I was in New York last Christmas - it's snowing; there's a guy in a t-shirt. I'm like, 'Dude, aren't you cold?' 'No, I'm from New York. I don't get cold. ' Just 'cause you're from a cold place doesn't mean you're genetically predisposed to not feeling cold. You're not a penguin. I was like, 'In fact, sir, you're Puerto Rican, so if anything, you should be more cold.
My experiences growing up - my father lived in New York, so I was going out there in the summers and meeting really interesting people and people having what seemed to me to be extraordinary experiences and really taking advantage of these wonderful opportunities. And so I will go - I would go to the big city and watch these people performing onstage and doing television and films. And then I would go back to Hayward, and it just suddenly felt that much smaller and sort of limiting because I had this hyper awareness of how much larger the world was.
In my mind, New York was the place where they had the underground rap shows and I could get in on some ciphers and just rap. This whole fantasy world I had created in my head about New York just from listening to the music my whole life, like, I'ma go up there and do that. But when I came up here, there was none of that, that scene was dead.
People are attracted to your light because they want it for themselves. It's like fireflies. When we were kids in New York, we would visit my dad and catch fireflies because we were so attracted to their light. Put them in jars next to our bed, and then they'd die. Then we'd go out the next night and get another firefly. That's how people are.
I like what I see now in China, but I think the Japanese are a step ahead into craziness and weirdness. I go to galleries there that are the size of a New York elevator, and every time I'm surprised by the amazing things I find. I really hope I'll be able to promote some of these artists, to show their work in the West.