On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcomed Papoose to talk about his career, the 12 projects he dropped last year, and married life with Remy Ma.
Born Shamele Mackie in Brooklyn, N.Y., Pap’s first appearance on wax came in 1998 when he rapped alongside Kool G Rap on the track “Home Sweet Funeral Home.” Years later, he caught the attention of New York’s Hot 97 DJ, Kay Slay, who was impressed by the song “Alphabetical Slaughter.” Slay eventually signed Pap to his Streetsweepers imprint and the Brooklyn emcee built a buzz in his native city. The “Jive Ass Turkey” rapper released a string of mixtapes throughout the early 2000s and was later recruited by Busta Rhymes to appear on his 2006 single, “Touch It (Remix).” Pap’s bars on the track brought him into the national spotlight. The same year, the up-and-coming rapper signed a $1.5 million deal with Jive Records. His relationship with the label soon crumbled, however, and he was released from his contract in 2007. After dropping several mixtapes independently, his first mainstream effort, The Nacirema Dream, was released in 2013.
In 2008, following his departure from Jive, Papoose wed incarcerated Terror Squad emcee Remy Ma. When Remy was released from prison in 2014, the couple appeared on season six of VH1’s hit show “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” With the rest of the cast constantly beefing, Pap and Remy’s reality TV storyline was a breath of fresh air. Fans loved their positive depiction of Black love, and their success on the show eventually led to the “Remy & Papoose: Meet the Mackies” spinoff.
Though Pap has showcased his hustle and lyrical ability over the span of two decades, many still consider him an unsung star. Thankfully, things started looking up last year after he released 12 EPs – one for each month in 2021.
Below are nine interesting facts we learned from his “Drink Champs” interview. Check them out and be sure to tune into the full episode above.
1. On his relationship with JAY-Z
Both Pap and JAY-Z hail from Brooklyn, which would lead many to think they’d eventually collaborate on a song. However, Papoose revealed he and the rap mogul never worked together because of Hov’s soured relationship with Kay Slay. “Me and [Memphis] Bleek actually did a mixtape back then, but I never had a relationship with [Roc-A-Fella] because Slay signed me and he didn’t get along with them.”
“That door was kind of closed for me. The history was a little shaky,” Pap explained.
2. On being blackballed in the music industry
Over the years, Papoose has blamed his issues within the music business on being blackballed. Last month, he appeared on “The Breakfast Club,” and DJ Envy admitted to not playing Pap’s music in the past due to his own issues with Kay Slay. On “Drink Champs,” the Nacirema Dream emcee explained Envy wasn’t the only DJ who’s given him the cold shoulder. “There was a lot of DJs who felt like that,” he said.
“When I met Slay, I was thinking everything that I saw in the industry was real. Eventually, we started putting hands on niggas and I made it worse,” Pap added.
3. On dropping a project every month last year
During the interview, Papoose spoke on his decision to release an EP for each month in 2021. “The industry format and the industry way of releasing music — it did not work for me at all,” he admitted. “So, I said to myself, ‘I’m going to create my own format and my own pattern and my own way of releasing music. I’m going to drop an album every month.’ Everybody told me don’t do it, but guess what? It was the best shit I ever did in my life.”
4. On appearing on “Love & Hip Hop”
Since its debut in 2011, VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” has received backlash from critics who believe the show exploits Black people. Pap talked about his decision to appear on the series and admitted he and Remy were apprehensive at first. “I didn’t want to do it,” he said. “When my wife was locked up, they were reaching out and they wanted to document it. Me and her spoke and [decided] that’s not something that we wanted to be a part of. They were throwing drinks and shit. If somebody does that shit to us, it ain’t going to be good. But when she came home, we spoke about it again and they gave us another offer. We [thought] it might be good because [we both had bad reputations]. We were like, ‘Maybe we can show people that we are human.’”
5. On married life with Remy Ma
During his interview, Pap told N.O.R.E. that although he and Remy have a great marriage, they occasionally bump heads just like any other couple. “We’re human, everybody goes through their shit,” he said. “But it’s not about the arguments. It’s just admitting when you’re wrong because you or your partner are not always right. When she was locked up, I couldn’t touch her. All we had was communication.”
6. On Remy Ma making amends with Fat Joe
Although Fat Joe and Remy have a close relationship these days, they were feuding while the “Conceited” rapper was incarcerated. Years later, the pair finally made amends and teamed up to create the 2016 smash “All the Way Up.” Papoose spoke about his wife’s beef with Joe and revealed he encouraged their reconciliation. “I really didn’t have any involvement, and I had no opinion,” he said. “With Joe, she actually came to me. [Apologizing] is something she never did because she’s not an apologetic [person]. I don’t got an ounce of hate in my blood. I was like, ‘Hell yeah, you need to do that.’ I promoted it to her and pushed her to do it.”
7. On appearing on Busta Rhymes’ “Touch It (Remix)”
In 2006, Busta Rhymes released the posse track “Touch It (Remix),” which featured Pap and a slew of big-name artists. As mentioned earlier, the highly successful single ushered the up-and-comer into mainstream artist territory. He recalled what the experience was like after the track took off. “I couldn’t go to the mall anymore,” he said. “I went from standing on the corner hustling to being a famous person off that record. I had a name for myself, and that’s what got me on the record — but that record changed my life.”
8. On his high-profile collaborations
Throughout Pap’s 12-month run last year, he secured joint efforts with a number of reputable artists, including Lil Wayne, Fabolous, 2 Chainz and more. Prior to his 2021 success, he rarely got the opportunity to rap alongside artists of such a high magnitude. The “Too Hot” rapper insists “dumbing down” his music changed everything. “I dumbed it down,” he confessed. “That’s how I started getting features. I’m featuring with people I never featured with in my life right now.”
9. On being dropped from Jive Records
Just one year after Pap signed his deal with Jive, it was announced that he was released from the record label. Although he maintains he was being blackballed, he also blames himself for continuously choosing violence whenever problems emerged back then. “As you get older, you mature,” he said. “And one thing about maturity, you learn you have to look at the man in the mirror. I blame myself because I should have known better. I made mistakes. I mixed the industry with the streets. I thought that when people hated on me, I should address them with violence. That was a big mistake. Regardless of the blackballing, I should have known better.”