Recently DubCNN caught up with one of the young guns of West Coast hip-hop, Hazerd!
Hazed is not a stranger to DubCNN [see the archives], but this time we go in depth with the West Coast MC about a multitude of topics, including the conception of his new controversial banger, “Start A Riot” – which you can watch below.
We also get a chance to read about his business relationship with DubCNN alumni All Angles, the toughest battle he has ever been in, his top MC’s of all-time, and much more!
Interview conducted in February 2015.
Questions Asked By: West Haven Blast
Hazerd – Start A Riot (Video)
DubCNN: We’re checking in with one of the young guns of West Coast hip-hop, Hazerd. What’s good fam?
Just chillin man, you know.
DubCNN: First off, let’s get into this new banger you just dropped fam “Start A Riot.” For those that are sleeping, this is a certified banger and you need to cop it now! Obviously inspired by the constant police brutality going on in the inner city; tell us about this new track, and the project it’s associated with.
Yeah, so I was just in the lab with my boy Got Beatz, he is my producer, and my homie. We came across the reverse guitar that you hear and we just started to go crazy with it. The energy of the track kinda felt like some rage against the machine, and I just kinda ran with it. I actually wrote the ‘Start A Riot’ record way before anyone had even heard about Ferguson, it was more inspired by what had happened with the Trayvon Martin situation. By the time we had got the track done with mixing and mastering: Ferguson happened, the tragedy with Eric Garner had happened, and we felt like with what was going on we needed to add some visuals to the song. This is really like the first official single off my upcoming project titled ‘Just My Point of View’ Dropping mid march. The project is basically giving my points of view on lots of situations: police brutality, immigration reform, personal issues, I GOT ALOT GOING ON IN HERE! Along with that, I’m giving you why my point of view is the way it is, I want people to know a lot about me after this project.
DubCNN: I read that you did some time, and came back to the streets very focused on success. Is this true? & if so, what is the difference between Hazerd then, and Hazerd now?
Yeah man, between 18-20 I got arrested like 6 times, I was a mess and I thought I was the exception to the rule, and I was just going to be able to duck and dodge cases. Finally, in Sept 2007 I was arrested and sentenced to 5 years. Then I went from thinking I was invincible, to realizing how much of an idiot I was being. I also have a daughter, and I spent five years watching her grow up through pictures, and at times not even knowing where she was. In a way I deserved that, because of my mistakes; My daughter didn’t, she didn’t deserve to grow up without a father. So the difference is, I was a talented kid who took everything for granted; now I’ve matured into a man, who is grateful for his god given talent.
DubCNN: What initially inspired you to pursue a music career?
I always love music, but I realized really young that I couldn’t sing! I saw a cypher one day, back in like 2000, and from the time I saw that, I was hooked; not only did I like it and want to do it, I was confident I could do it better than anybody. It was like boom ” I can do that, I know I can,” and no one could tell me different. From that point on I didn’t want to be anything else, I just wanted to prove myself that I could do it. Teachers asked what I wanted to be, my response “A rapper.”
DubCNN: What is your relationship with the resurging West Coast hip-hop group, ALL ANGLES? And tell us a little more about the collaborations with ALL ANGLES, recently featured on DubCNN.
We have the same DJ, DJ Choice One, from KDAY and the B-Side Show. When I first came home from prison, no one wanted to fuck with me. I didn’t have a lot of music, so I was just trying to get out there but no one was having it. I recorded an acapella on an old iphone, and just put it out on Youtube, and my cousin had showed it to CHOICE, and he was just like “I’m fucking with you.” We met up and started to work; he had a group he wanted to introduce me to, All ANGLES; and we just clicked pretty quickly. They are some really cool dudes, and we’ve done about 5-6 records together so far. The most recent two songs I have done with them called “stairways pt2” and “undisputed” are actually on their latest project, Def Valley 2.0, that is available for exclusive download here on DubCNN. I’m really proud of those songs and I hope people like them as much as I do.
DubCNN: What was it like for you growing up in the Inland Empire, of Southern California?
My whole family is from LA, and when I was like 4-5 we moved to Ontario, in the IE (Inland Empire). It was my mother’s impression that we were moving to a “better” neighborhood. What she didn’t realize was, they were Bangin in the IE just the same. So if anything it was almost worst for me, because my mom thought everything was kosher; I’d be running round, and she’d think nothing of it. She would be at work or at school, I’d be in the streets actin a fool. As I got older, and I started to do the music thing, I noticed when I went out to LA for open mics, and shows, people wrote me off when I said I was from the IE. It kinda put a chip on my shoulders, and it made me hungry to prove that this kid from the IE could rap better than anyone from anywhere, it didn’t matter. I come from the IE and I’m proud of it, it made me the man I am today (for better or worse).
DubCNN: Who are HAZERD’s Top 5 MC’s of all time?
If u love the culture that much, I feel like this is not such an easy question. First and foremost, I feel like Pac and Biggie are in a different arena, too good to be named in a top five. There is them, then everyone else. That being said, I’d go Eminem, Big L, Big Pun, Xzibit, Nas. Not in this particular order but yeah, I hate that question so much, if you ask me tomorrow that shit could change, I love rap so much.
DubCNN: As a known vicious battle rapper, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of competition. What has been your toughest battle thus far? & which are your favorite hip-hop battles of all time?
What’s funny about that is, I don’t even look at myself in that way. I know everyone has seen the YouTube clips of me in battles, and I get recognized more for my battles than anything else, and that’s funny to me. I was doing that just because I didn’t have any music out, and I was just getting people to pay attention to me. My toughest battle isn’t even on camera, I had some tough ones back in my teens when I was living the “battle life” you could say. As for favorite Hip-Hop battles, on wax, I like the Jay-Z and Nas thing. Ether is one of my favorite records of all time. If we’re talking live battles, the shit between Cassidy and Freeway was important to the culture; as well as the battle between Jae Millz and Murder Mook. The shift in the battle culture, of the pre-written acapella battles can definitely be traced back to those two battles.
DubCNN: How would you describe your rap style?
It’s like, some intelligent gangster shit.
DubCNN: What is your opinion of hip-hop in its current state?
That’s another million dollar question! If we’re talking the culture of Hip-Hop and all four elements; I think we need to give some shine to the other elements. Rap being the most profitable gets the majority of the shine, but as a culture, I feel we need to do more to preserve the art of break dancing, graffiti, and turntablism. Now if we’re talking the state of Rap Music I think it’s great, I’m a huge lyricist, but I think there is room for everybody; I think there is a lane for Iggy to do what she does, there is a lane for Evidence to do what he wants. Instead of people complaining about the shit they don’t like, they should go out and really support the shit they do like, because it is a business. If lyrically driven albums aren’t selling, it’s gunna be hard for lyrically driven albums to be made, and get to the shelf.
DubCNN: What more can we expect from you for 2015?
A whole lot of music, I love to do this shit; I love to make music. I love to perform, more shows, more tracks. Like I said before, ‘Just My Point of View’ is dropping in mid march, you can expect another video or two off of the project as well.
DubCNN: Where can fans reach you on social media? And where can they purchase your music?
First things first, check the website. Sign up to be a part of my mailing list. We’re going to be doing a lot of giveaways throughout the year, and I want to get to know my fans on a more personal level. All the links to my social media are on the site, but you can get at me on Twitter, instagram @imahazerd, and to keep up with the latest visuals you should subscribe to my YouTube channel. At this point get the music free while you can at Soundcloud; when “Just My Point of View” drops, it will be available for download on my site.
DubCNN: Any last words HAZERD? And thanks again from DubCNN!
Thanks for having me, I want to give a quick shout out to everybody on my team. Big Gene, Got Beats, Devon Davis, Drio ,DJ CHOICE ONE, the homies from ALL ANGLES, I also gotta show some love to my clothing sponsor Riot Gear LLC and my behind the scenes guys.