“you’re a good man, haji p*”

Posted by hajipaji


While Haji P* may not have the most popular name amongst the rising droves of today’s hiphop stars, he certainly has the most enthusiastic. Some would even say, enthusiastic to a fault. With a lyrical gift that reminds us all why we fell in love with the music of our culture in the first place, its surprising to me how the Charlie Brown of rap still manages to wander below the radar.

Recently, Haji P* released the leading track from his debut solo LP, Neighborhood Kid (to be released in February). An album Im sure will capture the attention of many once it hits the public. Produced entirely by DJ MF Shalem, Neighborhood Kid follows Haji through his life’s misadventure, scouring Hawaii to New Jersey and North Carolina to California. He invites the listener into his Brer Rabbit meets Mr. Rodgers like neighborhood, with all the caustically humorous and abrasively ethnocentric tales along the way.

The single, “Good Grief” is the perfect introduction to this lovably affable (and seemingly nomadic) emcee. Luckily, I was able to catch up with Haji while he was out promoting the song. Which wasn’t too hard…considering that I’m him. We met at the El Pollo Loco, downtown Santa Cruz , and I asked myself these questions while we shared a churro…

HP: Yo, Haji, whats good fam?

hp: I’m doing swell, P! Thanks for asking.

HP: No problem.

hp: Sooooo….

HP: Sooooo….

*awkward Pause*

HP: So, yo…lets talk about the song for a minute. “Good Grief,” where did the title come from?

hp: I got that from the old peanuts cartoons. Every time something sucked, Charlie Brown would be like, “Good Grief.” I kinda picked that up from him…but on the reals, its more about some ol’ bulljive I been through. Fortunately, I was able to flip all my stress into something positive…so for me, it was all good grief.

HP: You mean stresses like, “being chased by Arabians?” What was that line all about?

hp: Ha! Yo, that was hella scary, son! I was 13 or 14 and I went back to Jersey for the summer. There was this Arabian family two buildings down from me ( I’m not even sure they were Arabian…but the girls had the dot things). Anyway, their son Krunel was my homeboy…I did something kind of foul to his sister and she ran to her crib crying….Krunel was with her, later he came back out and told me I needed to jet…before I could ask why, a trillion pissed off Arabian dudes ran out the house. I was ghost, son! They chased me for two or three blocks before I dipped, and hid inside the basement of my godmothers house. I was on some punk ish that day, for real…I coulda swore they were all carrying swords and fire torches.

HP: Wowww! So you’re not too good with the ladies, huh?

hp: Pfft, Im a motherfreakin pimp, son!

HP: No you’re not.

hp: I know. I’m Sorry. *frowns*

HP: I figured as much from the line about dating a rat and getting your tape stolen. What tape was it?

hp: Man, dang! It was a Canibus Vs. DMX tape. It was a mix I copped at the flea mall in Fayetteville. I was so pissed! She was all like, “Oooh, let me borrow dis, I luh me some DMX, that nigga foine!” I never saw that tape again, not even at the flea mall. I shoulda knew them girls was trouble when they made us walk 10 steps behind them at the mall…or when she paged me to take her grocery shopping, and made me pay for the groceries…or when I picked her up and her mom had a mouth full of gold teeth, watching Jerry Springer, and asked me to bring back some food. (all truth.)

HP: I…err, I mean, you got played, yo! Well, on a different note…Whatever happened to the braces?

hp: I got them things taken off senior year. Later lost my retainer in a burger king trash can.

HP: …and the brown ‘fro.

hp: They shaved that off when I went to boot camp.

HP: Okay, last question(s). Where is every place you lived? Which car broke down? What jobs made you quit?

hp: Too many places to name, but the places I call “home” are Jersey City (Chilltown), and Wilmington North Carolina. EVERY car Ive owned broke down. Except for the Honda…I sold her for California money. I’ve quit a couple jobs, usually for rap related reasons (or immense boredom)…but the worst was this “research marketing” company that had me selling umbrellas in a funeral home, with a dead body in the room. No joke. It was like an episode of fear factor.

HP: Yikes. Welp…it was good talking to you Haji. I hope my…errr, your single, as well as the album are both received with phenomenal acclaim.

hp: Thanks, P.


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