In the mid-1990’s rap music was taking the nation by storm. Neighborhoods across the country were birthing new styles and groups. One of those cities becoming a rap powerhouse was Inkster, Michigan. Pone was at the forefront of the movement with the rap collective known as “The Rat Pac.” Thissomebull.com talked to Pone about his latest offerings to the rap world, along with some Inkster rap history.
TSB: Introduce yourself to our readers.
Pone: My name is Pone, I’ve been writing songs/lyrics for 38 yrs. I’m a father of 4, grandfather of 2. I’ve been working in mental health for ½ my life. I grew up in Inkster Michigan.
TSB: Talk about growing up in Inkster, Michigan.
Pone: Life for me started in Lemoyne Gardens, one of the “projects” in Inkster Michigan. Me being my mother’s only child, I had to be creative at an early age seeing as I was by myself with no siblings. At the age of 5 my mother & I moved to another area in Inkster, later that area became known as Across The Road/”Compton”. I made friends everywhere I went, & it was at this house where I started writing raps, well actually, while I was in school. I hafta kinda back up with my story, b’cuz while I was visiting my father one day in my old neighborhood, a song came on the radio called “The Message.” “Don’t push me, cause, I’m, close, to, the edge.”, and that did it for me! I was staring at the radio speakers like it was a TV!!! I was locked in after that.
TSB: What influenced you to become an artist?
Pone: The clever ways that word play can be used really motivated me to be an artist. As I watched the popular rappers before me spittin their perspectives on different things in different ways, I felt that I could do it too.
TSB: How did the group, “The Rat Pac” come about?
Pone: Crazy story lol… My girlfriend at the time had a pet rat, & when she got admitted to the hospital, she asked me to take care of it for her. So, one day at a pet store, I saw another one, a big one! So, I figured I would give her rat a playmate (smh). That’s when I discovered her rat was a girl, & I bought a boy!! 30 days later it was 15 baby rats in the cage & 30 days after that is was 12 more! My friends used to be amazed at how I would whistle & ALL of them would jump on the cage.
One day DJ Chewie took me to Saigon, another set of projects in Inkster known as Demby Terrace to visit a well-known DJ in that area named Raydio Ray. I remembered him from high school & I started telling him about a group I was putting together called the Rat Pac. He was also accompanied by a well-known rapper from that area named Blac e Blac, & we talked for a little while as he played beats. After I left, I returned about a month later by myself, and they played a song that they made, & in that song, they said the Rat Pac, & it was on from there! Me & Blac built a strong bond, talking on the phone for hours about er’thang under the sun. One day he said “we gon be called 728 Rat Pac, b’cuz on the phone R-a-t is 728”. & that’s how the numbers got its start.
TSB: You’ve recently released a few new videos, talk about these records.
Pone: This year I went on a strong campaign to produce videos for my songs. The feedback has been phenomenal in my opinion. It’s not just people I know that like the projects I’ve been putting out, a lot of the responses have been coming from total strangers, especially a video called I’m From.
I plan to double my output next year. #Progression.
TSB: What are you currently working on? Contact information
Pone: Right now, in this climate I’m focusing on singles that are video worthy. But I’m constantly working at the age of 49⅞, way more than in my 20’s and 30’s!
Facebook: Pone Baldwin
Conversation Conducted By: S.L Jackson (www.1sljackson.com Santoine@thissomebull.com)