Watching “Breaking Bad” is a cult-like pastime — just ask your sister, brother, or rapper/singer/songwriter/producer Phonte from Foreign Exchange. Yup, that dude is obsessed, and if you’re like me on Sunday nights, you follow Phonte’s Twitter timeline as much as you’re watching the show. Consequently, Phonte will be live-tweeting this Sunday’s episode with support from the MTV Hive Twitter account.
With just a few episodes left for the series, we spoke with him ahead of time about the show, its legacy and what might happen next.
How did you get into the show?
It was a show like, I had heard about it when it first came out, but I didn’t really know what it was about. I never really got into it. So little by little, everybody just started telling me, “Yo, Breaking Bad, you gotta get on it.” Finally, my buddy Fatin told me, then [my bandmate] Nicolay told me. He was like, “Naw dawg, this that shit for real!” When two of my most trusted sources in life are telling me to get on it? I’m like “Aight aight, I gotta fuck with it” [laughs]. I watched the first season, shit, I watched one episode and I was in from there. That was it for me.
What kept you watching the show?
The story, and the way you start rooting for the bad guy, although at first he wasn’t the bad guy, ya know? I didn’t understand how they were gonna keep making it better, but they kept doing it. Certain shows you watch, they get to a point where it’s like, “Eh, y’all jumped the shark,” but this is a show that has yet to have a shark-jumping moment, and everything is plausible within the context of the show. I didn’t think there was any way they could top season four. Season four of “Breaking Bad” is some of the greatest television in television history. But then season five came and it was like, “Oh shit!” I really like the way they tell a story, and the way they show the complete moral decay of a man. It makes for really great television.
Which would you take: season four of “The Wire,” or season four of “Breaking Bad”?
It would be a tight race! But by a hair, I’m gonna go with season four of “The Wire.” Now, depending on the rest of this season goes, if “Breaking Bad” sticks this landing with these last few episodes, watch the throne [laughs]. I’m tellin’ you, because season five of “The Wire” versus season five of “Breaking Bad,” I mean hey. With season five of “The Wire,” it didn’t do as good a job of looking at different institutions. With the other seasons, ["Wire" creator] David Simon was pretty much spot-on. With the last season, it seemed like he had an axe to grind with his old newspaper. It didn’t really hold up. It was kinda “Eeeeeh” [laughs].
Does Walt influence your music in any way?
I don’t think “Breaking Bad” is an influence per se, but more of a model for my career. I think it’s something that all up-and-coming writers and artists could take from. If you look at a show like “Breaking Bad,” it was a show that earned its place. It came out, its rollout was kinda slow and it earned its audience little by little by little, until eventually there was a groundswell. Now, people are going crazy over it. That was five years in the making.
A lot of times, the hype can kill you. If I’m gonna have a seat at the table, I wanna earn my seat. I don’t want anybody to put me there. Because if I earn my seat at the table, ain’t nobody gonna take it from me unless I choose to get up. To me, that’s the lesson in “Breaking Bad,” it’s about taking the road less traveled. It wasn’t something that was instant. It happened over time. The show reassured me to stay on my path, be true to myself and earn my keep one person at a time.
What’s your prediction for these next few episodes?
Dude, I have no fuckin’ clue! Once Walt pulled the confession tape, which was one of those moments where I officially gave up. Everything else up to that point, I kinda could see coming. But that Walt confession, man, that was the most Heisenberg of Heisenberg of Heisen-motherfuckin’-berg moments ever [laughs]. That shit was cold-blooded.
What are you gonna watch once the show is over?
Man, I’ll probably watch it again on Netflix. Or just put other people onto it. For me, when shows like that end, I’ll watch them again with people. I like to watch it with people who haven’t seen it just to see their reaction. So I’ll watch it again and “Boardwalk Empire” is coming back. It’ll be stuff to watch, but I’m just gonna enjoy these last few “Breaking Bad” episodes. God knows we will never get another TV experience like this again. This is a brilliant fuckin’ show.
Breaking Bad airs 9 p.m. Sunday on AMC. Follow @MTVHive for Phonte’s live tweets during the episode.
The Foreign Exchange will release its fourth studio album Love in Flying Colors on September 24.