personifying like dreams and goals, just on the content, but as well as sonically and how a lot of the times I have melodies floating on top of rap floating on top of an already ambient instrumental. So it’s really like it all plays into both the sound as well as the content. So I feel like that was an accurate description of the type of music that I make, or the bulk of music that I make. But I don’t think like it describes everything that I do.”
Pell Revisits Making "Floating While Dreaming" Song "Kreation"
One of the songs that isn’t exactly “dream rap” is the song “Kreation.” In contrast to the light, fluid sounds of the other tracks on Floating While Dreaming, “Kreation” is dark and eerie. The Staccs-produced record features heavy bass and animalistic groans.
“I love that sound,” Pell says. “That’s a darker side to my music that I have a lot more where that came from.”
Pell explains that “Kreation” was one of about 50 tracks that weren’t ready for the album, but right before Pell’s first headlining show in his hometown, he and Staccs completed the song. Pell says that he and Staccs have a special chemistry that allowed them to complete “Kreation” so easily.
“You know generally speaking if like you’re gonna crank out something that’s really dope or really worth recording with certain people,” Pell says “because you know how certain people work. We have this chemistry and it was just so easy to work with him. That’s probably why we were able to get that song like finished before a show. It was great.”
Pell Discussing Touring & Progression
Pell finished his first tour in June. He deejays his own sets and traveled with only his manager. Of the six-stop tour, he says his favorite city was Chicago because of the aspiring artists that are working towards their dreams just like him. He especially bonded with the group Hurt Everybody. Pell says that the tour was great because it made his music personal.
“This tour was fucking amazing,” he says. “It’s crazy because a lot of times you can’t see things manifest themselves just by going on the Internet because most of my content is on the Internet. It’s just like interesting to see how that translates like face-to-face. It’s crazy to see people actually being touched by the music in some type of way.”
And Pell says the best is yet to come. This includes adding live instrumentation to his beats. He has played the trombone since band in school. He is also learning piano along with life lessons every day.
“Life is all about progression,” Pell says. “I’m still progressing as a person, so like I want my music to grow with me as well. You can’t stay stagnant forever ‘cause then like there’s no progress and then you’re eventually just falling down and I don’t know. I’m trying to do the opposite.”
RELATED: Pell "Eleven:11" [Singles]