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Hot Karl - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Escape From Boring Ass Hip-Hop Conformity

September 2005

MVRemix: Tell us about 'The Great Escapeí album.

Hot Karl: You mean we canít talk about other shit? (Laughs). You know, I went through a lot of shit. Iím on like my 3rd record deal now. At this point, I just want to be heard. Iím not stressing about what will fit on the radio or what will be on the new Clue tape. Iíve been through that already. It didnít fell comfortable for me and it didnít work. At this point, my whole goal with Hot Karl was to create something that felt like you were talking to me for an hour. Iíd rather you just get the idea of you hanging out with me. I wanted that to come off in the record. I wanted to hit all of the genres that I was excited by or I grew up listening to. I also wanted to incorporate some of the people you havenít heard from in a while, at the same time. This means MC Search and Dave Gosset and even, Justin Warfield. People like you and me think, 'Where is Justin Warfield?í Thatís something we would talk about when hanging out.

MVRemix: How did you get involved with Headless Heroes?

Hot Karl: Headless Heroes is owned by BBE. We deal with the same infrastructure.

MVRemix: Did 'The Great Escapeí come out the way you wanted?

Hot Karl: Yeah. The thing is, at this point in the game, Iím not stressing. There are songs on there that definitely needed to be on the record.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on 'The Great Escapeí?

Hot Karl: I will always like 'Butterfaceí because it is so different from the other stuff on the album. It also represents what I have been doing in hip-hop for the past 10 years.

MVRemix: For the 9th Wonder produced track, 'Iíve Heardí, you write about how he didnít want you on the track. Tell us about that.

Hot Karl: Eddie, who works close with Little Brother through BBE, helped out. 9th Wonderís beat CD came to me while I was putting together this record. I thought he was so ill. I had the same feeling when I heard the Kanye Westís beat CD 5 years ago. I had the same feeling. I immediately began writing all of this shit. Eddie called him to see if the beat was sold. He was ready to sell the beat to Hot Karl and we sent him a CD with a bunch of music. I think the MC Search song was on there. 9th didnít like it. I donít hate on him for doing that. Iíd do the same thing if I was a producer. Iím not offering him a ton of money. 9th didnít really feel it. Eddie told me, 'Donít worry, Iím gonna work on him!í I didnít want that and I was ready to go to someone else. As I hung up the phone, Eddie gave me a weird inspirational sentence when he said, 'Well man, thatís what youíre gonna run into.í I just hung up the phone, heard the beat CD again, and thought 'Thatís the shit that I needed to get out.í All of that shit needed to get out on that record. All of that stuff has not been addressed on record before. There are things on that record that I havenít told people, like the thing about Timbaland or anything else.

MVRemix: When I talked to you before, you remarked about Kanye Westís comments about George Bush. What did you think about his statement about Hurricane Katrina?

Hot Karl: You know, my girlfriendís father was there in New Orleans. Heís a part of FEMA. Heís a doctor and heís out there on emergency services. I decided that I would not make total opinions about it because Iím not sure what to trust. Iím waiting till my girlfriendís father gets back. What Kanye said seems somewhat true. Heís pretty extreme about it, but thereís got to be some truth about what he said. Doing it at a telethon is pretty tacky. Why did he do it in such a weird situation with Mike Myers next to him? He kind of sounded like a 6th grader doing a book report, rattling off the stuff so nervously. The guy says what he feels. Sometimes, it bothers me how egotistical he comes off, but at other times, I know that itís really him. Before he was famous, we did a song together. It was before he even did 'Izzoí for Jay-Z.

MVRemix: Was the song you recorded with Kanye West created in the studio together, or was it done via the mail?

Hot Karl: No, in the studio. He didnít even have a car yet. He took the subway. He wasnít mailing any beats at that time. We actually became friends after that recording. When he came out to L.A., weíd go see movies and stuff. My manager, at the time, was trying to sign him to Capitol Records. Even when he wasnít famous, and people didnít want to hear that he was a rapper, Kanye was rapping 24/7.

MVRemix: What do you think of Kanye Westís new album, 'Late Registrationí?

Hot Karl: Kanye will always work because of his beats. Itís funny. On his first album, the beats underwhelmed me. I didnít feel them at first, but the lyrics really got me. Now, on the second one, Iím really impressed by the beats, but I think that his rapping is too breathy. I lose a lot of the punch lines. Thatís how I meant Kanye. His rap sounded like that. He lost punch lines. It wasnít because he had bad breath control. He has amazing breath control. I just think that he thinks itís better the more breathy it is. Itís that Ma$e syndrome.

MVRemix: Some people think that when emcees start producing their own music, their music suffers. Do you agree?

Hot Karl: I think that is what happened to Eminemís career. His production is horrible. It just sounds like a bad Xzibit song. It sounds horrible, but he would put it out and everyone would like it. All of his hits are Dreís hits. Kanye too. All of the hits are Dr. Dre hits. The world loves them. The world loves Kanye.

MVRemix: On your EPK, Mack 10 talks about how Eminem has raised the bar for white rappers and has made it difficult.Ē

Hot Karl: I love that. Mack has been a friend of mine since college. He just drops so many gems of knowledge. Itís painful being around him. He says so many amazing things. I had nothing to do with the EPK. It originally started as a documentary. When Mack says that, itís true. Even in this new Southern craze, Mike Jones comes out and then, Slim Thug, and then, Paul Wall. Itís funny because Paul Wall may end up selling the most of records. Itís funny because they arenít really being compared to each other. Thatís a weird thing. Iím being compared because my voice sounds similar in a broad stoke. I couldnít hide my real voice. Thatís one of the things I went through with Interscope. I could really make my voice deeper and address this kind of thing or I could be me and come off how I know I sound. As for the comedic thing, Eminem hasnít been funny for years. I havenít laughed at something he said for at least 3 years. No matter how much I could talk shit about Em or how our careers crossed or didnít cross, all I know is that his music was great until his last album. That last album was God awful. I donít know how or why it happened, but it didnít even sound musical.

MVRemix: When Mack 10 offered you $50,000 cash to sign to Hoo Bangin Records, why didnít you take it?

Hot Karl: Heís such a nice guy, but I didnít take it just because of all of the horror stories that Iíve heard about the business. I didnít want to be in a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony contract situation. Not only that, I didnít see where I fitted in with Hoo Banginí. At the time, The Baker Boys, the guys who I was getting on the radio with, said that they were getting many calls for me. They told me to ride it out for a second and see what comes up that may be better than Mack. Still, Mack 10 has always been my friend, so he never took it personal.

MVRemix: Do you think wealth changes the quality of music.

Hot Karl: I think that will change in 10 or 15 years from now, when hip-hoppers hit the end. The people who have bad taste in 70ís music still pay for every Aerosmith concert even though they are shitty and they havenít sounded good in 10 years. The point is, the fans have loyalty. In hip-hop, there is no loyalty based in that kind of stuff. When I was in college, I would go to parties where Big Bad Hank was performing for $500 bucks. Pharoahe Monch is probably the best rapper of all time and the guy canít get a fucking record deal!

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"I think that is what happened to Eminemís career. His production is horrible. It just sounds like a bad Xzibit song. It sounds horrible, but he would put it out and everyone would like it. All of his hits are Dreís hits. Kanye too. All of the hits are Dr. Dre hits. The world loves them. The world loves Kanye."