Brotha Lynch Hung: Hung Up On Horror
Although he can be downright gruesome on the album, the now father of a 17-year-old avoids so much as cursing in an interview with HipHopDX. In celebration of Halloween, the Siccmade star describes his upcoming farewell trilogy, his segue in screenwriting and even what Brotha Lynch 'Young' dressed up as for the holiday in his gory days.
HipHopDX: People associate you with a style that youve developed. Beyond that, tell me how you discovered Hip Hop and what it was like growing up in Sacramento, California, period
Brotha Lynch Hung: I had a homie named Phonk Beta from New York. He would listen to Hot 97 and stuff and tell me about the new artists comin out. This is the early, early 80s. Thats how I basically got into loving rap. Ive been an east coast fan. Rakim, Slick Rick I didnt find myself back then, but I did find out that I wanted to rap. I took those years, from 1983 to 1990 to kind of find myself. Those artists paved my way, as did KRS-One, Run-DMC, LL Cool J and artists like that. I consider myself a Hip Hop, rip-rap type.
DX: With that being said, what you rap about is very real. Real pain. Real depression. How did that become part of your style? To be honest, few rappers, outside of The Geto Boys, were really going towards that direction in the early 90s.
BLH: Mostly why I developed the Ill say what I want to say style is because I grew up as a lonely child and felt unlistened to. Stuff like that. When I started doing music and people actually started listening to what I was saying, I felt I wanted to go that way and be real. Im not really scared to open up about my life - not to find out if anybody cares, but to just give them a perspective on my life.
DX: You mentioned the Hip Hop influence. I know youre inspired by the concept of mortality, death, gore, all that. How did that hit you, and what did the posters on your wall look like as a child?
BLH: I used to have Spiderman posters and Jason [Friday the 13th] posters and stuff. Mostly Horror movie stuff. Im a Horror movie fanatic. Thats pretty much all I used to watch as a kid. Even now, I watch a lot of murder investigations and stuff like that Most Evil, if youve ever heard of that. Right now, Im doing these three albums, connected together. Theyre three serial killer albums; Ive kind of been on that investigations tip right now. As far as back in the day, I love all the Jasons, Michael Myers, those guys.
DX: Without revealing too much, how are the three albums threaded together?
BLH: I decided to do prequels and all that. I have the same actors on all three albums, cause its more like a movie. Every album builds up. It starts with the first and ends at the third album. Its a whole movie put together. Its supposed to be candy for your ears. Its supposed to be like if you were to buy audio books. Thats my album. The first ones called Dinner and a Movie, the second ones called Coathanger Strangler, and the third ones called Gangrene, but they all connect together. Theyll be released starting next year. Ill probably end my career off of the Gangrene album [by 2010].
DX: To what extent do you see a parallel between the stakes or circumstances of a slasher movie to the stakes or circumstances of growing up in Sacramento, California?
BLH: Mostly, back then I used to see a lot of stuff. I was involved with a couple things. Right now my life is so calm. I kind of go off of my creativity, as far as what I write about now. Right now Im so intoIm writing a movie about [serial killer] Gary Ridgeway and stuff like that. I got 42 pages of a script, and I also have the case files. My girls dad is a policeman in Seattle, so I have the case files. That helps me with these next three albums, writing a serial killer movie and writing a serial killer album, its helping me.
DX: Do you feel that the roles of black people in Horror films are typically racist?
BLH: Nah. Not at all. I think that they stay within the lines. A lot of whites do a lot of extracurricular activities, as far as what they explore. Usually it is maybe [laughs] one black person will go camping with these guys. Blacks and stuff, they dont do a lot of camping and that stuff. I think they have it right.
DX: You were offered deals through Tommy Boy Records and rumors of a deal from No Limit in their prime. I had heard that each of those wanted to censor you. Tell me how it feels to maintain your integrity as an artist for perhaps the cost of fame.
BLH: I never shy away from anything. I remember a time when I was signed with Priority Records. I had some gory stuff on The Season of Siccness album, and they did made me cut some of it down. I had an insert on there where I tried to do an abortion myself, from my girl and stuff like that. Priority always tried to make me go a little bit radio; I wasnt really into that. Ive never really shied away. I was always an artist until Eminem came through and opened up to where you can basically say anything now. Up until then, I was kind of struggling with my ideas. You have to respect the person putting the money up for your stuff though, so I kinda took some of the stuff out for Season though. It probably is my most classic album, but dude, it was planned to be a lot more different. Thats what I plan to do with these [three forthcoming] albums.
DX: You said Priority pushed you to radio. Throughout your career, whether it was Snoop Dogg or Master P, youve had mainstream artists support you. Has this been a good thing for exposure?
BLH: I probably had a lot of Snoop fans because of my little gang-banging days and stuff like that. Snoop even said he kind of grew up listening to me [since] my first records were out before him. He told me who to mess with after that, cause I had messed with Snoop way back in 95. We had talked. He told me where to go. It was cool for me, cause I did develop some different types of fans. Especially with Master P, he was the one who kind of opened it up for me down south. Ever since I met him, I started gettings lots and lots of down south sales.
DX: You have a huge following through the internet and your Siccmade website. Whats your secret to independent success?
BLH: Ive learned a lot off of Black Market Records. Even though I had a lot of bad things to say about [them], which are true, at the same time, theyve done a lot of good for me. I watched their promotional ways. I keep that same type of thing going with my artists.
DX: Many artists complain of declining sales and changing climates. Have you experienced this?
BLH: I think it hit all of us. I used to go from going 200,000 records in three or four months till the internet came and dropped it down to about 100,000. The thing with me, is I want my packaging to be way different than anybodys. I keep that going. I try to throw prizes and stuff in there. My packaging is very important, cause they still do sell in the record stores.
DX: You perform a lot, doing spot dates. As a lonely, reclusive child, is it harder for you to get on stage and perform than say, record in a studio around one or two people?
BLH: The stage part is the easiest part. In the studio, Im a little stressed because I dont want to put out anything that sounds like anything else thats out. Thats kind of hard to do, but not really for me, because Ive kind of developed my own style. The respect I do get, I want the people to know Im working hard and stressing in the studio. Then the fun part is the stage.
DX: Over the years, a lot of what youve rapped about has gone from fiction to reality in the Hip Hop Community. From somebody who rhymed about cannibalism, did you ever, in your wildest dreams, imagine that a peer rapper would actually do it?
BLH: As far as the Big Lurch situation, that tripped me out. He wanted to sign to my label before that stuff happened with him. If you dont remember what happened, I guess of they found some parts of a girls insides in his stomach. I was a powerful influence on him. But he took it to the next level. [Laughs] It trips me out, a little bit. Im a meat lover. Thats where all of it came from. [Laughs] Im glad people are listening.
DX: Do you feel like a Hip Hop legend? Obviously, with your cult-followed career, some people perceive you as such
BLH: Ohhh. I appreciate that. I dont really feel like a legend, but I do feel good when I hear of somebody mentioning my name. For instance, Young Buck said I was one of his favorite rappers in a couple of magazines. I love that type of stuff. One day, hopefully, Ill be working with Eminem or something, if he keeps going. Thats who Im feeling.
DX: I dont want to dwell on it. You mentioned this trilogy being your departure from albums. In past interviews Id read, youd said you could rap forever. Selling 100,000 copies of a CD in a few months would keep many people in this. For you, why do you look at retiring?
BLH: Ive been going through a lot, as far as my career. A lot of people have been fighting over me and stuff. It costs a lot of money to stay up in court. It takes a lot of time away. Everybody is talking this, Its hard to surpass your classic albums, and stuff. So this is why Im doing this three-album trilogy. Then Ill go more into the movie scene. I dont want to be an actor or anything, I want to be a screenwriter. On my record, I call myself a Steven Spielberg of Rap and Wes Craven on Tape. My legacy will probably be writing these movies and stuff. Im gonna do some producing too. I have a 17 year-old daughter whos into the Hyphy thing. Im gonna help her out.
DX: People emphasize keeping it real on records these days. But if its too real, its snitching. For you, your raps are creative. What role do you think fiction ought to play in rap?
BLH: Rap, to me, started out as being creative. If you can come up with a good story, its always good to mix that in on your album. How I wrote my albums, I write specific songs about my life and spread them throughout the album. Everything else is creativity. I think you should have a little bit of both. As you get older, you really dont go through a lot of what you went through when you were younger. It takes away a little bit away, so you have to bring your more creative side out. Since I write movies, thats why I decided to do this.
DX: Has there ever been a time where you wanted to go in a different direction, but felt obligated to further what the fans expected of you?
BLH: It was always a thin line. There was always points where I wanted to put something out there big, and hit that radio. There were points in my life where I did want to do that. I would try it, as far as make the song that I thought fits me best, as mainstream. I never really showed anybody. I never really made that hit single song. I just kinda stick to what I do. Theres a lot of people that pressured me to do other types of stuff. Right now, I feel that Ive been through so much in my career, that Im gonna stick to this, and if it happens, it happens.
DX: Of your catalogue, Rest in Piss was one of the coldest songs and videos. That was hard as nails and grimy, gorey, etc. What inspired that?
BLH: A lot of bad things happened while I was recording that record. I was very young, very angry, and didnt care what I said. Im glad I didnt. I dont want anymore angry records because I have a talent, a pretty good rap talent as far as my style and using my words. I wanted to show my fans that. I had a lot of angry albums. Lynch By Inch was pretty angry, 24 Deep was angry, I wanted to show another side a lyrical side, a creative side.
DX: As a kid, looking back, what was your best Halloween costume?
BLH: I always had something to do with horror, but I always loved my Michael Myers mask. That was my main thing, with my bloody apron, running around with no shoes on. [Laughs] I loved that, with a fork in the hand.
Check Brotha Lynch Hung's Myspace.