Botzy: I'm never going to bite my tongue

Botzy: I'm never going to bite my tongue
Photo by Drew Carlson

It's hard to believe that it's only been a little over a year since Adam Botsford AKA Botzy and his band Culture Cry Wolf called it quits. When he meets with Gimme Noise, he's in between a studio session and a performance, and is apologetic for trying to squeeze so many things in one evening. All of this is merely a reflection of the breakneck speed of his career. There's no waiting for anyone not on board with what he is doing.

On his new album, aptly titled I'll Be Underground When I'm Dead (Vol. 1), the songs are the b-side tracks to another upcoming album. On Underground, Botzy trades in his traditional rapping for some new experiments, pushing the limits with his vocals -- often with primal sounds emerging from the soul.

Botzy will celebrate his birthday and releasing the mixtape album at the 7th Street Entry on Friday night, but before he does, he shares the stories behind his journey.

Arriving in a sweatshirt and jeans with a head of dyed red hair that is on the tail end of growing out, Botzy breathlessly slides into a booth at Sweeney's Pub in St. Paul. The conversation quickly turns to Robin Williams, having just heard the news before he showed up to the interview. He says, "I'm in shock right now," before turning the conversation on to music.

The rapper speaks like he performs -- in rapid succession. He answers each question with an intensity that would off-putting if he wasn't so sincere in his replies. When the conversation turns to his old band Culture Cry Wolf, he is quick to safeguard the group where he got his foothold. "It was definitely abrupt from the public's point of view, but it wasn't so abrupt behind the scenes -- there's no easy way to make that happen," he says. "I always feel jaded -- and maybe it's because I'm jaded -- but if I see a band that breaks up and it's abrupt, I'm like, 'That's bullshit. Tell the real story.' At least with Culture Cry, we got to share the story amongst the fans, even though it was really raw for all of us."

Botzy still maintains a close relationship with his old band -- even working with CCW's bassist Druby Soho on bass for VAYNS, his side project with MUNQS -- but he felt he had more growing to do as a rapper. "With every breakup, there's a substantial amount of growth that happens on both sides," he explains. "There's a lot going in and coming out of it. I had never anticipated us doing so well so early, and it was great, but I feel like I've done some insane things since May of last year [when we broke up]. Without that band, some things wouldn't have been possible, and now my artistry's grown."

In that growth, he relearned how to use his voice. Instead of writing, he's just flowing. "I don't write anymore," he says. "Everything that's coming out is freestyle, so the ten track mixtape [I'll Be Underground When I'm Dead (Vol. 1)] is entirely freestyle. By doing that, I'm super disciplined to do it everyday for four hours for six months straight no matter what. You really learn to use inflections. It's very much like meditating."

With no inhibitions in a bar full of people, Botzy demonstrates the way he moves his voice, sometimes like a skipping record, sometimes with subtle articulations. He continues, "'Cause I scat more, I think, 'How can I draw out this word like an emotion?' You get into this rhythmatic trance state. It's like I'm not even in the room anymore." That loss of self-consciousness is something that many artists strive for, but not all always achieve.

It shows in everything he does, from how he performs to how he voices his opinions. He says, "There's so many white rappers now, and of course, stereotypes exist. There's a lot of really bad white rappers that don't take the time to do their homework, study the culture, or to eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff. If they want to say anything about me, let them talk... I do everything you're not supposed to do; I'm never going to bite my tongue. I have good reason for that. Ain't nobody helped me up in my early days. The fact that I didn't get help is not important, but that's the same reason I don't give two shits about what anybody says. If they're not helping me, their opinions don't matter." 

It seems like everything he does, Botzy does with all of his energy, but he only now feels like he's at the precipice of something big. He says, "That first track on the album, I say how I'm 'finally here.' That's what I've been thinking for a long time, but this is finally it. Once I figured out what I wanted to do, I went full throttle with it. This is what I've been trying to get to for eight years. You finally get to the point you want to be at, and that is the time to go even harder. My goal is to wake up and make at least one piece of art a day -- 'cause you never know when you're going to die."

Botzy will celebrate his birthday and release I'll Be Underground When I'm Dead (Vol. 1) at 7th Street Entry on Friday, August 29, 2014 with Beasthead, Dre Green, Heavy Petting, and DJ White Bronco.
18+, $5 adv, $10 door, 9 pm
Purchase tickets here.

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