Thereís No Chance of Hushing Detroit Rapper Hush
By Randy J. Klodz
Photography by Kai Regan
With a new single called ďHush is Coming,Ē Detroit-native rapper Hush is well, uh, coming. Heís joined forces with fellow Detroit rapper Eminem, who helped produced Hushís tracks ďHush is ComingĒ and ďOff to TijuanaĒ from Hushís major label debut Bulletproof and heís ready to take on the world, one Bishop Don Juan-spotting at a time.
En route to Dallas from Phoenix while promoting Bulletproof on the Anger Management Tour, Hush dialed in to SOAK to wax poetic on what itís like to be the next big white rapper since Eminem (sorry Vanilla Ice), how it wouldnít surprise him if you said he looked like B Real ó the front man of rap group Cypress Hill ó and how he once broke Eminemís ribs (Eminem broke Hushís nose) and lived to talk about it.
SOAK: So youíre a Detroit native just like rap superstar Eminem?
Hush: Yes sir. Born on the East side.
SOAK: In the video for your first single ďHush Is Coming,Ē youíre decked out in a lot of Detroit Tigers gearÖ
Hush: Iím not baseball fanatic, but I tend to lean toward the TigersÖbut I donít think itís going that way any time soon. [laughs]
SOAK: When people think of the rap community and Detroit, most people think of the movie ď8 Mile.Ē What got you into performing?
Hush: Growing up, it was the music and the beats that just drew me in right off the bat. I donít know what it is, but thereís just nothing like it. Itís like the first time I ate a candy bar. Once you get that taste, it stays with you forever. Just the beats more or less that I loved, and I wanted to hear more. Eventually I started rapping and thinking I could do it too, and sitting in my bedroom when I was young and battling my favorite rappers. They didnít know I was battling them, but I did. [laughs] But I could get them too.
SOAK: What rappers were you battling at the time?
Hush: LL [Cool J], Big Daddy Kane, Cool G Rap, and then just listening to everything else, I was really drawn to Public Enemy, and groups like that.
SOAK: How did you come into working with Eminem?
Hush: We both came up in the same scene. He always goes back to his roots at the Hip-Hop Shop. Thatís where he basically made his bones in the hip-hop scene in Detroit. I went there on a couple of occasions to see what it was all about, because I wanted to be involved with the hip-hop scene in Detroit as much as possible, and I wanted people to know who I was. I just sat back and watched, because I had never seen anything organized like that. I knew him from there and not necessarily was introduced to him, I just knew who he was. I was with a group and split, and we ended up coming back together through a mutual producer and that mutual producer each other. We only saw each other at the hip-hop functions, even though we lived maybe ten blocks apart.
SOAK: I heard that at some point you two had a falling out of sorts?
Hush: It was over some dumb street shit. One of my friends wanted to holler at his wife and Marshall wasnít having it, and those two just kept bumping shoulders. I was on some street shit back in the days and I was like, ĎFuck you both, you guys should just fight.í I was that dude in the posse going, ĎYou should fight nowí pumping that shit up. Eventually, Marshall and I came to heads instead and we got into a fight, and I whooped his ass, and my nose broke in the process. We had this real street fight. And after that, we became friends - we squashed beefs, maybe about two weeks later. At the time, we found out we were both having kids. We would have conversations about other things besides music, so we started to become closer as friends. After he got his record deal, I figured this kid made it, and now Iím going to go over here and do my thing and keep pushing along my product, so here I am.
SOAK: So if I asked Eminem today, would he say that he kicked your ass in the fight? You know how that fight stuff goes sometimesÖ
Hush: Heíd probably say, ĎYou know what, ask Hush.í Heíd probably say he did because my nose got broke, but ask about his ribs that got broke. I think I broke three of his ribs. We joke about it to this day though, man. A lot of people canít comprehend how people that get into fistfights and still be friends after that, because in the streets that shit donít happen. But obviously it did happen and I think weíre both thankful for squashing the beef, because weíre both really good friends to each other.
SOAK: It seems that every time Eminem puts his hands on something it turns to goldÖ
Hush: Iím thankful for that dude to be in my life. A lot of times I tell people when he made his bones and got his deal, he started something. When Vanilla Ice came out he sucked it all up for the white rappers. Rap music started out between two cultures in New York and it eventually became a universal genre of music for everybody to embrace, but it seemed like Vanilla Ice sucked back a whole race of people. So when Eminem was given that shot to sort of bring us back to the forefront, I felt like that was my last shot. If he wouldíve fucked up, I would have never got a shot. Iíve always been thankful that he was able to open doors and was able to keep a door open for me. He hasnít yet put his stamp on another white rapper, and for him to do that for me, thatís another blessing for me, and Iím real thankful for that.
SOAK: Has anybody ever told you that you might somewhat resemble B Real from Cypress Hill?
Hush: Oh my God. [laughs] Iíve been waiting my whole career for somebody to ask me that question and you finally did. [laughs] I canít believe it! [laughs] Trust me. Everybody at actually produced Eminem; his name is Manix. Manix introduced me to Marshall [Mathers, aka Eminem] and Kim at the same time, because Marshall and Kim were kind of inseparable at the time. We met and then were just doing our music thing. We lived closely in the same neighborhood, but we rarely saw some point or at some time when I pull into a town or whatever, theyíre like, ĎHey, anybody ever tell you that you look like B Real?í
SOAK: Oh yeah?
Hush: Let me tell you a funny story. I was at the House of Blues in LA one time and I was in a group called Da Ruckus and we were just making our bones, just trying to travel and meet people, doing whatever we could. We decided to go to the House of Blues because we heard on the radio that Cypress Hill was doing this benefit for one of B Realís friends that got shot the week before and was in the hospital. And he was in a rap group, and I figured we should go, so we went. I had never been to LA on a music level; I had only visited for vacation. So we go to the House of Blues and we go upstairs to eat, and itís probably three hours easy before show time, and this dude comes up to me while weíre eating and is like, ĎWill you sign this?í And Iím like, ĎDamn, does this guy know me from Detroit?í And heís like, ĎYouíre B Real right? Man, I love your records.í Sorry I had to let him down, but I thought that was funny as hell. [laughs] I donít know if itís the goatee or the color of my skin, itís kind of olive, so people mistake me a lot for being Puerto Rican or Mexican. Just last night in Phoenix, at the show, like four people said that to me. It was hilarious. [laughs]
SOAK: Have you ever used the similar looks to your advantage?
Hush: No man. Because I knew one day I would eventually meet him and the last thing I need to hear is, ĎHey man, youíve been going around acting like me.í [laughs] Itís really funny, because I actually have some dates here where itís me and Cypress Hill. Weíll finally get to have that conversation, which will be funny. [laughs]
SOAK: I can already see the headline: ďB Real Has Twin Brother, They Both Play Onstage.Ē
Hush: [laughs] I canít wait for somebody to go up to him one day and say, ĎHey could you sign this for me, Hush?í [laughs]
SOAK: So now, since you were battling rappers in your early days, thereís often a competition between rappers and their fellow rappers, do you think there would be some youíd want to battle?
Hush: It seems to me nowadays that battling tends to bleed into the streets and bleed into your entourage and them taking it to another level. And sometimes that can put you and your family in a life-threatening situation, and I really donít want to be a part of that. Thatís not what I got into the music business for. So if somebody wants to battle me, and they want to keep it clean, then letís roll, and Iíll do my best, but thatís as far as Iím going with that. It seems these days rappers canít keep it clean.
SOAK: Do you have a beef with any rappers?
Hush: In one song on my album called ďPut Em Down,Ē I say, ĎWhen your dogís too limp for biscuits, call for this shit,í and that was basically saying, itís a whole different viewpoint on the whole rap-rock thing that Iím trying to accomplish. If youíre over that stage in music, of that rap-rock thing, no offense to Limp Bizkit, they were successful and they made a lot of money, but Fred Durst wasnít a rapper. What got some people tired of it, I think, was because Fred Durst was trying to be a rapper at some time and people werenít buying it. People arenít trying to compare me to Limp Bizkit. I donít want anybody to think that Iím going that route [to diss Limp Bizkit], so when I say that line in the song, I want them to know that if youíre tired of that, then this is something brand new for you, because Iím a true MC. I come from the streets of the underground of hip-hop and thatís what I bring to the table, with a little bit of rock influence in what Iím doing.
SOAK: Where did the name ďHushĒ come from?
Hush: It used to be Hush Puppy when I was younger. I donít know if I came up with it, or if somebody else came up with it. I know it definitely didnít have anything to do with the shoes. When youíre younger, you have these names and you try to throw so much stuff around the name and thatís why you tagged it on a wall, why you drew it all the time; thatís why you used to think of every letter in your name and come up with a sentence for that name. I was trying to come up with a whole gimmick, because thatís what hip-hop was like at the time. I was just thinking along the whole dog line, where I could come out with a biscuit and throw bones into the crowd, have a doghouse onstage, have a dog bone on my knuckles. And then Snoop Dogg came out and he sucked my name up. Then Iíd never been able to come out as Hush Puppy ever again after that. People said that I wasnít a puppy to this music shit anyway, and itís funny because they say that Hush is an ironic name for me because Iím such a loud mouth.
For more information on Hush check out mchush.com.