Today we feature two talents separated by many miles that connected through hip hop; Baltimore MC Jamil Honesty and UK producer Hobgoblin. They’re prepping an EP together titled ‘Martyr Musik’ that is set to drop soon. The first single ‘Blockah’ showcases Jamil’s earnest and street smart rhymes over an urgent horn-laced beat.
RD: What do you want people to think when they hear your name?
JH: The truth, I bare my soul when it comes to the music. That and ‘He’s the shit!’ lol
RD: Tell us about the struggles and rewards of being an independent artist building a name from square one in hip hop.
JH: The struggles are having to fund everything yourself, from promo to videos, studio costs like mixing and mastering. Travel expenses can be taxing, also getting people to believe in your brand enough to buy and into it. The rewards are being able to drop music however and whenever you want. With social media the direct-to-consumer idea helps you connect with and identify your fan base directly, which is very rewarding.
RD: You’ve released 6 singles over the past few months, is this building towards an album?
JH: Excellent question, again being an indy artist you have certain liberties. I’ve been dropping some singles that are connected to future projects, some are not. For example ’24’ and ‘Searching’ are loosies, ‘Revival’ is the first single from my upcoming album with the immensely talented Krazyfingaz which is set to drop this year. ‘The Lesson’ and ‘Pain’ are from an upcoming project with DJ Grazzhoppa called ‘This Is War’. These 2 projects are coming along with Martyr Musik EP with Hobgoblin.
RD: You’ve worked with a Belgian DJ Grazzhoppa, as well as producers from the UK and France. What brought about some of these long distance connections?
JH: Social media has enabled me to connect with all of these guys, as well as promoters.
RD: Your clearly a Wu child like ourselves, give me your top 5 Wu related albums of all time.
JH: 36 Chambers/OB4CL/Supreme Clientele/Forever and Liquid Swords in no particular order.
RD: We met at a CRIMEAPPLE/Daniel Son show a few months back, what are some of your fav concert moments?
JH: Yessir, that was dope! The Roots stands out, just a phenomenal show.
RD: What’s your ultimate goal as an MC, and for Jamil the human being?
JH:To create great music that reflects the times and make money while doing so. As a person I want to be known by my friends and family to be a protector and as a just man.
RD: Tell us about your history in music production
HG: In 2001 was working my way up as a young DJ on a well known UK ‘urban music station’ radio station. I got into making beats after a co worker gave me a cracked copy of FL studio. I was able to link with artists through one of the better known DJ’s at the station, who was passing my beat CDs onto MC’s he would interview for his show. I made some tracks with a guy called Rukus, who had a No.1 hit in the UK with ‘Let It Go’. As well as provide a remix featuring a guy called Skrein, who went on to become the famous actor Ed Skrein (he played the villain in the Deadpool movie!). I also linked with Sonnyjim around this time too and used to get his music played on the station. To be honest, those beats were really poorly mixed and a bit shit, back then making beats was more of a hobby and my main focus was always presenting and DJ’ing in clubs. I got into making beats heavy again about 4 years ago.
RD: One of the first things that come to mind when I hear your work is ‘thick drums’, would you say that’s a point of emphasis?
HG: Definitely. The drums on my early beats were weak as fuck, and it’s only recently that I’ve found software that works for me and really gets my drums knocking like i want. I also finally invested in a decent pair of monitors which makes a massive difference. I remember watching Apollo Brown making a beat on YouTube, and he kept emphasizing ‘the drums always gotta be hard’. He’s 100% right.
RD: Is there an element of beat making you feel you could level up with? If so, what is it?
HG: Good question! I need to figure out how to EQ my bass better in the mix. Getting that knocking bass drum and combining it with a dope bass tone is always a challenge!
RD: Talk to us about ‘Martyr Musik’ with Jamil Honesty, what can the listeners expect?
HG: Honestly (No pun intended lol) the project is dope as fuck man! Jamil is the best emcee that everyone is sleeping on right now, Codenine said just that the other day. Although saying that, we’ve had tracks from the album played by Tony Touch, Eclipse and PF Cuttin! Every track is tight. If the beat ain’t working we bin it and start over. If Jamil’s verse doesn’t blow me away, we bin it. We have some dope features from Rome Streetz, Codenine, J Scienide, Jay Royale, Ace Cannons, DJ Grazzhoppa and possibly more to come… I’m not going to say any more than that, except that once it’s released, people are going to see what were all about, and that we’re definitely not fucking around either!
RD: Do you feel there’s a renaissance going on in the UK underground. There’s a whole crop of newer producers and rappers and many of them collab.
HG: There seems to be a good many beatmakers getting placements on US ‘underground’ projects, which is dope. Karnate, Giallo, Farmabeats, B-Sun, Leafdog, Sonnyjim and probably a few more I’m forgetting. I try and keep up with whose who, what everyone is doing etc. I like to check out the competition! It would be great to see some of these dudes get some ‘bigger’ placements too. Rappers like Phyba, Sonnyjim, Da Fly Hooligan and Ray Vendetta are all showing the UK has real talent on the mic as well as off it.
RD: This question has become a standard, love the variety in answers. If I’m cutting a check for a Hobgoblin producer album, who are the first 5 calls?
HG: Conway, MOP, Raekwon, Sticky Fingaz and Ghostface
RD: What’s your end goal? Where would you like to see yourself in music say 3-5 years down the line?
HG: I’d like to be still making music I care about and love with people I respect and who are dope. Hopefully I’ll have put out some compilation projects independently, and maybe got some bigger placements along the way too, maybe with some of the rappers from the previous answer.
RD: Looking at your SoundCloud, its not hard to tell you don’t mind giving other props, as your page is filled with reposts. Who are your 5 producers to watch?
HG: This is a list of who I think is dope right now, rather than ‘who to watch for’. Definitely Farma Beats (Street Farmacy is upsettingly well produced lol), Vinyl Villain is a beast, Buck Dudley (that new track with CRIMEAPPLE and Ankh is mad!), Lil Eto is killing it, finally has to be Giallo, who’s consistency is mind boggling.
RD: Shouts? Final words?
HG: Look out for The Martyr Musik album with Jamil Honesty. St Ivan the Terrible just put out an album entirely produced by me called ‘From The Dirt and The Muscle’, I’ve got a few beats on The upcoming Infinity Stone series with Chong Wizard, those joints are CRAZY but Chong Wizard wont let me talk about them yet. I’ve got a mixtape with the CCP fam coming soon, some tracks with Farma Beats son Remus – he’s DOPE, an EP with a guy called Aurieloheem who’s signed to Hell Razah’s GGO label. Finally some tracks for K Burns ‘Team Fame’ squad in the pipeline as well.