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Ask a Rapper: Troublesum on Why There Are Always So Many People Standing Onstage

The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to [email protected].

This Week's Rapper: Troublesum

This Week's Subject(s): Do rappers really think it's fun for concert goers when performers just stand around on stage with a bunch of people gathered around them?

Troublesum, "SWAG"

Troublesum, "SWAG"

Ask A Rapper: We assume you're tired of being asked about being a female in a male-dominated genre and blah, blah, blah, so we'll touch on something else we've received emails about: live performances.

What's up with those? We mean, a large percentage of the rap shows that we've been to consist of the rapper simply standing there and reciting his or her rhymes. Sometimes there's a group of people standing around in the background, sometimes there's not. Do you all really think that's enjoyable for fans?

Troublesum: Yes and no. Some [artists] have a following that supports them being on stage with an entourage or them being up there solo. That's them in their element, so if it works for them, why switch it up, dig me? However, I'm a performer as well as an artist so I like to give my audience a show, something that they'll leave talking about.

AAR: Why don't more rappers incorporate props (like Kid Cudi and his light wall) or dance routines or something? That stuff always makes a show better.

TS: As [artists] we all have our own lanes. The industry would be boring if everyone did the same thing. And you have to take into consideration the budget an artist is working with. I would personally love to come out on stage with a live band, lights, fire, etc. However, my budget and my vision isn't coinciding w/each other right now, so I just use what I got till I get what I need. But my performance is always 100 percent.

AAR: That is a completely valid point. Is it the intention of a performing rapper to get a crowd so hyped up that somebody gets shot or stabbed? That seems to happen quite a bit.

TS: Mr. Serrano, we're gonna fight [laughs]. You know that's never our intention! We don't have control over what someone decides to do during or after a show. If anything, our responsibility is to diffuse the situation if it's going down during our set. But incidents like that happen when individuals haven't blossomed into maturity, which has nothing to do with the artist.

AAR: What about pot? When we were at the Devin show the performing acts were pretty encouraging of people smoking in there. What's the general consensus on that? You all are aware that that is illegal, right?

T: I think that's something you should ask the security working those events. Again, I have no control over what the next person decides to do at a public venue. I'm there to do my job and that's to give my fans a super-dope show.

See Troublesum at Shadow Bar October 29. Friend her on MySpace at Download her latest mixtape for free here.

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Shea Serrano