Pi’erre Bourne emerged as one of Hip Hop’s most promising producers when Playboi Carti’s platinum-selling single “Magnolia” became a hit in 2017. The success led to touring with Drake, his own imprint at Interscope Records and even helping Kanye West produce 2018’s Ye album.
With his debut album The Life Of Pi’erre 4 out now, it may look like Pi’erre is switching his focus to rapping. However, he’s actually getting back to his roots.
“I never wanted to stop rapping, but I blew up as a producer,” he told HipHopDX. “All my childhood friends were confused because they know like, in my heart, I love to rap.”
The Life Of Pi’erre 4 follows a series of TLOP mixtapes released in 2016 and marks his first studio LP since skyrocketing to fame as a producer.
“I’m happy the project’s out, I didn’t want to confuse everyone thinking he’s a producer-turned-rapper,” he said.
In a conversation with DX, Pi’erre opened up about The Life Of Pi’erre 4 and the Drake verse that never happened. He also talked about playing his album for Kanye West, touring and showing off his home in an upcoming music video.
HipHopDX: The Life Of Pi’erre 4 was a couple of years in the making and, at one time, supposed to come out last February. What caused the delay?
Pi’erre: I’m very hands-on with my music and not just with the writing for the songs and the beats, but also the engineering and mixing and getting all that to sound as one. It took a while. Now that it’s out, looking back on it, I really don’t know what the holdup was — it was a lot of different things. I really wanted to show what I could do in every aspect of making the songs, really just showing everybody that I’m a true artist. I don’t think I would take another two years on a project. [Laughs]
HipHopDX: You’ve been hinting on Twitter at some upcoming visuals. What songs are you releasing videos for?
Pi’erre: We have several videos. I want to put out a video for every song on the album. We’re going to put out “Poof,” that’s the first song on the album. We shot that in Belize, which is where my family is originally from. My grandma moved out to America, I believe, in the 1960s. She moved to New York with a few of her sisters and they started everything. I was very happy to finally get to show where I’m from. It’s really special.
HipHopDX: Had you been there before?
Pi’erre: I went as a kid — I went in fourth grade, but my passport expired and I never really got to renew my passport until the music took off. When I got to go on tour with Drake, he helped me get my passport. That was like late 2017. Once I got my passport, I knew could get back home and see my family, people I haven’t seen in years, people I’ve never met.
My family is really big out there. When I went this time, I wanted to show all the nice stuff that Belize has to offer, so people can go out there and visit. Belize, their biggest income is people coming to visit. So, I felt like if I showcased what Belize has to offer in the video, then people will wanna go. It was always an idea in my head, so it’s really cool to be able to shoot it.
HipHopDX: How about the other videos?
Pi’erre: We’ve already shot the majority of the album, we’re like a couple videos shy of completing all of the album. I’m still trying to figure out the last two. I’m very creative with my stuff, I want to do something special. I try to outdo myself, but “Poof” was a really big thing and it means a lot to me, so it’s kind of hard to know what the next one’s going to be.
We shot a couple of them in New York in Queens, where my grandma stays, so I got to really show where my family is from. I’m just happy that everything’s finally coming out and being put together. Everything in my head is actually coming to life, which is really dope to see.
HipHopDX: And you also produced “Slide Around” on Chance The Rapper’s debut album, The Big Day.
Pi’erre: I’ve been riding around in L.A. on those. They’re like bird scooters, but they’re bikes, and the day it came out I was riding around just playing it everywhere. Like Nicki Minaj is on it! And Lil Durk! I knew Lil Durk was on it, but I didn’t know about Nicki Minaj. It’s so cool, and Nicki’s actually from Queens, too. I’ve never met her, but I love her music. When I heard the final product [of the song] I was like, “Damn, it’s good!”
HipHopDX: How did that collaboration come about?
Pi’erre: I was doing a North Face thing. I had to do like a shoot with North Face. It was actually in Chicago, and I had to work with him around the same time. The shoot actually ended up being in the same studio we had worked in, his favorite studio. So, it was kind of cool, like it was meant to happen. We linked in Chicago, he brought me out there.
Chicago’s cool. I got to eat at Harold’s Chicken [Shack]. Whenever I travel, I love soul food and Caribbean food. So wherever I go, Paris, Japan, I’m always trying to find soul food. [Laughs] And I usually end up finding it! You’d be surprised.
HipHopDX: On TLOP 4, you’ve definitely got a lot to say. Where were you at mentally when you recorded this album?
Pi’erre: Honestly, the timespan is so long, I have too many stories and life experiences, I guess that’s why I have a lot to say. Growing up, like in middle school, I used to have a notebook with a bunch of raps. Anybody at school I didn’t like, I’d definitely write a song about you! Even if me and my friends got into a fight, I’d write it. I wouldn’t record them, but writing helped me get stuff out. I put it all in my music.
I had this rhyme book, my mom used to throw it away all the time. [Laughs] When I got into high school, I got smarter, and I used to write them down in my phone. But one time, I was washing the dishes or something, and my phone got wet and I lost all my rhymes! So, I was like, yeah, I’m going back to a notebook. I’ll just make sure my mom can’t see it. [Laughs]
HipHopDX: After breaking out as a producer with “Magnolia,” how did you know it was the right time to build up your rapping career?
Pi’erre: I already had rap songs and videos out. I never wanted to stop rapping, but I blew up as a producer. I love to write and speak my mind. I’m really happy that the rapping stuff is getting more attention, but I don’t want everyone to think, like, oh, this was the plan — drop this as a producer and blow up as a rapper later. God’s plan was he introduced me to [Playboi] Carti. Carti and I met and we made history together, but we’re all on our own journey. Like when I’d see Lil’ Romeo and Bow Wow, I wanted to be a kid rapper. I was into this so much as a kid, and I’m so happy that I’m able to do it now.
Carti wanted me to rap on his first album but I was like, “Nah,” ‘cause I was so excited about everything that was going on. I was like, I might be able to be one of the biggest producers ever, so I’m just going to see how this goes. I’m not even tripping, I’m not trying to overdo it. He wanted me to pull up and play some beats and that’s what I did, and I was cool with that. I was like, when it’s time for people to hear my raps, they will. It just clicked on the producer stuff first. And I don’t want people to think he stopped making beats. I didn’t’ stop making beats, ever, so I’m glad the Chance record came out too.
HipHopDX: On “Try Again” you touch on your skyrocket to fame. How did it feel to blow up kind of overnight like that?
Pi’erre: To be honest, it’s still hitting me now because for a while I’ve been going, going, going, working, working, working. I didn’t really get a chance to sit back and see what was going on. So just now it’s hitting me. I mean looking at all the videos on my phone on tour with Drake and that was just the beginning. It was just one little drop of what’s to come. I’m glad the music’s out and the tour is next. I’m gonna be on the road.
HipHopDX: You were trying to get Drake on a TLOP song, can you tell us now which one?
Pi’erre: Yeah, he was supposed to be on “Poof.” On the tour I played it … I was doing a DJ set and I messed up and the “Poof” song, I accidentally dragged it over and it played. I was like, “Oh shit,” but everybody danced to it and responded to it well. He hit me as soon as I got off stage, like, “Yo, what was that song?” I didn’t even know he was watching the set ‘cause his set was way longer than mine and he had a lot to prepare ’cause Drake’s got a lot of hits.
It was amazing to see the crowd singing every word back-to-back. I never seen nothing like that, it was crazy. It was definitely a dope experience being out there with him and the “Poof” song, he really fucked with it, so I sent it to him. I was supposed to get a verse, I guess, sometime last year or something, maybe around the time he was about to drop his album. I just didn’t want to wait. I was working on my own stuff … and at the end of the day, I just wanted to put my album out. Next time, I’m going to take my time and really do it how I want to do it and get the features that I want.
HipHopDX: What stage of planning are you in for your tour?
Pi’erre: I’m still locking in the dates and stuff, but I can’t wait. I’m really excited about that.
HipHopDX: You also played your album for Kanye West after it came out. You’ve said before that he’s someone you look up to, so what was that like?
Pi’erre: It was dope. To be able to play my album and for him to be able to respect it and tell me whatever his opinions are is a blessing. I don’t got to hear it from nobody else, I don’t need no other criticism. I heard it from the person I always wanted to hear it from and the person I always wanted to play my music for.
I’m kind of glad it took so long because he was able to hear the most polished Pi’erre music ever. I didn’t wanna play it for him the first time I met him ‘cause the album wasn’t done, and I wasn’t sure what I was gonna put on it. So, I was like, I’ll wait till it’s ready and hopefully, I’ll get the chance to pull up on him and show him. And I was able to right after the album came out. It was like if LeBron [James] played with Kobe [Bryant] or something like that. Like, if Ye say it’s fire, it’s fire. He’s definitely like a big brother.
HipHopDX: Looking ahead at your next project, do you think you’ll do it differently and add features?
Pi’erre: Oh yeah. I have a lot of songs with a lot of people, I just didn’t put none of it out. And I know it’s weird for them to see — I know a lot of people are like damn, I did the song with you and he didn’t even put it out. But it’s not like that at all. I just wanted to really showcase myself because a lot of conversations I’ve had with people are always about production, and I wanted them to really understand that I’m an artist.
But if you want some beats, I got you. I’m glad you can see the credits, and it’s just my name. It’s like a portfolio. TLOP — that’s really the true theme of the album. Some people might think it’s like a gimmick or something, but it really is the life of Pi’erre. The music is out, and the visuals are gonna help people understand it more. The more content I put out, I know it’ll bridge the gap between the producing and the rapping.
Stream The Life Of Pi’erre 4 below.