Hurricane Chris Interview
|Label:||Polo Grounds/J Records|
|Twitter:||Hurricane Chris on Twitter|
|Website:||Hurricane Chris's Website|
After seeing countless artists break through to the mainstream with a chart-smashing single, release an album, and drop off the radar in the blink of an eye, it’s easy to get a little jaded. Sometimes, though, the cynics are dead wrong. Case in point: Hurricane Chris, the Louisiana rapper whose ‘07 debut single had clubgoers across the nation hollerin’ “A Bay Bay,” but left a quite a few naysayers muttering “one-hit wonder.” Two years later, Chris has proven his doubters wrong with another dancefloor-packing lead single, and is preparing for the release of a second album that promises to be even more ratchet than the first.
Set to be Unleashed upon the listening public this summer via Polo Grounds/J Records, Chris’ sophomore disc comes complete with “She’s Fine” (ft. Superstarr), the smash hit that’s got everyone—including Halle Berry herself—getting down to the latest freestyle dance craze.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Hurricane Chris steps into the Booth to discuss the two women in his life who inspired him to create his current club hit, why there’s really no wrong way to do the dance (and anyone who says differently is an idiot), and just how long he plans to stay in the rap game.
Listen to the Interview
Hurricane Chris Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy, “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Louisiana emcee whose mainstream debut single, “Ay Bay Bay,” dominated the airwaves in 2007. Two years later, he is gearing up to release his sophomore album, Unleashed, on the heels of his new smash hit, “Halle Berry (She’s Fine).” Please welcome, for the second time, my man Hurricane Chris—how you doin’?
Hurricane Chris: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up?! Let’s get ratchet, let’s get ratchet!
DJ Booth: In the Booth, my man! Thank you so much for joinin’ me.
Hurricane Chris: Man, I’m glad to be on the line with you, choppin’ it up—what’s up with you, what’s good?
DJ Booth: Well, everyone is doin’ the dance, everyone is talkin’ about the single, it’s rising up the charts, so I think it’s only fitting that we kick off this interview by discussing “Halle Berry.”
Hurricane Chris: Halle Berry, Halle Berry! Bum-ba-ba-bum, ba-bum-bum! You know, they hollerin’, “Bow! Bow-bow-bow!” The club’s crazy right now, new single blazin’!
DJ Booth: Isn’t that the truth! I’m told that “Halle Berry” really is a dedication to strong and beautiful women everywhere.
Hurricane Chris: That’s what it is: it’s a mindstate, it’s where you’re at in your head—if you’ve got your self-esteem right, your hair done, your nails done, you keep your attitude right when it’s time to keep it right and you do the fool when it’s time to do the fool. I like everything about her; that’s Halle Berry!
DJ Booth: Chris, who is the strongest, most beautiful woman in your life?
Hurricane Chris: Man, I have to say my grandma. Yeah, both of my grandmas.
DJ Booth: Do your grandmas know that this song is based off the inspiration that they gave you growin’ up?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, they know that. And I’m not just saying any grandmas; I got some real, real, real special grandmas. A lot of people aren’t blessed to say that—I take that as a blessing. They’re here for me.
DJ Booth: Absolutely. Do your grandmas break it down and do the dance, too?
Hurricane Chris: You know, when they see me on TV, they’re gonna get to movin’, man—they ain’t gonna sit down! They love to see their boy on TV, they know the words, they’re gonna learn whatever’s goin’ on and make sure they ain’t too far behind!
DJ Booth: Chris, if for some reason you couldn’t have used Halle Berry’s name in this song, name a few backup options-
Hurricane Chris: Miss Berry, Miss Berry!
DJ Booth: [laughs] What are a few backup options? Let’s say you couldn’t use her name, but they would still fulfill the “She’s Fine” requirement of the song.
Hurricane Chris: You know, I’d've had to hit ‘em with the “Miss Berry.” I’d had to switch it up and take the “Halle” off and hit ‘em with the “Miss.” But the legal departments weren’t trippin’, they endorsed it, and now we’re gonna make ‘em holler “Halle Berry!” till their heads fall off.
DJ Booth: Since you created a song entitled “Halle Berry,” I think it’s only right that you call her up and tell her she needs to rename her new perfume line “Hurricane Chris.”
Hurricane Chris: Oh, now that’s it right there, that’s it—how did you think of that?
DJ Booth: I was watching her on the Ellen show, doing the dance to “Halle Berry,” and I was thinking, she’s promoting her product, but where are you at? She needs to be promoting [you], right?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, she does! We’ve gotta be 51/50, one hundred and one percent real with this thing! Yeah, that’s it right there! You’re thinkin’ to the future—I’m gonna have to give you a new car for that one, when we go through with that!
DJ Booth: Well, I’m gonna hold you to that, but I thought of something even deeper than that—so, “Hurricane Chris,” let’s roll off that: if you think about it, a spray of perfume to either the wrist or the neck, it could be like a cool breeze off the hurricane; I mean, you could really make some serious dough if you could convince her to do this!
Hurricane Chris: Ooooooooh boy, did you hear yourself?!
DJ Booth: I wrote it down, too, just so that you can have backup proof!
Hurricane Chris: We’re gonna have to chop it up about this—that’s that big money, man, that’s that big money right there! That’s big money talkin’! [You] must be a manager or something!
DJ Booth: No, but I have have fielded a few offers. If you’re interested, we can talk about it later.
Hurricane Chris: Man, we’re gonna chop it up and get some money together! I like you already, baby!
DJ Booth: Absolutely, Chris. I spent about 20 minutes earlier today just browsing YouTube for people who were doin’ the dance—I found kids, teens, adults, even a few senior citizens, which I thought was very impressive. But I wanna know: Chris, do you ever hop on the computer and scan the ‘net for people doin’ the dance to your song?
Hurricane Chris: Man, every day I turn on YouTube and look for people doin’ the “Halle Berry” dance—I do that every day! I did it today, I did it yesterday. Today I [saw] a new dude doin’ it who I ain’t never saw doin it, a dude in a black T-shirt and a yellow hat. I’ve been seein’ girls doin’ it for the longest, so anytime I get time I’m gonna see what they’re doin’ on there, if they’re “Bow, Bow!” if they’re hittin’ it right!
DJ Booth: [laughs] Now, I need some confirmation here: the other day, I tried to do the dance, and a buddy of mine said, “Naw naw naw, Z, you’re doing it all wrong?” So, Chris, is there a wrong way to do the dance, or is my buddy an idiot?
Hurricane Chris: Your buddy is a complete idiot! There’s no wrong way to do the dance. It’s your dance; you do it however you wanna do it, as long as you get the divide down, as long as you’re on beat [when] you’re rockin’ from side to side. You’re gonna add your own stuff to it: you’re gonna be lookin’ in the mirror with it, you’re gonna grab your head with it, the women gonna grab their waists with it, the dudes gonna throw their arms with it—there’s one hundred and one ways to do it, baby! You just do you!
DJ Booth: Exactly! I knew it was a freestyle dance, he didn’t wanna listen to me, now I have the audio proof in this interview—thank you.
Hurricane Chris: You should’ve bet him some money, you should’ve bet him 50 dollars!
DJ Booth: I shoulda! Chris, as we mentioned in the open, you’re set to release your sophomore album, entitled Unleashed. Based off this title selection, is it safe to assume that now you possess more creative control than you did on your first album?
Hurricane Chris: A hundred and one percent more! It’s all the way me droppin’ in the studio, and when I drop I’m gonna feed it to you. When I cook this food, I ain’t gonna sit it on the table and try to make it look pretty, I ain’t gonna put little parsley pieces, fancy grass all over it—no decorations! I’m gonna take it straight from the stove to the plate and I’m gonna feed it right to you, with nobody tellin’ me what they think should go in the pot before I serve it—you feel me?
DJ Booth: Did you not have this opportunity on the first album?
Hurricane Chris: I mean, if you’re a freshman, they’re a fool if they let you come out and make all the decisions—they’re just gambling too much money!
DJ Booth: Do you think, had they let you, though, you would have been able to create more music in your own lane?
Hurricane Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s exactly what I would’ve done! I always will be here, relevant. God got a plan for me, you feel me? You can talk till you’re blue in the face, but he got a plan.
DJ Booth: Let’s talk about this plan, because the two follow-up singles after you released “Ay Bay Bay,” “Handclap” and “Playas Rock,” did not meet the success of [their] predecessor. How do you plan to not repeat this pattern, so after “Halle Berry” begins to die down, slides down the charts, when the second single’s about to hit, so as to solidify [a] place permanently on [the charts]?
Hurricane Chris: Man, you’ve just gotta keep yourself relevant. You’ve gotta make sure you promote the artist instead of the song, ‘cause the song’s gonna always be big. You’ve gotta make sure you push yourself over the top; you’ve gotta drop mixtapes, you’ve gotta stay relevant for something other than the last thing you was remembered for. You’ve gotta always keep something fresh on their minds, something new.
DJ Booth: Chris, what do you say to listeners who are not from the Southern region and are not used to dance hip-hop tracks, and are sayin’ to themselves, “Oh, another one? Didn’t he just put out a song like this?” What do you say to someone like that, to convince them [of otherwise]?
Hurricane Chris: If you’re thinkin’ like that, you’ve just got the wrong type of music, you feel me? ‘Cause that one right there is gonna get the women up off their feet, and that one’s all about the women! Don’t be a hater, be a participator, baby!
DJ Booth: [laughs] If she’s havin’ a good time, know what I’m thinkin’? I’m havin’ a good time.
Hurricane Chris: How can you possibly be havin’ a bad time?
DJ Booth: Exactly!
Hurricane Chris: How? And she’s goin’ that hard!
DJ Booth: What are a few goals outside of your music career, as you break the 21-year-old threshold?
Hurricane Chris: Comin’ out of my music career, man—I ain’t never comin’ out of it, but I will tell you straight up like this: by the time a couple of more years go by, I’m gonna be there jumpin’ to my major thing; I’m gonna be poppin’ my record label, 51/50. It’s been a constant grind up to this day, you feel me? Ain’t nothing changed about me, I’m still the same dude, and after [Unleashed drops], you’re just gonna see that I’m hotter than lava!
DJ Booth: See, here’s the thing: I can picture you as a CEO, but I’m having a hard time believing that you could sit still in an office chair on a computer. Because I’ve seen you perform live and I’ve talked to you on the phone, and you’re a ball of energy, my man!
Hurricane Chris: That’s what’s up! I’m gonna use this energy! I ain’t gonna never stop rapping, you feel me? I plan to be doing [it] till I can’t do it no more. I ain’t gonna play about going out; my going-out day’s gonna come, but until then I’m gonna be on their ass like white on rice!
DJ Booth: [laughs] So, no matter what, no matter how old you get, you’re gonna be out on that dance floor, whether it’s a cane or a walker in hand?
Hurricane Chris: Ninety years old in a platinum walker with diamonds in it, comin’ through like, “Move out the way!” [laughs]
DJ Booth: Well, I don’t know, Chris, if you buy me that car, I’m not sure you’re gonna have the money for the diamond-encrusted walker…
Hurricane Chris: You’re gonna have to let me get that back then, right Z? We made a bad deal! 51/50, we get money, man—it’s gonna be all good. When you get old, we’re gonna have you right on the side of me; you’ll have yours iced out with candy and everything, two Hoverounds! [laughs]
DJ Booth: Sounds good. If that’s happening, that means we both live long lives.
Hurricane Chris: Good lives, good lives. And we’re gonna still be ratchet!
DJ Booth: Chris, give everybody a website or MySpace page so they can find out more about you and, of course the exciting, brand new album you have this summer, Unleashed.
Hurricane Chris: Hit me up at myspace.com/hurricane. I’m always on there, I’m gonna get right back at you. Album comin’ out at the end of July, it’s entitled Unleashed, and I’ve got a mixtape with Boosie, A Bad Azz Hurricane. Make sure you hit up [106 & Park] and MTV and request the video, hit up the radio stations and request my new single!
DJ Booth: Everything you’re talkin’ about—I’m gonna use this word very carefully—is ratchet, am I right?
Hurricane Chris: Let’s get ratchet, let’s get ratchet!
DJ Booth: [laughs] Chris, thank you so much for takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth. The best of luck, my friend!
Hurricane Chris: Appreciate it, boss.
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