There’s no mistaking Fat Nick and Pouya. Fat Nick has the rondure physicality of a Kool Aid Man filled to the brim with Hi-Tech cough syrup. Pouya, shorn of a once-flowing mane that apparently hid narrow, boney shoulders, is petite. Outwardly, they’re an odd duo: a big man with bundled, blond dreadlocks, and a small man with a beard creeping below his jaw line. In conversation, though, they finish each other’s sentences, with Pouya joking that his biographical knowledge of Fat Nick is “kinda gay.”
It’s almost preposterous that these lighthearted knuckleheads would emerge as viable underground rap stars. But music rewards endearing and unique personalities, and Pouya and Fat Nick have a routine of wisecracks and insults honed by nearly a decade of friendship, a semi-successful, no-budget, and utterly ridiculous YouTube series (the appropriately titled Nick and Pouya Show), and a lifetime of listening to rap music.
It was through Nick and Pouya Show that the titular antiheroes met members of the mercurial SpaceGhostPurrp’s Raider Klan, a once-great collective that gestated XXL Freshman Denzel Curry and underground stars Xavier Wulf, Yung Simmie, and Chris Travis. These friendships helped Fat Nick and Pouya further their careers, when, after dropping out of high school and working unfulfilling jobs (the former: drug dealer, the latter: busboy), they decided to pursue rapping. It was a good choice; although casual rap fans might not recognize their names, Fat Nick and Pouya have amassed legitimate, die-hard followings which outstrip many critically acclaimed acts. They’re like Brian De Palma’s Scarface if he rapped instead of killed: self-made Miamians with dreams of grandeur to be achieved through graft and craft. Here, Pouya and Nick discuss ripped pants, heartbreak, and what happens when the lean runs out.
TORII MACADAMS: How’d you guys meet?
POUYA: I met him in middle school, in like seventh grade. I had a friend named Gabriel, and we used to skateboard. He was friends with Fat Nick, and Fat Nick wanted to start skateboarding, because he was fat.
So it was to lose weight?
NICK: I wasn’t trying to lose weight, I just thought [skateboarding] was fire.
P: He just liked skating, but I thought it was because he wanted to lose weight, so I met him in the hallway. My boy’s like, “Yo, we’re gonna go skate tonight,” and I was like [to Nick], “Yo, you wanna come?,” and [Nick] was like, “Yeah.” That first day I met him we went skating, and he got stuck on a fence.
N: And I ripped my pants.
P: We were jumping over a fence to go to an elementary school I went to, Devon Aire Elementary, and he got stuck. [Since] it was the first day I’d met him, I didn’t really give a fuck about him. He was just some dude I’d met, like, “Who is this fat guy?” So I took out my flip phone and recorded it. But then I helped him down.
“That first day I met him we went skating, and he got stuck on a fence.”
I read online that “Pouya” means “powerful.” Is that true?
P: In Iran, it means something like “a powerful researcher, someone who’s knowledgeable.” I dunno, it’s some bullshit—it’s just my last name. But it’s Iranian.
So your family’s Iranian?
P: My father’s from Iran and my mom’s from Cuba.
What about you, Nick?
N: My dad’s Greek, and my mom’s Peruvian.
Are you guys still cool with Mike Dece? I ask because of his vocal support for Donald Trump, and you guys being the sons of immigrants...
N: Hell no.
P: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I don’t really look into politics. I’m too busy.
When did you guys start doing the Nick and Pouya Show? Did you ever get in trouble for it?
P: It started in seventh grade, with me, Fat Nick, and my friend Justin Stout. We got arrested for throwing water balloons at people. We got arrested for doing that, and we were doing a little skit in Wal-Mart, we were—
P: We were shooting dice in Wal-Mart, and an undercover cop was there. It was all bad. They didn’t arrest us, they just kicked us out. It was fun, though.
Nick, what happens when the lean runs out?
N: You find out the true meaning of whatever it is. It’s a metaphor, like how Wayne said, “You don’t know what’s in the cup.” Only I know what’s in it. It’s not lean, it’s something else. Whatever your true happiness is, that’s what the lean is.
Pouya, are you totally sober now?
P: Yeah, I drank a couple times, but I never got drunk. I used to smoke weed. I tried it in middle school for the first time, and I smoked in high school. I’m just not into it, it makes me more anxious and paranoid, so I stopped.
Why’d you cut your hair?
P: Because I had a big dread in the back. It was bad, it was all fucked up. It was a bird’s nest. That’s what the barber called, too. It was terrible. I wanna re-grow my hair out.
“Whatever your true happiness is, that’s what the lean is.”
Nick, are you thinking of cutting your hair?
N: Hell no.
P: I want Nick to cut his hair, personally. I think he should.
N: I look trash with a buzz cut.
P: Who gives a fuck? I cut my hair, and people talked about it for a day and the next day they didn’t give a shit.
How long did it take to grow the dreads?
N: It took like four years. When I dropped out of high school I started dreading my shit.
You guys both dropped out, right? Was it at the same time?
P: I dropped out first.
N: I dropped out like two months after him.
P: I dropped out in tenth grade, and he was in tenth grade, too. Well, we were both “nine-plus,” ‘cause we didn’t pass any classes.
What’d your parents think?
P: I remember the first time I told my mom and dad, we were at a restaurant. My parents are divorced, but I made both of them come to the restaurant, and I was like, “Yeah, I’m dropping out.” My mom was pissed, and my dad was pissed, but they were like, “If that’s what you wanna do, fuck it.” My dad is, “If you wanna drop out you have to get a job.” So I dropped out and I got a job as a busboy. It sucked. I worked there for a year. I was 16, and quit when I was 17 to start rapping.
N: My mom was cool with it, but my dad wouldn’t let me drop out, so Pouya’s brother’s friend had to pretend to be my counselor. He called my dad to convince him to let me drop out. [After I dropped out] I sold drugs. [My mom] wasn’t cool with it, but she accepted it. One day she caught me selling weed and lean, and I was like, [shrugs] “I sell drugs.”
P: I lived with Fat Nick. We’d be out at somebody’s house, and one of his customers would come over, and he’d call his mom and say, “Mom, go in my room, there’s some tin foil stuff, can you give this guy some weed? He’s gonna give you ten bucks.” And his mom would sell the weed for him. Swear to God. She’s real. She was pissed, but she’d do it.
If you weren’t rapping what would you guys be doing?
P: Before I was rapping, I was a busboy, so I guess I’d be doing that shit. I’m not gonna sell drugs, ‘cause fuck that. I sold drugs—everyone sold drugs—I sold weed in high school. That’s how I met my DJ, Don Krez from Buffet Boys, because I was selling him weed. I had just started rapping, and he was like, “I fuck with your stuff.” And Yung Simmie.
That’s how you met Raider Klan, was selling them weed?
P: I met them through the Nick and Pouya Show. I had Denzel Curry on it, Yung Simmie, [Mike] Dece, Ruben Slikk, Lofty305, SpaceGhostPurrp. Me and Fat Nick weren’t in Raider Klan, but we were affiliated [with] them from the start.
Can you reveal was “2.7.5” stands for?
N: You know on a phone’s keypad? “2.7.5” [corresponds] to “B.R.K.”
P: Yeah, the 2 has a “B,” the 7 has an “R,” and the 5 and a “K,” so “Blackland Raider Klan.” But “2.7.5” is Yung Simmie’s thing—I don’t know, man, it’s confusing. Yung Simmie’s one of the realest guys I’ve ever met. He’s the coolest.
What did you guys listen to growing up in Miami?
P: I just dug into the internet and listened to old music. I listen to Outkast, Bone Thugs[-n-Harmony], Wu-Tang, shit like that. I liked Ludacris when I was younger.
N: I listened to Future, Chief Keef, but I also listened to Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Underoath, shit like that.
When you were kids, was Trick Daddy still a thing?
P: When I was a kid, Trick Daddy was like the face of Miami, then he got old and washed up. Then Rick Ross took over and was the face of Miami for a while. We have some artists—we have DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Trina.
It feels like your scene is really separate, aside from Denzel Curry getting a Rick Ross feature on Imperial.
P: Yeah, Rick Ross reached down to Denzel because they’re both from Carroll City. Our scene’s a little different because we just have young fans. It’s a new generation, a new time.
What are some essentials for going on tour?
P: Lots of socks, lots of underwear. Gotta pack some Sharpies.
N: Vitamin C so I don’t get sick.
P: Since when the fuck do you bring Vitamin C? That’s what we should bring, but we don’t.
N: I mean, I heard it’s good for you.
P: I almost always get sick on tour. We always get sick on tour. Like 30 cities, traveling that much, and sometimes you have just go without thinking—it’s hard. It’s hard to not get sick.
What are some of your favorite places you’ve played?
N: L.A., Chicago, Seattle, and Texas.
P: My favorite is probably Phoenix. It’s just a dope crowd. The last show I had out there was probably 1000 kids, and every single kid was losing their mind. It was amazing.
What makes a good show for you?
P: A good crowd only. The monitors and the stage—it could all be fucked up as long as the crowd is good. We just did a show in Vegas, and the stage was like two inches tall.
N: As long as they have a lot of energy.
P: If the crowd’s going hard, we go hard. If they’re boring, we can’t do anything. Overall, people seem to love our shows. People almost die at our shows. It’s dangerous.
Are you guys living in L.A. full-time now?
P: I’ve been living in Hollywood for about a year, but I’m moving back to Miami and buying the house that I grew up in with Fat Nick. We’re both buying it, his mom’s house; his mom’s selling it and we’re gonna buy it. It’s a success story—we’re buying the house we slept on the floor in. We had two mattresses on the floor.
Pouya, I saw that you just got a Cadillac.
P: Yeah, it’s in Miami because I didn’t ship it out here yet. I bought a ‘96 DeVille, and started working on it.
P: Nick doesn’t have a license. He doesn’t even know how to fucking drive. I tried to teach him to drive one time when I was like 15, 16, and he hit a trash can.
“It’s a success story—we’re buying the house we slept on the floor in.”
Pouya, you have a girlfriend, right?
P: Yeah, she lives with me. Well, I live with her, actually. She had the house and let me stay with her. I’ve been living with her for a year. She’s coming with me to Miami.
Nick, are you looking for a lady?
N: Hell no. I got my heart broken.
P: Fat Nick got his heart broken—
N: By a whore.
P: —a bunch of times.
N: It’s cool. I got my heart broken and made When The Lean Runs Out. So that “lean” is that bitch.
P: The only good thing about getting your heart broken is that your next album is gonna be dope.
Do you have plans for your next albums?
N: Same type shit. I just selected a cover while I was in the car. I don’t have any names or anything.
P: I’ve noticed for albums, what I’ll do is start making songs. And then, when I have a grip of songs, I’ll start thinking about what I want the theme to be, what I want the cover to be, but it all starts with the right beats. I’ll make like five, six songs, and I’ll be like, “These two songs are—these other four are trash.” That’ll start the process of [making] the album.
N: I just do songs and then I just start naming shit. It depends on my mood. On When The Lean Runs Out I was depressed.
P: That’s the good thing about living in Miami: our studio’s right across the street, and our best friend owns it, Mikey the Magician. We just go over, fuck around, play Xbox or PS4, then make music.
“The only good thing about getting your heart broken is that your next album is gonna be dope.”
I meant to ask you, Nick, what does “Foogba” mean?
N: I was in the studio, and I’d recorded a song, and was like, “Fuck, what the fuck do I name it. Yo, Pouya, what do I name it?” and he was like, “Name it this.”
P: I wanted to see if I could manipulate Fat Nick into doing something he shouldn’t do. I was like, “You should name it “Foogba.” He was like, “What does that mean?” and I was like [in a conspiratorial tone], “I just made it up.” I tricked him into thinking that was dope, and he actually dropped a song.
How often do you try to manipulate Nick?
P: Every day. He’ll never know, but I’ll still do it. [“Foogba”] means nothing, it really means nothing. We Googled it, and I was like, “No one’s used it.” We made it up—
N: It’s fire, though.
P: —but the song’s good, though. And people will be like “Play ‘Foogba,’” and it’s kind of a funny thing because they don’t even know what it means. We could technically put a definition to it if we wanted to, because it’s our word. You can make up words—that’s pretty dope. It could technically be in the dictionary one day.
Nick, do you ever try to convince Pouya to do dumb shit?
N: When we were kids. I remember one day we were driving, and Pouya pissed in a bottle, and we threw it at this girl’s house that we hated. And, you know those inflatable Christmas ornaments, like the Santas? Pouya jumped out with scissors and started popping them. The next day it had duct tape on it and was back up, and we went and stabbed it again.
P: Why didn’t we like her?
N: She was trash.
P: Naw, there was a reason. She did some last shit. So every holiday, she’d put up some inflatable shit and we’d pop it. We popped the Santa Claus, the jack-o-lanterns—we did a whole bunch of shit, but then her dad died and we stopped fucking with her. We felt really bad.
That story really took a dark turn.
P: There was a big ass helicopter crash, and she tweeted, “Oh my god, I hope my dad’s okay,” because her dad was a helicopter pilot, and then she found out it was her dad who died. And we just felt really bad, because we were always fucking with her. We stopped fucking with her after that, because that was terrible.
Who do you guys think made the better album between you?
P: Fat Nick is so fucking trash.
N: Mine was way more fire, I had way more bangers—
P: Nobody understands what he’s saying when he raps.
N: —I have way more bangers—
P: He’s got a lisp.
I think your albums serve different purposes. Pouya’s is more brooding, Nick’s has more bangers.
P: I don’t need bangers. I got bars.
N: I have fire bars.
P: The good thing about me and Fat Nick is that, when it comes to music, we never really see eye-to-eye. You can listen to the music: it’s different. When we do tracks together, we have to meet a halfway point, and it comes out dope.
Do you think you’re going to put out an album together?
P: A mixtape. Never an album, but a mixtape one day. We just work on tracks.
N: We have a new track—
P: We have a new track that’s coming out soon, that’s pretty dope.
Are you trying to stay independent, or are you interested in signing to a label?
P: Uh-unh, no labels. Fuck that. At least not yet, not until they give me like twenty million dollars for one album. I’ll sign whatever. I’ll sign to Radio Disney if they give me twenty million bucks—tell me to do some pop shit, I’ll sell out. I’ll be a sellout for twenty million bucks and everyone can suck a dick, because I’m gonna buy a house.
Who do you think is the best rapper alive?
P: Andre 3000 is the greatest rapper to ever exist. That’s my personal opinion, and I feel like it’s factual.
N: Future. My favorite rapper’s Chief Keef, but he’s not the best.
Andre 3000’s a good choice for “Best Rapper Alive.”
P: He’s the best. I just love Outkast. I wouldn’t be rapping if it wasn’t for Outkast and Bone Thugs. I really fuck with Andre 3000. Fat Nick fuckin’ met him and I didn’t.
N: It was brazy. Me and Pouya did Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, and I was walking to the hotel, and I was like, “I fuckin’ know him!” but he was far away. So we started going closer and closer and closer, and he was like, “Good job tonight.”
P: Aw, man, I’m so pissed. I hate hearing this story.
N: I got starstruck, and didn’t know what to say, so I was just like, “I fuck with you.”
P: I was so mad. I don’t get starstruck for anyone, but the only person I’ve ever wanted to meet in my life is Andre. I was at home, but I guess Andre saw us perform, so that was really cool to know. I don’t give a fuck about [meeting] anyone else—I’m about to meet Britney Spears and I don’t give a shit. I got my girlfriend meet n’ greet tickets to go meet Britney Spears because my girl really loves her.
What if Britney Spears is a Pouya fan?
P: That’d be dope, because I’d do some collabs with her and she’d make me rich.
“The good thing about me and Fat Nick is that, when it comes to music, we never really see eye-to-eye.”
How did your collaboration with the Ying Yang Twins come about?
P: Fuckin’ Steven, my manager. They’d never even heard my music. Those guys are in another fucking realm. They’re just old. They’re legends—they did “The Whisper Song,” the first sexual song I ever heard. I think I was eight, and it was just dope. When I heard it, I thought it was real explicit—they were talking about their dicks n’ shit, and I was like, “Oh my god, this is crazy.”
In L.A., YG basically just released a G-funk album. Do you feel like the old Miami sound is ever going to come back?
P: I know some artists that do Miami Bass, but it’s not really poppin’ like that anymore.
N: Real Miami sounds different. Like stickin’ ‘n’ jookin’…
P: There’s Miami-Dade music, and there’s Broward County music. And Broward County music is fire. I love stickin’ n’ jookin’.
How would you describe the musical differences between the counties?
N: The Broward county sound is real high tempo.
P: A lot of songs are high-pitched, and they do this stickin’ dance. It’s a lot of dancing. Miami’s like Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, Pitbull. When Pitbull started rapping, he was dope. When he was Pitbull, he was thug, he was tight. But he’s just Mr. Worldwide now.
Do you ever see him around town?
P: No, he wanted to have a meeting with us, though. He fucks with us. If he put me on a song that’d be dope, because it’d pop.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
P: Hopefully super rich, and hanging out with my dog and my girl.
N: Super rich, big house, and my own restaurant. Italian food. I wouldn’t do shit, I’d just run it. Before rap, I liked cooking, and my dad has a restaurant. I’d go in the summer and cook at his restaurant. I wanted to be a chef [initially], but I was just like “Fuck it,” and I started rapping. It’s a four star restaurant.
P: They sell duck.
N: And ostrich.
P: Fuckin’ hate duck. I went to Canada and ate duck—it was gross.
N: It’s fire!
P: Me and Fat Nick went in eighth grade to his dad’s hotel—it’s a haunted hotel that was established in the 1800s—and ate duck. They told me it tasted like chicken. That shit did not taste like chicken. It tasted like a duck. Shit was trash.
Have you ever had pigeon?
P: Fuck no, that’s disgusting. Pigeons are like rats with wings. The only bird I’ll eat is chicken and turkey.
N: Ostrich is a bird, right?
P: No, ostrich is a fuckin’ fish.
N: I eat ostrich. It’s fire.
P: The big ass ostrich eggs? That’s fuckin’ disgusting.
Wait, so if you weren’t rapping, you wouldn’t go work in your father’s restaurant?
N: Hell no. I can’t work a nine-to-five. I don’t think I’d know how to do it. I’d either have to slang drugs or run a business as an investor.
P: Working a nine-to-five was terrible. Being a busboy was trash. I’d get double shifts and work from 9 a.m. to midnight with a two hour break. It sucked. That’s why I like rapping and going on tour, because that’s our job, and that’s what we get paid to do. We like what we do. You know the saying, “If you like what you do, you never work a day in your life.” We’ve been doing this for four years, and it’s never like we have jobs.
N: It’s lit.