The First Time: Black Pumas - Rolling Stone
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The First Time: Black Pumas

Grammy-nominated Austin psych-soul outfit talks small moments of success, crying to Tupac and Guns ‘N Roses and more

Success has come fast, and somewhat unexpectedly, for Black Pumas, the Austin psychedelic soul duo who find themselves up against heavy-hitters like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, and Lil Nas X for this year’s Best New Artist Grammy. In the latest installment of Rolling Stone‘s “The First Time,” guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada and singer Eric Burton cite smaller moments that have made them feel the most successful.

For Quesada, a Texas native, it happened when a Black Pumas song was used in a commercial that aired during a Thanksgiving Day football game. “In South Texas, to have your song come on [during] a Dallas Cowboys football game is success,” he quips. Meanwhile, Burton remembers a moment from his childhood when he and a bunch of other kids at church were challenged with coming up with the best song idea on a keyboard. The prize for the winner? A bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

“I loved Hot Cheetos as a kid,” Burton says. “Up agains, like, 15 young kids, I won the bag of Hot Cheetos… It seems insignificant now, but I still remember it very vividly. It was such a cool time. I can still taste the Cheetos.”

Elsewhere, Quesada and Burton talk about the first albums they bought as kids (the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying, respectively), learning about their Grammy nomination, and crying to Tupac’s “Changes” and Guns ‘N Roses’ “Rocket Queen.” The pair also reflected on Black Pumas’ remarkable rise and how all the work they’d done prior helped bring about this moment.

“[Quesada’s] history and track record as a producer and musician in this industry speaks for itself,” Burton says, “and I’ve obviously been at the grind, doing my thing for quite some time. I think the first time that we got together, it was like these two worlds collided and made something that we hadn’t heard before necessarily, while piggy-backing on the relationships that we both had created and made at that point. What it took for it to happen was the passion from day one.”

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