SoJones covers all the bases from politics to fashion to an impromptu 3 minute freestyle with rapper Hurricane Chris in our exclusive interview with the Shreveport, Louisiana-based recording artist.
In 2007, if you were a club-going teenager (or a parent of one) or even if you just spent a lot of time in the car listening to tunes, you’ll have heard his debut single “Ay Bay Bay” on the radio and almost everywhere you went.
You might have thought along with a lot of critics that the rapper, then 18-years old, would end up a one hit wonder. Boy, were you ever wrong…
SoJones: You have a new record coming out this December.
HC: …Yeah the new record is called “Unleashed” and it’s in stores December 22nd. This is my sophomore album, so you just get ready for this one. This album I ain’t holdin’ back nothin’. Most of this album is freestyle, off the head…
SoJones: Wow, all freestyle?
I wrote three songs on [the album] but the rest was off the head. I’m like retarded right now, I’m the coldest thing doing this, and I’ma keep telling em that till they get the point.
SoJones: So are you the best rapper alive?
HC: I’m the best rapper alive, put a mic in front of me and you gon’ see what’s up! You know they duckin’ me they dodging me; I’m that new kid on the block they’re scared of, that they know is gettin’ all the girls! But they be like “oh him?” (laughs). But you know it’s hurting your feelings every time I get on the freestyle and wreck it till they can’t even listen to an instrumental no more.
We got a lot of cats who say they freestyling, and you turn on the radio and you hear the same thing that they said they was freestyling a minute ago, you hear that wrote down, you know? A lot of these clowns is just what I said: clowns.
SoJones: Your album also has tracks with Bobby Valentino, Beenie Man, Busta Rhymes. A lot of people came through for this, huh?
HC: Yeah I got a lot of different producers on it as well, I got Bobby Valentino on some choruses because you know he was doing them real tight hooks, so I had to lay down something with that boy! We actually shot a video too so big ups to Bobby Valentino.
I got them boys Shawty Redd from Atlanta who be doin some of Jeezy’s beats…I’m just mixing it up man. I ain’t really holdin’ back, I’m workin’ with different people. I’m just trying to work with everybody and get money.
SoJones: Your newest single is “Headboard” with Plies and Mario. What inspired Headboard? Was that a freestyle?
HC: Yeah “Headboard” I ain’t write none of that I just freestyled [the whole song]. I walked in the booth and just dropped it. …I got that chorus from Mario and after he finished laying it like that, he did it exactly like it was supposed to go so I ain’t have nothing else to do except go lay them verses and wreck it. It was instant success…you know girls gonna take off their shirts in the club for that one (laughs).
SoJones: Tell me about your performance in front of the Louisiana House of Representatives. How did that come about?
HC: Well you know that’s the spot where they do a lot of deciding for laws and regulations that’s gonna affect my people and my community. I don’t see nobody from the heart of my community that get to sit down and voice their opinions on how they feel it should be ran. So I had to give it to em’ from my point of view. A lot of dudes and a lot of women be making laws that ain’t right… so I’m comin’ in sayin’ “nah, we may need to do this a different way!” …I’m coming from the younger generation so I kinda know how to deal with my people.
SoJones: After your smash hit “Halle Berry (she fine)”, do you have any other ideas for female song tributes like that? Maybe “Farah Fawcett (she thick)” or “Mariah Carey (she crazy)?”
HC: Yeah yeah yeah, I got something else coming I made something in the studio!… I ain’t gonna tell you the name of it, but it’s to someone doing their thing in the game right now. One of them R&B girls…
SoJones: Is it Keri Hilson? Cause that would fit!
HC: Whoooooooo it might be! I don’t know, you gonna have to hear it! (laughs)
SoJones: What artist haven’t you worked with that you’d like to work with in the future?
HC: Jadakiss! You know he got on my remix… he gave me one verse and I wanna go back in the studio with him; he got a stupid style. I also wanna work with Keri Hilson. I need to work with Musiq Soulchild also.
I’m just trying to get records that will go number one instantly so therefore I think I need to be goin’ in with people like Musiq; he gonna get me a number one hit with them females; I mean, I’m already loved by everybody’s baby mama, and their wife. But you know I don’t break up any happy homes. But I need to do something with him that gets all those bedrooms poppin’.
I wanna work with Beanie Sigel too; he spit that street stuff, and I like that. I wanna work with Mystikal, Eminem…them people who lyrical!
SoJones: Now with that 51/50 thing you got going on, meaning you keep it 100 percent, is it true you got a Chicken and Waffles joint named 51/50?
HC: Yeah I got a Chicken and Waffles joint, they serve all kinds of other food too. So if you in Shreveport you can stop by my restaurant on Ellerbe Road (Line avenue) and get fat, ya heard?
SoJones: Have you worked with DJ 51/50 before?
HC: I never heard of him. OH OH OH; I’m lying, I did see a mix tape with his name on it, I ain’t never did any work with him though.
SoJones: You won a talent show when you were 10 years old…
HC: Yeah, I won that when I was young in the game. It was one of the first things I did that got me rapping to this day. When I won that it was like, my whole hood knew about me cause my whole hood was at that local school talent show. So I was good instantly; all I had to do was keep going.
SoJones: So since then it’s been freestyles.
HC: Since then I’ve been walkin’ in the studio and rippin’ it up. …my brain, it thinks faster than a lot of rappers, so I think that if I try to slow my brain down by taking time and thinking and writing it down it will clutter my mind up so I just gotta go in the studio and do my thing.
SoJones: Who are your top 5 emcees?
HC: Eminem, Lil’ Boosie. I don’t have too many other favorite artists cuz I like to listen to so much music, but we can go into R&B. One of my favorite female artists is Alicia Keys and one of my favorite male artists is Ne-yo.
SoJones: You said in an interview with Funkmaster Flex that your mom was a rapper. Tell us about that.
HC: Yeah she used to do it back in the day. I didn’t get to see too much of her. By the time she had me at 20 she wasn’t doin’ it no more cause she was still writing and had a whole bunch of stuff wrote down so I had a chance to look over her hist and get a look at what she did. I didn’t believe her at first when she told me so I asked around and they told me she used to do parties so…I guess it runs in the family!
SoJones: For our upcoming producers out there, how hard is it to clear samples these days?
HC: It real hard you know it depends on who you trying to get a sample for. I got a sample of Earth Wind and Fire on “Players Rocking” and if you tryin’ to get a sample like that…some people wont even try to go get that cause they don’t think they’ll be able to get it. You gotta have the right connections I think. Most of the time it ain’t about your money. If you dealing with somebody big like Earth Wind and Fire they ain’t gonna care about your money, they gonna care about who getting their record. So you gotta be connected and respected at the end of the day.
SoJones: What’s the best advice you can give our readers on gaining success?
HC: Get your city behind you. Represent for your city everywhere you go. Take over your city first, once you take over your city and they see your city behind you, the rest of the world is gonna jump behind you everybody else is gonna follow. I don’t know what it is about that, but take over your city first and you gone!
SoJones: What would you be doin’ if you weren’t rapping?
HC: …football, fighting, stuff like that; those were my interests.
SoJones: What do you wanna tell everyone who says your club/ratchet rhymes are killing Hip Hop?
HC: Tell them to kill themselves. [Never mind] tell em’ don’t kill themselves, just jump off a bridge and land on their face. And then let a car run over them, an 18 wheeler. But don’t kill yourself.
SoJones: Is Hip Hop dead?
HC: If you think Hip Hop dead you need to stop rapping, you stupid!
SoJones: You got your deal, you ballin’ now, you the man. What was the first time you spent major bucks on apparel and footwear for yourself? What did you buy? How much was it?
HC: Gucci [shoes] and they was 700 dollars and some tax. I wasn’t even into no stupid shoes until…you know you get that bread now and you seeing everything, you gonna get fly. I can jump off a bridge and land right on my feet.
SoJones: What kinda kicks you got on right now?
HC: Right now I got on some Prada’s on my feet, some low top Prada’s. All white with the black trim.
SoJones: What would you do if you went on a date with Halle Berry?
HC: If I went on a date with her, I just go on a date with her. I never met her. I’m dying to meet her though. I wanna meet Ellen [DeGeneres] too, cuz they gave me a good look on that show. I gotta give it up to Ellen though cause she crunked it up on the show so…big up to Ellen and Halle Berry for that.
SoJones: Have you received any feedback from Halle other than that?
HC: Yeah I communicated with her through our peoples and you know she was good with everything we did; you know we wouldn’t have done the song if she felt violated or anything. We had to get the “okay” before we made a song about her. You gotta have respect, I mean we could have done that but we would have had a lawsuit too.
SoJones: To this day I don’t know of any rapper thats done as much publicity and self-promotion as yourself much respect to your hustle. Would you like to bust a freestyle for SoJones?
You can listen to Hurricane Chris’ freestyle here (“right-click to download if the file doesn’t play”)
SoJones: How open are you to working with new artists?
HC: I’ve been working with new artists a whole lot; I’m building an empire right now… when I drop em’ it’s gonna be serious. I got an artist on one of my mixtapes with me and Lil’ Boosie right now called “Purp”; you know we got a lotta heat right now. My mixtapes droppin’ ASAP, and everything you gonna see when I start droppin’.
SoJones: What’s the name of the mixtape?
HC: Hurricane the Great! I’m all the way unleashed, the great hurricane! I am a Lousi-animal, and if you got a problem I’ma stomp you I’ma handle ya!
Hurricane Chris’ new album, “Unleashed”, will be in stores December 22nd.