AFN Peso lives life by one mantra: sticking to the code. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, the rising star prides himself in being one of the realest beyond just rap — proving if he can make his wildest dreams come true, so can you. His name itself stands for “Ain’t For Nothing,” which basically translates to “we ain’t going for nothing.”
In describing himself, Peso states he’s a “go-getter, a rapper from Los Angeles with an opportunity to win. He came from nothing and turned it into something. Against all odds, he found a way.”
Having always loved music, Peso really only started rapping 4 years ago, thanks to the support of his blood brother who is currently locked up. He fondly remembers writing in his notebook, feeling like he could possibly make a career out of it. And if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s telling his story.
AFN Peso recently unveiled his newest project, aptly titled The Real Thing II released via AFN Records/EMPIRE. Clocking in at 15 tracks, the body of work sees Peso wearing his heart on his sleeve, spitting his truth while effortlessly motivating and empowering his fans. The project also has all-star features from Larry June, Icewear Vezzo, and LA’s Gary Chose.
AllHipHop: How was it growing up in South Central Los Angeles?
AFN Peso: It was regular. It was fun, adventurous, exciting, and a learning experience. All that in one.
AllHipHop: What artists did you love that you were listening to?
AFN Peso: It’s too much to name, I ain’t gon’ lie. All the s### that I feel like connected to my life, that’s it. People like that. I’ll say Nipsey.
AllHipHop: What did it mean to see Nipsey put on for his hometown?
AFN Peso: It was everything to me. When he passed, it restructured my brain again. I’m an analyzer, so he was the one that showed us we could go back to the hood, show love and get love back. When he left, it surprised me and it shocked me. It showed me that at the end of the day, you always have to continue your growth. You can’t turn around and reach back to certain people because they won’t appreciate it.
AllHipHop: Your brother inspired you to make music?
AFN Peso: Yeah, that’s his dad. [points to nephew] He’s in jail now.
AllHipHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
AFN Peso: Just getting to the money, staying focused. I feel like it’s my swag: Peso. AFN, that’s my brand. That’s the s### I started with my bros. It’s been my character, focusing on the bag. Ya feel me?
AllHipHop: What was your first big bag?
AFN Peso: I’ll say it was off of learning experiences. [laughs] It came off learning experiences, learning right from wrong.
AllHipHop: Talk about selling out your first show ever last year. How was that experience?
AFN Peso: It was surprising, shocking. Amazing, beautiful. It made me feel like I have something going and I gotta keep it going. It pushed me, motivated me. It was at Los Globos in Los Angeles, we did like 400 people in there.
AllHipHop: New project The Real Thing II out now. How are you feeling?
AFN Peso: I feel like the world is in my hands, I just gotta grab it. There’s no slowing down now. Coming from an underground artist in LA who really does get a lot of love from the fans, but not so much from the media yet. I don’t really be too much on socials like I’m supposed to. I just feel like this s### is tangible now.
AllHipHop: How did you build a fanbase?
AFN Peso: Just trying to find myself and saying certain s### that rappers ain’t saying, as far as speaking on my life experiences. People relating to what I’m doing and what I have going on. And now people are seeing the growth, I just feel like it’s coming full-circle.
AllHipHop: What made you name the project series The Real Thing?
AFN Peso: I feel like this s### real. It’s real: real s###, real life. When you’re around people like your homies, they listen to it and feel every bar like “oh that s### touched me,” you know you’re making a mark on people. It’s the real thing. It’s nothing sugarcoated. It’s nothing making you focus on a certain way of living. It’s showing you there’s all types of ways of living, you just gotta figure out which way is best for you. We all go through hard times, bad times, but it’s all about overcoming them and never giving up.
AllHipHop: Love seeing you have Larry June on “Doped Up,” he’s so fire.
AFN Peso: That’s my boy. He be f###### with me. He’s one of the first dudes to ever f### with me.
AllHipHop: Really, how?
AFN Peso: Just based off of listening to my music I guess, tapping in. A lot of people don’t like to show love, I can’t say I do either. I don’t really be messaging too many artists trying to work with them, I be focused on what I’m doing. But when it’s someone like that where you can respect their craft as well, you should always make it gel. His following is dope. His approach to the game is dope and I like it, so I feel like it’d mix in with me.
AllHipHop: How’d he catch wind of you?
AFN Peso: I have no idea. [laughs] He liked some pictures first, then it turned into “oh yeah let’s get one.” And we ended up getting one. We got it in 4 or 5 months ago, 2 months before the project came out.
AllHipHop: Do you guys have a video?
AFN Peso: Nah, we gonna do something else then do a video.
AllHipHop: What’d it mean to link with Icewear Vezzo on “No Whammy”?
AFN Peso: That s### was cool. That s### was straight. It made sense. I looked at what he got going on. From the outside looking in, I respect a lot of the stuff. At the end of the day, I’ma get mines regardless. Whatever we gotta do to make the business make sense, we gon’ make it make sense.
AllHipHop: One thing you want fans to get from this project?
AFN Peso: Never give up, for sure. From this project, I want to encourage fans to be the best you could be. Whatever you’re going through or whatever you have going on. Understand be humbled, but know who you are at the end of the day. Pop your s### when you feel it’s needed. You don’t have to be all in the mix to be around or be in front of anybody to be one of the dopest.
AllHipHop: What separates this second installment from the first?
AFN Peso: I took a little bit more time on it, focused on it in a different way. It’s real s###. I done went through a lot in my life so it’s pouring out. If you listen to it, you pay attention.
AllHipHop: What inspired “One Man Army”?
AFN Peso: People trying to take credit for what you did. People trying to put you in a box. People trying to place themselves around you when at the end of the day, they know they’re fake. They know they’re lame, they know their intentions are bad. You gotta let a muthafucka know with or without you, it’s gonna go up. For the people that’s faking the funk, it’s n*gga you’ll never be over here. You’ll never be with us. That’s what it is.
AllHipHop: Where was the video shot?
AFN Peso: Colorado, we had to get the snow. We had to get the soft snow out there. I was whooping my brother’s ass at Madden. [laughs] We was chillin’.
AllHipHop: Talk about the independent grind.
AFN Peso: The independent grind is great. Most people should do it, if you can do It. You gotta be a leader though if you want to be a boss. If you’re more so a person that can just fit in the work environment and do what you’re supposed to do, that’s better for the labels. For an independent artist, if you know how to be a leader, if you’re a leader of man, you’re a leader of yourself, then you’re able to turn that into real revenue and real growth. It’ll take a little longer, but it’s gon’ happen. You’re gonna benefit from it a lot more.
AllHipHop: What were you going through recording “Success Pt 2”?
AFN Peso: People talking on the internet. I ain’t worried, I’m not thinking about it while I’m trying to run a big bag. I have people to feed and people to put in position. I’m not finna let nobody take away from what the f### I have going on. Success, that’s what we’re made for.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be able to do music for a living?
AFN Peso: It’s the best s### ever. What’s better than that? S###’s better than being in the NFL if you ask me. You make people move forever. They might not go watch your game tapes from the 60’s or 80’s, but they’ll listen to your music.
AllHipHop: I saw you got some fire merch also.
AFN Peso: Oh yeah, AFNbhs.com. This is the first drop we did, that s###’s damn near gone. I didn’t think it would go like that. I feel like I’m making my mark a little bit more. It’s time to really make a stamp. That’s why I’m trying to move a little bit more and do interviews, even though I come 2 hours late. [laughs] We gon’ make it happen though. Merch is great though, it’s gon’ get better. Mark my word.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
AFN Peso: Me, myself and I. Thats all I need. I don’t need nothing. I don’t need no girls in there, I don’t need no n*ggas in there. Sometimes I might wanna smoke a little bit, other than that I’m good.
AllHipHop: New song “Can’t Stop The Rain,” what can we expect?
AFN Peso: The video’s dropping next week. It’s some real s###, listen to it. That’s some real s### right there. Listen to every bar in that muthafucka, you gon’ hear where I really came from. I’m on some business s###. I’m on some corporate s### because when I was younger, we were on b#######. Not knowing, not understanding. Coming from hurt environments, coming from different types of homes. It turned us into fearless young n*ggas. But now, it’s time to transport that energy into the business world. Really make a stamp and show people how to carry themselves. If everybody carries themselves as real people, then we won’t have no more problems like that. It be the fake people who ruin everything. It only takes a little bit of mold to f### the whole batch up. That’s how I look at It.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
AFN Peso: Yep, put everybody around me in position. Put my mom in a big ass house, put my daddy in a Lamborghini truck. Put his ass in private school [points to nephew]. Yes sir. That’s what we’re trying do, that’s what we do it for. Everybody I love, I just want to see them win.
AllHipHop: Anything else fans need to know about AFN Peso?
AFN Peso: I’m the real thing, the one and the 2. EP on the way, videos on the way. EP will probably be out in May.
AllHipHop: You have a name yet?
AFN Peso: If Not Him Then Who?
AllHipHop: Any features?
AFN Peso: I can’t say yet, but it’s gonna be dope though.