Where have you been lately?
I’ve been cooling out. I’ve been going through a lot of shit. I’ve been touring. I’ve been on the road with Ghost and whatever, whatever, but I’ve been going through family situations. My father passed away. That really hit me real hard. I decided to chill for a little hot second. I’m back.
Sorry to hear about that. It seems like your new album, Better Late Than Never, has some of your older material on it based on the references you make in the music.
You could say that. Some of it was recorded a year ago and you could hear some of the more modern stuff. It’s like 70% new stuff and 30% old stuff.
How do you see your current situations, like your father passing, affecting your music?
It’s really not affecting what I’m doing because I’m still doing what I do. I just gotta get reacquainted with the people and stuff like that. I still write my rhymes and put it out. I still eat regardless. I don’t really need this rap shit right now in my life but this is something that I love to do. This is something that takes me out of whatever I’m going through and it’s something that I like to do and it keeps me grounded.
Would you rather work other jobs than rap?
I can do many things. I just know how to get money. I just get money.
Isn’t that was a Project Pope is supposed to do?
Exactly! Exactly! (Laughs) That’s what the Project Pope is supposed to do!
How did you come up with that nickname?
I spit it in one of my rhymes or whatever. I think it’s from “Project Leaders.” I just fucked around. That was a little verse that I had and I liked the way that it sounded. It basically means that I’m the messenger for the hood. I’m the messenger for everybody out there and what they’re lacking right now. My music is more or less a message for everybody. That’s how the Project Pope came about.
How do you decide what older material to release and what to keep in the archives?
I just always stay recording. With this album, I didn’t have one way that I was going to mold it. I just compiled all of the different songs and the ones that sounded good with each other. I always be recording throughout. Like, I’m recording right now. I’m just recording songs for my next project. Now I’m just trying to stay more current with what’s going on with hip-hop right now.
How would you describe Better Late Than Never?
The new album is crazy. There's 16 Joints on it. I put a lot of hard work into it from the art work all the way down to the production and the features. My man Blunt from Canada produced, like, six tracks. My man Lee Bannon produced "I wanna be a rapper" A hard joint telling my story how I came up in the game. Freeway, Termanology, Ghost and Royce came through as far as the features. Altogether it’s a well rounded piece of work for real hip-hop heads out there.
How would you say Better Late Than Never is different from your first project Put It On The Line?
It differs from my prior work because this album is the more mature Trife. You still got your grimy songs on the album but I tried to show the fans my versatility with songs like "Blind Man" and "The World Today." I basically was the captain on the boat so everything you’re getting from this album is from the heart and soul of Trife Diesel.
Are you still in Stapleton today?
I don’t live in Stapleton no more, but I’m still in Staten Island. I still be in the hood. I still go though and check my peoples. You can’t never forget where you come from. I’m on my way to the hood right now to see what’s up with the fellas and go see my moms because she’s in the hospital right now. I’m going to check and see how she’s doing right now. It’s like every time something good happens, something bad happens. There’s a whole lot of obstacles at this point in my life. But yeah, I’m still on the Island but I don’t live in Stapleton no more. I’m still repping my hood though until the day I die.
If I’m coming to Staten Island, what should I do to have a good time?
Come to the hood. Come to Stapleton. We’ll get it popping, see what’s going on. There’s basketball tournaments. Staten Island is real slow right now. That’s why I’m dropping this album and bringing more light to the Island right now. It’s real dangerous out here because you’ll fuck around and go to a party and the shit’ll be shot up. Niggas are bumping heads out here and it’s the summertime and you got certain crews who don’t mess with certain people. You gotta be careful and watch how you move out here. Me, personally, I don’t do much partying on the Island because people get a couple of drinks in them and then they start wilding out. If they do start wilding out, I’ll shoot to the City or something like that and be around people that’s getting money like that. I’ll fuck around off the Island as of right now as far as partying and all of that. There’s a lot of police out here and the hood ain’t the same as it used to be. It’s real bad out here right now.
Are you still working with Ghostface and Theodore Unit today?
I’m still working with them. Nothing’s changed. I just had to step away and put out this project just so I could be more relevant with the people right now instead of always dropping something when Ghost dropped something. I’m basically flipping over a new leaf. I’m very in tune with Ghost though. That’s my man from day one. We still kick it and we’re still right there with each other. Basically ain’t nothing changed, really. I’m just doing my thing on my own and showing people that I could rap by myself but ain’t nothing changed besides that.
Do you think we’ll get a Theodore Unit album anytime in the near future?
There should be. I don’t know how niggas are feeling but I’ll be down to do whatever. All the Theodore Unit projects, that was basically my material and they basically formatted it around my music. They would take my songs and jump on that one and jump on this one. That’s how most of the crew’s albums was created, over my music. Niggas just jumped on certain records and we compiled it like that. But yeah, niggas are ready to do another album. I’m always ready to do another album because I’m a team player.
Does that ever add any pressure to you when you’re putting songs together?
It ain’t really like that. But a lot of people recorded to my shit. Certain songs that don’t make Ghost’s albums, they’ll go on the album and then there will be some of my songs. I’ll always be working, regardless if you don’t see me or I’m not out there or whatever. I always have material lying around. I always have material. That’s how most of those albums got created, off of the records that I had and others. We just combined them and put them together to make a Theodore Unit album.
Do you guys hang out and work together consistently?
Sometimes we’ll get up and I’ll shoot to Wigs’ house and get up with him or I’ll see Capp. Me and Ghost, we’ll hang out and he’ll call me if there’s something popping. But I just be fucking with my family nad fucking with my niggas. When it’s time to go to work, that’s when we have to go to work and get busy, whether we’re in the studio or we have to go on tour.
One of my favorite songs you’ve ever done is “Put It On the Line” with Gooch. Are you going to get back with him?
I just be reaching out to everybody and there’s people that I met on the road and I’ll stay in contact with them and I’ll just have them shoot me beats and the best beats, sometimes people will send me 200 beats but they only got, like, one beat and sometimes they’ll have five or six hot ones. I’ll just grab the ones that are hot and go off of that. But I always keep a good relationship with the people I work with. I really try to keep a good bond and relationship with producers.
What should we expect from Trife Da God in the near future?
I feel like every album that I’m on, those are basically my albums. You can go get Better Late Than Never and I’m just working on music. I’m trying to build my team’s buzz up so we can drop this new album and always stay positive and stay out of this bullshit that’s fucking the world up. The world is fucked up right now. I’m just trying to build a foundation for my future and for my little man and my family. I’m moving somebody every day and I feel like family is the most important thing in my life.
Will there be any more huge layovers with you in terms of dropping music?
No. Everybody just goes through what they go through at certain times in their life. It just so happens that in the last year that a lot of things happened that just made me want to fall back and just see life for what it was. But nah, you ain’t gotta worry about that no more and I’m sorry for the people that was always wondering when I was dropping stuff. And I don’t want to blast nobody like that but people weren’t moving as fast as me and when I wanted to get it popping, I think some of them didn’t know what to do with me. That’s why I felt like I had to jump out on my own and get it moving. Niggas weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing so I had to go out there and do it myself.
You’ll be getting my music often now and it’s going to be that real shit that you’ve been getting from me and basically that’s it. I’m still staying current with the times because the game is a lot of funny shit. There’s nothing really for me to listen to. That’s another reason you get bored with hip-hop too because you can’t even listen to the radio without getting bored because I don’t really be feeling nobody right now other than Joell Ortiz or like a Maino or something. But other than that I don’t really listen to too many people. I basically don’t even listen to the radio. That’s why I’m going to keep on blessing y’all with the raw hip-hop that I’ve been bringing to you for years. And I just want to let everybody know to go cop Better Late Than Never.