What happens when you mix talent, dedication, hard work and passion for what you do? You get PSIMDOPE. But who is PSIMDOPE? She describes herself as “A hip hop artist, illustrator, country girl.” This laid back artist is more like the eye of a hurricane moving swiftly without physically having to destroy anything in her path. Surviving in any field requires not only the motivation to be great, but the mindset to know what you want for yourself. Her advice to aspiring artists is to fight for themselves. “This industry, even just being an artist, galleries too, aren’t always going to be for you or about you. People will ask you to do work you don’t want to, they'll steal your art, people will try not to pay you, you’ll be disrespected…you have to fight for yourself and your artistic integrity.”
Every artist’s journey is different. Her favorite part of being an artist is “being able to create a visual to the sounds.” PS has been working on her craft since she was young. Around 15/16, she stared seeing what boundaries there were with her work. “I started pushing my art and taking it with me everywhere to see where it would get me.” Fast forward with a few years under belt, what’s the most difficult part of being an illustrator for her? “Maintaining a balance between what you want and what they want and finding the time to do that.”
Have you gone by any other name?
PSIMDOPE: Oh gosh, well my real name is actually Princess Spencer. So early on I just went by Princess the Artist. But after a while, constantly hearing someone refer to me or my work as “dope” I just shorted it all. Most people just call me PS or Dope for short now.
What led you on the path of wanting to be an artist?
PSIMDOPE: It’s one of the only things I know that no matter what else I study or learn, that it’s a given talent. It’s not something I can unlearn. I will never be one of those people that say “I used to draw, but then I just stopped”.
What led you to becoming a hip hop artist?
PSIMDOPE: I create where the sound takes me. Hip hop has been my life so I definitely focus a lot of my energy on creating with and within it.
You’ve done some pretty interesting work for 9th Wonder, Wale, Joe Budden, C’MON and many more. What runs through your mind when you’re approached with projects like these?
PSIMDOPE: I’m all about working with brands and people that I’m inspired by or that I have a certain level of respect for. I always ask them: What do you want this to feel like? What is the time frame? What’s the budget? Asking those questions will kind of weed out a lot of bull. Luckily, in most of those situations, the artists have reached out to me, and those questions were already answered before they were asked.
What’s the most amount of time you have spent on a project?
PSIMDOPE: I worked on Joe Budden’s All Love Lost literally my entire summer, almost 4 months. All of my other projects, I was able to knock out in no time but Joe had a very specific vision and mood for his project that was really hard to put on paper. I spent any free time, sketching.
Is it easier for you if someone is very specific with what they want with their project or if you’re given free range to do what comes to mind?
PSIMDOPE: It depends on the artist or the project that I'm working on. If my knowledge of the artist is extensive or I am able to get a feel for what the project is going to be, whether it be through conversations with them or previewing the project and music, then I just go in. I love it like that where it's organic and me and the artist get or come up with similar visions. People who have specific visions, its a lot harder because it takes so long to put on paper what they see in their head.
What project did you have the most fun with?
PSIMDOPE: I think the most fun I’ve had on a project was working with Curren$y on his set backdrop for The Smokers Club Part Deux. It was the 2nd project I had worked on, after 9th Wonder’s album, but it allowed me to use Adobe Illustrator for the first time. It also was one of those things where the entire experience revolved around how the artist and the fans could interact with it. Performances are a huge thing for artists, and with Curren$y being injured at the time, my work kind of literally set the stage.
What is your favorite project you have worked on?
PSIMDOPE: Other than the work with Curren$y, I think that working with 9th Wonder and the artists that were on Jamla, those were probably some of my favorites because it felt more like a collaboration. Big Remo’s Sleepwalkers album cover was never intended to be a cover when I drew it. We had been trying to come up with a concept for a while. What became the cover, was me practicing large scale work for my art show at Commonwealth. But 9th saw it and said “THAT is the cover” and I remember how hype he and Remo were about it, how hype I was about it.
Have you ever been a part of an exhibition?
PSIMDOPE: I’ve had a solo show, back in 2012. Commonwealth was actually where my art show was. I’ve been hoping and planning to do a show within the next year.
As an artist, what or who inspires you?
PSIMDOPE: Music. Definitely lots of Freddie Gibbs, Jay Rock, StewRat, Flamingosis, Tuamie…lots of chill vibe sounds.
What would you say is your least favorite part?
PSIMDOPE: Industry Rule #4080
Is there anything you would like to add?
PSIMDOPE: Follow me online @PSIMDOPE, I’m working on a mural in Brooklyn so I’ll be posting info on that on instagram. Lots of dope projects coming in the new year.
Keep up with PSIMDOPE on Instagram & Twitter @psimdope