Casual (Hieroglyphics) - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
Casual: Rhymes Galore
MVRemix: What’s the different between Casual and this alter ego, Smash Rockwell?
Casual: It ain't that much different. Cas is just laid back, while Smash is all up in your face. To tell the truth, that shit didn't come out as no gimmick or alter ego, that’s just the way its been pitched. But my niggas on the streets did start calling me Smash because I was getting hella drunk and smashing on motherfuckers. Not beating nobody up or some dumb shit, but I may snatch your girl.
MVRemix: With the album, what types of concepts, issues and topics can people expect to hear?
Casual: It’s just me. I got songs touching on all types of stuff. I got a song where I praise single mothers, but in the verses I am talking to dead beat dads and bringing it to them. Then on "Oaktown," I got Too-Short to come out and I have been wanting to do a song with him since I was a little kid. He came out and hooked me up. I also got a song with E-40 talking about hustling, whether you are rich or poor. So I got all types of songs on there and its just real Hip-Hop. I'm just a lyricist and I take every bar seriously. The album is high on content and there is not a lot of freestyle rhymes.
MVRemix: I know you guys are on tour, so how has that been so far?
Casual: Oh, the tour has been lovely. This has been the first tour in my career with the whole crew, even though Del can only do half of it because he has to finish his album. But everyday has been sold out - and I've only seen about two mediocre days.
MVRemix: What two cities were mediocre?
Casual: I can't even recall. But mediocre to me is 65 or 75 percent filled.
MVRemix: What has been the craziest city?
Casual: To keep it real, they go stupid in Toronto and Seattle. I'm from the Bay, but I need to teach the Bay Hip-Hop scene how to really act. Because by this time, we are the forefathers of this shit. I have been doing this since '92 and a lot of the people in the clubs right now were five or six years old then. So its up to us to really make our industry pop how we want it to pop. We know how it should be.
MVRemix: Anything crazy happen on tour so far? Any incidents stick out?
Casual: This has been one of the craziest and wild tours ever. One concert, motherfuckers started jumping on stage because one dumb motherfucker posted on the internet that some fool jumped on the stage. So I made it my personal goal to make sure I started fucking them fools up. (Laughing) I started smashing on them. But all kinds of crazy shit started happening. There was a shooting at one of our shows - and it wasn't even a gangsta shooting. Some little skater kid started shooting and I was like, 'What?' Because I never seen that happen before.
MVRemix: Where was that at?
Casual: In New Mexico. You think you have your street smarts and sense, but when a skater just busts out and starts blasting - you don't know what the fuck is going on. You feel me? Nobody was ready for that. They were all by the bus - one dude just hoped out the car - and I guess they though they were gangsta - and everybody was watching, because it looked like such a punk fight. It didn't even look like anybody was gonna get hurt. But then this fool started shooting into the crowd and shot three fans - and this is a underground Hip-Hop concert.
MVRemix: Obviously, your backing is larger in Cali than where I am in New Jersey and NYC. So when you come over here for a concert, do you see a big different in how the crowd reacts?
Casual: It seems as if the further you get away from home, the more the crowd reacts for you. That is what I have experienced. The farther away you are, the more people are not used to seeing you, so the more excited they become when you perform. Because when I'm in the Bay, I'm normal - I live on the block - its nothing. Half of the dudes don't even know I rhyme and shit. Not half the dudes in the Bay, but half the dudes on my street. They don't even know what’s up.
MVRemix: They don't know what’s up?
Casual: They do now because I have a new record coming out. But when I didn't have anything coming out, I really didn't want them to know.
MVRemix: Do you guys make most of your money through touring? Does that see the most profit?
Casual: Definitely not. Touring will keep you afloat being an independent artists, which gives you some money to put in your pocket, but we do have a lucrative company. We have a nice catalogue of 30 albums already and a couple of them have sold over a hundred thousand units. When Del drops, he does real good. Hieroglyphics - the first one did one thirty, the second one is at eighty or ninety thousand right now. We sell records and my eighty thousand is a major artists eight hundred thousand - that’s just how it works. My hundred thousand is your platinum. You get a dollar a record on the majors, but we get our own checks.
MVRemix: Corporate America has basically taken over Hip Hop. Is there any hope in the fight against the corporate manipulation of Hip Hop?
Casual: There is hope, but artists are between a rock and a hard place. Even the people who want to fight against this corporate takeover want the same things they are providing for their own artists. Me - I'm a underground artist, but I want the 40 spins that a corporation can make a radio station give a no name artist. You can hear somebody pop up one day and get 40 spins off their first record, and that’s because they are being endorsed by companies which are big business. Its really not complicated. If I owned a radio station, I only have so many ways to make money, so I have to sell advertising slots. And if so and so company, who makes records, buys "x" amount of slots this month, they are gonna call me like, "How come you ain't playing my records." Its all about business. If I want to keep selling these slots to this company, then I am going to play their record.
MVRemix: What is your overall vision for the future?
Casual: My vision for the future is to support my family and to gain more exposure, that is what I really wanna do. I would really like more people to hear my music. I'm not making music just to be making it. I want somebody to hear it and give me their opinion, if nothing else. Tell me its wack or dope - but ain't nobody gonna tell me its wack. I'm in Heiro and we them dudes. We just got swept up under the rug, but that’s cool. But people know what's good.
MVRemix: What else is coming out of the Heiro camp in the next year? I know you got O.C. dropping in November.
Casual: First up is Del's 11th Hour DVD, then O.C.'s Smoke And Mirrors, then next year we got A-Plus' solo, Del's solo - and after all of that - its back to the Heiro album. So the next Heiro album should drop towards the end of next year.
MVRemix: Any last words for the fans out there?
Casual: Thanks for supporting underground Hip-Hop. Go cop Smash Rockwell, guaranteed to be the hottest album out.