BOOM! First interview on CHH and it is an awesome one. I had the opportunity to send some questions to E-Dubble who has now been featured on the site twice (http://bit.ly/aCt7E8) (http://bit.ly/cVAJza). I learned a lot from the dude and he’s got a lot of good insight into hip hop. Make sure to buy his album “Hip-Hop Is Good” (http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hip-hop-is-good/id337901080). Without further ado:
For those who don’t know, who are you?
My name is e-dubble and I am a regular guy and a rapper who lives in Balitmore, MD.
What are Freestyle Fridays?
Freestyle Friday came about back when myself and a few of my homeboys were recording a light-hearted little cipher back in the beginning of the year.
We smashed a bunch of instrumentals together and just took turns hopping in the booth and going off the top- in the end we ended up with like a 15 minute hilarious “song.”
Long story short we basically said doing something like that each week would be dope- that quickly developed into the Freestyle Friday concept to promote my debut album “hip-hop is good.”
The sample/remix track aspect sort of just developed naturally where I wanted to go over original beats, but I didn’t have the time to constantly start from scratch.
So I would chop up songs I wanted to rap over, and then add some more drums or drop ins or synths, whatever I felt would give it a dope hip-hop feel.
Now we’re about to hit week 34 and it’s been a great vehicle for getting people interested in what I’ve got to offer.
So, very large-sized shout-out to all the fans and everyone who’s been down from the beginning.
At the end of FF 15 (Class Clown), you tell esoteric rappers to lighten up. What did you mean by that?
Nothing too serious really, just that, in the “underground” a lot of rappers hate the idea of sampling pop music or whatever else… Anything that can be labeled as “catchy” is often what they’re trying to avoid.
So, even if the lyrics are as honest as they come, and you can really nod your head to the beat- some people might hate on it because it could be accepted by the general public, including those people who don’t usually listen to rap music.
It’s sort of the battle I’ve been fighting throughout my time making music- of course there is a balance in there, but I love melodies and beautiful chord progressions, and good, popular music can often move me, so I’m just trying to bridge that gap that I think still exists.
It seems like you’ve really mastered “catchy.” A lot of what CHH (the blog) tries to do is bring potentially universally likable hip hop to people who don’t usually listen to hip hop. What do you think distinguishes the real gritty underground hip hop (esoteric stuff) from the catchy, underground hip hop?
I think there’s a general attitude out there, that I’m often susceptible too as well- is that many beatsmiths and rappers think you have to flip samples in some incredible way until their not recognizable for it be respected as good production.
Which, certainly has its validity if you can do it right, but the FF concept is a lot simpler than that.
It hinges on the idea that the songs I rap over I genuinely like for one reason or another. Of course I like to challenge myself with some kiddie, poppy song like “Mmm Bopp,” but, ultimately, these are songs that I can ride to on their own and just like to add my own touch.
But even when I’m writing a beat completely from scratch I look to make chord progressions and melodies that sound awesome to me, which usually means I aiming to make them sound catchy and memorable in some way. I don’t want people not to remember my songs.
I mentioned in the “Class Clown” post that RJD2 said that sampling something like Michael Jackson (or something similarly poppy) was “easy and obvious” (
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126513428), but I don’t think that is necessarily true. What are your thoughts?
I think I answered that inadvertently in the last question- but I certainly agree to a point.
I don’t know too many producers or rappers that would sample Hanson, certainly not the Hanson of old but if they did I feel like it might be in a mocking way or as a parody or gimmick to hook a listener in for the wrong reasons.
Anytime I decide to sit down and write to something it’s because the beat I’m writing to inspired me in some way- so hopefully you’ll be getting some honest and fun lyrics.
So, in short like everything else, there is a balance and you have to know the context of what you’re dealing with.
You give a lot of your music away for free. Is this one of the only ways to stay alive in the failing music industry nowadays?
I don’t think it’s a necessity, but, in hip-hop I think its certainly beneficial because it’s a huge “what have you done for me lately” genre.
That’s why rappers put out mixtapes in between albums and try to keep their name alive while they’re not doing major touring or dropping a new release.
Regardless of whether or not you’re getting huge endorsement deals and do or don’t have other consistent revenue streams you’re primarily making your money off of live shows in today’s market, so, you need to create content that people want to hear.
As for trying to get a song to “blow up” with all the bootlegging and downloading going on- it doesn’t make too much difference whether or not you give it away or sell it on iTunes.
People like what they like and will find a way to listen to it.
I think the hip hop you make is what is going to be the saving grace of a stale hip hop movement. What do you think other rappers have to do in order to make hip hop more appealing to listeners?
Well, first off, thank you very much, that’s quite a compliment.
I’m not really sure how to answer that because a lot of other “known” rappers with a lot more listeners also seem to be more appealing than myself, I’m just a broke fellow who loves to make music…
But, in the end I think listeners are a lot smarter than artists give them credit for, and the honesty in the music shows through and people definitely cling to that.
You look at a song like “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem and that kind of bucks the trend of what’s on the radio- it’s both catchy and honest and I think people love and respect that.
There is a lot of great music like that out there, it just doesn’t get the shine it deserves.
When many people hear underground hip hop songs that are catchy (like yours), they seem to ask why this stuff isn’t on the radio instead of the mainstream stuff on there now like Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy. Why do you think these underground artists haven’t made it big? Do you think the major labels still have that much sway?
I think a lot of the “underground” artists you’re describing probably have problems dealing with the antiquated methods the industry still employs.
There is still a lot of animosity for major labels and the place where the money comes from etc…
So, even if some of them are offered deals they may turn them down so they don’t seem to have “sold out” or whatever else.
But, there are a lot of labels being run by honest people who love and want honestly good music.
So- it’s dangerous to generalize.
As far as the labels go, yes, they still have a lot of sway… They have the money they have the pull, they have the Clear Channel contacts.
But, with the internet, some social media accounts and a little creativity- good music can be still be recognized without a whole bunch of money.
Any projects coming up?
Yessir- the mixtape, “Written Thursday: The Freestyle Friday Mixtape” is on its way!
Additionally I’ve got a single and a video following up shortly after that.
We’ve also got a bunch of great collabos coming up in the Freestyle Friday series, and I’m definitely hoping to make sure that runs its 52 week course!
So, thanks to you guys for posting them and everybody for listening.
Certainly a big shout to Carlos Ferragamo who was featured on this week’s track FF #33 (No Doubt) he killed it.
Active8Social, Black Paisley, all of the supporting blogs, and of course to all the fans…
They are some of the coolest, smartest, funniest people I’ve ever had the treat of interacting with and the fact they’re digging the music is huge.
[And your CHH track of the day comes from E-Dubble himself, peep it]