We talked with Bfb Da Packman about transitioning from the streets to rap, why he doesn’t consider himself to be a “comedic” rapper, and potentially doing a TV show with Zack Fox.
Bfb Da Packman’s self-deprecating punchlines and raunchy on-stage antics stand out in a genre that’s grown — somehow — increasingly nihilistic. It’s understandable that the humor in Bfb Da Packman’s music tends to overshadow an impressive story of a man with powerful resolve. His first two albums, 2019’s STD and God Blessing All the Fat Niggas, chart his journey on the straight and narrow path out of the streets of Flint, Michigan to Houston, where he held steady jobs while rapping, parenting, and investing whatever money was left into promotion.
God Blessing’s “Tamika” made waves in 2019. The album’s penultimate track, “Done,” told Packman’s story to that point. The track serves as a venting session, a man at a crossroads washing his hands of the drug trade and leaving friends behind. However, the big career break for Bfb came in spring 2020 with the release of “Free Joe Exotic,” a five-minute windsprint with Sada Baby that remains one of the most quotable songs of recent memory.
Okayplayer met up with Bfb Da Packman at a Clinton Hill doughnut shop back in July, where he was quick to shut down the idea of him being merely a “comedy” rapper. His latest album, Fat Niggas Need Love Too, backs that notion — he goes toe-to-toe with Benny the Butcher and channels Ol’ Dirty Bastard without sacrificing any of the fun that draws you to his music.
During our conversation he talked about transitioning from the streets to rap, why he doesn’t consider himself to be a “comedic” rapper, and potentially doing a TV show with Zack Fox.
How have you been feeling since the album dropped?
Bfb Da Packman: I feel like I got to double back now. Like I got to put another piece of work. I feel like I’m on the bite now, like I can’t stop. If I stop the bite won’t keep going and there is no way I can try to get that bitch to stop, baby. It’s just going to keep going. So it’s either I keep pedaling or break my leg.
So growing up in Flint, it was just you and your other brother, correct?
Yep. And my step-pops. Can’t forget about that nigga. Big part of my life, big part of how I treat people. You know what I mean? Big part of why I’m a stand up guy, for real for real. My step-pops taught me a lot about life as a whole, so I give praise to him like a motherfucker because he is the one who taught me how to be good.
So who is the family listening to? A lot of people get their musical taste from family.
Shit, Rick Ross, Hot Boys, Mary J. Blige, Total, Puff Daddy, [The Notorious B.I.G.], shit uh, JAY-Z. JAY-Z heavy. Jeezy, E-40.
You mentioning the Hot Boyz stands out to me because you’ve asked producers for Louisiana beats before, like for “Northside Ghetto Soulja.” Was Louisiana music that big in Flint back then?
I got another Louisiana beat I’m about to throw in this tape. Every tape I’m going to do a Louisiana beat, for sure — a Baton Rouge beat. Boosie [Badazz] and Webbie and Trill Fam. You know what I mean? They was real heavy in this, and if you ask Boosie how many bags he picked up in Flint, he’s going to tell you. When I first met Boosie and I told him I’m from Flint, he was like “nigga, I run Flint.” Boosie been coming to Flint since the early 2000s, since he had “Swerve” out. I don’t know why or how but that nigga owns Flint.
So when did you start rapping?
Seriously — 2017. but I’ve been rapping since I was in middle school. I made my first song when I was in fifth or sixth grade.
Did you always put humor into it or is that something that came later.
What’s the funniest bar you ever heard me say?
The gonorrhea line from “Tamika” immediately comes to mind.
That was funny?
It was more like a “wow he really said that,” type of thing. Rapping about something uncomfortable.
Bro, listen, that’s why I say I don’t make funny bars. I don’t make comedian music kind of rap. That’s why whenever somebody say that or I got humorous bars I be like, “bro sing them,” and I be like, “bro that was funny?” They be like, “it’s true but it’s funny because you said it in a rap.”
And I’m like “OK.” I try to understand because, bro, do you know how many time that shit happen, bro?
So you don’t think it’s comedic, it’s just relatable?
Everything I’m saying is relatable, bro. Name one line that’s not relatable.
Why people think it’s humor is it’s real dark humor. I guess a lot of folks would see it like that.
It’s what it is because everybody rapping about jewelry and clothes and hoes and sliding on niggas, putting money on niggas heads and partying and in the club balling and all that shit. Murdering people. [You] can’t go drop a $100,000 on a chain, bruh. Can you do that? I could do that and I won’t dare do that shit like that. [So] why can’t I rap about regular people doing shit that people did, that people deal with.
I was listening to “Done” from God Blessing All the Fat Niggas, which is about your decision to leave the streets for good. Was it a gradual decision or did you just wake up one day like, “I can’t keep doing this?”
That’s one of my favorite songs. It was me graduating from Flint to Houston. It was me leaving everything and everybody behind and at that moment, I was really dealing with [friends persuading me to] come back to Flint. You know hustling, like my man [was] like, “Bro, we need you up here.” Like he was begging me to come back. To get some drugs to go OT and make a quick $20,000. He like, “bro you come up here… go back and put that shit in your music. [You] don’t gotta work a job and put pennies into your rap [career].” And that shit sounded so good because I needed the money bad.
So why Houston in particular? Did you have family there?
My mama had been living there, so it was just like when I got down there I was like, “I ain’t going back, I’m done.” You have to be a strong nigga, bro. Because you don’t understand… you FaceTime niggas, they showing you $50,000. As a street nigga, $50,000 is a lot of money. One video back then was $200. Bro, you know I could be the hottest nigga in the world if I had $50,000.
[I would] give [director OShotYouFilmz] five racks… I’m shooting films, and I probably would’ve blew up super fast. Because I have the formula. I have the crazy bars, the crazy shit that people love about me. And then in my videos I don’t give a fuck. I come into [a store], no permission. We got five minutes to shoot, because in the first two minutes, they’re begging me to leave, they’re going to call the police. So let’s just go in here, rap this song four times… let me do my shit and go home. [OShotYou] whip that bitch up, make it a nice video and we put that bitch out. [I pay Say Cheese TV] for the promotion…Wwith every repost on SayCheese, I’m getting 2,000 followers, 3,000 followers, 4,000 followers… it kept climbing but I was running out of money.
So at that time in my head, bro, if I go back… Who am I going to prove? Everybody’s at prison — everybody. I’m all my momma got. My brother’s in prison, he had 15 years. So it’s like, “Damn, if I get locked up what my momma going to do?” I’ve never been a selfish kid, I had to think about everybody. But what is my momma going to do if I get caught in one of these little towns? This why I say Kentucky and Ohio and Iowa and all them bro because this pill that you get for $5 here or $2 here, when you go to them white little towns, that bitch turn from $2, $5 to $30 or $40 or $50.
But one thing for sure, them white people get caught with that pill, even from that trap house that they just bought it from, they all telling. So nigga that’s a consequence that you got to be ready for. It’s white kids, you’re from Michigan… you serving our children. The judge is white. Everybody is white. You go out there and get your ass 20 years if you want to and ain’t nobody coming to save you because you’re somewhere in a little town in Kentucky. That’s where the song “Done” came from.
That [song], I was in love as a young kid. I was just telling my publicist about a girl that moved in [with me] because she was raised poorly, like bro it was just a fucked up situation. So I moved her in, we fell in love, we grew together and at [the age of] 20 we broke up. She broke my heart. She is the reason why I can’t love correctly. Like it might sound funny but that’s real shit.
I ignored her from 2015. 2017… She used to always call my phone on private. Nobody call my shit private so I would always know it was her. I ignored her, but that one day she called excited, bro. It was right before my birthday. She died June 4th. My birthday June 7th. So it’s right before, a week before my birthday. When I picked up the phone God just made me forgive her, bro, I swear to God. Usually when people tell these type of stories I think that they be lying. I just forgave her for some reason. I was just talking to her over there, she’s just like, “yeah I missed you so much,” I’m like, “yeah I missed you too.” I’m with my baby momma at this time, we ain’t had no kids though.
I was sneaking, talking to her, but not knowing that God made me forgive her and if I hadn’t talk to her, she was about to be killed… So that was why I wrote that song. Whenever you hear me say something about Kanasha, that’s her. She’s a big part of my life. And she has a son. You know what I mean? I don’t know what her baby daddy on, I don’t know if he want me to be in his [son’s] life. [But] whenever he is ready to come holla at me, he got a plate. I want to put up a trust fund for him.
You also mention your family not believing in your rap career in the early days. Do they realize you’re legit now?
Hell yeah. I be throwing it up in their faces, man. I love my mama to death. My mama is all I got for real… she’s a great, great, great mother and I give her that. The greatest thing she ever did was move to Houston. [If she didn’t] move to Houston I probably would have been locked up for drugs for sure, for sure.
I’m going to keep it honest with you, bro, Flint on fire. Flint set Michigan the fuck off. Rio da Yung OG, YN Jay. They got that fire over there, they talking crazy. And then ENRGY [Beat] comes with that production… and when you hear that in all them niggas beats now? Listen to Detroit niggas’ beats before, they didn’t sound like that. Rio bust the door open for Michigan.
I’ve seen you been going out to LA with Zack Fox, could you see yourself getting into the entertainment industry?
Hell yeah, bro if you’re listening to this, I want to break off into acting. Whoever can get me into the Hollywood scene, help me out man. Me and Zack Fox supposed to do our own TV show, he’s going to be the writer. Me and some [other] guys are going to be the actors.
When the “Free Joe Exotic” video came out I imagined a buddy cop movie with you and Sada Baby. He’s already an animated dude but you brought the energy out of him.
I never knew that song was going to be the song to change my life, and I’m so grateful for that man. That was my moment, because everybody can rap, [but] everybody don’t have personality. So when that hit, that was like, “this is my door, this is my opening to be a great actor, a great artist, a great performer, a great friend, a great mentor, a great father.” Because all the young niggas — we need guidance and we need information. And now that I get the source and the guidance, I’ll pay for it. I’ll pay for it to give it to my niggas for free.
Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.