Airplane James

Meet One of L.A.’s Top Rising Rap Artists

Meet the Los Angeles native who is bringing the cultures and the vibes of the East Side of South Central into the world of hip-hop. Debuting only a few years ago after linking well known Compton rapper Problem, Airplane James has been on a considerable rise of late.

Releasing multiple projects, from Eastside Special to his latest EP Still Hurt, alongside with several visuals, Airplane James has been making his rounds through L.A.’s hip-hop scene. Full speed ahead with his foot on the pedal, Airplane James is slowly emerging as the future of L.A. hip-hop.

airplane james

Meet and Get To Know Airplane James

Kulture Vulturez: Can you break down what was life like for you growing up in L.A.?

Airplane James: I grew up on the East Side of South Central. For those who are not familiar, that’s what they would consider the roughest side of the city. But I had it normal. It wasn’t too much different from any other kid growing up.

My grandma took good care of us. She did not let me come out the gate until I was 12 years old because she feared the gang members in the neighborhood and shit like that. That pretty much kept me grounded. Once I left outside the gate, you know, I got into a little bit of trouble, but, you know, I straighten up. But it wasn’t too much different or crazy. [I can say] I didn’t have a crazy upbringing.

Kulture Vulturez: Did the culture there in Los Angeles have a major influence on you to becoming an artist?

Airplane James: Definitely. You see everything. You walk outside, it’s just enriched. You see everything that Snoop and Dre and all these [artists did], it just give you a sense of pride. Being able to walk down Broadway and seeing the lowrider car shows, shit like that. It definitely inspired me to be an artist and talk about what goes on here, for sure.

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Kulture Vulturez: What do you feel like people get wrong about the city of L.A.

Airplane James: I see a lot of people come here and say that we got trash food (LOL). Then they’d be like, L.A. is fake as f***. Just nine times out of ten, you’re stopping in Hollywood. That’s not the real L.A. That’s full of industry [people], and it’s full of transplants. You have to drive a little bit further into the city, to South Central or Inglewood. You’re going to find some real ass people there.

Kulture Vulturez: Can you explain the culture there in L.A.? Outside of the streets, but just for the regular folks.

Airplane James: How could I explain it? Well, I grew up on the East Side, so it’s pretty much like a togetherness. It kind of reminds you of the South in a little bit. Everybody greets each other and shit like that. That’s what I can say right now as far as the culture.

Kulture Vulturez: Do you feel like it’s easy becoming a rapper from Los Angeles and making it out of Los Angeles? You have a lot of transplants and a lot of people rapping.

Airplane James: Personally, you just have to do some shit to stand out. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, and I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s hard either. I just feel like a lot of us aren’t really taking the steps to kind of try and stand out. Do some ground breaking shit. Kendrick he came out and did groundbreaking shit. Roddy Ricch, YG, Blxst, done groundbreaking shit. So, I don’t think that it is hard to do. You just have to be intentional with what you’re doing.

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Kulture Vulturez: What was the moment or the moments that led you to pursue a career in music?

Airplane James: I always wanted to do music. Ever since I seen Lil Wayne on The Block is Hot I knew I wanted to do it. But to take it serious [is when] I had met [L.A. rapper] Problem. I was in a session with him, and just by being a fly on the wall and seeing what goes down. Being able to sit in on some of the meetings he had, I just was getting groomed without even getting groomed, you know what I’m saying? I just was the kid in the room. Nobody was really paying attention. But that’s when I said, I’m gonna take this shit serious, like, I can do this shit.

Kulture Vulturez: Fast forwarding and you just released your latest EP, Still Hurt. Can you break that down?

Airplane James: Still Hurt is a follow up to Lowkey Hurt. I dropped a project before that called Eastside Special, too. That just was detailing how I grew up and what happens on the outside when you step out the house.

I wanted to peel back the layers and drop a musical piece about what happens when you go inside the house. Who are you when the lights are off at night. I just wanted to touch on that, touch on traumas, touch on all the things I experienced on a personal level, rather than talking about what everybody else experienced outside. So, Still Hurt is just an extension of of that.

Kulture Vulturez: How did this project different from your previous projects?

Airplane James: I’ll say this Still Hurt is my most put together project, as far as sequence, as far as making sure I’m hitting the notes when I’m singing. I put the most time into this project. That’s what’s different from it.

Just me getting better with my pen. It’s easy to go in there, because anybody can really put words together. But putting together structured songs, evoking emotion, and knowing what you want to talk about, I think this is my most focused project. I stayed on topic. I stayed precise to the point.

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Kulture Vulturez: How do you feel your other projects separate themselves from each other?

Airplane James: Eastside Special is just like some East Side shit. I’m speaking to a demographic, I’m speaking to my section.

Lowkey Hurt that stands out because that was coming off the heels of doing some hood shit, really. Then I just come back with this emotional, vulnerable project that was the first of its kind for me. That’s why that one stands out.

Still Hurt stands out because I went even deeper into that bag. Then you have songs like “This Time,” where we’re in that space where n****s be like f*** a b***h and blah, blah, blah, but I’m making melodies and ballads about being a better n**** to your woman. It has deep cut records on there like that. I would say that’s what separates all three of them. They all have their own special stance in my catalog.

Kulture Vulturez: What’s next for you after this?

Airplane James: Shit, man. Keeping my foot on the gas. I have more projects coming. Dropping some more visuals off this project. It’s going to be a busy year for me, for sure.

Kulture Vulturez: Anything else you would want to let them know?

Airplane James: Oh, shit, man. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter. We got new shit coming, man. Stay tuned. We got merch out right now. You can get that at Airplane Shop and shit press play on Still Hurt.

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