Free spirits everywhere should appreciate 1999 Parachutes, the latest album from Saudi Arabia-born, LA-bred rapper Skinny. Known for aggressive tracks and lyrics, Skinny takes a different approach with 1999 Parachutes as he blends seductive instrumentation with candid rhymes.
Skinny spoke with Singersroom’s Lea Brown (Elle Breezy) to discuss the change in direction for 1999 Parachutes versus past releases, the meaning behind the name of the album, where he got his stage name, being influenced by Prince, and more.
Stream 1999 Parachutes and peep our interview below!
Lea: Hey Skinny! How are you?
Skinny: Fantastic! How are you?
Lea: I’m Good. Thank you for speaking with Singersroom today.
Skinny: No thank you guys.
Lea: So what’s the skinny on “Skinny?” How did you get the stage name?
Skinny: Well it really all started from taking something that I felt was way too negative, just being skinny and turning it into a positive thing. I just always imagined that if I were to walk up to a girl and try to hit on her; the first thing I would feel like she would say is, “You’re too skinny”. Rather I thought, what if I walked up to her and introduced myself as Skinny. You kind of turn something negative into a positive. So it started off that way and I just ran with it. It was easy to remember.
Lea: Tell us about your foray into music. Did you grow up with it? Was it something you wanted to do later on in life?
Skinny: I definitely feel like I grew up with it. I played a lot of instruments when I was twelve. Around eleven or twelve, I remember my uncle got me an electric guitar for my birthday. I fell in love after that. I became really infatuated. I was really in love, I just couldn’t let go.
Lea: What’s the meaning behind the title of your new LP 1999 Parachutes?
Skinny: I know people hear “parachutes” and they think of parachutes, but really I meant birds. When I thought of the name it just brought the thought of freedom and freedom of expression. Freedom to fly around, to not just be sitting in one spot. So that’s really the inspiration for the title. It was just birds. I woke up, saw a bird and just thought, “I feel like a bird.”
Lea: So what’s the 1999? Does that mean anything?
Skinny: The 1999 is actually 1999 birds, and I’m the 2000th one. I feel like I am the only one not flying with the pack. I’m the only one that took my own route. So it’s a bit of a weird situation.
Lea: You’re known for aggressive tracks and lyrics, 1999 Parachutes is more subdued. What inspired you to take a different approach on this project?
Skinny: I just really wanted to concentrate on more of a sound. Every song depends on my mood. It wasn’t that it was planned like, “I am going to make this type of sound”. It came down to what I was feeling and what I was doing. So that’s how it came about.
Lea: I listened to the album and it has a lot of eclectic sounds. One track reminded me of George Clinton-esque funk. It has soothing R&B, hard-hitting rap, island elements, and overall, some innovative production. What your creative process like? You said it isn’t planned, but more of what you feel.
Skinny: Exactly! I produce all my music as you know. So I have the luxury of a really awesome recording studio to go to and record. I feel like I get distracted when I go to the studio as there is usually a lot of people around. People coming in and out. I started doing a lot of it at home. Being at home lets me trap myself into a weird cage. Growing up I was exposed to so many different genres of music. I would get inspired to want to make a song to make people feel some type of way from various things. Including just watching TV, seeing a sad commercial, seeing something happy, getting really really high, etc. I would just go in my closet, put on my headphones and just do it. I don’t really have a process. Sometimes I would just make music and wake up the next day asking myself, “How/when did I even make this?” I feel like it just happens. It’s very interesting.
Lea: That’s what’s up because I write songs to and sometimes I don’t know how to get inspired. So listening to you, I feel like I should just get inspired by anything I see.
Skinny: Yes. Everything in the world is inspiring. It just depends on how you see it. It’s really cool. Especially with technology these days if you are a songwriter; you could sitting at home open Garage Band or record it on your phone. Whether it’s a beat that you have that you’re writing to or something. It’s pretty cool, so you’re not forced into it. You’re not in the studio from 5-3 in the morning, and you have to do something. If you don’t do something, you go home and start doubting yourself saying, “Damn, I couldn’t come up with anything for this song.” You start to rush things. When you can fit it into your schedule, you’ll be surprised how personal it starts coming out.
Lea: You said you “have your whole studio set up with a lot of instruments” and that instantly reminded me of Prince. Was he a big influence on you?
Skinny: Absolutely! He said, “party like it’s 1999″. That was one of the greatest years. If Prince said it, though I was young, it must have been a great time. I pay my homage to all of those artists; Prince, Michael Jackson, old school Madonna. I just love music.
Lea: I read in your bio that you were born in Saudi Arabia. Has your heritage influenced your sound in any way?
Skinny: Definitely! My dad being from there, I grew up there. It has a big influence because I was exposed to so many different forms of music growing up. It’s confusing a little bit. It’s a lot of drums. I try to bring a little bit of that into the music. Sometimes music is corny when it’s too much. I don’t want people to expect me to come out with it in my music. It’s way too expected coming from me. So I try to do it minimal and take the cool stuff. A melody might not be something that people here recognize. A western might not identify it because it sounds normal, but someone back home will say, “Oh Cool. He sounds like another brown guy over here.” I try to mix it up a little bit.
Lea: Your collab with Sonna Rele “Midnights In Rehab” is my personal fav from the album. How did that collab come about?
Skinny: She comes around as she is signed to Compound. I got to meet her in the studio. She’s awesome. I am a fan of her voice. We just became good friends. She actually lives in London. Upon making the song, we sent it to her, and she just killed it. It wasn’t planned. It was just kind of random. A lot of cool things just happen at random; kind like going on an adventure without really knowing where you’re going.
Lea: I was going to say, now with the whole recording industry and the digital era that we’re in, you can just send a track to someone across the world. You don’t necessarily have to be in the studio with them like back in the day.” That makes it easier.
Skinny: Exactly! It’s definitely pretty cool.
Lea: After dropping your album, what’s next for you? Tours? Videos? Etc?
Skinny: Every song, I am trying to shoot a video for. I’m a really visual artist. It is really fun for me. I am really passion about the music and the visuals. They have to all fit sort of, but in a different way. Definitely, a lot more music videos and we are working on going on tour. Just putting the music out there live. It is going to have a really cool feeling. If you notice, a lot of the music feels like it has live drums, live-ish. Put together a great set with a live band.
Lea: That’s all the questions that I have for you. Again thank you the time to speak with us.
Skinny: Thank you guys. I appreciate you so much.
*****Purchase 1999 Parachutes on iTunes HERE*****