INNER VIEW: Block McCloud
Some of your favorite hooks may have been sung by someone you may have never heard of. Maybe you’re more familiar with The Brooklyn Academy or Army of the Pharaohs. After more than twenty years of engineering, producing other artists and emceeing, Block McCloud is back with a new label, The Adrenaline Tour and an album Four Walls with DJ Waxwork. It’s sure to have more of those melodies we like. Some may know him as “Captain Hook” but you can now refer to him as an artist reborn.
Words by Will Loiseau
What’s the best way for today’s independent artist to get paid?
For the most part you have to make a name for yourself to get that bread. You gotta have a little money to make more money. For me it’s been a long time coming and I’ve paid dues. I invested in myself to make sure that my music was getting out there to be heard. I’ve never had to but sometimes you may have to invest to get the rapper you want on your project in order to get that co-sign. I was fortunate to have come up during the Lyricist Lounge era where a lot of us came up at the same time and we helped to lay the foundation for the underground. It was Ill Bill, Jedi Mind Tricks, Jean Grae, Talib Kweli, Mos Def and I among many others. I was part of that generation and made a name for myself. Nowadays, it takes music, video and a little money to promote. That’s the only way to do it.
You’ve collaborated with many of what most would consider underground rappers. What mainstream artists would you like to work with?
Sick Jacken [Psycho Realm], Kriss Kalico, Busta Rhymes and Canibus…I think Lil’ Wayne’s a character. If he could get on some crazy shit with me on a joint I’d probably do that or Eminem. I’m a fan of his since I met him way back. He’s probably not doing the same stuff he did back then but if I could convince him to become the Eminem of old on a track I would definitely enjoy that.
Hook writing is a challenge for most artists. Is it true that you’ve sung hooks for Method Man, Canibus and Sean Price? How did you develop that skill?
My father was a salsa singer. I guess singing was just part of my genetic makeup. Growing up I would listen to cartons and commercials on T.V. and just absorbed what I was watching. I’d memorize every melody to every television show. Giggles were something I got into and it became something that I was able to do myself. I’m able to come up with things that are catchy and easy to absorb. I guess I’ve been blessed with that.
What message are you looking to get across with this album?
More than anything else would have to be freedom of expression. I touch a bit upon how the government is slowly but surely looking to eliminate many of our rights. Our civil liberties, freedom of speech whether it is on a track or with the press shouldn’t be touched. The government and music industry are trying to regulate the internet and what content can be on there. They lost a lot of that control when CD sales started to dip. People started downloading more and more music so that kind of put the power back in the public’s hands. I’m a dude on the album who recognizes all of this and starts to speak out against it. They think I’m crazy when I try to convince the public so I get locked up inside of an insane asylum. I then flip it by grabbing all of the insane people, criminals or whatever and create a huge army of psychopathic free speakers who go out and kill people lyrically. The theme of the album overall is for the people to take back their freedom.
Where is hip hop now?
I think it’s in a good place, especially for independent artists. As long as they don’t try to regulate it and pass internet regulations, I think we’re okay. As long as fans continue to support their favorite artists by buying the records and going to shows things should be okay. We’ve taken back the ability to do what we want to do. As independent artists we don’t have the budgets that Rihanna and Jay-Z have to put millions of dollars behind a project and have it heard all over the world but for the most part I’m getting heard and seen and the buzz is growing.
Do you have anything else you’d like to leave our readers with?
Yeah, big thank you to Rapper’s Delite and all my supporters. Thanks to my affiliates, Army of the Pharaohs, Suicide Squad and DMG [Disturbia Music Group]. We’ll be releasing albums regularly and will have some dope music for the people real soon.
Thank you for speaking to Rapper’s Delite.