It’s 2019. By now, if you haven’t heard of Texas rap collective PNTHN, you kind of missed the breakout year, but here’s a quick recap:

PNTHN (as in “palace of the gods”) is 8 man pack of rappers and producers from San Marcos, Texas. They dropped two projects last year: A backseat rattling EP, POTLUCK,  that was as heavy on the bars as it was on the screw homages, both lyrically and sonically (no complaints here). Later in 2018, they came back with a more melodic and vibey album, RICO, that still maintained enough bump for them to hype up in live shows.

These two projects and a host of eye-catching, in-house produced music videos garnered looks from Pitchfork and Lyrical Lemonade, put them on tour with Freddie Gibbs and Vince Staples, and landed them a spot at iii festival in Miami. Thus: the breakout year.

Luckily, PNTHN shows no intention of letting up anytime soon. Also in the business of producing their own events, PNTHN is currently tearing up every warehouse in central Texas they can find and prepping for their next release. In between it all, the group connected with MUD for a deep dive into the group’s history, future plans, and to talk about the South in their own words.

 

I’m told that PNTHN kind of fell into place by chance. When was a moment that you knew you were building something together, that PNTHN was a thing?

“I personally noticed PNTHN was coming into its own whenever we threw our own show at the Good Stuff Store that was very successful even if it wasn’t “successful” we still woulda been gettin down, ya dig? That’s the thing bout us too is that we’re our own support sometimes. We also started makin’ moves on videos n promos more often and hanging around each other a lot more, even if it wasn’t bout da music ya feel.” — Yd

“PNTHN is like a curse. We’re stuck together.” — Kenny Casanova

 

What does San Marcos mean to PNTHN as a starting point?

“There wasn’t shit to do but get high and listen to music.” — Tony Tone

“San Marcos is literally the pits of hell that we dragged ourselves out of. We can make it thru anything.” — Kenny Casanova

“We all met each other in central Texas which acted as a headquarters for PNTHN down the line. Texas is our home ground that’s laid the foundation for us to go above n beyond as a group.” — Yd

“San Marcos is where we all met each other so it’s pretty pivotal just because it linked us all together. This where we laid the groundwork.” — dc4prez

 

 

What was it like opening for two established names in hip hop? How did the crowds react to your intense on-stage energy starting off the nights?

“Opening for Vince Staples was a learning experience for us all, from stage movements to visual effects and crowd engagement.” — Yd

“Been prepared for these type of situations and we learned a lot from the tour. The crowds seemed mixed in knowing what to expect and being utterly surprised. Some crowds were live as hell and others were intrigued and head nodding but all were participating with us when we interacted with them.” — Kenny Casanova

“It’s always crazy to get recognized by artists that we have listened to for years growing up. Every show is different and you never really know what to expect, especially because of how high energy our shows are, but people always fuck with what we’re doing even if they’re not down to get in the pit.” — Otto

“It helped us evolve our live performances and teach us better ways to engage with our crowd. Really cool to see your favorite rappers on the stage you just performed on.” — Tony Tone

 

What’s PNTHN’s goal for 2019?

“Be full time artists, festival tour, new project.” — Kenny Casanova

“Ascend to the next dimension of rap superiority.” — Tony Tone

“World domination or adequate compensation, whichever comes first.” – Otto

“Working  on ourselves gettin shit together nd keepin’ shit movin ya dig. Shift frequencies ta higher lvls.” — Yd

 

“We all met each other in central Texas which acted as a headquarters for PNTHN down the line. Texas is our home ground that’s laid the foundation for us to go above n beyond as a group.” — Yd

 

 

What’s something you think people should pay attention to in PNTHN’s music?

“Errythang? Tf” — Yd

“I think people should pay attention to the stories in PNTHN’s music.” — Romby

“Don’t let the energy distract you from the non-stop bars that you probably wouldn’t catch anyway.” — Otto

“Our shit mad musical from production to mixing to the way we word our verses, we some damn artists.” — Tony Tone

“Our bars is so deep you might just miss something.” — Kenny Casanova

 

[To Por Vida & Romby] Across PNTHN’s discography, you’ve gone back and forth between lead production. How do y’all go about crafting a consistent but diverse sound for the group?

“Romby and I have completely different styles but similar minds production wise, he’s the only producer I’m intimidated by. We don’t have to try very hard to be consistent, we’re two Texas boys it’s all natural. — Por Vida

 

Both apart from and complementary to your music, PNTHN’s visuals stand out as a major stylistic element. What inspires the ideas for your videos and what’s it like getting to bring those wild scenes to life?

“Bruh we just be on sum hillbilly shiiit. Chillin ona couch smokin n drinkin actin wild n one of us says somethin then the rest feeds/leads off dat idea den we’ll go do da shit it’s an equation.” — Yd

“We do a bunch of whip-its and shoot what we feel.” — Kenny Casanova

“We put so much focus into our videos because we wanna have amazing visuals to go wit the music. Some of the artists that influence me the most are the ones who can not only make good music, but also direct crazy videos to go with it. Tyler and Rocky go stupid just to name a few off the dome. Movies also give us a lot of inspiration for videos.” — dc4prez

 

What are some elements to expect in your upcoming music? Some things you want to incorporate in the future?

“A new dimension is coming in our music. We wanna immerse our fans in where we’ve been the past year. Nothing will ever be the same as you’ve known it. Evolution is always taking place so be prepared for change at any given opportunity.” — Kenny Casanova

“Merging our voices together in terms of more cohesiveness, and unlocking more of our potential as a whole.” Yd

“I want everyone to see the individual growth and team growth. Like of course our chemistry and songs gonna get better, but everyone has put in so much work in this past year I want people to really see how far we’ve come.” — Tony Tone

“For our upcoming music, Ijust wanna get better at constructing well thought out songs together. I want us to get better at songwriting individually and as a group. We all know we can rap so we never have to worry about that, but I wanna put together songs with better choruses, bridges, breakdowns, melodies, etc. I’m tryna get in my fuckin bag.” — dc4prez

 

 

“Romby and I have completely different styles but similar minds production wise, he’s the only producer I’m intimidated by. We don’t have to try very hard to be consistent we’re two Texas boys it’s all natural. — Por Vida

 

As you know MUD was created to showcase Southern talent and culture. You recently took a tour across the South on your way to iii festival. What was the most Southern thing you saw and what was on your playlist as you made your way?

“The most southern thang we done seen was a herd of cows lined up on sum mind controlled shit not movin a muscle shit was sus af and da mood fo da road was MSTRGLSS by Bari. Shit’s fia af.” — Yd

“It’s crazy to see confederate flags in the open, that shit fucked up, white ppl crazy. I ate good ass grits in atlanta tho. I was bumpin’ carti a lot tho, die lit been on repeat.” — Tony Tone

“Bari’s new project “MSTRGLSS” was on my playlist the whole tour. Monte Booker produced the whole thang go check it out! They made some crack music together I’m addicted.” — dc4prez

“Dem good ol confederate flags. We def had that new Bari, Lucki and Nudyland on repeat fosho.” — Kenny Casanova

 

What’s your favorite thing about the South?

“Our supposed accent, n food/culture. Texas could lighten up a bit tho.” — Yd

“The way everyone talks and Mexicans.” — Por Vida

“Favorite thing about the south is the food and making racist mfs mad when they see a bunch of black kids flourishing and not giving a fuck.” — dc4prez

“I like land so sometimes to me having wide ass open spaces of nothing is fire.” — Tony Tone

 

How does the South, in terms of sound and style, impact your work?

“The south impacts our sound naturally…we don’t try to go for a southern sound it just happens because it’s what we grew up around. also we fuck with way more shit than just southern shit so our music is never gonna only sound one way.” — dc4prez

“The laid back bounce and groove of the south is in my soul and this comes out very clearly in my production. We were raised here, even without trying i can’t ever help but make texas bop.” — Por Vida

“We are the new sound of the South; you can find Southern heavy influences from everything like chopped and screwed to jazz, if you listen hard enough.” — Otto

“I was born n raised here so listenin to my uncle play Zro too pimp C influenced my style but I was raised by my mama so a lot of R&B got in my head too, from Sade to some Justin Timberlake so i luv melodic shit heavy.” — Yd

“The South think its pussy smack like that but I’m going to Jamaica wit it bruh.” — Kenny Casanova

“It used to be so hot outside when I was growing up that I stayed in and learned how to make music” — Romby

 

“Favorite thing about the south is the food and making racist mfs mad when they see a bunch of black kids flourishing and not giving a fuck.” — dc4prez

 

 

When do you feel most like PNTHN? In the studio, hanging out, at shows?

“I feel most PNTHN on the toilet and in the club.” — Por Vida

“PNTHN ain’t a costume we put on, it’s in our blood. I feel most PNTHN in your nightmares.” — Kenny Casanova

“We da most PNTHN when we together lowkey. Ya might think it’s in da studio or before/or after a show, but it’s not. We could all be in HEB or in da streets and i’d feel like PNTHN.” — Yd

 

What are some albums/artists that everybody is sleeping on?

“People are sleeping on From Disorder, loveb4 its too late – Makai Alexander, sad girls club – VFTVC, kodie kardashian – bbykodie, big trash raps – okir, i $een everything – rick glaciers, and anything ethereal.” — Kenny Casanova

“Niggas is finally starting to wake up but if you still ain’t listening to lucki then you fucking up… Freewave 3 is a masterpiece.” — dc4prez

“Shoutsout: to JPEGMAFIA, RICO NASTY, & Maxo Kream, for my personal top 3 and for like underground artists for me shoutsout: Makai Alexander (Florida), BBY KODIE, & ugly since birth (usb), (Houston).” — Yd

 

PNTHN shows are understood to be intense and unruly. If you could take a PNTHN show one place it shouldn’t be, where would it be?

“We going straight to North Korea for a PNTHN show.” — Kenny Casanova

“Perform in the White House and when the beat drop in SUPAFANTASTIC someone takes Tr*mp out.” — Tony Tone

“I wanna take PNTHN shows to the inaccessible spaces of people’s minds. I wanna be able to hijack people’s visual cortex and project images of PNTHN performances while they sleep.” — Romby

 

The bars in Potluck are full of 90’s – early 2000’s pop culture, from video games to hip hop. What’s something you would bring back from that era to today?

“We kinda still got everything we had then now. Ya jus gotta know where too look.” — Yd

“I’d bring back Freaknik and Def Comedy Jam.” — Kenny Casanova

“Something from the 2000s i’d bring back is ed edd n eddy.” — dc4prez

“I would bring back UK garage music and drum n bass” — Romby

 

“PNTHN ain’t a costume we put on, it’s in our blood. I feel most PNTHN in your nightmares.” — Kenny Casanova