[Interview] DurtE Talks Hick-Hop, Working With Redneck Souljers & Why He’s Coming With That Heat ( @DurtEMusic @RedneckSouljers)
RR: Tell us about some of the records that had the most impact on you and made you want to become a musician?
Man, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I grew up on classic rock. Tons of Aerosmith, Chicago, Skynyrd, Zepplin, Genesis, Boston, Foreigner, 38 special, Jim Croce, James Taylor, just too many to list. I just always liked music. On the school bus they played a top 40 station called 98ycr and I got exposed to all the stuff I didn’t get from classic rock. Shit like Roxette, Robert Palmer, Michael Jackson, Poison, Peter Gabriel, The escape club and tons of other 80s/90s pop guilty pleasures’ haha. I also liked the rock that was at the time modern, like G&R, Motley Crew, Metallica etc. And Pop-Pop put me up on country. I’m talking anything from TheHigwaymen and Johnny Cash to Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw, and everything in between. So to try to answer this question, I would say that I was a musician way before I ever decided I wanted to put music out, I played a trumpet in band starting at 10. The record that made me decide that when I grew up I was going to put music out was “Sex Packets“ by Digital Underground. My cousin David (Dj Fuze) is the DJ for them, so when they hit it big it was a big deal for me. I had got to meet him right after they blew up at a family xmas thing, and I watched him chop up “We will rock you“ by Queen on just the record player my aunt had in her living room. It was so awesome, I knew then that it was something I was going to want to do.
RR: Littlestown, PA seems like such an odd location for a country rapper, did growing up in PA have an impact on your sound? What was it like?
Growing up where I did I guess has some impact on my sound. There are just so many different types of people out here. Damn near everyone is country, but there are like sub groups for instance, you have your rednecks, the skater kids, the metal heads, the hip hop heads, hippies, you name it, there are people around that bump it. So I guess just the wide range of a little of everything on a constant basis helped me become as versatile as I am. I wouldn’t consider myself a country rapper, per se. I am a guy, who grew up in, resides in, and will die in the country.. Who happens to rap. When I was young we didn’t have the internet and shit, hell we only had land line phones. So around here, pretty much all there was to do was sports, or raise hell. I tried sports for a while, then went the other route. Eventually I found my way back to music. Want to touch back on the country rapper thing as well. Since I have been putting out music and videos, I haven’t changed up what it is I do. All of my content as far as lyrics and topics are right out of real life. People who live how you do tend to relate to your music. So while I don’t have a lot of country sounding production, if you listen to the lyrics you can tell I am definitely a dude from the country. I have had SO many people try to label me as one thing or another, but they just can’t. I am a little bit of a lot of things, and 100% me, and being from here is what made me that way.
RR: Tell us how you first met Redneck Souljers and how you started making music with them?
I met Tarr and Hubb online. I saw the “Fish“ “Tiller Gang“ and “Don’t Like“ videos and messaged them. To my surprise they were really cool and we started talking on the regular. Then I got to hear their original work and was blown away. After talking with them for a while I threw out the idea of a collaboration to them and they were down with it, so I wrote rural legends and sent it to them. Fortunately, we are cut from the same cloth. Felt like I had known them for ages, so when we met for the first time, it was like hanging with old buddies. Oddly enough the first time we hung out was in WV at one of their stops with the Moonshine Bandits on the rebels on the run tour, the day before we shot the rural legends video haha. Needless to say we were on a nice 2 day bender.
The video for “Rural Legends“ is defiantly a party anthem and has some fine women drinking and dancing in the video. What inspired the song and were you just trying to capture the party vibe on the video?
Here is the thing number one thing about me. I don’t fake it. That video is exactly how it looked. That is how we party and kick it. Get the fire going, bbq, beer, booze, beer pong, fishing, bushel of crabs, all that. That was actually us all just eating, drinking, and being merry, with my brothers from the Dead Clowns there to film. Now the beautiful ladies shaking their asses on the hood of the old Chevy isn’t a normal occurrence, that one was definitely for show! The song wasn’t really written as a party style anthem, it just kinda ended up that way. I originally wrote it basically to say, I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of me, how I live, or where I am from. We are gonna keep doing the damn thing, our way, and people are gonna talk about it well after we aren’t here. I don’t fit in with urban scenes too much, I’m country. I don’t try to hide that or cover it up. Being in rap everyone wants to classify you, write you off, pick you apart, all that good shit. So as soon as you start rocking at a show where you are different, you automatically have a bit more of an uphill battle. That brings us back to people liking things they relate to. I refuse to switch it up one way or the other to try to gain popularity or fans. So the people that find me and rock with me, will do it ONLY because I am me, and they dig it. As far as the final vision of the video goes, I definitely wanted to capture the essence of my back yard, and show everyone out there exactly how we roll. Craig, Brian, Gallo, and Jise all did a great job filming and we were fortunate to have the great Ed Pryor do the editing and bring the whole thing to life.
Any crazy moments from the filming of the video?
There were a bunch of funny things that happened. Short version is all incidents were alcohol related. But everyone had a hell of a good time, and no one was injured too severely.
Tell us a bit about the track “Rednecks Drunk“… What inspired it?
Rednecks Drunk is a pretty self explanatory one. After coming off tour Tarr hit me up and said I got a song boe. And being as we have some experience in the field of intoxication, Tarr, Hubb, and I naturally just spit that shit. I know Tarr really made the bass in that one hit. I think the boys went a little out of their comfort zone with this one, and people seem to be digging it. Just another way to keep pushing the boundaries of what is expected when you hear country rap.
RR: Are you recording an album together or is this just a collab track?
There aren’t any plans currently to record an album together. I know the Souljers are wrapping up their newest cd as we speak! We will definitely be doing more songs together, count on that. In what for or fashion we haven’t got that all worked out yet.
RR: Tell us a bit about your new album and what fans can expect when they hear it?
My next release will more than likely be a lengthy EP. With all the love that the country rap scene has shown I want to kind of acclimate everyone to what it is that I do. As far as what to expect?? Anything. I literally have no idea. I go where the music takes me. What you can 100% be sure of is that it will not be half assed. You guys will get 1000% every time that I put something out. If I’m not proud of it, it won’t get released. Throw some rock, metal, country, blues, pop, and rap in to a blender… you will get something along those lines.
RR: How do you respond to critics that think country rap is just a fad, and that the two shouldn’t mix?
Well, that is a tricky one. Music is constantly changing and evolving. Over the last 20 years, rap music has become such a part of the fabric of our entire country that it reaches everyone. I think that country rap is the culmination of kids growing up listening to rap, rock, and country all at the same time. Some people grow out of it, some grow in to it.
Mixing country music and rap music is no easy task. There are WAY more ways to fuck it up than to do it right. That being said, I don’t think it matters what anyone has to say that is negative. I don’t see a need to waste time trying to convert people over. They will either get with it eventually, or they won’t. There is obviously a high demand and big fan base for it. The music industry is changing to give more advantages to the indy artists, which means we don’t have to give a shit what some industry people say. And with internet radio, all the streaming services and everything else, not even spins on the radio is a power play for them anymore. So for the critics, fuck em.
RR: What do you think of the controversy with the confederate flag that’s happening at the moment?
To be 100% honest with you man, I don’t know. I have lived here my whole life. I live 2 minutes from Gettysburg. So every year, all year, its civil war stuff. Confederate flags everywhere. Grey and Blue soldiers, Abe Lincolns all that shit. I live about 3 minutes north of the Mason-Dixon line so nobody here has any claim of heritage to that flag that I can see. And while I know it isn’t true in most cases where the flag is part of the culture and tradition down south, around here a good many people who fly that flag definitely do not do it in the name of representing heritage. I won’t even pretend to understand how important it is to the south and the culture. I do believe that it is heritage to most people, and definitely an important part of our nations history. I also believe some use it in a manner not to be associated with honor or heritage in any way. In the grand scheme of it all, in my little dot on the map, it doesn’t really have too much of an impact to me personally, but I am sure I have some friends who feel very strongly on either side of that issue. Walmart may have stopped selling confederate flags, but that is the only place I know of in Gettysburg that has, so shit keeps on moving just the same in our little ass town.
RR: What artists are killing it right now and why? Then who needs to shut up and why?
I think anything associated with Slumerican is torching everything right now. Hell I got a tattoo on my hand with a Slumerican flag in the background of it. Rittz “Next to Nothing“ and Yelawolf“Love Story“ are by far my 2 favorite albums in the last decade and I am on the Jelly Roll wagon too. I fuckin loved “The Whiskey Sessions“. The Moonshine Bandits are killing it right now as well, love to see things going good for them. My boys The Redneck Souljers are coming with HEAT on this new album. I have heard a good bit of it, and they are going to make some serious waves with this. I am extremely excited for them, and that release to hit the public! I also am gonna mark out a bit and put myself on blast. I am a huge Sarah Ross fan. That girl is going to be huge. Just in her song “Shotgun“ alone she seamlessly transitions through at least 4 genres in one damn song! Excited to see what she has on the horizon. There are so many people in all corners of the underground really stepping their game up right now, It would be impossible for me to try to name everyone without missing some. As far as who needs to shut up? I don’t have anything for that. I don’t consider myself a dream killer or someone to try to rain on anyone’s parade. What I will say is this… What you guys have here in the country rap/ hick hop/outlaw rap scene that you are building is something special. You all have a chance to influence how it grows and spreads. I hope that learning from all the other facets of the music industry, and other corners of rap, that everyone protects this scene and does things the right way. Make people earn it. Don’t give anyone with a pair of boots, a guitar loop, and a mic a pass. We have seen all sorts of rap be ruined by buddy buddy bullshit and not putting the product or the scene first. What I have watched these guys build over the last few years with this country rap is really exciting, and while everyone is gonna want to be a part of that excitement and growth, I don’t think everyone should just be allowed to, myself included. NO ONE should shut up. Sing your heart out, rap your ass off, grow your art and perfect your craft! Contribute to the movement or use it as stress relief! Music is our therapy, and at our lowest can lift us up, and also be the calm in the chaos. Keep making noise, and make it fuckinLOUD!
RR: What’s next for you?
I have no idea. I will create music until I’m dead. As for putting it out professionally goes, as long as there are people that want to hear it, I will keep doing my best to bring the best songs, videos, and live shows I can to everyone! Right now things are rolling and the growth is pretty ridiculous, so things are looking promising. So for anyone who read through all of this, make sure you go grab your free 16 track sampler at www.durtemusic.com and check out the videos and all the other cool shit while you are there! I want to thank you guys over at rebelrow.com for all the love you have shown to me in this short time, it won’t be forgotten! Thanks for having me.