HHS: Introduce yourself to the HipHopsite community.
Diabolic: Diabolic, artist on Viper Records, part of Rebel Army.
HHS: You’ve built up a nice buzz in the underground with your guest appearances with Immortal Technique and battle victories over some pretty well known emcees (Jin, Rhymefest). What do you enjoy more, the competition of battling or putting your thoughts down and laying a track?
Diabolic: I definitely like making music more, nowadays. There’s a lot more to it and there’s a longer shelf life. When you battle, you’re done in what, 45 seconds? It doesn’t really last that long. But I love to battle. It was a lot of fun when I was more into it, but you grow out of it, especially if you’re trying to go anywhere with your music. Everybody knows that battle rap is not much of a career. You know?
HHS: So you’re definitely focusing more on hip-hop as a career now?
Diabolic: Yeah, so far it’s been okay. Maybe I could have become a lawyer or something (laughs).
HHS: How did you hookup with Immortal Technique?
Diabolic: I met him through the battle scene, actually. I kind of stumbled across it. I’m out in Long Island and I didn’t really realize that there was this battle scene that I could just walk on to. I used to listen to college radio and these were guys that I listened to. They had 12 inches out and were doing their thing. And they were underground dudes talking about how they’d been in the Blaze Battle and were doing this and doing that. I didn’t understand that I could just go out to the Wetlands and battle. Nobody told me that. They didn’t promote in Long Island and there was no Internet at the time either, so nobody really knew. My boy just hit me up one day and asked if I wanted to go battle at the Wetlands. I said yeah and it was on. We got there and I couldn’t get in the battle. So I just harassed Poison Pen at the door and he put me in the battle. From there I just started torturing people. That was the first time any of them saw me.
Diabolic: I’ll never forget. Half the crowd was against me and the other half was with me. All of the real emcees in there were definitely on my side and that’s where it started. Tech was in the crowd, yelling at the top of his lungs. And that’s where it all came from.
HHS: What’s your relationship like with him? Did he take you under his wing like a protégé type of thing or…?
Diabolic: Nah, it’s not like that at all. People like to think that, I guess (laughs). But it’s not like that. He did real well selling records, which gave him the opportunity to put other peoples records out and put tours together. Naturally he’s going to put people that roll with him on tours and on records with him. He’s not going to go out and find some new guys that nobody’s ever heard of and put them on. Nah, he’s going to put his people out and promote from within.
HHS: You were on ‘Rock The Bells’ this summer. Was that your first big tour?
Diabolic: Yeah, on a tour of that size, yeah. We’ve done a lot of touring, but not one of that size. There were a couple small stops, like in Dallas, but it still had 7000 people. But when we hit New York and some of the west coast sites, it was insane. There were so many people. It was like an army. It’s crazy to see all of these people following the underground. It’s inspirational, actually.
HHS: Your current single and video: “I Don’t Wanna Rhyme” is just bananas. The beat is nasty and you don’t mess around with the lyrics. What do you want your listeners to take away from that song?
Diabolic: Just emotion, really. I want people to get an understanding of what I’m capable of. (Laughs) It’s an angry record, you know? I figured I’d hit them with the energized stuff first and give them an idea of how pissed off I was when I wrote that record. But I guess I was lying because I do wanna rhyme. I’m putting out an album, right?
HHS: Yeah, it’s a banger, man. It’s a great lead off single. So you’re album [Liar and a Thief], is dropping on April 6th. What can you tell us about it as far as guests and who’s producing on it, etc?
Diabolic: My man Engineer, a producer out of Vancouver, did the majority of production. He did every track except for number 3, “Riot”, which was produced by my man Sivey from the UK. He’s an up and coming dude out there. That track was co-produced with John Otto from Limp Bizkit who played live drums on it. Let’s see; I did a track with Tech, I did a track with Vinnie Paz that’s out there now and doing pretty well. I also did a track with Ill Bill, which was one of my favorite records on the album. It’s a little different and not your typical record. It’s a story track, kind of dark and twisted. I did a track with Canibus, one with my man Deadly Hunter (he’s a reggae artist, also featured on Riot) and one with my man Mayor Augustus out of Florida, who did a chorus for me. That one is a story track called “12 Shots”. It’s about getting up on my birthday, going to the bar and the shots I take. It’s dope, has some twists and turns.
HHS: How does the process work with Engineer, being that he’s in Vancouver and you’re in New York?
Diabolic: He would just send me beats, tons and tons of beats. I’d just pick them out and go from there. But it’s hard because he makes so many bangers (laughs). It was a pain in the ass having to pick and choose and weed out what I wanted to use. I’m a moody, spur of the moment type of artist, so he just sent me whatever. I got the pick of the litter from him, which was great. A lot of people get pissed off because I’m taking all of the bangers. But yeah, he would just send them to me, I’d record and he’d send me whatever else I needed. It was a pretty simple process.
HHS: So nothing too complicated…
Diabolic: I must say though, he had a big hand in everything. That’s why he has a co-executive production credit on the album. He had a big hand in how the album came together. He knows what he’s talking about and really knows what dope is.
HHS: You’re pretty blunt in the assessment of your career. What are your goals going forward now that you have an album dropping?
Diabolic: Obviously to build a following. You know, to just build up my following more. I want to do this and make a real living. There’s no better job, unless you’re in the NBA or NFL or Major League Baseball or something. I don’t think there’s any better job in the world than making music, going out on tour, pushing your music, having fans and people vibe off of what you created. I want to get out on tour and do my thing. More importantly I just want to be able to put food on the table for the loved ones.
HHS: Is it tough to do it for the love and as a job? Is it a hard thing to balance?
Diabolic: Yeah, it can be. I got lucky and was definitely in the right place at the right time, a long time ago. Honestly, when Technique popped off, I was doing a lot of street shit. Next thing I know, I’m at a show at SOB’s and the kids in the crowd knew the words to my verses. So it was big. It just kind of fell in my lap, on a small scale, obviously. But, it made me think about how I didn’t need to be out in the streets with the possibility of getting locked up. I’ve got a daughter and a son on the way and I can’t be doing that. They’ll be old enough one day and realize that their dad is locked up and I couldn’t have that. It’s a terrible example to set for your kids, you know?
Diabolic: It’s definitely difficult though. I’ve had offers from major labels and they offer you the world. I know it’s bullshit, but it’s tempting nonetheless. I want to tell every artist; if you’re dope, eventually it’ll work out for you. Just keep pushing and do what you gotta do and it’ll work out.
HHS: Where is the album coming out? Where can we get it?
Diabolic: It’ll be out at all of the digital spots, obviously. It’ll be on iTunes and basically every digital outlet. It should be out in the major stores like Best Buy and the mom and pop stores. But, it’s a little too grimy for Walmart, so not there (laughs). I tell kids all of the time; if it’s not where you are, then demand it. They’ll get it for you. As long as someone is willing to pay money for it, they’ll get it.
HHS: How about touring? Do you have a post album tour set up?
Diabolic: Yeah, I don’t have all of the details yet, but there’ll be some heavy touring. I’ll be doing a lot of spot dates in April and into May, mostly on the east coast. But it’ll get more serious once June hits. I’ll hit the west coast, mid-west and Europe. I’ll keep everyone updated.
HHS: Any last words or shout-outs you want to give?
D: Yeah, obviously Immortal Technique and Viper Records. I gotta shout out my girl, who’s got my son on the way. I also have to shout-out to my daughter, my parents and everyone that’s been bearing with me through the pain in the ass process of being an underground rapper. And of course my crew Rebel Army and all of the fans that have been supporting.
Check out tracks and tour information on Diabolic’s myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/diabolicfoulplay
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