Are you happy so far with how your latest album Chronicles of the Beast Man is doing?
Yeah. As far as the reactions, I’m getting a positive reaction but nobody that didn’t like my first album doesn't like this album. A lot of people are enjoying it. The only negative feedback I’m having if you can call it negative is that some people like Barn better but both albums are me so that’s cool. (laughs) I feel like it’s all good. But as far as everything else, I haven’t had a negative response from anybody who’s a Hyde fan or that type of fan and most people, even people who were sleeping on my first album, now they say I stepped my game up with the lyrics and the flows that I use. I’m pretty happy with the feedback. But as far as record sales and stuff, that is what it is. They’re down right now. Record sales are at an all-time low for the whole industry. You can imagine for an independent artist that everyone is downloading. I have to go on the road and promote and it’ll pick up. It’s doing as well as my first album did, which is cool.
How much do fans’ opinions affect the new music you’re going to make?
You know what? I’m a very competitive person as it is so I’m always out trying to outdo my last piece of work. Whatever was my last verse I’m trying to outdo it and do something crazier. No matter what happens I’m always trying to improve and flip some new shit and come crazy with it. That’s the essence of a dope artist. The first album is usually the artist’s best album and then they fall off and get lazy.
And I do keep tabs on what people say. Everybody’s got haters but if there’s an overwhelming amount of people who say one thing, like on my first album a lot of people were saying I didn’t switch up my flow enough and my flow was repetitive and a lot of people were saying the same shit and they would like to hear me switch it up, so I listened and this time I switched up my wordplay and played around with it. I proved the people who said I didn’t switch up my flow, I proved to them that I can and I obviously did on this album. So I do take criticism into my goals for the next project if there’s a lot of people saying it. If it’s just a few haters, I can tell what’s hate and if they’re just criticizing it over and over. There are also people’s opinions who I respect like the people who are close to me. I feel like I can evolve. I evolve with every record I put out and every verse I drop and I get better with everything I do so I can’t see how I can’t be improving.
Do you think you have a lot of hardcore hip-hop fans or do you find you have a lot of metal fans as that’s always been a big influence in your music?
It’s a mix but I feel I have more hip-hop fans. I think that it’s great. I don’t care who listens to my music as long as they can feel it and get energy from it. My music is to pump people up. You’ll see hip-hop kids at my shows moshing like a metal mosh pit. It’s very versatile. People who love hip-hop love my shit and people who love metal love my shit. A lot of my fans love both. They like the same things I like. They like Metallica and Nas. I think that’s the mass of my fans. They kind of like the same shit that I like.
What inspired you when recording Chronicles of the Beast Man?
The first thing that inspires me is my demented brain! (laughs) Anything that I see, whether it’s a movie or something on the street or just something that happens in life, I always have my demented view on it. I have a warped sense of reality. That gets stored into my brain and when I pick up a pen and fucking write it always comes out as some crazy shit. What happened is that I haven’t put out a solo album since 2004. I had to put something out.
When Necro was working on his Death Rock record and he had no time, he had a few beats that he said he could give me but he really didn’t have time to make my beats but my boy Sean Strange was coming up. He wanted me to listen to his beats and he said he made them especially for me. I checked them out and they were so ill. I started recording. That’s what kind of inspired me. I hadn’t put out an album in awhile. Circle of Tyrants and Street Villains were dope but the fans said they needed a new album from me. The fans really pushed me into it.
And at the time we were doing a lot of touring with Necro. I was busy enough because I’m Necro’s hypeman on tour. I was busy on tour and I had put out my demos the year before and that was doing well and selling. I was chilling but I had to get the solo Hyde record in. It was mostly that. I didn’t have an album out in awhile and people were on my case. But yeah, I have to be consistent and drop something and I feel like I did. I laced it and the fans were happy.
And I’m working on my next shit. I’m working on a record with Necro called Gruesome Twosome. That’s going to be a straight gore record, me and him rapping violence from beginning to end on low budget gore beats. I’m always working now. Now that I got the creative juices going I can’t stop.
Necro produced your entire first album Barn of the Naked Dead. Did you find that not having his beats brought out another side of Hyde?
I think it’s dope for the fans to hear me over different production. That also helps the whole criticism of being one-dimensional. Now they hear me able to flow over different beats and different production and I can still come off. I feel I laced those beats incredible over Sean Strange’s production and I feel I gave my boy a chance to shine. He’s dope. Actually Strange got his shot to put out his solo record on Psychological because of the beats he gave me on Chronicles of the Beast Man. Necro was impressed and Strange was able to hand over his whole project. Strange is a dope artist and it definitely gave me a chance to show that I could shine over different types of production. IF you listen the beats are more up-tempo and at a faster pace, like a machine-gun sounding, quick beats like that. I jumped on that and it wasn’t slow, torturous, grinding beats like I used in the past. I also love experimenting with different production on different things but who’s to say if Necro wasn’t busy that I wouldn’t have had a whole Necro-produced album anyway? Who would have even known? It’s all good. OI have two of the best producers on my team. I love it.
You’re a big horror movie buff. Did any movies inspire your rhymes this time around?
I’m always inspired by horror movies. I used to work at a video store when I was younger and I used to go downstairs and rent the most brutalist and weird movies. It was called “The Basement Section.” It was movies that hadn’t been rented in 10 years and they got them out of the way and if somebody wanted them we had to go down to the basement to get them. They were low budget and weird.
That’s where I found Barn of the Naked Dead. That’s a ‘70s horror movie and the title was so crazy that I heisted it. Chronicles of the Beast Man is a ‘70s horror movie too. It’s a real low budget, crazy, grind house horror movie and I heisted that too and Photoshop’ed it. I was inspired by that and the samples. I like to give it that cinematic feel.
I’ll be watching Hell Raiser and Pinhead’ll say something sick and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, I gotta take that and hook it up and make a song out of it’ like when he said, “Married to pain.” I made a song titled that and that was directly inspired by a horror flick. But most of the time I’ll be inspired by the beat and if the song has a certain feel, like a horror intro and it’s consistent with what I’m talking about in the song then I’ll link them together. But I’m always watching horror flicks and most of the time my lyrics come straight out of my own head and it’s affected by all the horror flicks and all the violence.
In a way you were kind of like Randall in Clerks.
Yeah, definitely! (laughs) And I pretty much treated the customers the same way Randall did. (laughs) I was fucked up. On Mother’s Day I remember we were watching Kudjo. We were only able to watch PG-13 movies. We couldn’t watch horror movies or real fucked up movies in the store before 9 o’clock because kids and old ladies would come in. We were watching Kudjo on Mother’s day and some old lady came in and it was actually just the scene where the dog was jumping up on the window of the car and bludgeon the mother and she said, “Oh, that’s a nice thing to be watching on Mother’s Day.” I told the lady, “Everybody should watch a mother get bludgeoned by a wild dog on Mother’s Day.” The lady stopped and walked out and we didn’t give a fuck. But we would always have The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast and we’d switch it real quick like, ‘Yeah, we’re watching The Little Mermaid!’ We would be watching Hell Raiser Part 3 and he’d walk in and we’d be switching the tape.
Did you have the job for very long?
Yeah! I had the job for like four years because I was the best. Nobody knew as much about movies as I did. They couldn’t fire me even though I was a sarcastic idiot to the people who came in. I was an idiot and didn’t give a fuck. I did my thing. Most of the time I was watching videos and writing rhymes or picking stuff out that I wanted to watch that night. People would ask for something and I would be like, ‘Nah, it’s out’ because I wanted to watch it. I had it in my bag in the back! (laughs) I enjoyed the video store. It gave me a lot of movies. I got over 1,000 movies. I was buying shit and stealing shit too. “Can I have this?” “No.” I would steal it anyway. That was fun. That’s like a dream job, man. Quentin Tarantino was working at a video store and he became a huge director. I was working at a video store and I became a huge rap star! (laughs)
Because Necro grinds so hard, how much does that help you and your creative process?
He’s a big influence on me, business-wise. Before I met Necro I was already rhyming and I was already sick. That’s why I sought out to meet Necro because he was one of the only people I had ever seen that rapped evil over dope beats. I had to meet up with this guy. I thought the underground was watered down and it just wasn’t brutal enough. It was weak. Everybody’s rapping all these nice lyrics. Hip-hop was too pretty and we took a razor and sliced it. Running his own label and doing it himself, I learned how to hook up some shit. I’m not even half of what he is but this new album, I actually totally funded out of my own pocket. I totally funded it from scratch. I mixed it and mastered it on my own. Obviously there were engineers and shit but I paid for it and I went out and got the beats and production I needed and I just handed him a finished product and it felt good to be able to do that on my own where everybody else needs help and funding and advances. I was just happy to be able to do that on my own. The first album was 100% executive produced by Necro and I was able to hand in my own record this time and was able to do my own shit and stand on my own two in this hip-hop game. It made me realize that I gotta get up off my ass and just get up and do it.
Does that mean we’ll get more Mr. Hyde music?
For sure. In 2009 you’re going to get the group album and in late 2009 or 2010 there will be another Hyde solo album dropping and that one may be half Necro and half Strange. Ill Bill is doing some beats now and there might be some Ill Bill beats. There are a lot of cats in the industry I might get beats from and it’s just going to allow me to elevate every time. I’m like the alien that starts off with two heads and by the end of this I’ll be the alien with 20 heads. You won’t be able to kill me.
When fans meet you at shows do they expect you to be as hardcore as your rhymes?
Sometimes fans are surprised that I’m so approachable. You can come up to me and be like, ‘Yo, Hyde, blah blah blah.’ I’ll stop and sign autographs and be a normal person. Part of being me is being normal and being a real cat. I have that side where I’m a violent maniac but everybody has that side, some more than others. I’m more apt to beat the shit out of somebody if they disrespect me where someone else may just say, “Fuck you.” I have violent characteristics and I can get crazy but if you show me love I’m cool. If people are showing me love and they’re cool with me, I’m going to reciprocate. I’m not an asshole. I’m a people person. I love to talk to people and get their views on shit. I’ll ask a fan what they think of the new album. I’ll talk to a fan and make him feel important so they can tell that I care. They can tell I care from the music that I put out. I put out the best possible shit that I can. I give it my all. I take pictures with them. I stop. They’re the reason why I’m able to live off hip-hop. I let people know that it’s appreciated. And you guys too. You’re doing interviews and helping me out and getting the album exposure. That’s the way the whole thing works. It’s like an oiled machine. We gotta all help each other out.
As far as Psychological Records goes, how much do you work with other artists on the label?
I’m involved. A lot of these younger cats that are signed to Psychological, I’ve been there since the label was first created. When Necro first created the label I was helping him and running around with him to different places and trying to hook up the label. A lot of people look at me as a veteran and I’m really close to Necro and they look up to me in a way. I’m on their album to always help them. I’m supporting them at their in-stores and their shows, I don’t care who it is. And I’ll be there selling my merch too! (laughs) Whatever. I’m there to support everybody. If I can offer any advice I do and they’ll come to me for advice. I just laced Sean Strange’s album. I made a guest appearance for that. I went to the studio and laced it last night and that came out dope. I’m on Q-Unique’s album. He’s his own thing. He’s been in the game for a long time and he’s one of the people that I look up to as far as always being the game and just grinding through. His live performance is dope and I get tips from him on breath control and just little tidbits from him on how to be ill onstage and shit. We all help each other. It’s like a family. We’re all down for each other and we all have each other’s fucking backs. We’re all down to brawl for each other! (laughs) It’s dope. It’s like a big brotherhood.
What’s the next move for Mr. Hyde?
I’m gonna go back and watch football! (laughs) It’s football Sunday. I’m going to watch the rest of the football games. But as fart as musically, me and Necro are going on a tour. So we’re going to hook that up and hopefully cake off that and make some money and I’ll be dropping a Mr. Hyde Rare Demos Volume 2 real soon. And we’re going to put out Gruesome Twosome next year. It’s a crazy album that Necro produced everyone on it. We’re just rapping some real violent shit and little by little I’ll be working and you’ll see me featured on Q-Unique’s new album and Sean Strange’s new album. I’m basically featured on everyone’s albums that are coming out on Psychological. I want people’s grandmothers to know who the fuck I am and that’s it.