Hurricane Chris: Moving The Ratchet
Hes created his own Do You-esque movement entitled The Ratchet Movement and has had both teens and adults alike marveling at his lyrical prowess. Released close to a year ago, Hurricane Chris debut album 51/50 Ratchet broke into the top 25 bracket on the Billboard 200 Charts, but received a number of mixed reviews.
With his sophomore album to be released next year, 19-year-old Hurricane Chris is out to prove that the second time around may be better than the first. Chris recently spoke with HipHopDX at his label, Polo Grounds' office to discuss his upcoming sophomore effort, comparisons to Soulja Boy, and why he's getting jewelry made in the likeness of Barack Obama.
HipHopDX: So I was doing some research on you and I read that youve been rapping since you were eight?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, I shouldve done some research on you.
DX: Yeah, you shouldve. [Laughs]
Hurricane Chris: Ive been rapping since I could talk, ya heard me.
DX: What exactly were your rapping about at that age?
Hurricane Chris: My first rap I wrote, I entered in like a high school contest. I wasnt even in high school - nowhere close to high school. I entered it into a high school contest, a rap contest. It was actually a talent show, but the division I was in was the rap contest. I won first place and I was doing it ever since then. Been writing raps and doing it ever since then. I decided to just go ahead and write me one and hop in there for that one and thats how it started.
DX: Speaking of high school, I heard that they have Hurricane Chris Day at your old high school. How did that come about?
Hurricane Chris: Its like when you come from the city its like you give back to the city, so the city loves you for that. You keep it real with them and they gonna keep it back real with you.
DX: Who were some of your influences when you were eight, as opposed to now?
Hurricane Chris: I listened to The Isley Brothers. B.B. King. Slick Rick. I listened to stuff you wouldnt expect an average youngster to listen to. All types of music. Like before I was even listening to rap, I was already remembering the full songs of The Isley Brothers, The Temptations. You feel me? I started off like just listening to music as a whole. When I jumped into rap, I started listening to people like Slick Rick, Mystikal. Later on, I started listening to UGK. I missed the Vanilla Ice stage. [Laughs] I missed that stage. I wasnt on Vanilla Ice. I was listening to people that really had stories to tell. Scarface [click to read], people like the Geto Boys. They just give you a whole story and make you have a vision of it in your mind.
DX: Are there any current artists who have influenced your style?
Hurricane Chris: Aint nobody influence my style. I try to do music in a whole nother angle. I try to hit it from every angle. I see a lot of artists who got certain strong points or certain weak points. I do it all and try to give 101%, you feel me.
DX: So theres no one who you can kind of relate to their image or even their lyrical delivery?
Hurricane Chris: Uh uh. Because I started off free-styling and thats something straight off your brain. You feel me? Then I started writing later. So its like I got my own style and my own movement, the ratchet movement.
DX: So tell me about this new album. Are you working on that right now?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, we about to hit 'em across the head with another one. We in the studio. We gonna get out here in the studio and work with some people like probably Swizz [Beatz] [click to read], Cassidy. [click to read] Im down in the A with some producers such as [Don] Cannon [click to read] and then we gonna go get in with Beats How You Want Em. We getting in with everybody thats hot. You know what Im saying. Mannie Fresh, we coming out there.
DX: What can fans expect on this album opposed to your last album?
Hurricane Chris: You can expect this one to be ferocious. After I leave here Im about to go to L.A. to shoot a video with Bobby Valentino [click to read]. Its one of the singles called Touch Bases. You already know what it is, man. We dropping off the ground running like a steam truck, your heard me?
DX: When you go into the studio, is there a certain audience youre trying to reach or are you targeting everyone?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, Im trying to hit 'em all. Thats why Ima hit 'em with singles like I hit 'em with in the past such as The Hand Clap and then I came back and hit 'em with The Playas Rocks. Im gonna be hitting 'em from the [real] angles of giving them real live stories of whats been going on with me. Im even gonna hit em with a freestyle on this album. Im gonna get to the adults, the youngsters, the old folks. You know what Im saying.
DX: Youre 19, do you feel like people tend to underestimate you because of your age?
Hurricane Chris: Nah, I dont feel like nobody underestimates me because of my age because when I get to rhyming it speaks for itself. It dont really even take that much time for whatever they thinking to change. I quickly change their minds.
DX: Do you feel like your style is a lot more mature than your actual age?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, yeah. I dont really have to worry about the age.
DX: Since you guys are around the same age, youre from the same region, and youre both in Hip Hop. Why do you think people tend to put you and Soulja Boy in the same box?
Hurricane Chris: They do? I mean, the same person came and signed us. I went to J Records/Polo Grounds; they sent him somewhere else. I never like came up around that era of the Soulja Boy movement.
DX: Why do you think people tend to sometimes put certain artists together in one box or try to compare artists with one another rather than looking at them as an individual?
Hurricane Chris: I think probably on that situation its because Smurf [Mr. Collipark] signed both of us and took us to our major labels. He signed me first to a major label and then he signed him to a major label. What it is, is you saw both of us with Smurf. You never saw us together or nothing like that.
DX: Do you see any similarities between yourself and Soulja Boy aside from the three things I mentioned: the age, Hip Hop, and your region?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, like killing the youngsters right now. Thats what it is, you know what Im saying. We killing the youngsters. Im killing the adults too, but when it comes to our similarities its over with for the youngsters. We shutting em down.
DX: When you think of Southern Hip Hop, certain states stand out. For example, Georgia and Texas. Why do you think that Louisiana hasnt necessarily gotten the props its deserved?
Hurricane Chris: Louisiana, we dont get the props we deserve. Its like we so based on whats real. The world a lot of people live in we dont even live in. What a lot of people talk about we dont even look at it. We dont even consider it. We not even really that technical with it. Whats jammin is whats jammin to us. We been in our own mode for so long and thats why every time we drop the world run right to it like its a new toy or something. Cause we stay in our own zone and we just bang em out.
DX: Why do you think Louisiana is in its own mode?
Hurricane Chris: Were a totally different type. Coming from Louisiana, we like Louisianans. We a whole different creature. We got a whole different perspective of a lot of things. We all artists. Its just really where we come from. We a different type of people. Weve seen a lot of things most people seen. And a lot of people havent seen most the things we seen. Like we on two different sides of the world.
DX: So youre 19. Im assuming youre voting this year?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah. Barack Obama. I got some Barack Obama t-shirts; you need one? Vote for Barack Obama or Im coming to your house.
DX: Do you think were going to see a lot more younger voters coming out this year?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, they going to vote. I aint vote last year, but Im gonna vote this year.
DX: What is it about Obama that stands out to you?
Hurricane Chris: I dont know nothing about them other dudes. I cant relate to them in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I tried to know about them, but still couldnt find nothing. They aint make no sense to me. [Obama] makes sense to me. I like what he talk about. He talks about stuff that makes sense. He talks like he comes from a world that wasnt too big to pay attention to what the small people gotta say. He act like he down to Earth, you know what Im saying. And hes smart, he aint no dummy. I think thats what we need right now. I think you need to vote for him, Ima go vote for him. Ima get me a Barack Obama chain.
DX: A chain?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, straight up. With black diamonds.