Interview: Joey Purp

Joey Purp is having a breakout year and to celebrate he’s going on a long awaited headlining tour with a carefully selected stop in the District.

Joey Purp will join a long list of Chicago natives to grace the Songbyrd stage when he headlines Songbyrd Music House on Monday, October 8th— a list which includes Taylor Bennet, Saba, Ravyn Lenae and Jamila Woods.

This may be his first headlining tour, but he isn’t a stranger to D.C. and chose the date because of the energy that crowds in the District give him. “People don’t stop there often,” Purp told me over the phone, “but when you do they show love!”

The Chicago rapper released his album “QUARTERTHING” last month to critical acclaim. Two years after the release of his last project “iiiDrops,” Joey Purp seems to have matured in his ability to hold his own over a range of production styles while maintaining the lyricism that we saw on his first album, evidenced by commanding flows on the Ravyn Lenae-assisted opening track “24k Gold/Sanctified:”

“I know we still alive but I wake up to bullets flying/

Homicides, my daughter crying/

Ambulances speeding past, pray none of my n*ggas die/

Smoking, thinkin' bout the past, wishing I could press rewind.”

He tries to stay healthy and sane while on the road. His tour essentials include water (#1 for the rapper), headphones (because “when you’re on the bus with [the same people] everyday you have to get away”) and face wipes (a must for staying fresh on long rides).

Purp is somewhat of a road warrior already, having cut his teeth in both Chicago and across the country with members of the Savemoney collective, including a stint as tour support for Vic Mensa. Purp also opened for Mura Masa during the producer’s fall 2017 tour, with a stop at 9:30 Club.

A vegan for over two years, Purp doesn’t see finding healthy eating options on the road a challenge — praising spots like Petworth’s NuVegan Cafe, and offering some survival tips for shopping out of a convenience store. “If you’re only stopping at gas stations then keep it simple with: trail mix, big bottles of water,” he said. “It’s not as hard nowadays being vegan.”

Opening the show is KAMI, another Chicago MC who has been grinding for sometime. The two have been friends since high school and have busted their asses performing on the Chicago circuit, Purp says, often opening for artists coming to the city. KAMI’s latest project “Very Slight” is a collaboration with Smoko Ono, who co-produced on Chance The Rapper’s “I Might Need Security.”

Buy tickets to see Joey Purp at Songbyrd here.