We talk to Diabolic about his new record, "Fightin' Words," his rap philosophy and more.
HNHH has the distinct pleasure of premiering the first stream of Diabolic's highly-anticipated new LP, Fightin Words, on our pages this morning; but we're even more fortunate to have had an opportunity to talk to the man himself.
Enjoy the conversation below and give the new album a listen below.
HNHH: Your album is titled "Fightin Words." Why so violent?
Diabolic: I wouldn't say it's so much 'violent' as it is just calling things as they are. I had done the title track before I titled the album and the song itself kind of embodied what I was doing at the time. I have a battle rap background, so it's in my nature to call people out a little bit. It's like the old phrase "them's fightin words."
HNHH: It's been a few years since "Liar & A Thief" dropped. What's different about your life now when compared to then? How has your music changed?
Diabolic: It goes without saying I'm a little older and, I'd like to think, more mature. Between raising my kids and starting my own label, I grew up a lot. The difference between Liar & a Thief and Fightin Words is that on L&T I felt like I forced a lot of it. I was trying to do what I felt like people wanted to hear and put myself into a box. I had a lot more fun with Fightin Words. I did the music organically, just taking tracks that I liked, rocking to them and letting the record take on it's own life. I truly feel it's some of my best work, and reflects more of my personality than previous releases.
HNHH: You managed to grab features from some of Hip-Hop's finest on "Fightin Words" as well as on your debut. How do you go about selecting collaborators? Is there any artist in particular you feel you really connect with musically?
Diabolic: Sometimes I don't even know the method to my own madness, but most of the time, my decision making process changes as the record is progressing, but I generally rock with people I respect and appreciate musically. I feel R.A. the Rugged Man really hit the nail on the head when it came to capturing the essence of what we were going for. It helps that we grew up in the same area. Nonetheless, I love all the collab work I've done. Obviously, in the past Immortal Technique and myself always connect on tracks, and come out with banging product.
HNHH: How did Premo get into the mix for "Diabolical Sound"?
Diabolic: I just woke up one day and decided that I wanted Preem on this record. I've known him for a long time through different channels and figured it was long overdue. Let's be honest, that's some bucket list shit for every rapper who loves Hip-Hop. I'm real happy with the result, and I'm honored that I was given the opportunity.
HNHH: What's your songwriting process? Do you write your lyrics or just get in the booth and roll with it?
Diabolic: Don't get it twisted, I'm nice off the head but I don't do that for songs. My song writing process is a combination of insanity, frustration and stress release, if that makes sense at all. Sometimes I'll just breeze through a song, catch the vibe and it's written in 20 minutes. Other times, it's me going back to it over the course of a week, and being ready to scrap the track all together. Either way I get the results that I'm looking for.
HNHH: Any advice for independent emcees trying to make it to your level of success?
Diabolic: That's a tough call. First, master your craft. Second and most important, learn the business. You need to know how to promote yourself, how to get to the blogs, taste makers, etc. The game changed, talent means very little nowadays. There's a lot more to it, marketing being the biggest factor on top of the fact that the business is flooded with artists trying to make it. My real advice would be, fuck this bullshit, become a doctor or a lawyer.
HNHH: A bit of a philosophical question here: do emcees have a responsibility to be role models?
Diabolic: I think that's a personal thing. Should they have to be responsible for that? No, I don't think so. In reality are they? Yes, a lot of times they are. Kids should be looking for better role models than musicians if you ask me. For the most part, we are unstable, insane and egotistical making us completely unpredictable in the public eye. Speaking for myself only, I don't like the Internet age. Everything's under a microscope, nothing's sacred. Everyone's famous in their own little world and people have managed to get dumber while having the answer to every question at their fingertips. Parents should be role models, teachers should be role models, not us.
HNHH: What's next for you?
Diabolic: I'm getting in the lab, working on a follow up EP, then another album all while hitting the road and performing. It's a vicious cycle and a constant hustle.
HNHH: Tell the people why they should pick up the new album.
Diabolic: This is a classic record. Nobody's really fucking with me rhyming, my bars are beyond what they're doing. The production is dope and the entire project is reminiscent of what Hip-Hop was supposed to be. On top of that, I give them a view of who I am as a person. I think everyone will really enjoy it.