Two years ago, P.O.S. was pulling water-shutoff notices from his door. One year later, he was touring the U.S. with famed rap duo Atmosphere. With the upcoming release of his second album, the rap phenom talks to Street about his style and what it's like to be almost famous.
Street: Your music is sort of a mix between punk and rock and hip-hop. What made you want to combine all those genres?
P.O.S.: I wouldn't consider it so much mixing. I grew up pretty heavy on that stuff. It's a lot less to me the idea of mixing as it is catching that feeling. That's what I love, and that's what I'm all about. I mean, nobody likes Limp Bizkit, nobody does. And that's because they took styles of music that don't really work mixing together, and they mixed them together, and it sucks.
Street: Weren't you in a punk band when you were younger, too?
P.O.S.: Yeah, I have been in punk bands since I was like 13, 14, and I currently play guitar and sing for a hardcore band called Building Better Bombs.
Street: You had a few other people collaborating with you on this album, so how did you pick who to work with?
P.O.S.: I just got the opportunity to work with people that I've dreamed about working with for a really long time. Like, I got to work with Greg from Bouncing Souls. One notch off the 10 things I've got to do before I die is make a song with Greg from the Bouncing Souls, and I did that.
Street: I was listening to your song "P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life." It must be self-referential in some way, and I'm wondering what that's all about.
P.O.S.: Well, the fact that I'm doing interviews now, the fact that I have a national release coming out and I'm about to go on tour is such a double-edged sword. Half of me is all-the-way, 100% super excited because this is what I've been working on my whole life. But I can't really spend time with my son if I'm on tour. The other half of it, if you listen to the words of the song, is just observations from a coffee shop, observations from the bar, watching people, watching how people relate to each other.
Street: I read somewhere that the meaning of your name changes. One day it means one thing, and the next day it's something kind of different. Is that true?
P.O.S.: Well, pretty much. The first time P.O.S. showed up was when I was 14. My band put out our first cassette tape, and you know when you're in a punk band you get to pick your awesome punk rock name to seem vicious, and the bass player of the band just called me "Pissed Off Stuff." I never really liked it, but it does give the opportunity to be like "Piece of Shit," what a fucking humbling name for a culture like this. "Product of Society," "Promise of Skill," if I'm feeling extra rappy that day, and "Promise of Stress" if it's like any other day.
P.O.S.'s new album, Audition, hits stores this Tuesday, followed by a national tour which makes a stop at The Fire Feb. 15.