Interview: Joey Purp Talks Chicago, Co-Founding SAVEMONEY, and Current Projects

Joey Purp has some important things to say.

In 2012, he emerged onto the scene with The Purple Tape, a collection of soupy instrumentals brought to life with storytelling rhymes. While some of his raps discuss worldly issues through his peaceful perspectives, others reflect on first-hand hardships and successes. Purp has positioned himself as an introspective, yet socially aware, lyricist.

Joey Purp wasn’t just raised within Chicago’s city limits. He was brought up and deeply affected by its culturally segregated environments. His love for his city is evident on tracks like “Don’t Stop” which provides glimpses into the everyday hardships faced by many of its inhabitants, like crime rates driving families out of neighborhoods and misguided youth finding their way in the city’s harsh conditions.

As the co-founder of Chicago-based rap collective SAVEMONEY (also helmed by Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Brian Fresco, and a handful of others), Joey surrounds himself with positive influences. The childhood-friends-turned-rappers are all developing their individual sounds musically, with Chance forging new sonic paths with The Social Experiment, and Vic Mensa finding success in the radio world.

Joey, on the other hand, is anxiously counting down the moments until his takeoff. 

In addition to building momentum with his own career, he’s also started up a separate endeavor, Leather Corduroys, with fellow SM veteran Kami de Chukwu. After presenting us with some teaser material early last year, the pair started 2015 with their official debut, a full-length project titled Seasons.

We chatted with Joey Purp about his upcoming projects, life as a father, and his experiences as an emerging musician.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Joey Purp. I make music and art and stuff.

What are you up to music-wise right now?

We’re working on visuals for the Seasons project right now, and I’m working on a individual project that should come out around summertime.

You’re one of SAVEMONEY’s founding members, correct? Tell me about the genesis of that collective.

We started as friends; we met the same way any group of friends comes together. We were just all into the same kind of music, and after Chance [the Rapper] and Vic [Mensa] started with music, we all started rapping.

What about Leather Corduroys? How did that start?

That started organically with my homie [Kami] since we were making music together in the same space. If there’s a demand for it, we’ll stick with it. We have a similar ideology and intention. It comes very naturally.

Who have been some of your favorite people you’ve worked with on music projects?

Knox Fortune is amazing and a really original person. He’s super fearless in terms of production. Petter Cottontail, too—he’s the same way. He has a sound that he likes and he just goes and does it.

Chicago seems to play a big role in your music. How has the city shaped you to be who are you today?

It’s been everything. The diversity, the segregation… You can cross the street and be in a different neighborhood with a whole new vibe. I’ve lived all around the city and I’ve seen a bunch of different perspectives.

What are the things in your life that matter to you the most?

My daughter. As far as motivation, protection, and reassurance, she’s everything. Comfort is also important; I always want to be comfortable, whether it’s within my relationships or financially.

Where would you say you’re at in your career right now?

I couldn’t call it. I’m at a brink of sorts, where I’m leaving this local level and getting onto a national level. The number of eyes watching me is growing slowly but surely, and the next thing I do will be definitive of what I have to offer musically.

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