Producer Spotlight: Hobgoblin

We first caught up with Hobgoblin in 2018, when he teamed up with Jamil Honesty to make Martyr Music. Since then he has had numerous placements such as with Da Cloth’s M.A.V. for the Angelz & Demonz series. His new album The Awakening is loaded with talented mc’s, and is the flagship release for his Deathface Records imprint.

RD: Since our last interview you have landed dozens of placements and began a series of amazing projects with M.A.V. Are you pleased with your trajectory?

H: Of course! Its been very organic though, I’m having fun creating, getting in my zone musically, and just trying to make the dopest music. Luckily the artists and supporters like what they are hearing, so the momentum is naturally opening up new opportunities.

RD: The first thing that stands out on your productions are drums with a lot of punch in them. Is that the foundation/starting point for all of your beats?

H: It’s definitely important that the drums have a certain presence, that’s the foundation of the style of hip hop I grew up on. Finding a mix on my drums that ‘worked’ was the single biggest reason for my beats going to the next level. I pretty much use the same plugins on all of my drums now. I don’t always start with the drums though. Sometimes the sample I use/play will mean I swap out the drums or pattern as I go, again the process has to be intuitive and organic, that’s when the magic happens!

RD: The Awakening is your debut producer album, take us through the selection process of the guests and how long this took to create.

H: Making this album was both scary and exhilarating! With regards to selecting MC’s, I definitely had an idea of who I wanted and how I would arrange them before I sent out the beats, but being in complete control myself meant I could experiment and play with these arrangements too. The finished product took shape quite organically and is a mixture of measured intent and planning, my own subconscious ideals of what hip hop is and some happy accidents! It took fucking ages though.. There are over 20 MC’s on the project, all of who are working on their own projects. So as a curator, you have to be persuasive but not a dick about it. You have to know when to stop harassing someone who’s just not going to get it done. The album was pretty much done in February 2020, but Covid hit so we decided to hold off. 

The Awakening track-by-track breakdown

1. The Awakening intro’ with Lord Juco literally came together 3 days before I sent the project off for mixing and mastering. Juco had agreed to be on the project, but had a serious car accident, so obviously I left that where it was. Fast forward a year, and he had fully recovered and was recording again so I hit him up one last time to just let him know that there was room for him on the project if he still wanted to jump on, but that the record needed to go off for mastering. Luckily he got it back in time, and it was (ironically as its the last track to get made) the perfect intro track to set the album off.

2  ‘Fifteen Twenty‘ feat J Scienide, Ace Cannons and DJ TMB. This definitely has a Wu feel to it! A lot of tracks on this album are heavy nods towards my production idols and this one is a huge nod to the RZA. The features on this absolutely killed this too! Shout to J Scienide for being the first mc to get me a verse back for this project.

3. ‘Mogilevich‘ feat GeneralBackPain and Chuck n Lock. I love this track because its fully sample free. I played everything on here by hand. This joint definitely has a more DJ Shadow, laid back but still gully vibe to it. 

4. ‘Dump on em‘ feat Mav, Rec Ali and SmooVth. This one is my ode to that 90s era gully New York Street rap shit! All three features on this track are masters of their craft and this joint is def one of my personal favourites on the project.

5. ‘Horsemen of Apocalypse’ feat All Hail Y.T, Squeegie-o, PGenz and Nino Graye. I felt like the RZA on this shit because nearly all the mc’s initially recorded their verses over a different beat, and I got to really experiment with how I ordered and placed them. This joint was really fun to make, and I layered lots of really small sections of samples to construct this beat.

6. ‘State Your Business‘ feat Jamil Honesty. Jamil is like family at this point, so this was just effortless and easy. I wanted to experiment with a more emotional, melodic melody with this one as well as making the track with a higher bpm than the listeners might be used to me working in, I’m just really happy about how this one turned out!

7. ‘Deathwish‘ feat Supreme Cerebral and Madhattan. Firstly, massive shout to Supreme for getting Madhattan on this track because I didn’t know he was going to do that.  This track is just gully as fuck, and I love it. I played this sample melody myself too! 

8. ‘Warriors 3′ was initially going to be my homage to ‘Protect Ya Neck’ with 7 emcees. However, Ace Cannons, Jamil Honesty who sent me back a whole song, and Josiah the Gift all felt the beat so much that they wrote choruses too! In the end it made sense to split the track into 3 separate tracks which later became ‘State your Business’ and ‘Fifteen Thirty’. 

9. ‘Survival’ feat Cousin Feo and Fastlife. Again, huge shout to Feo for surprising me with the Fastlife feature. Feo and I have a lot in common including a mutual love of soccer, and he’s such a genuinely great guy. I couldn’t decide which beat to use for the final version of the track, which is why the beat switches half way through.

10. ‘Hunger‘ feat Whatamess. I just love the fact this guy has his own unique flow and cadence. How an MC sounds for me is almost as important as whether they can spit or not, and this joint closes out the project so well in my opinion!

RD: Is there anything you can divulge about the rest of 2021?

H: Angelz and Demonz 3 drops very soon and it’s my favourite of the 3 so far. I can’t wait for the supporters to hear this one! Jamil and I are also feeling our way through Martyr Musik 3. I have a lot of other shit in the works, album & EP collaborations, placements too many to mention, which is great!

RD: There seems to be a brotherhood amongst some veteran producers like Flu and Farma, how did all that come about?

H: Through social media generally, we have always been very supportive of each others music. Farma hit me a couple of years ago to produce a collaborative project, and that grew into a producer collective called The Seven. Its basically a collective of seven producers from all across the world, the plan is to drop a ‘Seven’ project this year, so keep an eye out!

RD: Do you have any Shout outs?

H: The Awakening is out now! The album is available from Deathface Records. Shoutouts to all the MCs who blessed the project. Shouts to Tokebi who killed the artwork! Shout Chemo for the incredible mix and master. Shout to my wife for believing in me and supporting my passion!

Follow the man on IG @hobgoblin80 and Twitter @hobgoblinbeats

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