Strange Gibberish recording artist, Chris C, is an MC who wears his influences prominently on his sleeve. It’s a deft tightrope act to pay homage to yesteryear without devolving into a nostalgia infected cynic. His latest, Gringo Lingo, vividly conjures up images of whiskey saloons, Lee Van Cleef, Bronx battles and block parties. So without further ado…
What is the theme or concept behind Gringo Lingo?
Gringo Lingo is sort of a blend of a lot of ideas, concepts and thoughts. I wanted to present it as a bar, with me as the musical act for that particular night. It needed to have the same vibe throughout; it needed to sound dirty and gritty, and the boom bap production style that Deepcrates brought made me wanna be a little more serious and flow a little harder than I have in the past. Sort of as an ode to a more pristine era in hip hop. However, as I wrote more and more it became a very introspective work. I reevaluated myself on this album and I feel like I came out better than ever. So, I guess the best way to put it would have to be that the Gringo Lingo is the bar in my mind.
How did your relationship form with the Strange Gibberish crew?
Christmas 2008 I finished the first part in my Hall & Oates trilogy. Cinco De Mayo 2009, my homie Deepcrates tells me about a show he’s doing with some of the other cats on his label, Strange Gibberish. I checked it out and enjoyed the show. Every act was different and nobody sounded like anything I had heard really. It was cool, unique, and I wanted in. I met the founder of the label, Turtle Handz, and told him about my album. He seemed interested and told me to e-mail it to him. So, I did and he offered me a spot in the crew. We rereleased H2OC2 in June of ‘09 and then we put out the second part of the H&O saga, Fuck Yeah!, in July. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since joining SG, you’ve increased your productivity tenfold, what other new Chris C releases are on the horizen this year?
I have so much! I’m working with Drumboy from Germany on a couple things; I’m going to make a very short EP with some tracks that my man David Arcade from the Out2Lunch crew sent me, which will be kind of a prelude to my next album. I don’t really wanna disclose details on that album just yet. Also, still want to do a full album with Fat Ross, and another cat from around here said he wanted to do an album. I don’t think all of it will make it out this year, but expect at least an ep with Drumboy and the David Arcade joints from me this year.
Who/what are your biggest inspirations as an artist?
Kurt Vonnegut, Grant Morrison, Charles Bukowski, Big Daddy Kane, Jack Kirby, Robert Frost and Batman. Always Batman.
What are your favorite and least favorite hip hop trends?
I was going to rant on about the state of the game and how it’s all wack compared to what it used to be, but when I step back and look I notice not much has changed. Sure, the current state of pop hip hop is all club music, but rap started out as party music. I was going to say how it’s all materialistic now, but the fashion and jewelry and cars were always there. Hip Hop was started by a bunch of poor folks in the ghetto, so of course they wanted to get out there and make money once it started catching on. The problem now is it’s so overexposed that its lost the emotion behind the culture. Hip Hop is bigger than just rap, and you still see the graffiti, and you can still find the breakers, and there’s still plenty of DJs doing their thing. Look hard enough and there’s still plenty of real dope emcees out there. There’s nothing wrong with the game, the music industry has just done to hip hop what it’s done to every other popular genre; raped it into submission.
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