Rapper Hooks, formerly Truth Be Told of the group the Tribe and Big Cats, recently dropped the provocative All Black Jesus
, his first solo outing. His old group played a farewell show earlier this year, and now he's out on his own.
Gimme Noise caught up with Rapper Hooks and asked him about the new direction and his hope to shake up the scene.
The Tribe and Big Cats unveil latest album, Space
All Black Jesus is your first solo project since the Tribe and Big Cats! split. What's different about working on this material?
It's always different working with different producers, going outside the comfort zone. [Big Cats] and sometimes Sundance Kid would get me beats, sometimes I'd mess with other people, but I didn't put anything on wax. This was a process, because I was getting used to everything. This was just my brain going crazy trying to put words together that sound new. It was fun, it was a challenge.
What led to the decision to break up the group and work independently?
It just didn't make sense. We were at this point where, yeah, we could be in this group and not really have people know what we're doing, play shows and do shit in MInneapolis, that whole thing you get trapped in. We wanted more than that. The only way we could really promote ourselves was to split the group up. It wasn't anything bad. It's hard to grow up in a group.
The last TTxBC record, Space, was interesting because it found you and Big Cats almost at different ends, trying to fit harder raps with more ambient sounds. Is it easier to make a cohesive sound if you're curating the beats you rap over?
Performing Space was challenging, because it was down-tempo, but I still wanted it to be a party feel for a show. I write albums sometimes thinking about how I'm going to perform it live. When [Big Cats] was making beats, he was redefining what he did. He's always redefining himself.
You've said you hope All Black Jesus "fucks with Minneapolis a bit"; can you expand on that?
This place, man. This city. People who haven't been to bigger urban cities, it's a lot different. [Minneapolis's] idea of hip-hop and this culture, it needs to be fucked with. It needs to be turned around and people need to get pissed off about it. That's the only way it's going to grow. Everyone's happy in this safe zone here. You can make an album, and people will come to your shows, you'll get your dick tugged a little bit. It needs to be fucked with. People need to test every aspect of what's going on. Base it off how you're feeling, base it off life. Life isn't one big conscious rap song. The local media, a lot of people who write about it, I know damn well that there should've been some people that will be offended by some of the shit I said. Say something, though! That's the only way it's going to change. It's not going to change what I write, because I don't give a fuck [laughs]. Things need to be messed with so we can maybe get some industry here. If you want someone to get your point, you can't slap 'em on the hand, you gotta spit in their face, you gotta piss 'em off a little bit.
Your release party for All Black Jesus featured a number of familiar faces, including the Clerb, Botzy, Meta, and Sean Anonymous, on stage for a cypher. There's definitely a crew of like-minded rappers here.
That show went nothing like how I expected. I thought that everyone was going to be weirded out and not really know how to react to it. Who we hang out with, who we party with, we all make music. We crew up, but there is a competition aspect to it. There are people that have done things in this city that we wanna do, and we think we could do it better. Don't think after LIZZOBANGERS
comes out that I'm not gonna want to really come hard on this next project.
What's in the works now?