Massachusetts-bred, LA-based emcee/producer Skipp Whitman presents the music video for “Comfortable”, shot entirely in an Ikea. Skipp has collaborated with Skyzoo and Grafh, and has opened for Kanye West, KRS-One, Talib Kweli, Kool G Rap, Nas and Guru. Skipp recently released visuals for “Fireworks” (watch), a song from his Piece EP (listen on Soundcloud), composed, produced, written and recorded entirely by Skipp. Skipp’s next project is called Unfinished Songs Vol. 1, a collection of original freestyles and unfinished or incomplete songs and/or ideas. it will feature all original production by myself, and multiple, cutting edge videos to be released between now and the project drop date. The “Comfortable” video was directed by AJ Lodge and conceptualized by Skipp’s brother Jesse Feinberg. “We, like most, frequent our local Ikea,” Skipp says. “And one day, while shopping, my brother Jesse mentioned ‘these look like a bunch of film sets’ – which they do. So he and I thought up this crazy idea where we use these film sets to shoot a video. The catch being, you hopefully don’t realize it’s an Ikea until the end.”
Your videos all follow simple but innovative concepts. How do you come up with them?
Thank you. I don’t know, honestly. They sometimes just pop up as crazy ‘what if’ ideas, and we (me, my brother Jesse Feinberg, who plays a huge part in my creativity, and whoever the director is) figure out how to execute these ideas. ‘Comfortable’ actually began as a concept .. before the song. One day, while shopping for a bedroom set, it was ‘what if we ..’ and from there I made the beat and wrote the song. The ideas come from everywhere. But the ultimate test for any video .. Once it gets to that point is watch-ability. There is SO MUCH content out there. What is it about what I am showing you that would make you want to sit through it? Which is one reason why I am starting to adopt shorter song formats and even funkier concepts. It’s also definitely a challenge to walk that line of being entertaining while also not being a ‘parody’ or ‘gimmick’ rapper.
What’s it like being an artist that creates every aspect of his own music? What’s it like to collaborate with people after spending so much time creating alone?
I have learned to do everything I do, really because I couldn’t get someone else to do it for me at whatever point (be it production, graphics, booking shows, hooks etc). I used to love locking myself away and just cooking these ideas and producing this music. I think over time though, I got tired of the vacuum. Which is why, gradually, I have brought in other people like J.W.J. I still don’t collaborate often at all. It’s rare that I find someone who is both open to collaborate and blows my mind creatively. I never collab just to collab. The ability to create and control every aspect of my own music is liberating in that way. I don’t have to listen to nor rely on anyone. At the same time, it is a relief to finally be finding people (in LA) who I can bring into the fold and hopefully elevate what I (we) produce. It is my sincere goal, as things develop, to find more people who are open to creating great shit, and spend less time alone. In the lab.
Describe the typical Skipp Whitman fan.
12 – 65. Male female with brownish blondish black red hair. With a grade school, GED, high school, college diploma masters Doctorate PHD, who lives in the Downtown Suburban Rural Central East West Coast of wherever. I’m excited to see who they (or you if you’re reading this) are/is. I can’t wait to stand on a stage in front of 10,000 of you, and identify who you are. Typically. Because, honestly, I have as of yet to figure that out. The most meaningful connections are with those who identify with things in my songs. Which, so far, cover the gamut of the human experience.
What track of yours do you think you should go down in history for and why?
I don’t think I’ve made the song that I should go down in history for. If that’s a thing. My biggest breakthrough so far would probably be ‘it sucks being broke.’ and that’s because it was born from a moment of honesty that up until that point I had as of yet reached. I had just moved to NYC (Bushwick) from Massachusetts, and was sitting in my studio at like, 430am trying to get something down before I had to go to work. And was mad because I was exhausted but didn’t have enough that morning to hit the Dunkin Donuts on Broadway/Myrtle that opened at like 4am. And I remember literally saying out loud ‘it sucks being broke.’ of all my stuff that has probably gotten the best response and was a breakthrough because it led me to want to get even more honest with what I was saying.
How did you get your start rapping?
A Tribe Called Quest. Low End Theory. “Scenario” specifically. Greatest album of all time in my opinion. Well, that’s what pulled me in to the culture I guess. Rapping specifically though .. I had written this rap I guess to the instrumental of “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” .. The instrumental was actually in my head when I was writing it. I had gone to visit my Dad (from boston) when he was living in New York City. He has been in the music business my whole life (which is a whole other story). I told him I had this rap and wanted to use his studio to record it on the actual instrumental. We actually ‘collabed’ on some original beats and I put like a 4 track tape together. Duped that and gave it out at my highschool. And got a much bigger response than I had expected. Although that unexpected positive feedback put in me in like a 2 year writers block I think that that’s ultimately the spark that got me going.