U.K. Hip-Hop Duo White Girl Wasted Call on MF DOOM, DJ Premier and More on Debut Album

Indian-origin rapper Sonnyjim and producer The Purist talk about how ‘The Simpsons’ inspired their trippy record

Producer The Purist (left) and rapper Sonnyjim come together as White Girl Wasted. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Earlier this year, Birmingham-bred rapper Sonnyjim and London’s DJ-producer The Purist released their first song under the project White Girl Wasted, “Barz Simpson.” In addition to being a groovy bop, it also featured a posthumous verse from American hip-hop great MF DOOM and rapper-producer Jay Electronica. More than that, it also set the tone for their half-jokey yet gritty kind of psychedelic rap that borrows heavily from pop culture.

With the self-titled album White Girl Wasted out now, we know that the duo share a common love for long-running animated T.V. series The Simpsons. After all, “Barz Simpson” put Bart Simpson in the inimitable MF DOOM mask, while the album art sees Homer with a bong in hand and surrounded by what can best be described as a treasure trove of Simpsons references.

Sonnyjim says they did their due diligence and got all their rights cleared to adapt characters for the artwork. He adds about the “Barz Simpson” artwork, “The song was called something else initially and then one day we were high on ’shrooms chatting the breeze. Shout out to [rapper] David Bars and [saxophonist] Gary Bartz – if they had ever done a song together guess what it would be called….Barz Simpson! anyway the next day I woke up and had the idea for Bart with the doom mask and rest is history.” To this, The Purist offers up a bit of trivia. “Our initial cover concept was with a famous American porn actress, that fell through due to Covid and we ended up here.”

Pop culture is wholly at the center of the slinky and slick hip-hop of White Girl Wasted, the references to Better Call Saul and South Asian heritage dropped alongside copious shoutouts to all kinds of psychotropic substances.

In an interview with Rolling Stone India, Sonnyjim and The Purist talk about their association, the collaborators on White Girl Wasted and India plans. Excerpts:

This has been four years in the making, right? What has it been like seeing it through? 

Sonnyjim: Yeah, about that on and off. We just dropped the vinyl, and it sold out in five minutes, so yeah, that alone made it worthwhile! The album has been really well received, so must not grumble.

What would you say is the common ground you both share that’s really been the catalyst for this album?

The Purist: A desire to make something better than the dreary, played out boom bap hip-hop which I would say is prevalent in the U.K. 

Sonny, you’ve been extremely prolific. What was it like keeping the wheels turning on multiple projects?

Sonnyjim: This is what I do. It’s a piece of cake, to be honest. I like being in the studio and working. I don’t really take any of it too seriously. I just go in and do the songs, keep it moving.

I have to ask about you guys working with DOOM, Madlib, DJ Premier and Jay Electronica. Could you tell me a little bit about each of these collaborators and especially what it was like working with DOOM on what sadly became a posthumous release for him?

Sonnyjim: Firstly RIP DOOM! It was great working with all of them. They’re all cult, real legends. You can’t just get them on a song, you have to be of a certain ilk. They all killed it. It was not just a case of getting them because of who they were, the music always dictated the feature from start to finish. 

The Purist:  I felt like the album needed some knock so we reached out to PREEMO aka DJ Premier for a distinctive sound and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Madlib came around after a chance encounter with his manager Egon, and we ended up with around 1,000 beats to choose from. It took a couple of days to just listen to them all once. DOOM felt like the right fit for “Barz Simpson” the minute I recorded Sonny’s verse. So we reached out to him and had his verse back a few days later. He loved the track and wanted to use it for an Adult Swim projects he was doing. But we just couldn’t let it go. 

Now that this record is out, is White Girl Wasted going to take this on the road? What’s coming up in terms of promos through 2022? Would an India show ever be on the cards? 

Sonnyjim: Yeah, of course if the situation is right, we would love that. One thing is for sure, the rider is about to get more ridiculous! Plenty more to come in 2022, we’re always working. And yeah we will be in India very soon!

LIsten to ‘White Girl Wasted’ below. Stream on more platforms here.

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