T.Lavender: Prince Pleiades! Now, how do you pronounce your name? Prince Pleiades: Plea - 80s. Like a plea deal and eighties like you riding through the Mac Block. T.Lavender: Ok ok I didn’t want to mess it up. How have you been? You’ve changed your name again. What is the meaning of your new artist name & what sparked the change? Prince Pleiades: You know 2020 has been a challenging year for most so I have been trying to find the balance between desire and necessity. I’ve been doing a lot of reassessing and self evaluation mixed in with some self love and boundary setting; It’s been a journey but I’m here for the ride. My name change has been a part of that ride. I know most still remember me as Gemini but that was just one side of me. One of my many alter egos. He is still very much so alive and does features every now and then. But I’m walking in a more familiar essence these days as Prince. It’s respectable. Honorable. It reminds me of who I am destined to be and what I am capable of. T.Lavender: You’re from the Bay Area right? What part? Prince Pleiades: Yes. I was born in the City and raised in Oakland. On the weekends I’d be with my dad and his side in K.O. and during the week I’d be in Oakland all over. Don’t sleep on Lake Merritt though. T. Lavender: How long have you been doing music? Prince Pleiades: I’ve been involved in music since I was 4. It's always been a part of my narrative whether I was behind the mic in a booth or on stage. In fact, my very first tattoo is a treble clef which I got when I turned 18. I thought I was doing something big but in a funny way my tattoos always resemble some major aspect or event in my life so I’d say stay tuned. T. Lavender: You’re pretty tall. Do you model as well? Prince Pleiades: Yes, I have done some modeling here and there. Mostly print ads and commercials. I’m a little shy of the runway though. I’ve got a couple more sit ups to do before I venture out but I have a thing for Doritos. T. Lavender: What are all of the other ventures you’ve done besides rapping? Prince Pleiades: I am a man of many talents. I’ve done everything from teaching to serving. Currently I am working on two projects. One is a beauty line called “Erzulie Beauty Company” which is catered towards women and particularly those who have experienced domestic violence. I also have an edible cannabis business called “Incredibuddy” which I am very excited to share with the Bay real soon. T.Lavender: Who influenced you? Prince Pleiades: Growing up I was surrounded by strong women. I would say my mother is my biggest influencer. A woman who paused her life so that I could live. A selfless queen.To me she exudes a certain type of strength that is hard to embody so I’m trying to catch up. T.Lavender: Your swag is unmatched. Who is your stylist? I need their number! Prince Pleiades: I really appreciate that. You know when it comes to fashion and clothes I’ve always been the more eccentric kind of guy. You could thank my Leo birth chart placements for that. It’s crazy because some people try to be different intentionally and others are just born that way. Even some of my best outfits come from when I am not trying and just want to throw something on real quick. In fact, I really don’t like to dress up. I’d rather wear some sweats, slides, and a white tank and call it a day. Throw these locs in a ponytail and be on my way. T.Lavender: Is it true you used to be a choir director? Prince Pleiades: Yes. I used to tear those choirs up. Have the whole church on their feet doing the one two step! T.Lavender: You went to college? What school & what made you make that college choice? Prince Pleiades: Growing up in Oakland it was more so an anomaly to see people of color in successful positions and especially for the so called “black man.” I used to hear stories about the south and how it was really prosperous for us out there. Lots of opportunities to make it. When I visited Morehouse College in April of 2012 I walked past the campus bookstore and one of the students greeted me as “brother.” It wasn’t the ole “wassup nigga? Sup bruh? Where you from?” that I was accustomed to out here but instead he greeted me with respect. It felt good to see another black man who didn’t know me or anything about where I was from or how much I had to simply greet me as “brother.” That spoke volumes to me. It was then that I knew Morehouse was the place for me.
I wanted to surround myself by men who challenged themselves to be great academically and culturally. Men who knew they wanted more out of life and deserved better. Men who strive to one day fill the crown placed over their heads. Needless to say I think I made the right decision. T.Lavender: How is your family when it comes to your music & your lifestyle? Prince Pleiades: I would say that I am definitely the black sheep of the family and get support from very few family members. Most are still stuck on the “church boy” version of myself but the man that I am becoming is completely opposite. T.Lavender: I know the boys are kicking down your door! What does your DM’s look like these days? Be honest. Prince Pleiades: I don’t know what makes people think my DM’s are flooded. I don’t even get the ones I want and if I do they have cute faces but ugly personalities. Now it does depend on which social media platform we are asking about. Instagram barely gets hit; Facebook is always some old trick with some corny meme or link that I don’t care for and Twitter… well that’s a different story. But offline I get mostly hit on by older women… or men with wives but that’s none of my business. T.Lavender: How has the pandemic been for you musically? Prince Pleiades: Musically the pandemic has challenged me to prove to myself how bad I really want this. Some days I am able to write songs in less than an hour and other days I’m completely uninspired. What helps, though, is getting out of the house and doing things. Having interactions with people and nature.
T.Lavender: There aren’t a lot of “OUT” artist. A lot of them are still closeted. What made you want to be different? Prince Pleiades: As an Aries I am a natural leader. Being different seems to come with the territory. Anytime I would find myself trying to fit in or follow trends it never felt authentic and required way too much energy for me to maintain. I used to be one of those guys who thought having a girl on my hip would make me seem more masculine and the whole nine. Or maybe if I rapped this way and dressed this way I’d make it. I’m just not a dude that likes to play games. I’d rather be upfront from the gate and let you decide what you want to do with it.
Too often I come across men who may like other men but because of fear of judgement, or whatever the case , they project a false sense of self onto others. This causes more damage than good. I’ve seen men live double lives and it eat away at them. They become abusive to women, fake towards their friends and family and overall manipulative. I’d be damned if I let the opinion of others rule over my life and deter me from expressing my heart on a track or in real time. When I’m dying of old age I will look back and be proud of the life I lived knowing that I lived in my truth no matter how hard it may have been. I will not die with regrets and in the shadows of the opinions of narrow minded individuals.
I saw that this is what came with being “In” so I wanted “Out.” “If this makes me an “Out” artist then sure but at the end of the day I could go toe to toe with any artist be them “In” or “Out”. This is just a level of confidence I must uphold in this industry especially being a person with a powerful sexuality. A lot of these artists put on facades to become more marketable and likable but I don’t want to gain my success like that. To me, that’s not successful but rather depressing and suppressive. I want people to know that every time you hear Prince Pleiades spit he is just saying it how it is. Keep it real so I can attract something real in my life. I won’t say it’s the easiest thing I’ve done but it’s not the hardest. Try taking a “Stats” class at Spelman and you’ll see. T.Lavender: What should we expect from Prince Pleiades for the rest of 2020 into 2021? Prince Pleiades: Moving forward I am breaking barriers for people like me in this industry. People who walk a thin line between both worlds but are consistently encouraged to be one way. People who no longer wish to play by the rules. You will hear it in my music and will see it in my visuals. I seek to provide the culture with quality and substance every single time. We’ve been bamboozled in our own culture for too long. It’s more than just music for me. Music is what has helped me through depression and keeps me smiling through the day. It feeds my soul so I’d just like to speak to people’s souls from now on. F the gimmicks.