Photo: Lauren Hillary Voss

20 Questions: Beans

The prolific ex-Antipop Consortium rapper is releasing three full-length albums and his debut novel on the same day, and shares his loves and influences in depth with PopMatters.
Wolves of the World
Tygr Rawwk

You can never fault Beans for being anything less than overambitious.

Known in many circles not only for his work with the heralded Antipop Consortium collective but also for his otherworldly solo career (his first release, 2003’s Tomorrow Right Now, came out on Warp Records), Beans has slowly carved out a unique world for himself, his sometimes-personal, sometimes-outre lyrics melding with a wide range of productions and finding a unique audience every time. There will always be those who love his outsider-art approach to his Warp-era records, and those who will never get enough of the confessional nature of his 2007 set Thorns. He never intended to be the biggest rapper out there: just one of the most distinct ones you’ll ever come across.

So leave it to Beans to release his first set of new material from 2011, and it’s not one but three full-length albums, and a novel to boot. Via his own Tygr Rawwk Rcrds, Beans is unleashing the heavily electronic Wolves of the World, his dark subversion of a loverman rap set Love Me Tonight, and the socially-conscious but surprisingly-funky album HAAST all on the same day. As if that wasn’t enough, the novel Die Tonight comes out at the same time, tracing the life of a record-obsessed teenager who encounters a new album that possess him and makes him kill, only to soon discover an afterlife that is far from what he was expecting.

Amidst so many projects coming out at the same time, how does one celebrate? By answering PopMatters’ 20 Questions of course, with Beans going in great detail about his overt love of Batman, the best advice he ever got from his mom, and the one word he’d say to the current leader of the free world.

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1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

I love the movies and I go every Monday or on the occasional Tuesday for the price of a five-dollar ticket at the Cedar Lee Theater without fail but the last movie that made me weepy was on a date night with the missus.

The last movie we saw together was Get Out but the movie that had us both ballin’ was Fences. Viola Davis is awesome! She killed that role, man! Our eyes were rivers! I was so touched I made a puddle in my popcorn!

2. The fictional character most like you?

I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman.

When I was a child, my father saw that I was enthralled by comics in general and Batman in particular.

As a surprise, he custom-made these capes with the bat emblem on the back so he could hand out to kids at a Batman themed birthday party in our basement. I had a Batman Carvel ice cream cake, Batman party decorations, the works. My father made Batman special to me by hosting that party.

Throughout my life, Batman has always been the flyest. The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and Killing Joke are the flyest books. Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond are some of the flyest animated shows. The Dark Knight was the best superhero movie ever (until Logan) and his depiction in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited is the flyest.

Batman is training, disciple, and focus. Batman is one of the few DC superheroes without any powers that people with powers are scared of him. He has contingency plans to take out everybody in the DC Universe should any of them go astray. Simply put, he’s unfuckwitable.

My missus said that we could both work well with others for the greater good but we crave our solitude. If there’s any comparisons to be made with Batman, that’s the most I could think of.