click here for more
click here for more
Interview: B-Real Of Prophets Of Rage Talks Legalisation And Rap Rock

Interview: B-Real Of Prophets Of Rage Talks Legalisation And Rap Rock

Fluffy / Wednesday 14th March, 2018 12:51PM

B-Real (aka Louis Freese) is a rhyme-slinging icon who honed his razor sharp lines and party-starting hooks in legendary Californian rap group Cypress Hill. Last year he found time in his busy schedule to contribute his formidable vocal talents to rap rock super-group Prophets of Rage's self-titled new album alongside Public Enemy's Chuck D and members of Rage Against The Machine. Next week the Prophets Of Rage are bringing their anti-establishment gospel to Auckland's Spark Arena. We sent floristry enthusiast Fluffy to chew the fat with B-Real about California's Proposition 64, the recent resurgence in rap rock and the present mental health status of certain membranes...

What’re you up to at the moment?

We just finished coming from one of our friend's store openings. He opened a cannabis collective and we went to support him and now we’re on our way back to our studio.

Your home state of California legalized from the 1st of January. How’s it been out there?

It’s been great. For most of us that have been in the culture for a long time, we're just seeing and waiting for more of the regulations to happen to know how it’s going to operate officially. Right now all the rules and regulation aren't implemented and in place so we’re just taking it as each day comes and try to be informed and being a step ahead. But it’s been great, a lot of people are happier.

So, what’s the difference pricewise? Is it fairly heavily taxed?

Yeah, right now they’re trying to figure it out. The state or the feds or the powers that be, whoever makes the laws, are pretty much taxing heavily, the industry of cannabis, from the merchant to the consumer - all aspects of it. We still have work to do in that aspect. I think people expected this to happen so it's gonna take a bit of time before it’s all dialed in properly.

Your coming to New Zealand with Prophets of Rage. Have you ever played here before?

Ah not with Prophets, I’ve played there with Cypress a few times and it was great. I'm looking forward to coming back with Prophets because the crowds are gonna be amazing, it’s a great place to come to. When we first formed the band, there was places that we all had been with our individual bands that we were looking forward to going and definitely, New Zealand was one of em.

You mentioned that you’re all successful musicians in your own right, what’s the writing dynamic like when you guys work on songs together. Does anyone ever step on anyone’s toes?

No, no, we all build the ideas around together, it’s collective. We sit there and listen to what Tom [Morello], Tim [Commerford] and Brad [Wilk] are putting down and sorta stir up the ideas. It’s just open so it’s easy to create in this band because everybody is very creative and open to each other’s creativity. It was a pretty easy process to put this album together. It was also very fun. We’re looking forward to the next one.

It seems to me like rap rock or nu metal is having a bit of a comeback these days. Limp Bizkit and Suicidal Tendencies are playing down our ways just a few days before yourselves and last year Ice T’s Body Count dropped a new album, Bloodlust. What do you think is causing this resurgence?

I think it’s great that people are still open the style of music that this is. We really try not to put a label on what it is we’re doing. We’re just trying to make the best music we can but if they’re gonna call it something that’s cool. I think it’s great that these particular bands that do run in this lane are putting out albums that people are listening to and connecting with because it shows that there are still people out there who have love for this style of music. Even if the radio is not gonna play it you can get it off Youtube and stuff like that and create a lane with it and when the stations do support you that's even more amazing because it shows that they're dialed into what the people actually want. We always embrace the fact that our music is harder to market then music that exists right now but we definitely appreciate and are very grateful to the stations that are willing to play what we're talking about.

Prophets of Rage isn’t the first band you’ve played in. I understand you used to be in Kush with members of Deftones and Fear Factory.

Yeah for a short time we were trying to put out an album together and we recorded an album and it was ready to come out, but yknow... Deftones were on Warner Bros at that time and myself, I was on Sony and that sort of made it impossible to put that album out.

That’s a damn shame.

Each of them wanted the rights to put out the album or weren’t gonna give up the rights to one of their artists to be on the album and all this other craziness. In this day and age we could make that album and put it out for free and none of the labels could really say anything because we wouldn’t be making a dime from it but back in that time, the technology didn’t exist so we just sorta sat on that. I believe that music still exists with one of the guys, maybe Ray or Christian might have that album, maybe even Steph. I haven’t heard it in a long time. It was fun doing that but I think in some ways doing that project got me ready to do what I’m doing now.

Right, like more experience playing with a live band as opposed to beats?

Yeah, playing with heavy dudes too, guys that are like pro players and they really get down and having to keep up with that stepped up my game and even more so with rocking with these guys. This bands is comprised of some badasses, yknow, you gotta keep up with it!

What do you think about rap music and rock music that blends so well together? Do you think motivation to create it comes from similar places?

Well yeah, I think there’s a lot of similarities. A lot of people who grow up doing rock or metal are some kids that are maybe in positions just like the hip hop kids. They’re living in maybe low income areas, they’re seeing their struggles and going through whatever they’re going through with their families or themselves. It’s stuff that anyone can connect on. Some music is celebratory and some music talks about life. I think a lot of metal and rock and hip hop and punk talk about a lot of things that happen in society and things that happen in one’s life. I think that’s where it all connects there and I think it lends itself to each other because hip hop can be birthed from any kind of music, because we used to sample from R n B music or jazz music or classic or rock. Realistically it was so much closer to rock music because the things that some of the rock bands were real life shit. It wasn't made up like pop-star, major-marketing music. Some of those are about nothing but they're catchy. Some of the stuff that was being said in those songs maybe reflected some of our lives. For a time there was a lot of separation between rock and hip hop, y'know hip hop heads didn't want nothing to do with rock and rock heads didn't want nothing to do with hip hop because they thought we were uncreative, because of the sampling. I think a lot of that turned around with Run DMC.

Yep, that classic Aerosmith collab.

What they did, it helped open that up. Now, you have a genre because of that.

There’s a clip of you guys playing ‘Killing In The Name Of’ at the Hollywood Pallidium. It seems that song is pretty powerful and relevant, which kind of saddens me in a way. I would like to think that the upturn in movements fighting for social equality that things would have improved a little bit. Then I look at things like the US political situation and I get kind of worried for the future…

Yeah, everybody is, when they see the types of things that are represented in the President of the United States, everyday there’s something outrageous. It makes people worry for us, because they’re like, "where is it all going to?" The political system must be hell right now. It has been before him but its exacerbated now with him so a lot of people are worried. But hey, when George Bush Junior was President, a lot of us were worried then but we’ve lived through it and we’ll do the same.

What are you predictions for the future of the White House? Do you think we will see an impeachment of Mr Trump?

Well, he’s dodged a lot so far so, I don't know. I really can't say, I know there are a lot of things stacking against him. So the odds say that most likely he could be impeached but so far he’s been able to dodge a lot of bullets. I can't say, he's a slick dude.

Because I can’t help myself. How insane is your membrane really?

Insane as hell! [Both crack up] Y'know, I try to maintain but I got no brain.

You can catch B-Real on stage with Prophets Of Rage this coming Tuesday 20th March at Auckland's Spark Arena.


Share this
Subscribe/Follow Us
Don’t miss a thing! Follow us on your favourite platform  

Help Support Independent Music News
You can show your support to keep UnderTheRadar running by making a contribution. From $5, any amount can make a huge difference and keep us bringing you the best, comprehensive local content. ♥
Support UTR!