An Interview With MC Hacksaw Jim Duggan

–John Crouch

I find it highly unlikely that Dairy River readers have yet to hear about the Wizzerds of Rhyme. What? Oh, sorry. The Wizzerds of Rhyme are a relatively new hip hop collective based out of the relatively un-hip hop town of Chapel Hill, NC, USA, 27516. The group combines sounds of rap and not rap to create a new rappy experience for ears. I had the privilege of sitting down with MC Hacksaw Jim Duggan for a nice chat about himself and the ultimate truth. For more information and hot jams visit the fan site.

(JC) Hello MC Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I hope you are doing well. First off, I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and chat.

(HJD) Not a problem. You actually caught me at a good time, I am in between tour dates with Wizzerds, and was running out of people to battle.

(JC) So tell us about yourself. Where do you come from? How did you get in the rap game? What about that MC name of yours?

(HJD) I was born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts into a middle class family. My father owned a gas station (you may know it, it is actually the station closest to Plymouth Rock) and my mother was a home-maker. When I was little, my mom used to stay at home watching Yo! MTV Raps and make me stand in front of the television pretending to be one of the rappers. She tried to teach me to break dance, but I was not very good. Instead, I began to wrestle with my friends. I eventually started getting into hip-hop music, and reconciled my two passions. I took the name of my favorite wrestler, and a vision for a hip-hop super group entered my head. This group is now Wizzerds of Rhyme.

(JC) That’s all nice, but I want to know the RELL Hacksaw. Darrell Hacksaw, if that makes sense.

(HJD) The ‘rell’ Hacksaw loves a few things above all others. I will list them, bulleted list style.

* Suits, and the hanging of them on wire coat hangers. The crease that gives them on the shoulders is what marks my personal style.
* I still love wrestling, the current state of televised Wrestling is pretty sad (in fact one could say the strength of professional wrestling at any given time is in direct correlation to the state of popular rap music at that time.)
* Cats, but more specifically kittens. A whiskey in one hand, a kitten in the other, and Night Court on the television is my perfect night.
* Obviously, making music.

(JC) What do you love about music and making it?

(HJD) I love the freedom to write what I want. I love the chance to brighten someone’s day. I love making people dance. I love making people yell “HOOOOOO” with me. I love the smell of music venues, the mix of smoke and sweat and spilt beer. I love the fans, the musicians, the hype-men.

(JC) Why did hip hop become the means to express what you want through music?

(HJD) I feel like the focus on lyricism in hip-hop, and the open, honest communication between artist and audience is what drew me to begin writing raps. I knew that people would hear what I was saying, and in a performance setting would be able to more easily connect with me, as I try to be as intimate as possible during performances.

(JMcC) What do you think of the current state of hip hop?

(HJD) D4L and Dem Franchize Boyz, combined with Hype Williams are corroding the authenticity of the scene at a much faster rate than we have ever experienced. I mentioned only those 2 groups, but it is the genre of Krunk and Club rap as a whole that is responsible for this. It says nothing, lyrics are interchangeable as they are all rapping about the same thing, and the beats are getting ridiculous in their minimalism.

(JC) And just how do you plan on changing it?

(HJD) By being diverse in our music. So many bands have one tempo that they rap on, one beat that is the base to an entire album. They do not bring in blues, they do not bring in classic rock, and they just play it safe. We have sampled Bobby Byrd, Toto, Sam and Dave, Mr. Bungle, and Yamasuki. Each of these lend themselves to a different style, and as a result force us to change our flow. All these other whack MCs have one flow, and don’t really show any versatility.

(JC) Really? What makes a whack MC?

(HJD) Not being true to yourself, not pushing yourself to make a better song than the last one you wrote, catering to the masses by compromising yourself and putting your name on an album that is not who you want to be. Don’t get me wrong, there can be mainstream artists who stay true to themselves. There are plenty of them, but at this juncture in time, I feel safe saying that there are many, many whack MCs getting more play than deserving MCs.

(JC) Why do you think there are these ‘haters’?

(HJD) I cannot answer this.

(JC) I’m sure you understand that your fans (and your foes) are listening to you, your words, your lyrics. What exactly are you telling them?

(HJD) I am telling stories, weaving complex dialogues between maker and man, man and woman, man and animals, man and inanimate objects. Through these stories, I am showing them that they do not have to mold themselves into what society wants them to be. They can go out to the club and be themselves. This applies to both children and adults.

(JC) So Hacksaw really does love the kids?

(HJD) As much as I love and respect the American Flag.

(JC) What inspires you?

(HJD) Hmm. I think what inspires me most is the scope of the world, more specifically the pre-historic world, and the world of the deep sea. The thought of giants walking the earth blows my mind, and has inspired both raps and dances (although I cannot take credit for the dance, that goes to Brandon Smith). Even more mind blowing is that there is only 5% of the ocean that has been explored. There are creatures that we have not seen, that we will not see in my lifetime. This awe causes me to write some of my best raps. Aliens could live in the deepest parts of the ocean, or the farthest reaches of space. When I think of this scope, the scope of my raps increases, and I become much more theatrical.

(JC) Tell us about your collaboration with the Club.

(HJD) Every member of the Wizzerds are huge fans of the Club’s freshmen album “An Evening With…”, and we contacted him to perhaps sing a chorus for us. He has a certain authenticity to himself that we all admire, and hoped that he could help contribute his energy to our album. He sang the chorus on “In Which We Sample Africa,” and it turned out beautifully.

(JCesus) I hear rumblings of a television show. Can you share any information with us?

(HJD) There is not much information that I am able to release at the moment, so I will say this: battle rapping Bob Ueker in a teledildonics laboratory.

(JC) Bob Ueker? Teledildonics? I’m confused.

(HJD) Think of a heavy metal cat hunting safari, mixed with studio footage.

(JC) Ah, I see. Sort of like ALF takes a road trip with Ted Nugent while listening to Slayer.

(HJD) Now you get it!

(JC) Quick: top 5 records of all time.

(HJD) I don’t think this could possibly be answered quickly, as it changes weekly. In no particular order, as of Mid-March 2006:

Refused – A Shape of Punk To Come, A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts. Hands down my favorite album. The energy overflows, and to this day no band has released a punk/hardcore album that approaches this.

Beastie Boys – The Sounds of Science. Lame that I have a compilation on here, but this has a nice mix of old and new Beasties, and it is responsible for a lot of my views on how rap can be humorous and still be good. They single handedly got me into hip-hop music after my mom burned me out on it.

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Genesis’ masterpiece, Gabriel’s showpiece. Forget what you think you know about Genesis. There are many people who automatically dismiss them because of Phil Collins’ involvement in the group, but back when Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel were still in the band, they were something entirely different.

At the Drive-In – In Casino Out. Napoleon Solo is one of my favorite songs ever written.

Mr. Bungle – California. The musical diversity on this album makes every track a stand out. If I were allowed, I would in fact extend this position to all music that Mike Patton is involved in.

(JC) Any last words?

No.

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