Ahh yes, what is good? Sorry for the flood of mindless, fast food like posts of late, been trying to catch up on a few things with the blog and wanted some stuff to hold you over in the mean while. But there is some quality material to be found in some of that free stuff if you haven’t already checked it.
Tonight, I’m proud to bring a WYDU exclusive to the heads out there. If you are a frequent visitor to the site, you will recognize my man, Has-Lo’s name. He’s been a frequent contributor to the site most of this year. But you will also recognize that it all started when Has sent me his Fuck Has Day EP back around the end of 2007, which I jammed religiously for a period of six months or so (still do). Over time Has and I have forged a friendship, but regardless of that, I still believe the man has talent that needs to be heard by the masses. Hopefully that will come in the form of several full length projects, including an exciting opus with another WYDU favorite, Small Pro. But more on those in the interview with Has.
Tonight, Has-Lo and WYDU present Has’ newest EP, Small Metal Objects. Although offering a different sound and vibe than his Fuck Has Day, it’s still got that Has-Lo flavor. It’s evident by the EP’s lead-off track, “Ain’t Got It In Ya”, with it’s booming bass and Has’ lyrics declaring his love for the ever duplicate “soul sound” that runs a muck on way too many underground releases these days. We’ve already debuted the video for “The Quiet Things”, which could easily be on people’s top 25 single year end lists. All in all, it’s just another notch in the path for Has to take off, which I really think the dude has the talent to do and hope he will, good music is hard to find.
To avoid sounding like a fanboy, (if I haven’t already) we’ll move on…Download Small Metal Objects, produced by Has himself, except for track 7, produced by DJ Tone. Download, pass it around, do whatcha gotta do
Has-Lo – Small Metal Objects (2008)
01-Small Metal Intro
02-Ain’t Got It In Ya
03-Small Metal Objects
04-The Quiet Things
06-Dogma (ft. Awar)
07-The Commentary pt.1
08-Small Metal Outro
WYDU: Alright, it’s about time we done did this! Just in case there are some people out there that hasn’t read WYDU in the past, why don’t you tell them your name…
Has-Lo: My name is Has-Lo, aka Hassy Davis, aka The Iceman Chuck Lo-dell, aka the highly unpredictable mind thief the Lo-Assassin, should I go on? Lo Custamato…
W: Are you on some Herschel Walker type shit? Are those supposed to be alter-ego’s or something?
HL: Nah, they are just little aliases. Then again, yeah, little alter-egos, everyone has to have ‘em. Wu-Tang are the ones that invented it, but everyone has to have an alter-ego. I have like twelve of them, they are listed on the myspace.
W: Which one is the rawest one, the one that will jump out of the shadows, rob you for your Gucci bag and straight up kill ya?
HL: That’s Lo-Assassin. The funny thing is though, people like Lo-Assassin better than they do Has-Lo. Lo-Assassin is that grimy lyricist that just destroys microphones. People like that because it’s more aggressive. Usually use Lo-Assassin, it’s a more aggressive rhyme. So people dig that. The 18 people that have heard me rap, like that more (laughs).
W: I looked on Last FM, and you got like 500 plays, so somebody out there is playing your shit! You got fans and everything.
HL: You know, I gotta check that stuff out more. But yeah, I guess I have a couple fans. I see my stuff on forums every once in awhile.
W: Yeah, you had some people talking about you on Rate Your Music awhile back.
HL: Yeah, I saw that NO ONE answered that guy, shout out to that guy! He was like, “Have you heard of this cat called Has-Lo, he has this joint called ‘Fuck Has Day’?” And nobody responded to that dude! Everyone was like, “ereeerrrrrr uhhhhhh”…..
W: Hey, at least you are getting mentioned…
HL: True, true
W: Alright, let’s start from the beginning; What made you start the crazy journey of being a hip hop artist?
HL: My mom bought me some early hip hop, I actually still have this, it was a 12 inch for the Fat Boys. Then I got LL Cool J Radio on cassette, but it didn’t really kick off until I got my first radio. It was for Christmas and I got the first EPMD and the first MC Hammer album. I remember sitting there one day thinking, “I could do that.” I would try to write raps and then I just didn’t stop. In fourth grade, all the boys in the class had our own little rap crew, we all had our rap names and stuff. I just kept rappin’ and rappin’ until now.
W: Who was your favorite Fat Boy?
HL: Ya know, the thing is, it was kind of ahead of my time. I really didn’t learn their names. And “Radio” wasn’t my most favorite LL album ever. 1988 was
more my time frame. Somethings I can’t really relate to. I can still listen to it, the 12 inch LP for the single “Jump Off”, but nah, it was still ahead of my time. Now EPMD, I can tell you about that, I loved them dudes, man…
W: So Erick or Parrish?
HL: Depends. Both of those guys had their moments. I was just listening to “You’re a Customer” just yesterday and Parrish just killed it. Right now, I’d probably go with PMD.
W: I can see that, I was pretty big into Erick Sermon for awhile, but he’s kinda of lacked a little bit lately. Back to the task on hand, you do both your production and rhyming. Do you prefer one over the other? Is it a different mindstate between the two?
HL: Production used to be kind of a slippery slope for me. Sometimes, you can get into making beats and you might feel more comfortable just turning the machine on because you’re not thinking the same way. Instead of trying to put words together, which can be an overwhelming process, unless of course you are someone that can right a rap in 15 minutes and uses the same word over and over, then it’s easy. But it’s difficult. So it’s kind of comforting sometimes to just deal with music. You sit down with a record you want to sample and you can hear it rearranged in your head. I can put a loop here, add some drums and you can have a masterpiece. At one time, I was into doing rhymes, but at the time, I didn’t have a beat machine. I use an MPC and I didn’t have one for a year, and it forced to start rhyming full time. I realized recently that I like rhyming more than I like making beats.
The mind state is not so much a mind state as much as it is a feeling. Sometimes, I might go outside and it’s all sunny, there is light breeze and children our playing and it’s just beautiful out. So I want to make a beat that makes me feel those butterflies outside and I had that beautiful moment. I’ll sample a record a that does that. Same thing, if I’m hurting over something and I’m feeling down and out, I want to express that as well. You can express different feelings musically, that’s where my mind state is at when I’m creating songs. So it’s a feeling other than a mind state….or is that the same thing? haha
W: (laughs) I don’t know, it sounds good that way though. I know you and I have talked about this before, that people adapt a sound as a producer then kind of turns it into their “own” sound. As far as production, who were some of the influences to your sound?
HL: The RZA from ’93-’97 is my big influence. Then Pete Rock from ’98 until the early 2000′s, that early Soul Survivor sound, in that SP 1200 era. Another one is J-Zone. J-Zone’s beats would rock so hard, they would knock your block off. I got into him around 2003 when he was doing the earlier Old Maid stuff and he had those earlier 12 inches out. He was all these 808′s all over the place that shit was just KNOCKIN’. Obviously DJ Premier, everybody has been influenced by DJ Premier in some way. If I went upstairs and asked my mom, “who’s ya favorite producer”, she’d say DJ Premier. It’s a given. Those are the top ones and probably a couple of other people that I can’t think of right now.
W: You already mentioned that you use the MPC for crafting your beats, so obviously you are a hardware user. Where do you stand on the whole software vs hardware debate?
HL: My take is I DON’T CARE. The reason I use the MPC is cause I prefer the “feel” of it, not because I think it makes you a better producer or a “realer” producer. I don’t think it makes you more hip hop. I’ve met people and when they let me hear their beats, it never crosses my mind they were made on a computer. I ask them what they are using and the say something like “The Voltron 12 Million”, and it’s like, “what, I never heard of that!” But that’s cool, it doesn’t matter. Do what feels right. I’m sure Akinyele can make beats by pinching girls nipples, then great…(laughs)
W: Shit, I wanna be a producer if that happens!
HL: Eeeeverybody would want to be a producer! Go to the strip club and make them beats, with a fist full of ones!
W: I’ve always wondered myself, probably more so than anyone else, is how you came up with the name Has-Lo? I hate questions like this, cause their so fuckin’ generic
HL: It’s kind of a silly story. It was probably back in ’99 and I had always struggled with what my rap name was going to be. I didn’t want some corny rap name. I had this little song that I recorded. I had down this freestyle, so I picked pieces of this freestyle and made it into an actual song. It was called “L.O.V.E.”, it was an acronym for Living Off Vintage Emceeing. My middle name is Hassan, so I chopped the first part of my middle name and the first part of the song and came up with Has-Lo. I think I used to say Hassy Love first, but started chopping it in half.
W: Let’s talk your beginnings, you started off in a group, correct?
HL: (laughs) Yeah, if you want to call it that. I had two groups before I was officially solo. I had this group in high school. Then I had this group, where the idea was kind of like Gangstarr. I’d rhyme and dude would make beats, which never really made sense to people, cause I make beats. I ended up doing a quarter of the beats, or more, then I would do all the rhyming and put it together and arrange it. I would pretty much do the majority of everything. We would do shows, and he wouldn’t show up to them. No one really understood the group dynamic, it just didn’t make any sense.
W: When did the solo career start then?
HL: Right after me and that person fell out. I felt like a needed a full fledged solo project. So you have Fuck Has Day. I was in that group for eight or nine years, so it was a long time.
W: What’s the story behind the EP, the title and such.
HL: I had
this saying when things wouldn’t be going right. When the world is against you and everyone is fucking with you and everything is fucking with you, I used to be like “It must be fuck Has day.” Kind of like Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong, will. It’s kind of my life story actually. You have fuck Has festivals going on, there must be a fuck Has parade going on. That’s how I felt when I was making it. Anything that could go wrong, was going wrong. Everyone’s favorite holiday, they celebrate this year around. I know it.
W: You got some love on the blogs. How do you feel about how it was received? Would you change anything if you had to do it over?
HL: Probably not. I was happy with the way it was received by the different blog sites. It was good to find some kind of avenue on the internet that people would give it some kind of attention. It’s really hard to get heard. Everybody raps, but no one wants to listen. You rap, yeah, that’s cool I guess, that’s what I got most of the time. It’s like some bloggers would be like “Yeah, he sent me an email about eight months ago. I listened to it, then I didn’t. But then I went back to it…boy was I wrong, this is dope!” So yeah, it was kind of hard to crack in some cases. For some reason, everybody that listens to it doesn’t like two tracks, but it’s never the same tracks. It was hard to nail down. Overall, I was happy with it came out. You have to be confident in what you release, and I was. It was a good experience over all.
W: As an unsigned and independent artist, how do you feel about the internet and it’s role in the whole “game” these days.
HL: I’m one of those dudes that is trying to “crack” the internet. I think it’s desirable, if you don’t have the money to go on tours and do all that shit. If you are a broke dude with the craziest music ever, you can still be heard, you still have opportunities.
On the other hand, the internet is becoming like other avenues because of saturation. In the 80′s you could go to a record label without a meeting scheduled and have a chance at getting signed. You’ll get thrown out of the building now. The internet has become kinda like that. The rules that apply to the physical world are now being associated with the internet. Because everyone raps. If your song isn’t produced by Timbaland, or have Scarface on the guest track, it’s a lot harder to get your song out there, if you don’t have that name attached to it. Maybe it’s always been like that, maybe I’m just learning that.
W: So when you getting Timbaland?
HL: When am I getting Timbaland? (laughs) The best Timbaland beat would be “Hola Hovito”. He never does beats like that though. I respect his technical abilities, but I was never a big Timbaland fan.
W: Confirm or deny, did you and Small Pro meet up on WYDU?
HL: We met through…. technically yes. I was featured on WYDU with Fuck Has Day, he was on WYDU for Crooklyn Gangster. I checked out the remix and the beats were HOT. So I looked him up on myspace and he was from Philly, which I’m from as well. So I sent him a message and we started talking back and forth.
W: Nice, I guess I had some kind of cosmic force in the universe. When you guys get famous, you better mention me. You two worked together to remix Fuck Has Day, as Remixed But Still Fucked.
HL: I wanted to do a remix EP of Fuck Has Day with other producers to get their take on it. I started make plans, and I asked Small Pro to be apart of it, Odin Smith to be a part of it, my man DJ Tone, all three you can check out on myspace, in my top friends. Anyway, I wasn’t going to do anything on the remix album. I thought it’d be nice for people to hear different versions of Fuck Has Day, so if they didn’t get something on the original, it might catch them on the remix. A revision of it might change their mind. Small Pro actually wanted to do the whole thing. Small Pro is into albums, he wants to do the whole project. I told him I thought that would be dope. I could still come out with a remix project with varied producers, but I could still give him the acapellas and let him go for broke. I was interested in seeing where he would take it, what kind of samples he’d add. He was the first person I gave the acapellas to when I got them and he was the first person done. He kept it a secret from me and wouldn’t let me hear them, like a jerk….But yeah, it came out real good.
W: It was good to hear his take on it. Like I said in my review, he made some of the songs kind of his own thing, which is kind of cool.
HL: This all lead to the question of; What could we do together?
W: And you just set up the next question perfectly, so what does the future hold for Has-Lo and Small Pro?
HL: We are working on our album right now, I just started some recording, it’s still in the early stages. That’s what this is all leading up to, a Has-Lo/Small Pro album. It’s going to be retarded.
W: You guys going the independent route, or do you plan on shopping it around?
HL: I hope to shop it around. I hope we are in a better position to cast a wider net.
W: So the new project is called Small Metal Objects, what’s the deal with that?
HL: It’ll probably be out by the time you start reading this…(yes) That was another situation that I was going through things. So I thought, I’ll just put it to songs. I’ll do four or five tracks and use a digi 8-track that I have in my basement. I’ll use this make the EP by myself and just put it out. It will have this dusty basement type of feel. Then it turns out, I went up to Albany, New York, to visit some friends, DJ Tone and some other cats. He was like, “Just wait to you come up here and you can record it in my studio.” So I waited. When I went up there, I took my MPC up there and I just started making tracks. I had a couple songs done. It all came together in like two days. I wrote some of the songs while I was there, I did some of the beats while I was there. I put it all together in about 48 hours, the quickest I’d ever done a project. It’s meant to have that kind of dusty element to it. It’s not really so much about the snare drum being just the right volume, or my adlibs being to high. It’s just left the way it was.
HL: Fuck Has Day is more methodical, it’s more thought out. It took me months of planning before I started the final product on Fuck Has Day. I spent a lot more time with recording and all that. Small Metal Objects is spontaneous. I’m confident enough in my abilities that I can make a song that is dope in a spontaneous style.
W: What’s the future hold for Has-Lo?
HL: The next thing, I hope, that will be coming out, is Icon The Mic King and I have digi 12 inch records that will be coming out. Shout out to Icon. That is currently being mixed down. There is that. I’m working on my own full length. I’m doing an album with Odin Smith called Immovable Objects. Ironically, I named my EP Small Metal Objects, without thinking I already had a working title of Immovable Objects for an album. You can take that as a connection. Kind of full, three projects. The first album you’ll probably hear is the Immovable Objects, it’s near finished. Odin Smith has a couple more things to do then that should be a wrap.
W: Gotcha hustle on…
HL: I wasted so much time in a group, I just want to build up some kind of catalog. Not saying there is anything wrong with groups. I just wasted so much time in a dead end situation. I could’ve been amassing an actual real catalog for myself.
W: Making up for lost time. Any last words for the fair fellow readers out there in blog land.
HL: If a rapper uses the same words in every sentence for four bars, like…I’m getting head in the whip, then I come out of the club and I hop in the whip, then I go home withcha wife and she hit me with the whip…..You see how he said “whip” three or four different times and nothing in between rhymed? He has NO style or skill. Stop listening to him and listen to Fuck Has Day or Small Metal Objects, listen to me instead. (Trav busts out laughing)
W: You mean, that’s not creative?
HL: It’s not creative, he is fooling you! He is taking your money and using it for drugs. Ask yourself how you feel about that, then realize Hassy-Lo is the better candidate for your listening time and pleasure and your hard earned money.