Brotha Lynch Hung: The HipHopGods Interview
Brotha Lynch Hung: The HipHopGods Interview
Infamous for his tendencies towards dark, twisted rap tales, or what many call “horrorcore,” Sacramento native Brotha Lynch Hung (real name Kevin Mann) has established himself as an inimitable force in the business. Since stepping out with the 24 Deep EP in 1993, he’s continually pumped out solo albums, only taking a hiatus between 2003’s Lynch By Inch: Suicide Note and 2009’s The Gas Station Mixtape Volume One. Admittedly, he was not exactly sure what he was going to during that period of his life.
As fate would have it, he was approached by Tech N9ne (for a second time) to sign with the independent rap titan’s imprint, Strange Music, Inc. Confident it would be an ideal home for him, he signed with the Kansas City, Missouri-based label and never looked back. In 2010, he released his inaugural album with the successful indie label, Dinner and a Movie, which included guest spots from notable artists such as Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, Tech N9ne, and Krizz Kaliko. He followed up with 2011’s Coathanga Strangla and 2013’s Mannibalector, which many fans consider some of his most outstanding work. To date, he’s sold nearly three million albums independently and clearly intent on selling more.
On a rare day off during The Strictly Strange Tour alongside his Strange Music family — Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, and Ces Cru — the 48-year-old MC had a few moments to talk how he got into horror movies, what made him pursue a career in music and how he considers Tech N9ne “the best independent underground performer in the world.”
HHG (Kyle Eustice): You grew up in Sacramento. Do you plan on seeing friends or family while in town on this tour run?
Brotha Lynch Hung: I have a lot of friends who I will try to see in between meet and greets.
Sounds like those meet and greets can get pretty crazy. Your tour manager told me one of them had 700 people.
Oh my god, it was crazy. We were there for about two-and-a-half hours. All we were doing was taking pictures and signing autographs. That’s the pain part. Everything else is easy.
What do you think of them?
They’re exhausting totally, but they’re needed. People feel like they know you after that and record sales are better, downloads are better, and it’s kind of fun meeting some of them.
How long have you been on the road now?
About a month.
Looks like you’re riding in style though. Those tour buses are pretty tight.
Fortunately, I got the newest one. It’s a 2017. Gotta love that.
You’ve sold millions of CDs independently. I want to know a little bit about the initial hustle. What made you decide to start rapping and pursue a career?
I started rapping at 13-years-old. There’s a song called “Rapper’s Delight” and everybody memorized the whole song. I put two tape recorders together, put that beat on, and said the “Rapper’s Delight” rap, and I listened to myself back like, ‘Hey maybe I could do this.” I never knew anything would happen out of Sacramento because mostly L.A. or New York rappers were making it big, but I just kept trying and added some rap battles. I went to every high school in my city and battled all the rappers —and won. I really felt I could do it after that. So I kept it going and kept trying to make it for years and years. Finally in 1991, I dropped my first EP and it did pretty good. So I picked this. I never had a regular job This has always been my job. As broke as I was. I made this choice.
Not a lot of people can say that — that they’ve never had a regular job.
At the time, I was too young to even think about having a job. I was still living with my mom, but when she put me out because she felt I was good enough to be on my own, that’s when I started stressing.
How old were you?
I was 21.
How did it feel to be out there on your own?
Well, it was scary. I had a couple good friends that would let me shack up with them. They pretty much financed my studio time. At this point, I’m still a loner, and I stayed out of their way. Whoever I shacked up with would barely see me. That made it easier for both of us. I just kept pushing and pushing.
Were you into the whole horror movie thing since the beginning?
That is my favorite thing of all time. It started with The Twilight Zone. Oh I got all the episodes — the whole series. Took like a month to get to me, but I finally got them all. I was around 13 when I started watching that. I love horror movies so much. It just seeped into my music.
It’s led to you kind of being considered the forefather of horrorcore.
I’ll take that.
What do you think about Tech? He always gives these dramatic, amazing performances.
He’s the best independent underground performer in the world.
I don’t disagree with that. I saw him come on after RZA at Rock The Bells in 2008 and he just killed it. He had the costumes, face paint, choreographed, synchronized dancing, and truly knew how to engage the crowd.
It’s crazy to see how far he’s come just in the last 9 years.
Travis [O’Guinn, CEO of Strange Music, Inc.] is like…oh my god. He doesn’t get the props he deserves. He’s like the Puffy of the underground. Trust me, he doesn’t need this music stuff. He does this for fun, but because of how serious he is about it, you would think he was relying on it.
What does he do aside from the label?
He owns a construction company and has all these buildings he built himself for Strange Music. He’s the man. He is the man. They’re working on their fourth or fifth building. They have a building for merch, they have one for the offices, they have a building with a studio in it, they have a building where they park the buses, they have a building where he parks his cars [laughs].
Where do you live now?
I’m still in Sacramento, but I am planning on moving to Southern Cali because Snoop wants to do a couple projects with me.
What? That’s huge!
Yeah, we talk every day. Snoop has been on my albums. We’ve been talking for years.
Is it anything you can talk about?
Well, we haven’t started planning it out yet. He knows I’m on tour. We’re supposed to hook up when I’m in L.A. and talk about some things.
You want to settle in L.A.?
Yes. It’s better for me connection wise. There are a lot of people I mess with down there, plus my wife wants to become an actress, and I think being in Sacramento is kind of uninspiring for her. If I got her close to Hollywood at least, she’ll be more inspired. She’s 19 years younger than me, so she’s going to have to take care of me.
I was reading about the 18-year-old kid from Colorado who murdered three of his friends and how a minster suggested your music played a role in the murders. How did you feel about that?
Well, I was sad. What made me more sad is that he couldn’t define fiction from reality. The stuff I talk about, it’s a character. It’s like Tarantino. The stuff you see in his movies don’t happen it real life. It’s sad he couldn’t decipher that. I can’t control that, but I send my prayers out to them. I don’t know what was going on with that situation.
So often, Hip Hop and rap get blamed for violence. Art can’t influence a person to commit a murder, especially when the person is clearly suffering from some kind of mental illness.
I mean, they have to get it from somewhere, but there’s nobody to blame but the people that raised them. My kids listen to my music more than anybody in the world and they’re not out killing people. If he had a mental problem, I’m sad for his family, but if he was just doing it ‘cuz he’s listening to my music then he’s got serious problems.
Your kids would be the first to demonstrate that.
They hear it every day, all day.
Are any of them into music?
My son is —the 21 year old. He’s the only kid I raised. He’s my junior — baby Kevin, Jr.
If he wanted to pursue a musical career, what would you tell him?
I would encourage that. But I’ve told him, just because it happened for me doesn’t mean it can happen to you. You always gotta have a plan B. That’s his goal, but he’s always working.
Is Strange Music like your family at this point?
Oh yeah, definitely. I wasn’t even thinking about this tour. They called me. I guess they had a meeting I didn’t know about and Travis mentioned me. When I first met Tech, he said he’d been a fan of mine since 1991. I was like, ‘What?.’ I didn’t know that. It feels good.
Among the myriad snapshot of hip-hop Gods lays this uncanny photo of Slick Rick & Rev Run, tw... Read more
Just when you thought life after the NWA meant nothing more than a solo career for Ice Cube and h... Read more