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Hot Karl - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Escape From Boring Ass Hip-Hop Conformity

September 2005

MVRemix: Tell us about 'Your Housekeeper Hates Youí, your album on Interscope Records that never came out.

Hot Karl: It was originally called, 'Your Housekeeper Hates Youí. When I left Interscope, it became 'I Like To Readí so I could put it out. I put it out independently. That pretty much has everyone who has ever been famous on it, ever. It has people from Grace Kelly to Redman (laughs). Everybody from Redman, Fabolous, DJ Clue, DJ Quik, Sugar Ray, Mia, and Kanye West.

MVRemix: What was it like working with Redman?

Hot Karl: Cool! We actually ended up doing two sessions together. For the first one, he was really jet lagged. He was dead asleep. We were calling him 'Dead Maní. He was literally asleep in the studio. When I came in and hour later, he was awake and writing. I thought he wrote a really funny verse. It was really good. I liked it a lot. Two days later, my manager got a call from him. It was literally Redman, not his manager. He said, 'Yeah, man. I gotta redo that verse. I donít feel it.í That was cool of him. He didnít just want to get his money and run. We set up another session where I came late. When I walked in, his verse was done. The 2nd version is cool. Technically, itís a better rap, but he was much funnier in the first one. Iíve been looking for that version for a long time. Redman doesnít do any vocal tricks or pocket writing in the 1st verse. He does in the 2nd one. In the second verse, he was all over the place with different techniques. Itís great because as another rapper, I can see all of the ad-lib stuff he did. Technically, I love it but at the same time, Iím always laughing at the first version, where he is talking about looking at white girlsí boobs and makes references 'How Highí. Either one is good. Working with him was great. Heís one of my favorites.

MVRemix: What about Fabolous?

Hot Karl: I stand by the fact that Fabolous has his best verse ever on my song. It took him twelve hours to write it. I never dug Fabolous, but I thought that the guy was nice. He was nice to me all the time. My label, at the time, really wanted him on the record so, I went for it. I think he delivered a fucking phenomenal verse. As much as I canít listen to any of his other music really, the verse on my record is amazing. Technically, itís amazing! Both Redman and Fabolous were pretty hands-on.

MVRemix: Many of your songs have concepts, stories, or themes. When creating a song, do you have a set theme or pre-written lyrics? Or, do you write to the beat first?

Hot Karl: Probably, 50/50. For example, on 'The Great Escapeí, all of the Mulholland Drive stuff came to me when I heard Ayatollahís beat CD. He had a song with a sample, (singing) 'Lonely girlsí. We couldnít clear the sample, but that gave me the idea. Especially since Iím living in L.A., I wanted to do a track about these girls trying to be famous. That was where that came from. 'Butterfaceí was pretty much me, Ally and Normal. We knew each other since we were kids and we were doing those raps since 6th grade. We just updated them. Ideas sometimes come and go. Sometimes, the beat will inspire them. Other times, I like to have them when I walk in.

MVRemix: Who are some producers you would like to work with in the future?

Hot Karl: I would love to work with Prince Paul because of how much influence he has had on my career and my life. I loved Da Gravediggaz record so much when I was a kid. Gravediggaz, for me, was the pinnacle of hip-hop. Obviously, Rza means a whole lot to me. I almost worked with him during my Interscope days, but it never worked out. I guess it is pretty clichť to say DJ Premier, but I would love to work with him. There are people on a much smaller scale too. I wouldnít mind working with Blockhead. That guy has great beats. I donít think it would work well as far as personalities, but there are people who make great beats and they are all over. 9th Wonder was great too.

MVRemix: Who are some emcees you would like to work with in the future?

Hot Karl: Pharoahe Monch would be a great answer to that question. I always loved Chino XL. His best stuff is his freestyle stuff. In real life, I stole so much from him. Thatís why I hate it when people talk about the comparisons between me and Eminem. I didnít start that shit. If you want to be really technical and make fun of me, say that I sound like Chino XL because I stole a shit-load from him. Iíd love to bring back Grand Puba. One of my goals is to bring him back into the game. Iíd love to see him working again.

MVRemix: Where were you during the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack? How did you handle it?

Hot Karl: I was actually here. My manager and Bubba Sparxx were actually in New York. I was concerned about those guys. I donít have too much of a connection except for the emotional one. Having family there and work there, made it hard. I was there for the blackout, which was also a scary experience.

MVRemix: What are your thoughts about the U.S. involvement in the Middle East?

Hot Karl: In any other time, even in the 90ís, it was definitely a more noble cause. But, now, at this point, we are dealing with so many things at home and so much stuff. I hate to bring up the hurricane, but even beyond that, there are homeless epidemics, drug epidemics, and things like that. Home is definitely more important at this point.

MVRemix: Euthanasia. Are you for or against it?

Hot Karl: Totally, probably. Thatís a good question! Iím probably for it.

MVRemix: Abortion. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Hot Karl: Iím definitely for it, especially being such a confused 25 year-old. God forbid I get into a position where my girl is pregnant. Itís kind of creepy. God! I just put out an independent rap record that has a song about girls with hot bodies but ugly faces!

MVRemix: You have been labeled as an emcee who creates comedic hip-hop. How do you feel about this label?

Hot Karl: My whole thing is that Iím a rapper who makes jokes, but Iím not a joke rapper. I understand how shitty reviewers would call me the Weird Al of hip-hop but I donít do parodies. I like being funny. Thatís one of my goals. If I were to sit down now and write a rap album like they just gave me a record deal, a lot of the funny shit would be gone. Itís not a funny world that we are living in right now. At the time I got the Interscope deal and even the Headless Heroes stuff, I felt funny. Thatís who I am and thatís what comes out. Thatís my thing. Iím more post-modern than I am comedic.

MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?

Hot Karl: I think it is those first 40 seconds where people donít know what to expect.

MVRemix: How has your live show changed?

Hot Karl: So little. Itís so fucking embarrassing. Iíve been doing the same shit since Iíve been 13. The song I did when I opened up for Ice-T was a diss song against Another Bad Creation. They were so bad. The lyrics sound exactly the fucking same. Itís so embarrassing, especially when I get the Eminem comparisons. If you could listen to me when I was 13, Iím rapping the same way, literally, since Iíve been a little kid.

MVRemix: What about your evolution as an emcee? How have your skills improved?

Hot Karl: Iíve probably have gotten less technical on purpose. The rap I like is punch line driven and extreme storytelling. When I was a kid, I tried to keep up with everything that was going on. When people started to do double rhymes or same word rhymes, I was trying to live up to that, when I was 15 or 16. Once I hit the record deal shit, I didnít care anymore. I didnít care if I was technical or what people thought about breath patterns. I just cared if I was getting my point across and if I was making people laugh.

MVRemix: Is that your dog on the cover of 'The Great Escapeí?

Hot Karl: Yeah, thatís Finnigan. Heís 2 years old. Heís a miniature pincher.

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"My whole thing is that Iím a rapper who makes jokes, but Iím not a joke rapper. I understand how shitty reviewers would call me the Weird Al of hip-hop but I donít do parodies. I like being funny. Thatís one of my goals."