For all the brutality in his raps, Sacramento, California emcee icon Brotha Lynch Hung is polite, soft-spoken and a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. This earns him great credit as creating a maniac persona in songs, where he has no objection to fast-rapping chronicles of murder, rape, cannibalism and suicide.
Then again, the Wizard of Oz is just a man behind the curtain. Behind Lynch's curtain, in addition to being a gentleman, is a dope emcee. The 20-year veteran flips words with a effortless style that makes the English language malleable and fun, even if the depictions have long divided between Garden Blocc Crip representation and decapitation. It's not everybody's style, but enough people are listening to propel the onetime X-Raided protege to a Top 75 spot on the charts last year, and national tours. No matter how far Lynch veers from the limelight, fans are eager serially digest his serial killer chronicles.
Speaking with HipHopDX last week for the third time in four years, Lynch revealed why his newly-released Coathangastrangla isn't feature-friendly, why he avoids what Rap purists say about him, and the talents within his clique of G Macc, COS and First Degree The D.E.
HipHopDX: Coathangastrangla is a damn-good continuation of Dinner and A Movie...
Brotha Lynch Hung: Thank you man, still not fully finished with the story yet, but it's gettin' there.
DX: That's part of the fun though. Last year was an exciting year for you, in an already long and successful career. How did returning to the top of the charts and getting a lot of label support, new fans, etc. influence this part two in the trilogy?
Brotha Lynch Hung: The fact that the juggalos started catchin' on and stuff, that was real big for me. [Coathangastrangla] was [previously] written, but I wrote a brand new [version of the] album when I signed with Strange [Music]. The whole [trilogy] idea was there; I wrote half of Coathangastrangla and I wrote the full Dinner and A Movie album, but when I signed with Strange, I pushed all that stuff away. So I have 50-something songs that ain't gonna probably be used. So I pretty much started over with everything when I signed with Strange.
Right after I got done with Dinner I did one tour. I asked [Strange Music's CEO Travis O'Guin] if I could go back home and start Coathangastrangla, 'cause I knew I had to come up with the basics before I even started writing on it.
DX: You had Daz Dillinger and Snoop Dogg on Dinner and A Movie, and obviously Tech N9ne. What I enjoy about this one, is Tech's still here, but these are your people. Emcees like G Macc, C-Lim, Tall Cann G, First Degree The D.E., these guys go back with you a long-ass time. Tell me about the platform you've created for them...
Brotha Lynch Hung: It feels good. It's weird; they were gonna be around me regardless. So whether I went down the drain or whatever - nobody knows what's gonna happen, they've been around me [for so much of my time]. They was gonna probably end up on it anyway. We already made that pact. I'm glad that they get to finally see somethin' finally happen, since the '90s.
DX: "Look It's A Dead Body" has that big sound, like a Dr. Dre beat. You really rock-well. There feels like a newer sound on this album than past. I'm curious how intentional that was?
Brotha Lynch Hung: If you track back to 24 Deep, Season of da Siccness, Loaded and all that, I've never been an artist to make the same album, make the same feel. Even [Brotha Lynch Hung's manager] Dave Weiner was like, "Yo, you gonna be able to do somethin' different?" I was like, "Yeah. Every time." Just like, Mannibalelector, I'm about to start working on, it's gonna be different. I call myself "The man of 100 styles." I'll sit there until it sounds different. That's why I take longer than a lot of artists and stuff, and even the music has to be different.
DX: When you're making an album like this, are you listening to your peers, in other emcees and rappers?
Brotha Lynch Hung: Anything I hear is because I'm around my peers, but I try not to listen to anything. But when I do go to the studio, they're working on their songs and I do get to hear some stuff. That amps you up too. But I have to sorta, kinda block it out, especially with these three albums. This is the first time I wrote subject-albums; most of my albums have subjects, have meaning, and skits'll put it together, but as far as this, it kinda takes away from your lyrical ability. But I'd rather be on my own with it instead of outside sources.
DX: Do you record these albums in Kansas City, or out in California?
Brotha Lynch Hung: Half and half. Dinner and A Movie, I did the full album in Kansas.
DX: With the quality of music in these albums, can you draw any comparison to them and your first two, 1993's 24 Deep and 1995's Season of da Siccness?
Brotha Lynch Hung: The style, the wordplay, the trickery. Dinner and A Movie, I felt like I wanted to speed it up a tiny bit, 'cause I signed with Strange, and Tech [N9ne] speeds it up in his lyrics. I geared it towards it thought. This one, I wanted to get more of my rip-gut, Hip Hop kind of style. So I slowed it down, played with the words a lil' more - not flippin', just word trickery, but stayin' on the same subject of the rapper-gone-bad, serial killer-type dude.
DX: Growing up, your music taught me a lot about gang culture. It's there, but it's a distant element in the trilogy. You were very pioneer in talking about the Crips explicitly on your early albums, at a time when others were scared to. Now you've almost fallen back. How much of that is an artistic decision and how much has to do with the fact that these are very subject-driven albums?
Brotha Lynch Hung: The [latter] is exactly what it is. When I signed to Strange, I signed for these three albums specifically. So it's hard to bring in the Snoop [Doggs]; I brought him in on the first album just because he was a rapper about to go bad, but this album, he's bad. It's hard to bring in features. I was gonna bring in Crooked I and stuff like that, but it was hard to bring him in because I'm not the type of rapper to tell another rapper how to rap. This being a storyline, it's hard to bring other rappers in. You know you can always bring Tech in! Tech's a creative dude too. But I don't know a lot of other rappers staying with it.
DX: For the Sacramento Rap community, do you think your style has shown gangsta rappers a way to invent worlds and styles to make their content more interesting?
Brotha Lynch Hung: My peers around me are dippin' into that, especially G Macc. We got hooked up about five or six years ago. He's like my newest peer around me. I've heard he's done it for years before he was around me. Everybody else around me is in development stage, besides COS, he's obviously been around a while. What I do see is them doing more Reality Rap.
DX: You're a dope emcee. How much do you think your subject matter has held you out of the conversation of "greatest emcees" to some, maybe more purist-minded fans?
Brotha Lynch Hung: I think about it a lot. I just go back to the roots, where I was doin' it for fun. If I think about [what you're saying] too much, I'll go crazy. I feel like I can deal with the best of them. And there's some dope emcees out there, still. Lyric-wise. It probably needs to shift back down to underground. We can get our lil' underground video station and stuff, man, and people can start payin' attention to real lyricism. I don't know.
DX: My last question. What's your relationship like with X-Raided lately?
Brotha Lynch Hung: Well, I talked to him a couple times in the last year. You know how that goes. We talked about doing albums, doing one album together. If you go to his YouTube, he talks about how he wants to work with me, and how he liked Dinner and A Movie and stuff like that. I talked to him, maybe twice in the last year. He's supposed to have parole this year. Hopefully he can get out and we can get hard on it.