That was the case a few months ago for writer Drew Millard, 22, a recent University of North Carolina grad, rap music enthusiast, and unpaid intern living in Brooklyn. The idea was to create a blog where he could write fictional stories about real rappers. And he knew exactly the person to make the idea a reality: Kate Jones, 19, an aspiring comic book author at UNC, who played in a punk rock band with Millard.
“Why rappers? Because no one writes about rappers,” Jones told the Daily Dot. There’s something “endearing to read about rappers that feel vulnerable. And I mean vulnerable in a stupid, relatable way, like saying ‘duvet’ instead of ‘bidet,’ not grand lost-love vulnerability,” Jones added.
And with that, Millard and Jones started the Rap Industry Fan Fiction Tumblr blog.
The two took time to chat by email with the Daily Dot about their fascination with hip-hop artist Drake, their creative process and what the future holds for the blog.
Daily Dot: What's your creative process like? Are there rappers you all like to write about more than others? I noticed that Drake was a fairly regular feature.
Jones: I love writing about Drake. He is the best character ever. Drake just seems like he hasn't really found his "place" in the rap scene. He seems like the kind of guy that spits all this game, but when you meet him, he's really sweet and puppy-like. I wonder if he's lonely. He seems like he'll talk to anyone about anything, for however long, just to make them happy. As for creative process, um, it's not much. Most of my fan fictions are a lot less surreal than some of the other writers'. They're usually sad. Sometimes autobiographical. Usually the subject matter relates in some way to something the rapper is known for. I try to write small, but significant moments that reflect on a larger aspect of the human condition.
Millard: I generally think up a stupid, banal task, and think of the rapper who would be least likely to do that stupid, banal task. That, or I write a story about my life and then replace the word "I" with the name of a rapper. We write about Drake so much because he is Kate's favorite rapper and my second-favorite rapper. He is a dork. We love him. I like writing about Gucci Mane, because he seems oddly approachable, like your grandfather, if he had a tattoo of an ice cream cone on his face and was currently incarcerated for pushing a woman out of a moving car (in this scenario, your grandfather is a pretty bad person).
Daily Dot: Since starting the blog, have any of the rappers you all have written about reached out to you all?
Millard: Nah, but I think that the dudes in Das Racist [an alternative hip-hop group from Brooklyn] are vaguely aware that we wrote fan fiction about them, which I suspect for reasons that could be told in another long, boring story. Upon two occasions rappers have asked us to post their music videos. I do not think they understand that our site is about made up stuff.
To my knowledge, our blog has only made one person mad so far. He called us "The Lonely Island of tumblr" or something. That was confusing, because neither of us work for Saturday Night Live, or even NBC, or even General Electric.
We have a loose consortium of friends from the Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC area (plus one dude in Queens, I think) who contribute to the blog on a regular basis. We do accept submissions/pitches, and that happens maybe three times a week.
Jones: Hell. Maybe in my dreams. Drake, if you're reading this, email me.
Daily Dot: Did you ever expect it to be such a hit? What are your favorites stories on the site and why?
Jones: We love our readers the most. They're funny. My favorites? "Mac Miller Gets half-and-half in his latte instead of skim milk," which Drew wrote. Because rappers drinking foofy drinks and being lonely is sad and funny.
My other favorite is also our most popular RIFF ever. It's "Kanye Deals with Rejection." It was actually a submission. The end is just... too good. When I read this submission for the first time my jaw dropped. It is the fan fiction I aspire to write.
Millard: I really don't feel like the site is a hit. Animals Talking In All Caps. Totally a hit. The guy who does it is a dick. Fuck him. Tumblr beef is on.
Favorites? “Lupe Fiasco finds out what ‘fiasco’ means” and “The Beastie Boys have a drunken threesome.” One of them was written by Kate, and the other was written by our friend JJ. They're funnier than the ones that I do.
Daily Dot: What do you all have planned in the immediate future for the blog? Any thoughts about turning the stories into a book?
Millard: In the immediate future, we plan on posting more dramatic readings. Dramatic readings are the shit. If there are book publishers who would like to turn our blog into a book, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a friend in law school and he can figure all the legal stuff out. Shouts out to the Summer Publishing Industry at New York University for teaching me that you needed lawyers for books.
Jones: Dude if someone will pay us to compile these into a book, we're all for it. Hit us up, publishers.
Photo by Alex Kehr