The Dirtball , 2008


Written by: Jason Perlman


As a musician, what does it mean for an underground music festival like Strange Noize do so well without commercial support?
As an underground rapper on the circuit most of the entire year, its always a treat to be on such a large tour, especially without commercial support.  I am proud to be a part of the pioneering change in music the last 5 years. With internet and touring, a lot of the same goals can be accomplished as with commercial help. Both last and this years Strange Noize Tours were complete successes, and I am sure next year will be even larger.  I cant wait for the next one.  Gonna be a banger, and continually grow!


Do you think feeling the beat as a drummer has helped bringing the vocal beat?
Without a doubt!  Actually, it was the sole shaper of my flows and my patterns.  The reason I have a unique style is because of the drums.  Adding rap patterns to already intricate hi-hat and kick patterns, makes for a twisted/speedy style.  I am fortunate to have put myself through many years of drumming and rapping. I would not be where I am today without them.  And they are about to come back into the picture.  Loudog from the Kottonmouth Kings, made me a dope lourider custom kit for me to bang.  You will soon hear and see!


There are a lot of comments on the quickness of you raps, is that what  you want to be known as? Or do your lyrics mean as much or more than that?
To be honest, I don’t set out to really get deep with my lyrics. I am more of a realtime, live, party oriented rapper.  As I watch myself rapping hard as hell on stages back and forth repeatedly across the country, I realize that’s what I am and that’s what I do. I excite and raise energy levels.  I do have a college degree, so I would hope that people listened well enough to take my lyrics to heart. I am fine with the speed rapping tag. It is ultimately what I enjoy the most about rapping and wordplay.  If I move you inside or out, my job is done.


Crook County is your third record, how have you felt you have progressed lyrically as well as talent-wise?
I think it has done nothing but projected upwordz on both levels.  It’s virtually impossible to do hundreds and hundreds of shows and not increase your talent.  I say that in a non-arrogant way.  If your not progressing with that much practice then something is wrong.  Though, at times, it may seem like things aren’t always going the right way. But that is usually due to sleep deprivation, too many drugs, too much booze, and jet lag.  Lyrically, I feel I have progressed, but always have a long way to go.  I never am satisfied, which in turn propels me into more and more writing and recording, which is the path to greatness.  The more songs; the better.  I often give that advice to other MC’s coming tome looking for answers.  I tell them to keep writing and writing tracks to completion.  Never stop.


I have started my next record already and the lyricism coming out on it is pretty dope. I am surprising myself, and my fans can definitely expect a banger of a next Dirtball album.


As you have grown, so has your label Suburban Noize. How has that relationship been?
It’s been a trip watching it all grow.  I signed just over 5 years ago now, and have really seen a ton of change.  I am glad to have hopefully helped boost some small part of that.  When Daddy X and Kevin Zinger signed me, it was at a time in my musical career that I really needed things to happen or it seemed it wouldn’t ever happen. This was after over 6 years with a regional act I had in Salt Lake City, and the struggle with that band to get signed etc. My whole life has been music and signing to Subnoize was the best turning point for Dirtball. It was a long road getting here, and there is an excitingly long road ahead.


Many may not realize what a mellow guy you are off the road. Is it a hard balance to maintain?
As I tour and tour and harden to the realities of my old life when it was mellow and relaxing, I also know that those days will come again. But right now it’s grind time. I am completely opposite onstage than offstage.  I live in the Northwest, and a lot of the vibe is just more relaxed period.  So it doesn’t surprise me that I seem worlds apart from street to stage.  I feel I do have my life together and am accomplishing goals I have had for years, so that gives me a sense of stability and well being that comes off as mellow.  When its time to go to work though, watch out!  I even freak myself out often at how rabid I can be when the mic is in my hand.  So to answer your question, yes, it can be tough to maintain both frames of mind.  But, the schizonomy of both worlds is so different, it makes my life exciting.


You have been on many albums as well, from Tech N9ne to OPM. What kind  of thrill is it to work with other artists?
When I started long ago, collabs were not a reality for me.  As I became a solo rapper, I would often think I needed to do collabs to get a name. But I never did until just a few years ago. I still don’t collab a lot, because I like to make it a unique/special occurance. Nowdays, I am being asked to be on all sorts of records which is dope! Just as I start to ask people to join my madness, I have big dogs askin me to join theirs.  I love getting a tight track from a good artist, and flexing verses on them.  Its so nice to sit down to a dinner table already prepared full of food, and set your own dish down on the table.  Great feeling when everyone eats it too.  Did I lose ya’? Yes, it is a thrill to work on others albums.  This last year has been a big one for me as far as collabs.  I’ve been on Tech9’s new record, OPM’s, Sen Dog’s, KMK’s, HedPE’s, and hopefully a few more.  Still cant believe it when I hear it. At the end of the day, we in this underground circuit are one big family, and still function that way.


With a tour like Strange Noize, does it make it easier to make it through the day with friends on the road with you?
Oh by all means.  I just got off the Strange Noize Tour as a guest on the Kottonmouth Kings bus.  I have become good friends with all of them over the years, and it really makes it easier out on the road.  We are all out there doing the same job at the same time.  I have also been on tours where the stress and drama makes you wanna just go home (which never happens!), and regroup.  But with Subnoize, its like I said above, a family.  Same with Strange Music and Psychopathic.  I have developed a lot of friendships throughout all camps.  So, yeah, life’s always easier surrounded by friends.


How nice is it for an artist to have access to the internet which helps alleviate the need to be commercialized to make it to a major?
I can’t even begin to explain how much the internet plays a role in both my career and music as a whole nowadays.  Its nuts! I am not a spring chicken to this game either, and have been in it when the internet played no role.  So, seeing it all change has been incredible. And watching our team at Suburban Noize Records utilize the internet has been amazing.  I only know about half of the push they give us online.  I am constantly seeing new things happening with my music via the internet and the future is a bright one. An artist can literally record a song, put it up online, and promote to thousands. Amazing. I remember spending tons of money sending bulky promo packs all over the world to unknown record labels and addresses.  Maybe getting two bites out of 300 promo packs.  Long live the internet!


What do you think of those like Ice Cube and Snoop Dog becoming kid-friendly movie and TV stars?
I think it’s great! I can only hope to be in that position one day.  It’s another side of artistry and entertainment, and if your famous already, why not tap into it?


Did the experience with Chola and those differences help the decision to take it solo?
By all means, yes.  I learned a ton through those years about the business and what NOT to do.  I often wish I could transfer that knowledge to up and comers; but you really need to experience it yourself for it to have an effect.  I commend anyone who has held a band together and is still doing it. Now that is an accomplishment!  We all had different agendas, and I knew that the only way for me to continue upwordz, was to jump off the drum set, explode the band, and focus on the rap.  When you only have yourself to deal with and your own decisions to make, its a lot easier.  But it can also be a lonely road without other members. That’s why I need one more boost into the next realm, where I can get a DJ and bring a crew out with me on my own bus. Ha!

Everyone wants to connect you with some hip-hop artist, but to me there is some definite rock influences there as well. How would you compare your music to today’s music world?
I was a full blown rocker for a long time that listened to a lot of rap.  Being a drummer, you had to be or it wouldn’t make sense.  I listened to anything from Boogie Down Productions to Danzig to Herbie Hancock to Judas Priest.  I mean, I think I listened to everything.  I would compare the music that I create now to a blend between a Beastie Boys meets old Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Dizzie Rascal crossed with a #3 strain of Fugazi and eminem.  Now take a drink of that!   But seriously, my music is hard to put your finger on. It’s a mix match of styles that I have brought to the table and then twisted to my liking. I would like to think I have my own sound and am on the forefront of my own destiny.  I never mimic anyone, and I think that’s how you win!

Thanks for the interview man! MCL!!!!!!