Ask anyone who grew up in the Bay Area the question, “Who got purple?” and they’ll give the same answer each time: “[Nump], I got graaaaapes.”
That’s because, in 2005, Nump released one of the Hyphy Movement’s loudest, trunk-rattling, smoke-clouded anthems with “I Got Grapes.”
This was all before marijuana was legalized—back when a person had to “turn the scraper in a circle / hit the block time, tryna see who got purple” to get theirs. It may be hard to imagine nowadays for some, but picture an era in human history without any formalized cannabis-delivery services, when we couldn’t just roll out of bed and buy a pre-rolled at our local dispensary with a club membership. In those primitive years, we had to get our grapes straight from the source. And perhaps no other source in Northern California was more associated with the color and exotic strain of purple than Nump.
Now, nearly two decades later, Nump is still that dude.
“The grit don’t quit,” he tells me. He’s at the gym when I call, but instead of rescheduling, he lives up to his motto and insists on continuing—then proceeds to break down his journey into the cannabis industry.
Born Dustin Perfetto, the Filipino-American rapper started out hustling as a Ghetto Pass and Def Jam street teamer at age 16. He later went on to complete a degree in sound engineering in Arizona, and though he considered moving to Atlanta or L.A. to pursue his hip-hop aspirations with studios that worked with high-profile acts like Outkast, he ultimately decided to return home. He quickly plugged in as an intern for the rock group Green Day at Studio 880 in Jingletown—and the rest is a part of urban Bay Area folklore.
Perfetto eventually earned his respect among the right people, including Earl Stevens, inking a deal with E-40’s Sick Wid It Records in 2006 as a performing artist. Besides putting out his own music during that span though—including world tours with DJ Shadow and Black Eyed Peas—he worked as the sound engineer for icons including Green Day, Blackalicious, the Federation, Keak da Sneak, Droop E and Messy Marv. As one of the primary audio architects for the Hyphy Movement, Nump also received a gold record for his involvement on E-40’s breakthrough album, My Ghetto Report Card.
But instead of anchoring himself in one place as a musician, Perfetto did what many Bay Area rappers do: He flipped his skills and connections in new directions and applied his “grit don’t quit” mentality elsewhere.
“People know me for ‘I Got Grapes,’” Perfetto says. “Before [San Francisco rapper, Berner, introduced] Cookies, the exoctic tree out here was purple, grapes. Once cannabis started popping, I just put my big toe in the door and that’s how I was able to brand myself.”
After becoming the host of Thizzler’s TLZR News starting in 2018, Perfetto’s name began to resurface throughout local circles, and he built enough traffic and buzz with a loyal following that he decided to go independent. Since then, he’s had his hands in all sorts of figurative cookie jars.
From co-owning Beast Mobile—a regional phone service funded by himself and ex-NFL player, Marshawn Lynch, that transparently exchanges user data for free calls and texts—to investing in The Dough Nut—a vegan donut shop in Bend—Perfetto has placed no limitations on where and how he can leverage his gift of gab to create opportunities with, and for, other entrepreneurs of color.
Most recently he’s doubling down on Swyft, “a premium cannabis delivery service” that distributes products all over Northern California as one of the only Filipino and Asian-owned outlets in the industry. It wasn’t hard for Perfetto to get highly active in the scene—pun definitely intended. That’s because his game plan, developed from his years of working in a competitive music scene, allowed him to transition into the cannabis leagues. He started out with his involvement at Smokeland, and it grew from there.
“The cannabis game is just like the rap game; it’s the new rap game,” Perfetto tells me. “A lot of artists are now utilizing what we’ve been doing in the rap scene—creating hype with music videos, merch, billboards, anything to promote an album—but now we’re doing that with new strains of cannabis. That’s why this felt good for me to get involved. It’s that guerilla, independent, out-the-trunk mentality, just in a whole new lane of retail.”
Though officially launched over two years ago, the 454 Life Entertainment artist recently became a co-owner of Swyft, and invested his own funds to help the brand grow. He compares it to Uber Eats, except customers just get weed—munchies not included.
“It’s easy,” he says. “You just go on our website, call or email. It’s contactless. We follow every guideline. It’s all about comfort and best prices and quality brands. That’s it.”
From carrying his own cannabis brand, “Nump’s Smackers Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich” and Sideshow Tone’s FHUF Suckaz, to providing all sorts of other cannabis, Bolo CBD, edible, pre-rolled and indica goodies like “Grape Pie” and “Grape Sorbet,” Perfetto lives up to his promise made back in 2005: He really has grapes. And, perhaps more importantly, he’s doing it as a proud Bay Area Pinoy.
“Just how it is in music, Filipinos play a hella big part behind the scenes, but it hasn’t been as popular for us to be mainstream,” Perfetto says. “I’m very vocal, and I want to see recognition for my community in all aspects. I won’t stop ’til we get that.”
Perfetto also makes sure to show love to his Filipino peers in the cannabis universe, who he views as doing “monumental” work.
“Shout out to some of the major players who are Filipino; Bambu is a head guy at Sunset Barbery in Frisco,” he says. “My girl, Nina Park, runs a distro, her brand is Gift of Doja, and she’s huge on women’s equity distribution. And my pare, Alex Akino, is helping Diamond Supply Co. launch their cannabis brand. He sets up all the 4/20 stuff over at Hippy Hill. Those are just a few of us doing it. All Filipino.”
Throughout our conversation, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that he is known as “Lapulapu”—the Filipino warrior who famously killed the colonizer, Ferdinand Magellan.
Perfetto embodies everything that he promotes about his Bay Area and Filipino upbringing. Whether it’s his clothing brand, Gorillapino, or his involvement in the animated Filipino TV series, The Nutshack, you’ll never catch Nump slipping or slacking on his authentic representation. In 2021, he’ll even deliver cannabis in person.
And for that, the entire Bay Area should light one up.