Facebook Supplement Round 1: “Philosophy”

After attempting to focus on honestly channeling my emotions and feelings and turning them in into English words in order to help lend my Facebook profile a more honest sense of who it is that I am, I’ve come to find out that there is a limit of 420 characters given to describe one’s point of view in any number of given areas. It’s with this bit of information that I’ve been faced with both a bit of negative and positive… Negative: My Facebook friends might never know what I’m about in terms of “Religion” or “Political Views” (the two categories I tackled this evening) because the allotted character limit just ain’t gonna cut it. Positive: I’ve been through enough browser crashes in my time that I typed these out in a document before pressing “Save Changes,” and can now slap that shit into my tumblr. Bonus: The past however-long-it’s-been-that-I’ve-been-thinking-about-this-stuff now appears as though it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Even in its limited depth, the following is apparently too wordy to go on my Facebook page… but here goes:

Religion: Well, it’s like this…

Description: I’m just trying to find peace with the voice that I hear inside my head late at night when no one else is around. Once I can maintain a sense of agreement on that level with my inner dialog I feel like I’d be on the right path. From there… I can’t tell you whether or not there’s any more truth in this world than not, but I can tell you that it seems far likelier that I’d be able to grasp the scope of any possible collective consciousness once I realize the extent to which my own mind might be capable of absorbing the energy that surrounds each and every one of us. At that point, I hope to be able to find someone who I feel shares my awe of the infiniteness of our reality and build a partnership with that person, each of us helping one another in our exploration of this world for some sense of truth. If, in a lifetime, I am able to find that, I’ll probably have a better idea of whether or not any single religion captures the scope of the the universe’s beauty. It’s at that point in time that I’ll hopefully be better equipped to answer this Facebook query. For the time being, it’s probably safest if I stick with “undecided.”

Political Views: Largely confused.

Description: That’s probably the best way to explain my view of the political environment that is being projected as “what’s really goin’ on.” I’m woefully inept in terms of being remotely informed; not only in terms of the historical process that this country and others like it are founded on but in terms of the current inner workings of everything below the surface. With that in mind, I can’t really say that I know enough about what’s happening to suggest that things are entirely out of order or if they are the same as they’ve ever been. From my point of view, I’m slowly falling into a state of mind that leaves me clumped in with the latter’s outlook, that today is the same as it ever was: it’s just that things are becoming amplified due to the increasing ease of information sharing. The pessimist in me fears that a collapse of our modern civilization is what it’s going to take for things to genuinely change… That no single administration or party appears able or willing to sway things on a level that would steer the ship away from the iceberg, so to speak. If I had a better grip on everything I might be able to make a definitive statement as to whether or not that’s where we’re headed, or whether or not there’s something within reach can be put in place to prevent such a downfall. But seeing as I don’t, all I can do is say “Really, I dunno.”

To this point, I’ve been extremely lucky. The government has been supportive of me in time of need and in the few instances I’ve interacted with those in positions of authority, I’ve been spared injustice. If there’s a political party that would treat everyone with the same humanity as I have received to this point, while at the same time offering reasonable levels of social support and humanitarian initiatives, while also steering our country clear of that goddamned ominous iceberg, I suppose I’d align myself with that group of cats. And if they already have a name… consider me one of them.

On The Reg

Could 2011 be the year I get my shit together and game starts poppin' on the reg?

The next three or four days are going to be a non-stop trill-a-thon of epic proportions. Stanhope live? O-o-oh fuck. Check. Jaunt to Cincy? Sure, why not? Meeting with new friends? Youbetcha. At least one late-late nighter with Road Dogs gettin’ rowdy to some Rob Lumbard? It seems pretty goddamn likely. And that’s not to mention how straight up bonkers this week has already been the positivity front.

Was talkin’ to my man Shoeshine Will at the YMCA today and we came to an agreeance that every day you wake up is generally a pretty tight day. He was tellin’ me that I’m too young to be going around saying things like that, and I said that my age doesn’t make it any less The Truth. Dude said his brother had a kidney taken out this week or some shit and we stewed on the idea that it could be lights out at any given moment. Just like that (snaps fingers) and it’s lights out forever.

Forever.



Guess that’s the point here: yeah, every day you have all your limbs is a great one, and every day you don’t have to be hooked up to a machine to stay alive is infinitely solid, but it’s really what you do with it from there that goes to show how much you respect the trillocity of life. Yes, I know, I’m here putting off being productive by letting some thoughts roll on the Internet, but I still think that despite my general attraction toward being lazy and unproductive I’m at least remotely aware that life has the potential to become pretty tight.

I think the answer to that initial question is a big ol’ sack of "I have absolutely no idea." All I can do is try to not fuck up and hope for the best. That probably goes for any of us, really. There’s a lotta shit that’s out of our control and there are a lot of factors that can easily put a damper on the party… But once you wake up, do a limb-check and count that they’re all there & take that first deep gasp of air in the morning (you might yawn… not me, that’s my body subconsciously trying to devour the universe whole), it’s up to you what happens next. Not in the sense that you can be anything you want to be, but just that you can be choose whether or not the next step is going to suck or not. Now, I’m not trying to become Superman. I’m just tryin’ to become super, man. (That sounded a lot funnier in my head with a standup bass line playin while a beatnik recited the words.)

Really, I’m just thankful that there are rad moments like what’s coming up here. And I’m also thankful that there are reminders like the old dude at the Y. That’s all I’m really gettin’ at… I should have probably just written that to start with. Sorry.

Doug Stanhope Interview


It’s hard to know where exactly to start in terms of introducing Doug Stanhope. With two decades of flight time already logged in his career as a stand-up comedian, the man’s long since established his voice amongst the infinitely vast sea of artists in the medium. Yet while Nashville Standup calls him one of “the top five working comics of our time,” to the uninformed he might still be either one of the dudes from The Man Show or the guy from Girls Gone Wild (“Show us where babies feed!”). But if that’s the Doug Stanhope you know however, sadly, you don’t really know Doug Stanhope.

Early on last year the comedian continued his recurring spot on BBC Four’s Newswipe with Charlie Brooker: Stanhope, the American correspondent, delivering his own caustic take on a number of issues ranging from the fear mongering of the news to population control as means of environmentalism to the media’s role in capitalizing on personal tragedy. Each of his segments found Brooker introducing the him as an “American miserablist,” “embittered comic” or simply a “drunk,” and opens with the same single line from Stanhope, “I’m Doug Stanhope, and that’s why I drink.” If you project all of the above onto a stage and add a microphone, cigarettes, liquor, beer and a lifetime of profanity and sexual exploits, you might begin to have a better idea of what Stanhope’s act’s about.

While his 2010 ended on a positive note — Stanhope was named the flagship artist for Roadrunner Records’ new Roadrunner Comedy imprint — 2011 didn’t exactly get off to the best start for the comedian. A recent trip to Costa Rica quickly devolved into a nightmare as Stanhope and his party had their luggage stolen (including passports, wallets; everything). Shrugging off the debacle, Stanhope called it a “clusterfuck” that he’s moved on from. Clearly the event didn’t crush his spirits too badly as he still found it in him to host an epic party recently that was just winding down by the time I caught up with him. “We’re just coming off of an eight day Super Bowl party,” Stanhope remarked during our introduction. “Yeah, it was pretty destructive.”

What might be the most endearing aspect to the man is that aside from all of the drunken ramblings, vulgar stage banter and polarizing cultural observations, he’s still just another individual battling his own personal struggles while still trying—as we all are, I suppose—to avoid being consumed by the growing instability of the world around us. Like many, he goes through dramatic bouts of uncertainty and depression but he’s also fully aware that you just have laugh at what you can along the way and move on. That, and he’s been known to pull some pretty fearless stunts. In our discussion we touched on a variety of dark subjects including the difficulty in maintaining positivity in today’s political landscape, but we also had a few laughs; many at the expense of Gallagher. The comedian also talked about his perception of the worldly traveler, being mentally bogged down by his Netflix queue and the humor yet to be found in a Blue Collar Comedian. Stanhope will be opening his forthcoming tour with a date in Chattanooga, Tennessee this Thursday before hitting Nashville on Friday for a show at Exit/In. Opening for him that night will be the Mattoid.

“He’s a guy from Finland, he’s a musician, he’s on the bill. But he’s out of Nashville. Yeah, it’s very funny; I haven’t worked with him for a while – it’s fucking great. It’s not a comedy act but he’s just inherently funny. A very thick Finnish accent and he’ll do—as well as original stuff—he’ll do, you know, Lionel Richie, [Very thick accent, singing] ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking foooaaa?’ I think he’s moving back to Finland, but he says that every time I talk to him.”

(While that’s where conversation began, Stanhope recently made reference on his Facebook page to an article in the Stranger which reviewed one of Gallagher’s performances in Seattle. The aging (self-proclaimed) comedy legend has made news in recent years for the increasing number of hate-based jokes in his act which often focus on race and sexuality. This seemed like as good a place as any to dive in.)

Doug Stanhope: I met that guy, he came to a show years ago, probably in the ’90s, late-’90s. He showed up at Zanies Comedy Club when we were working. It was a three show Saturday and he came to the early show which was like 6:30 or something, and he paid to get in because the manager didn’t know who he was. And walks directly in kitchen where all the comics are and introduces himself and tells us he’ll be watching our act, like that’s something special. And he’d give us all a free joke. He was going to watch our acts and he asked the other comic if he’d be more comfortable if Gallagher came back for a later show, as though people are nervous to be performing in front of Gallagher.

Have you seen videos of him actually jump up on stage and give instruction to his openers?

No, but he was yelling out instructions to us. And everyone was half-trashing him. He walked out during my set. I was telling a story about a hooker, and some line about how I went from not wanting to jerk-off to some movie to spending 185 dollars on some hooker… Anyway, it was the 185 dollars — he yells out in the middle, “Why 185 dollars?” I go, “’Cause it’s a true story about an actual hooker that I spent 185 dollars on and that’s not a joke. That’s why.” Then he walked out, so… Last time I did Stern he was on right before me...

Yeah, I heard about that, too. And he was really deadpan on that and serious about getting his career resurrected…

Yeah, he’s an insane person.

You did Marc Maron’s podcast [WTF with Marc Maron], did you catch any of Maron’s show with Gallagher?

No, I didn’t know he had Gallagher on. I gotta check that out. I’ve heard the Dane Cook, the confrontational ones, Robin Williams.

Yup, this is one of those.

But I want to see him now. Like, I always hated Mike Tyson until he went crazy and started biting people’s ears off and shit, then I loved him. I would really love to see a Gallagher show now. Now that he’s truly fucking flipped his lid and gone insane.

Maron was just asking him about, y’know, what exactly are these examples that people keep harshing you about? That you’re supposedly homophobic and racist and all this and Gallagher keeps coming back and saying “I don’t have any homophobic jokes.” But then you hear this review of it and every last thing is about gay-bashing. I don’t understand the guy.

Yeah, it’s definitely something I’d want to go watch now.

I guess, from your perspective—since you’re not really the cleanest act in the world, where would you kind of draw the line as far as what would Gallagher have to do to be over the edge? Like, what’s too much?

You can’t fake that kind of crazy. I wouldn’t be watching it for his act, I’d be watching it just to see a fuckin’ human being function in that type of world. Coming from where he came from and [being] so delusional about it and half fucking losing his mind… There’s a book called The Comedian as Confidence Man by Will Kaufman and the subtitle is “A study in irony fatigue.” And it talks about all these American humorists from Ben Franklin all the way up to Bill Hicks who hit a wall where they were tired of having to hide under the mask of comedy. Like, they’re saying serious things that they believe in, but as soon as they stop making jokes then they’re no longer a comedian, they’re just, y’know… But as long as they’re making jokes no one takes them seriously and they hit that wall. And he’s in this bizarre spectrum of that. He’s still gonna smash melons but he wants to rail against the government… But he still has to smash melons! It’s fucking brilliant. Just the horror show of real life on some retarded plane of existence that we live on.

Yeah, it completely makes sense to him. That’s the scary part. Like, he doesn’t come off as thinking it’s remotely absurd that he’s doing that.

Exactly, and that’s what you can’t fake. Most comics are pretty fucking dull when you hang out with them but that guy is a certified absolute fucking nut job. (In light of Gallagher, the discussion then turned to focus on the struggle for comedians to stay relevant. Stanhope began to explain how those who are able to do so are those who are constantly refining their material and working it on the road and in clubs.) Other guys like Ron White see it in a way that you shouldn’t look at it and he’s pissing away his fuckin’ Blue Collar Comedy money… Driving around in his tour bus draggin’ his fucking Bentley on the back, just laughing his ball off.

Do you know him personally?

(Mmm, hmm) He’s inspirational.

I was kind of wondering where that line was with him…

I was talking to him and he’s got a bunch of guys that I know writing jokes for him, and writing material, and I go to him, “You’ve been buyin’ a lot of my buddy Andy’s jokes.” He goes [deep Texan drawl], “Yeah, what we do is we buy really good material from really good comics and then, uh, we take the teeth out of it so it’s not funny any more. And then I deliver it to my audience and they applaud.” Like, completely shameless, doesn’t give a fuck. He could care less about all the nonsense and the pride and the ego. I think his quote was “You can’t buy a boat with art.” (Which reminded me of a commercial I saw for Larry the Cable Guy’s new Only in America show on the History channel, to which Stanhope replied, “Whatever gets him through the day.”) Again, I have no hostility toward any comedian even if I say I do. It’s only the audience that laughs at it that gets my dander up.

Well, rightly so. I mean, I’m confused: On one hand you’ve got that guy and he makes a movie [Witness Protection] and nobody goes to see it—the movie fails horribly—and yet he keeps getting work. So you have to question who’s actually paying to watch it.

Yeah, it’s not just comedy. It’s entertainment all the way around. Like fucking Dancing with the Stars. Like, who ever watches dancing? I mean, I understand like MTV fuckin’ hip hop whore dancing that teenagers would watch it just for the free boner.

Yeah, but it’s ballroom…

Yes! That’s like the number one fuckin’ blockbuster show and it’s fucking baffling. The entire world is baffling to me. I can’t wait to come home and not talk to anyone.

Do you stay positive or

No, I’m a roller coaster. I’m a drunk, so… I wake up afraid and fuckin’ morose and remorseful. I’m a socialist then I drink my way into a fucking libertarian asshole.

I was watching your interview last year with Alex Jones on his show and you mentioned living on a fire escape down Arizona. [Stanhope lives in Bisbee, Arizona near the Mexican border; a town he referred to as American's fire escape.] That’s not a joke then, that’s serious? Do you legitimately want to get the hell out of Dodge if things get to a point…

No, no, no, no… I’m going down with the ship right here. As much as I have problems with this country it’s familiar. And there’s no place I’d ever been that I’d rather be for more than a week.

I’m kinda with you. I think it’s a great country at the end of the day. It’s just we have a lot of shitheads here.

Yeah, and they’re everywhere. But it’s the shithead you know.

That’s right, the shithead that welcomes you back. On that note of kind of waking up miserable, have you seen this documentary called Collapse? It focuses on this former LA policeman named Michael Ruppert.

I don’t know that I’ve seen Collapse. He’s the one that ratted out the CIA? I’m a sucker for any conspiracy theory stuff like that.

It was maybe about a month ago that I watched that then I watched… I don’t remember what this other one was called [Gasland] but it was about just the heinousness of the natural gas wells around the country.

Oh, I just put that on my queue. That’s in upstate New York or something?

Yeah, it’s absolutely disgusting. It just completely fucks up the ground water for all these people who live around them.

Yeah, that’s mostly what I’ve been doing for the last few months. Just watching documentaries on Netflix about how fucked up the world is.

Well, watch Collapse then. Because if you weren’t already depressed and borderline suicidal, that’ll put you right in the mood. 

I’ll do it next. I just watched Bikini Radio.

What’s that one about?

It’s about the A-bomb we tested on the Bikini Atoll. It’s only 56 minutes long, but get that on Netflix. It’s all footage from back then…

I go through spurts where I kind of watch these back-to-back-to-back then I just can’t take it anymore.

Yeah, I do that to the point where I’m easily depressed and terrified to go outside. Yeah, and I believe in half the shit. Like, I watched Loose Change again and I was back in that head space. But I don’t care. I get to the point where yeah, the world’s fucked up and everyone’s conspiring against someone at some time on every level of society and that’s just how it is. Whether they’re high level government officials of if they’re fucking Safeway managers, you know?

Absolutely. And I felt the exact same thing when I was watching that thing with Alex because like you were saying on there, he’s got this impossible wealth of information and when you start calling all that out, it becomes like: who the fuck cares?

Yeah, like, what are you going to change? People don’t care.

I mean, at this point do you even have any kind of opinion on Egypt? Like, is that even a thought?

Yeah, well, what are they going to do? They’re going to get other power mongers to take his [Hosni Mubarak] place. No one aspires to those positions without some kind of blood lust. And power corrupts, et cetera, et cetera. As long as people want to be led they’re going to get leaders that are shit. And that’s not going to change.

What was your reaction when you got asked to go on Red Eye. I really don’t know Fox’s angle with that and it seemed like an odd pairing.

I kinda wanted to trash it, and then… I really fucking hated that show. It was just so fucking goofy. The guy was so overly nice to me.

Yeah, he kept trying to identify with you.

So I still have a sense of regret for not fucking just douching the whole show. Like at the last minute… I had sat there writing jokes about all the news stories of the day, assuming that’s why I was on. And then they go, you’re on as a special guest. Instead we’re going to talk about all the shit that’s on Wikipedia.

That’s what he immediately went to was the Girls Gone Wild… 

“So, you have a weird belly button…” What?! I’ve been fucking writing jokes all day and you’re going to talk about my belly button. That’s why I should never do anything sober.

Were you sober at that?

Yeah. Then I went back to the hotel and they didn’t have a bar. The bar was closed for renovations. That sucked. That’s how I remembered that day.

The not being able to drink.

Most of what I’ve done is kind of a blur. Things I had to do sober. Maybe that’s a title of a book.

The Things I Had To Do Sober. I like that, Doug. That’s pretty good but it’d probably be a pretty short book.

Or One Cocktail Away from Being Gallagher.

…The Story of Doug Stanhope… I don’t even know where to go from there.

Do you want to talk about my belly button?

Maybe I’ll save that for when you’re in town and we can talk on a more personal level about that. The intimacies of your naval cavity… There was something I did want to ask you about — I couldn’t find anything about it online. There was this GQ article called “Is This America’s Most Depraved Man?”

Yeah, British GQ.

What was the story behind that?

Yeah, just this guy…

All I read about it was that he was talking to you during some mushroom festival.

Oh, no, there was supposed to be this giant mushroom/hallucinogen festival with all these different acts and comics and we sold all these tickets then the whole thing went bust days before it’s supposed to happen. He was supposed to meet me down there for it. And there were no plane tickets—he bought his own plane ticket on GQ’s dime and ended up hanging around at some fuckin’ swinger resort for three days. All by himself with a bunch of fuckin’ homeless swingers.

I don’t mean to sound negative on this, but I wouldn’t really trust people to be able to pull off a whole festival who are basing half of it on mushrooms.

Exactly. The Stripper’s Real Phone Number Festival. (Which led to talk of his current round or performances that will lead him to the UK in March.) London and Manchester and I don’t know; Nottingshire; Hampsterham. Nothing makes my stomach roll over and squirt acid like the thought of going back to the UK.

Just because of the food?

No, everything. Just the crowded and dank and ugly…

Do you ever get much time when you’re on the road over there to actually take in a bit of the cities you visit.

There’s nothing I’d want to see. I have preconceived notions about Europe; about pretty much everywhere I’ve been. I’ve almost never been surprised. Like, “Oh, this is way better than I was expecting.” Nope, this is exactly what I was expecting. Every reason I moved out of New England times ten. But with way smarter audiences that have way higher expectations… Half your material’s not going to work because it’s America-centric. And the fanbase I have is very tenacious and they’ve heard every fucking word I’ve ever said. So you’re constantly in a struggle. If it weren’t for the UK I might be fuckin’ Ron White. If I could get away with it I might get that lazy.

Questions

It’s easy to get things mixed up normally, let alone when everything is seemingly in some state of chaos. A good friend is mistaken for an enemy, a drinking partner as a lover, and a career as a dead end. But when things begin to find a rhythm and appear in order, what’s to be done when the former chaos remains the only precedent for normalcy? That, friends, is the million dollar question.

Welcome to 1979 Studio (Nashville, TN)


Photos taken February 4, 2011 at Welcome to 1979 Studio in Nashville, TN.

Classic Williams Interview


Having just recently dropped his #SMH mixtape last month, Nashville’s Classic Williams is now inching his way closer to the release of his full length debut, Epic Win. Serving as an introduction to the MC, #SMH includes a wide range of genres reaching all the way from club-focused dance to no fuss hip hop. It’s a mixed bag of tracks, and it’d be disingenuous to suggest that they all come strong, but there are some cuts that are genuinely tight enough to stand behind as singles. Keeping that in mind, Williams himself calls the tracks on “throwaways,” insisting that #SMH won’t hold a candle to what’s yet to come. Recently speaking with the MC via email he explained his focus with the release, his perspective on the Nashville rap scene, and his fascination with Japanese anime. Until Epic Win drops, #SMH is available as a free download via Classic’s Bandcamp page.



Off the top, what does #SMH stand for?

Classic Williams: #SMH stands for “Shake My Head,” usually on Twitter people commonly use the expression #SMH as a way of looking down on other people or when someone or even themselves says something outlandish. I wanted to call my mixtape this because for one: music obviously makes you shake your head, for two: I wanted to use the power of the phrase trending to gain listeners. Also I felt like I was personally shaking my head at my many naysayers, haters, and perpetuates of negativity, because some people truly don’t know who I am, what my role and purpose to the Nashville hip hop scene is. But that will soon change.

You get things going strong on the mix real early on with “Who’s Doin’ That?” and “Sorority Girls” leading the way. The latter toys around with some hyper synth, a club-happy beat & Sebastian Garcia brings the track over the top in its club appeal with his vocals. What’s your connection to Garcia & how did you come to collaborating on the track?

Classic Williams: Sebastian Garcia was a classmate of mine at MTSU. We are both in the Recording Industry program. I heard that he did tracks so I told him about my music and the people that I knew. We knew some of the same people around Murfreesboro who did music, namely Jeff Cyrus, who I collaborate with heavily. I told him about this song that I had already done two versions of called “Sorority Girls.” Sooner or later me, him, and his producer/roommate Louis Magnotti came together to make the track. They own a production company called LIV Productions.

As far as the sound is concerned, that track sounds nothing like anything else on #SMH. Will we hear more of that sort of thing on Epic Win and how’s work coming along on the album? Also, will that be your official debut?

Classic Williams: As far as sound is concerned #SMH doesn’t have a particular sound. It’s got a little bit of everything, it’s like a grab bag of whatever you can think of from rock elements to R&B elements to even techno and pop. All of these records are, just to put it simply, “throwaways” just to show people I’m out here working. “Sorority Girls” sounds different from everything else because I’m going to be using that song to gain listeners in other areas. It’s basically just a really powerful hit I have under my notch I plan on taking advantage of, but that’s not where you get the full scope of what “Classic Williams” does. I Love Sorority Girls is up now and will fully launch later on in the spring and will have a whole plan for that song. The Soul of Nigger Charlie is my next project which will be helmed by Klassix Jones… billboard producer (“Walk with a Dip” by Louisiana Cash). It’s going to tell the story of my life. Then Epic Win, my official debut, which is already recorded; I’m just holding it back until it’s time. Expect it to completely blow your fucking face off, that’s all I’ll say (lol).

“Sorority Girls” is sandwiched between “Darlin’,” which utilizes a tender hook, and “Who’s Doing That?,” which is more of bass-heavy banger. Do you go through stages where you write certain types of songs or do you tend to mix it up along the way?

Classic Williams: However I feel at the time is what I write about. Sometimes it can be influenced by a situation that happened to me, other times it could be an extension of how the music makes me feel. I can go into the beat with somewhat of an idea, but what I did with a lot of the songs on #SMH was just get extremely intoxicated and zone the fuck out and freestyle it. That’s what I did with “Azzhole.” Matic threw on the beat and I was just like okay here it go “People always ask me… why you such an asshole” and I just built it up from there. Everything I write or freestyle about are real situations that have happened. “Darlin’” is about my ex-girlfriends—one in particular—I freestyled all the singing on that song. One of the reasons it varies so much is because, like I said before, #SMH really is a grab bag of songs. Some of those songs I’ve had under my belt for a long time I just never released like “Blue Magic.” It’s kind of a great metaphor for my life though, there’s so much going on and all you can really do is shake your head at it.

“Azzhole” is one of the stronger tracks on #SMH; what can you tell me about Matic Lee? Who worked production on that song and how did you bring it all together?

Classic Williams: Matic Lee is cool with my neighbor Anais Briggs who is a singer/songwriter. Matic has done a lot of production for Strange Music and Tech N9ne. He made the beat to “Azzhole” and spit a verse on it as well. He has a studio at his house and I went over there after work one night and bam! Studio magic.

Tell me a bit about what “#Hateraid Tweetsyle” is.

Classic Williams: The “Hateraide Tweetstyle” kind of makes up the guts of the project. It was basically just like a big fuck you. People have so many opinions about my place in the “Nashville Rap Scene” and niggas really don’t know my magnitude. I made a song for my friend’s fraternity my freshman year of college that still gets views from all over the world. People from Poland, the Netherlands, the west and east coast of the US, and all over the south, have heard the name Classic Williams. People try to compete with me when we aren’t even geographically close to being competition. So lines like “fans all over the world and I ain’t even on yet,” these are all real statements. Niggas try to compete with the rapper next door. I’m competing with my favorite rappers in my head. I ultimately outshine them in the end.

On the Twitter front: is there a story behind your Twitter handle?

Classic Williams: AstroBoyClassic is my Twitter name because I’m a huge Otaku (Japanese anime nerd douchebag) and AstroBoy is this anime about this boy robot. I like the “AstroBoy” handle because frankly I’m fucking crazy and out of this world so it just fits. My other nickname is Otaku Steez Ichigo… which basically means I'm like the #1 nerd douchebag with swag, so to speak. I might go watch Fullmetal Alchemist or DragonBall Z or something really childish like that, turn around, get your bitch really high and fuck the shit out of her. Who’s doing that?

Stepping away from the album a bit, on your site you say “The same artists that a few years ago were championed as ‘the next big thing’ are still being championed.” What was the thought you had when you first wrote that? Was it aimed at anyone in particular?

Classic Williams: It wasn’t necessarily aimed at anyone in particular. The Nashville hip hop scene is all flash but the camera doesn’t have any film in it. Niggas just use the whole music thing as a hustle to make money and be that nigga in the club and fuck girls who want to be famous. The same people in Nashville rapping have been doing it for years and haven’t gotten anywhere other than Nashville besides Young Buck. Niggas either getting fucked deals, or just disappear over time. It’s time for something different! I’m tired of people lying about their lives and mainly I’m sick and tired of Nashville being called the “Music City” but they only cater to one genre of music: country. There are so many talented individuals in the city and it’s NOT JUST COUNTRY MUSIC. We have more studios than any place else in the world, every major record company, every major publishing company, every performance rights organization within a two mile radius. It’s ridiculous! They tried to rewrite our history… when urban or black music is just as much apart of Nashville than ANY other genre. Google the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

What is the Klowd Krowd and who’s all involved in that?

Classic Williams: Kloud Krowd was an idea my friend Brandon Clark thought of. Him and my cousin DJ Rawtune formed a blog. It’s kind of like our version of Taylor Gang, very much inspired by the Taylors, but it’s really just like our clique name, and the name of my fanbase. We’re trying to expand it into a full fledge brand with clothes, etc. Every good rapper needs a movement. My grandfather always told me never to follow the crowd. So instead we created our own. Now the crowd follows us. Anyone can rep Kloud Krowd. It’s about embracing your uniqueness and doing your own thing and not giving a fuck what anyone thinks about it. Praising God and looking towards to the sky, following your dreams.

Friend Requests

My curiosity kinda perks up when I get a “friend request” on Facebook from someone who I clearly don’t know. This doesn’t even include weird “I haven’t spoken to you for well over two years” requests, or the “I won’t give you the time of day in real life, yet here I am” requests, but simply the people who are flat out alien to my life. Who are these people? What is the motivation? What can be gained from “friending” someone who you couldn’t pick out of a lineup? A quantitative gain, maybe; 1000 friends looks better on a social resume than 10. But there has to be something more.

Part of this issue touches on something deeper for me, personally. Over the last two years or so my life has largely become based on numbers. Working for myself, my worth as a breadwinner is based on pageviews and my ability to somehow turn those into money. Whatever I can do to potentially increase those numbers should technically help drive the end and increase my income. So, does having 2000 followers on Twitter add value to me as a person? Only in that it could potentially increase income down the line. That’s the only way I can imagine justifying “following” 25,000 people on Twitter to receive some 20,000 “followers.” The people who do that still baffle me though, because to simply make the time investment worthwhile, there has to be something more driving them to go to such lengths.

In my life an issue developed once these numbers became the primary focus of what I’m doing. The result was a bit of a blurred sense of what is actually of worth. Is establishing a network of 1000 “friends” somewhere worth something because it could lead to few more bucks every day? Maybe. Because something larger could develop from the “networking”? Potentially. But personally I’ve had a problem in the past keeping this element of online interaction — and its potential for professional growth — separate from how I perceive my worth as an individual. Is something I write only worth the pageviews it receives? Am I only “liked” as much as what my digital footprint suggests? Of course not, but it’s hard to see that when that aspect of life is made paramount. If numbers are behind everything, then everything becomes related to those numbers.

So what’s driving people to reach out to a stranger online? All I can think, based on where I’m coming from, is that it comes from some sense of perceived potential value. Had the “friend request” at least come with some sort of personal extension — a note, a “hi” or a “this is who I am” — it might translate as something completely different. But as it stands, I can’t see it as anything but a stab at increasing perceived value. I still struggle with this: valuing my life through numbers. Occasionally I have my moments of online penis envy — feeling lesser because my metrics don’t compare — but I’m getting better at realizing that the one really doesn’t have a ton of impact on the other unless you let it; online interaction and personal life. I am who I am not because of what some sample of data tells me, but because of what no data in the world can.

Someone Else's Eyes

It’s hard seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes.

I was watching a movie tonight and a character said something to the effect of “I just don’t want you to remember me like that.”

Think of a relationship you had in the past and try to think about the moments of interaction that stand out. Think about what you consider a good relationship and ask yourself if the other party might have the same feeling. Was that same interaction positive from their perspective? Same goes for a negative relationship; would that interaction be a negative or positive memory from the other person’s point of view?

I have a lot of brokenness on that level. If I were another person remembering me, remembering the brief amount of time they knew me, or remembering the interaction they had with me, the imbalance between those who might think of me in a positive light and those who wouldn’t likely weighs far heavier on the latter. There are a lot of positive memories I have which, in hindsight, are really one-sided in that regard. For the vast majority of my life I haven’t let people see the good that there is. And honestly, they haven’t been given much of a choice in the matter of how they should remember me. I really regret that.

I guess the goal here is to work on looking at each moment objectively. The only way to go through life not having to apologize to everyone along the way, saying “I just don’t want you to remember me like that,” is to stop putting yourself in those situations to begin with. Yes, the thing that matters most is how you feel about yourself and it shouldn’t really be your top priority to concern yourself with how others think of you. But there is a difference between saying “I don’t care what other people think” and saying “I don’t care what other people are given to remember.” The more you’re able to do things to build positive memories the likelier it becomes that people remember you for something good. This can be as small a gesture as a smile. It’s silly how simple that might sound, but that’s really all you can do. And that is important. From there you can’t control what they think, you can only control the effort you put into making sure that their interaction with you is as positive as you believe it can be from their given perspective.

Yeah, it’s hard seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, but that’s the only perspective the rest of the world has when interacting with you. Hopefully I can be a little more mindful of that as days go by.