thouxanbandfauni wants to be the michael jackson of rap
As Fauni shares the video for his track 'First Time,' the emerging Atlanta rapper talks symbolism, claymation, and making it in America.
Photography Seem the Dream
ThouxanbandFauni is a colourful character. I’m chilling with the Atlanta rapper on a couch, in his North Hollywood pad during the NBA All-Star Weekend. It’s about 6pm. If things went according to plan, we’d be sitting somewhere on Sunset Boulevard, having our conversation amid the city’s coral-vermillion skies. But in Fauni’s world, life changes with the wind, so you just go with it.
“I know we were supposed to meet at a restaurant.” He says, apologetically. Appointments fell through or got pushed back. In between taking calls from a lady friend (“I’ll let you know when I’m ready”) and his homie who’s locked up (“Free Big Pronto! I love you big bro,”) Fauni muses over Michael Jackson, admiring how the pop icon effortlessly glides across the stage. It was an artist of this calibre that helped him to realize his own rockstar potential.
The 23-year-old rapper/producer/entertainer doesn’t call his sound “trap.” Perhaps he’s creating a wave all his own. His delivery goes from choppy to smooth; his lyrics are muffled; his inflections are purposely mono. His most recent mixtape, The Exfiles, isn’t cacophonous, but rather a melodic experimentation that complements his vocals. The rebels before him, Tyler the Creator, and SpaceGhostPurrp, inspired him to make his own beats. He has an eye for lo-fi visuals, his videos juxtapose inaccessible luxury and ratchetness. “A lot of the times, it’s the fans that make these videos,” he says of the most DIY ones.
Here’s what Fauni had to say about symbolism, claymation, and what life will be like when he gets older.
What does this star symbol you use mean?
It’s the Seal of Solomon. It’s the original symbol for the tree of life. It’s just a pattern for everything we see. Also, me feeling lost at a point and time in my life – the North Star and the moon, always help you find where it is you need to get to.
Did you specifically learn about Seal of Solomon while incarcerated?
I knew about it since I was little. But I got the true meaning of it when I got out; when I was able to go on the Internet and research. I wanted to understand why I kept seeing it everywhere.
Kodak Black uses the symbol as well. I’m wondering if this a common thread amongst young rappers in the south…
It’s personal to me but I understand. I feel like, they connect to Hebrew and Israelite traits. The same as the Jews and everything; the Hebrews [belief] is like Muslim [structurally]. My grandma, she was Hebrew. She told me about Yahweh/Yahushua – basically they believe he’s black. If you read their scriptures and everything, it says his hair was like wool and his brown skin, all that. They believe black people are the chosen people, just like how the Jews say they’re the true people. In the Hebrew belief, all the routes trace back to the motherland, Africa.
Is this something you believe?
I feel like, I’m still reading up on things - but I can see from what I’ve looked up about it - I can see why people believe it. Basically, it’s the belief that all people originated from the continent.
What is your perspective on rap as poetry?
They say Tupac was a poet. Some people have poetry in their lyrics. Some people tell me I have poetry in my lyrics. I guess I can hear it a little bit. Maybe it’s just the meaning of the words and how I put them together. To me, I just feel like it’s whatever people connect to; and [how the words resonate with them] at that time; whatever they’re going through.
How many songs do you make a day?
I make about eight to eleven songs a day.
Out of all your songs you’ve made since you started making music, which song is most personal to you?
I have a couple of personal ones, but like I say, the song I never got to finish, it’s called ‘My Jit’. I was about to have a baby or whatever, my son. The girl had a miscarriage.
How old were you when you made your first rap song?
There was one I did with UnoTheActivist, I think I was nineteen or something. The one I did with Uno that went crazy, and before that it was Rihanna Wrist. This was all in the same year.
Would you ever move from in front of the camera to behind the scenes?
Yeah. I’d make movie soundtracks. I’ll do my own cartoon characters. Voice-over. I grew up watching anime movies. I tried to work on some Claymation.
You use play dough or clay or whatever you got. You mould it into a figure, then you take pictures. But you gotta move with every picture. It’s just a whole bunch of pictures, you feel me. Have you seen Nightmare Before Christmas? I think that was Claymation. It a lot of pictures. Millions and millions of pictures for one movie. That’s what they used to make Gumby that took a lot of time. I don’t got that type of patience. I tried it, and I was like ‘nah!’.
Hard worker. So, this time this year, you’re going to be bigger than 21 Savage, yeah?
This time next year, I’m going to be bigger than I am now. I ain’t competing with nobody else.
That’s how to make it in America…
America is just so interesting. But I’ll just be all over the world. I’m trying to see what’s going on in Antarctica. The population is like, 1,100. I think it’s all only research over there. That’s some other shit. That’s some expedition shit. When I get old. If I live that long. If I don’t live that long, I ain’t gon’ be mad.
Do you see yourself leaving permanently, or will you come back?
I’ll always come home to America. I’ma make the whole world my home.