Patrick Paige II took his career to the air once again with his second solo album, If I Fail Are We Still Cool?
A rhetorical question for many of his fans, the album sees Paige take broad jumps in a series of directions on the road to building an album that’s boundless in genre & style and vulnerable & relatable in lyrics.
“I’m so proud of this one because for me it was such a big step outside of myself,” Paige said. [I’m] unlocking different characters. It was a lot of discovery for me.”
If I Fail Are We Still Cool? carries a ridiculous question for fans of Paige and his band, The Internet. He’s proven himself as one of the world’s best bassists over the years, and while he hasn’t been a main vocalist for the band in the past, he’s showed his skills on the mic through a couple of The Internet’s interludes on top of his 2017 debut solo album, Letters of Irrelevance.
He was always going to be cool, but naming the album after such an insecure ponderance shows the risk of dropping an album that expands past what listeners are used to.
Skits and interludes throughout the album make the album a flight, departing from Paige just as a talented team member, flying to a location where he’s celebrated as a creative leader and thinker. Taking his listeners up to 40,000 feet, Paige shows folks the macro view of his path to success and the personal philosophy that is sure to keep him relevant for years to come.
The first full song on the album, “New Habits,” featuring Paco TP, showed Paige in a similar tempo and key to his last solo album but with a noticeable change in confidence. On Letters of Irrelevance, he spent much of the album describing his personal struggles with depression and substances, making the album a dark experience.
“New Habits” feels like an introduction to the new Patrick, one that’s confident in his skills and giddy about the limelight he’s receiving; “Get the picture with no flash, you still gon’ see a n*gga shining / Jesus gonna take the wheel, we gonna pull up with perfect timing / I’m a motherfucking diamond dawg, a n*gga had it rough / So I ain’t lying when I say a n*gga built Ford tough.”
The next track, “Big Plays,” turns up the tempo as a workout anthem with relatable bars and powerful production.
While the album’s production is tight across the board, Paige’s pen shines brighter, allowing him to speak directly to his listeners throughout the album.
“I really like to write from my personal experiences,” Paige said. I like to make sure people can feel something. Like if it’s a good day, if I feel like talking shit, like ‘yo I look fly today,’ I know people can relate to that. If I’m in my feelings or deep thought about something, I know people get in their feelings and deep thoughts about a lot of things.”
While the album saw a series of different versions of Paige than anyone had ever seen before, he says he never had to think twice about it.
“There wasn’t really anything to second guess or think about because I was only telling my truth, you know what I mean?” he said. “It was a little nerve wracking for sure, but it’s never anything that’s ever stopped me. The fear has never stopped me from moving forward.”
So the question, If I Fail Are We Still Cool, doesn’t necessarily refer to insecurity, as some may assume, but rather it asks friends and fans if they’ll still ride with him when he’s living his best life. And of course the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’
“I just want to continue to create. All I want to focus on is creating and bettering myself. I want to try things and I want to push myself past my boundaries and my limits. I want to step outside my comfort zone and step outside the box, but again it’s always organic.”
He’s keeping his cards close to his chest, but he confirmed he’s working on another EP that he’s taken in a series of directions. If nothing else, it’s fair to assume he’ll have more releases out in the coming years.
We wrapped up our conversation with words on the Los Angeles Dodgers, his hometown team. I compared him to Cody Bellinger on the field, an athlete with dynamic talent in hitting, fielding, and speed.
“That’s my favorite player, and I’m still sticking with him as my favorite player, even though he’s been having a rough season because he’s been injured,” Paige said.
Paige went on to admire Bellinger’s ability to adjust his swing and mechanics when he needed to play better for his team.
“I would like to say that about myself, like even when I go through a rough patch I adjust, I shorten my swing, my stance, my pivot,” he says.
A bassist-turned-international pilot, Patrick Page II is a shining star for his rhythm in everything he approaches — whether it be songwriting, rapping, bass-playing, or composition.
Many thanks to Patrick Paige II for the interview! Check out his album of the year contender If I Fail Are We Still Cool? on all platforms.