Interview- Rap-News.co.uk (2007)
Famed for his extreme lyrical content and with albums such as Brutality and The Sexorcist, Necro has built up a cult following around the world and impressed many with his genius word play and on point production. Yet despite grinding for over ten years, the Jewish born New York native’s music has remained relatively underground. Nevertheless, he has grossed an impressive 1.6 million within a few years doing it independently, and is confident about doing it his own way. Anna Nathanson met him to find out more…
To what extent does your music reflect the real you, and how much of it is done for shock value?
I’m a hardcore dude, I’ve always been into extreme shit. But there’s always a balance, like my record label, Psychological Records. I’m a logical psycho, I might do something brutal but I’ll plan it out correctly. I don’t just do fucked up shit for the sake of it, I don’t go looking for controversy, and I’m not a gimmick, fuck that. I make hip hop I wanna hear, that I’m not hearing. Everything that I do, you won’t find it out there, it’s my own style. I try and make my shit rewindable, I work on every line.
Where do you feel you’re at now in the game?
Honestly, I have a very long way to go. Because while I do influence people here and there, I don’t even feel like I’ve made a mark, on any fucking level. I do appreciate it when people say they’re influenced by me, I hear that, but in my head I’m so focused on the fact I could be as big as a lot of dudes who are out there. I don’t got the money they got, so what I gotta do is take my strengths, combine them, get the best fucking team around me and build…you have to keep thinking bigger, you can’t just be happy with where you’re at.
Would you ever consider toning your material down to make it more commercially viable to the masses?
That’s a very complicated question because there are so many different scenarios, if I’m being told, ‘Oh guess what, the head of MTV just said he’s a huge Necro fan, he loves you, and he’s gonna put you on, you just gotta make something that’s gonna get on that he’ll like’, that puts me in a whole fucking new realm.
What would you do in that situation?
I would probably come up with the most brutally clean thing I could do. But the fact is I don’t got that opportunity. I don’t make music thinking it’s gonna get there, I have a different mentality. I make music I want, brutal hip hop, rugged, fucked up, violent, pornographic hip hop, and then I worry about the business and how I’m gonna push it. Jermaine Dupri goes in the studio thinking, ‘let’s make a hit tonight’, he makes shit for corporate companies, I don’t make my shit thinking about all that- I go in the studio and make shit for me, and for my fans.
How do you respond to your critics?
No one can tell me anything about my shit. People used to for years try to tell me bullshit. People hate on you, they wanna bring you down, misery loves company. Little by little I would still hang around people like that, whether it was a lawyer who was being a dick. Now I’m at that stage where if there’s anyone on my team negative, I kick them the fuck out. Nobody on my team is negative about what I do. But when I started out, everybody was negative; distributors, magazines, people were corny.
You’ve been compared to Eminem. What do you think about his huge commercial success?
I’m not Eminem. I met Eminem before he blew up and no disrespect to the dude ‘cos he was cool, but when he got signed he was wearing bifocals everywhere he went and he was very nerdy looking. So if you go in an office and you look very nerdy, business people are like “oh, I can deal with him”, he will not be a problem. Me, I seem like a problem to people.
Does it bother you that your music is seen as to extreme for radio? How important is getting radio play for you?
I’m not even trying to get radio play, my realm don’t pertain to that. If radio’s fronting on you, you go a different route. I grossed 1.6 million in sales in 2 years with no radio play. I’m not relying on MTV to one day decide they wanna fuck with me. I’m building my shit that if radio and MTV don’t wanna fuck with me, I’m still getting love, I’ll still be huge, ‘cos I’m doing what the fuck I want. If the worst scenario is that 100,000 kids buy everything I put out for the rest of my life, I’ll still be sitting on millions for the rest of my life. I’m building my shit like a company, like a Walmart, it took Walmark 11 years to gross a million dollars. It took me 6-7 years to gross 1.5 million. I’ve done better than Walmart and they’re the biggest company on the fucking planet. What’s the point? Dudes built their shit up little by little doing it their way, and that’s what I’m doing. We won’t even be having this conversation in a few years time, shit’s about to pop the fuck off!
Is there any topic that you’d draw the line at?
Paedophilia. Children are sacred, they’re not to be fucked with.
Review- Necro’s first ever UK gig @ The Scala, 11th January 2007
Despite being in the game for around 15 years now, reaching worldwide cult status in the process, Necro had never really toured outside of America and Canada. That is, until recently. For any hip hop head living in or around London, this wasn’t something to be missed.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went down there that Thursday evening at a remarkably early 7.30pm. Would I make it out alive with all the hardcore nutters I was envisioning in attendance? Would it be shut down at the last minute after the extensive media coverage dubbing it “death rap gig at murder sight” (a reference to the shooting that took place at The Scala last year)?
What I was met with instead was an hour of sick beats, verses and impeccable rhyme delivery, as the man otherwise known as Ron Braunstein became his alter ego and smashed it on the mic. The atmosphere was hyped yet contained, and contrary to what the papers may have you imagine, trouble-free. The venue was just the right size; small enough to create an intimate atmosphere and allow people to feel a part of the action, yet big enough to hold the many Necromaniacs present (excuse the pun). Everyone appeared in their element throughout, including Necro. He bigged up the UK crowd and slagged off the newspaper that vilified him the most, before chucking it into the audience.
Although the sound quality could have been better, the energy was tangible as the king of hardcore rap went through tune after tune, including ‘Kill That Shit’, ‘Push it to the Limit’ and a colourful version of ‘Who’s Ya Daddy?’ complete with semi-clad girls up on stage, who had been picked out from the crowd. If you’ve seen the myspace footage then you’ll know the deal. This was met with mixed reactions, with some observers calling it “distasteful” and “cheap entertainment”, but all in all most seemed to be enjoying the view.
The only real disappointment of the show was how quickly it was over, leaving hundreds of fans waiting around aimlessly. Their dedication and refusal to leave was soon rewarded however as about half an hour later Necro emerged from backstage to meet and shake hands with fans, thanking them for coming along. It was then up to the VIP room for some quiet drinks, before he flew back out to New York the following day.
The biggest shocker of the night was that the infamous and darkly comical ‘Dead Body Disposal’ was left off the play list, along with some of his other more explicit work. This left a somewhat diluted but still satisfying slice of Necro genius.
Whatever your take on Necro may be, you can’t deny he’s got skill. His lyrical gift and outstanding production and delivery were all impeccable, making this the rawest and most energy fuelled hip hop gigs that the Scala has played host to in a long time. If you missed it, fear not, along with a new album scheduled for Summer release, he’ll be back in the UK in April, playing the Astoria on the 7th.
By Anna Nathanson