Monday, March 05, 2012

Artist Interview: Has-Lo

I am going to go out and just let it out in the opening sentence: Mello Music Group is probably my favorite up and coming label out right now. Because of this, having the opportunity to chat with one of the most unique artists in the MMG roster, Philadelphia-born Ha-Lo, was obviously very special for me. We featured him on our 2012 Oh.Globe freshmen list for good reason. I made sure to take advantage of this Q&A to gain some more info on Has-Lo's group The Wrecking Crew, his future with Mello Music Group, and his planned releases for 2012. Check it out.
Me: You're one of the more interesting young artists coming up right now. Who is Has-Lo and what does he bring to the table?

Has-Lo: Thank you. Who am I and what do I bring to the table? I don't have an answer that doesn't sound like a corny rapper answer. I told this shorty the other day, she don't even need to go to summer school. Just buy the Has-Lo cd and you'll have all the education you need this year. It's coming. It's coming like a comet.
Me: Who were your favorite Philly artists growing up?
Has-Lo: I don't know that I had any Philly specific favorites. I liked a lot of hip hop from all over.
Me: How did you hook up with your current label, Mello Music Group?
Has-Lo: I was in a bar fight once last year. Somebody bumped a waitress carrying drinks and I guess she was at her breaking point. She picked some of the broken glass up off the floor and tossed it into the crowd. Everybody's bumping into each other trying to avoid it. People are getting shoved, falling over each other. It's like a herd of cattle. Next thing you know, punches are being thrown. In a situation like that, you have to stick and move. Fight if you have to, but really it's about getting out of there. So I'm getting it on, throwing random shots, getting knocked around, working my way to the door. Somebody caught me slipping, I guess and grabbed me, like a bear hug. Michael Tolle was there, we didn't know each other, but he saw me struggling with this big motherfucker. He smashed a barstool across his back! When we got outside we both ran the same way from the bar. By the time he heard my music, it was nothing to put the record out. We got in a bar brawl! It was a no-brainer.
Me: On your MMG profile page, your production is compared to that of RZA. Is the RZArector your biggest influence?
Has-Lo: In terms of production, yes. He's the biggest influence. I started wanting to make beats after I heard "Reunited".
Me: You're also a part of The Wrecking Crew with Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro, 2 other young artists who are among my favorites right now. What are the plans with The Wrecking Crew? Any new projects in the works?
Has-Lo: The immediate project is this Wu-Tang homage/tribute album we've been working on. It's called Wu-Tang Pulp. It's almost done. I've got to tweak two song and then we go into final mixing/mastering. We wanna get that out early spring I think. We're working on Castro's album Fidel. We're kicking around the idea of a full length Wrecking Crew album too so stay locked in with us. We're trying to get on the road some this year too. If you've ever seen us live, you know it gets rowdy. We have a lot of fun on stage.
Me: How did you, Zilla, and Castro meet?
Has-Lo: We met just being in the same town and basically having the same internet-based approach at the time. Me and Zilla were out there trying to get into all the different blogs and showing up in a lot of the same places. After seeing we were from the same town, we eventually bumped into each other. Castro and Zilla had already been friends for a while I think. I ended up doing some remixes for him, but it wasn't until a bit later that we all linked up.
Me: What was the inspiration behind the concept of your 2011 album In Case I Don't Make It?
Has-Lo: The concept was to deal with the psychology depression, not just the expression of it. Also, to challenge the natural order of hip hop records. To see if, like movies, I could affect the way you as a listener feel after listening to my album. Depression isn't an easy topic, it's uncomfortable. The album needed to reflect that. All the way through. Not one foot in, one out.  

Me: Were you shocked by how well received the album was upon its release? It topped countless "Best Of" lists.
Has-Lo: Not shocked exactly. I was confident that I'd made a special album. I was and am very proud of it. I was thankful. I thought everyone had forgotten about it because the music world is constantly on the move. To see that it made an imprint with that many people was magical for me.
Me: What's the timetable for a new album or tape with MMG? How different is the sound going to be compared to In Case I Don't Make It?
Has-Lo: The MMG deal was a one album deal. It was beneficial for both of us but it's too early to say the next one will be on MMG. My next album is going to be a complete departure from In Case I Don't Make It though.
Me: Will there be a lot of guest features from other MMG artists?
Has-Lo: I don't know. It's too early to say. 

Me: Since you also produce, would you rather produce your own stuff or would you rather use one of the many extremely talented Mello Music Group producers such as Apollo Brown, Oddisee, or Slimkat78, among others?
Has-Lo: I'll probably always use my own production on my projects, but I want to work with a lot of producers. They don't HAVE to be affiliated with Mello Music Group. I like what the MMG squad does as well as numerous others. 

Me: Do you think things would have been different if you would have won the MTVU Best Music on Campus in 2007?
Has-Lo: I don't know lol. Considering how my 2011 went, does it really make a difference? That was ages ago, I don't even think about it now. My album is out, it's on one of the hottest up & coming indie labels. I've been in XXL, LA Weekly, Pitchfork, HHDX, Passion of the Weiss, TSS, OKP and countless others. It's critically acclaimed. My remix project has Audible Doctor, Exile, J-Zone, Kev Brown, Paten Locke, Oddisee, Apollo Brown, etc. The vinyl is MAGENTA MARBLE and it's almost sold out. They're both available now by the way.
Me: If somebody was to ask you "Who the hell is Has-Lo?", what would you respond with?
Has-Lo: I'm not sure what I'd say. I think I'd say something different every time. I can tell you that the answers I gave would get increasingly grand in scale each time I was asked. So when you see me make sure you hit me with that question.
Me: Thanks for your time man and just know that whatever you projects you and the rest of Mello Music Group come out with have another home here at Oh.Globe. Good luck.
Has-Lo: Thanks a lot. I'll let the fellas (and lady) know. Peace.

 Has-Lo's Bandcamp:

Has-Lo's Mello Music Group Profile:

Follow Has-Lo on Twitter: @Has_Lo


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