Interview With Halfbreed - February, 2000
Murder Dog Magazene
When did Half Breed come together?
Skrapz: During the whole time House Of Krazees was going on I wasn't part of the original three. At the beginning it was ROC, Mr. Bones and Hectic. I was always there chillin, doin my own thing with my prior partner. Then I did some solo stuff. When House Of Krazees split up me and Sol just decided to work on some stuff. We did like a final House Of Krazees project. Then we said that's enough of House Of Krazees, let's start from scratch, let's do our own thing. So we decided to do Half Breed. We left our label, started our own label.
What label was House Of Krazees on?
Skrapz: Latnem Entertainment. Our new label is Virus Entertainment, and we run it ourselves. Me and Sol do everything. We don't have a manager, we don't have a CEO, it's just us.
What was the name of your group when House Of Krazees was going on?
Skrapz: We had a group called Sleep Walkers, we were tryin to get something together, but things were never the way they should've been. I was pretty much rollin with Sol, gettin into the production side of things.
Why did House Of Krazees break up?
Sol: The other two members took off because things over at Latnem from the get go wasn't being run the right way. Psychopathic (Insane Clown Posse's label) offered a greater opportunity for them, so they took the better opportunity.
How did House Of Krazees come together?
We came together in 1993. Me, Mr. Bones and Hectic, were childhood friends, since we were 7-8 years old. We all grew up in the East side of Detroit.
Where did Esham grow up?
Sol: Same neighborhood. It was a couple blocks over from where we grew up.
What made you start the group in the first place?
Sol: I was already in a group, back in 1986-87. I was into music, did some recording back then. I was in a group with my cousin, Evil, Rollin' With Strength, that's what the group was called. Esham produced a couple songs on the album for us. The album came out in 1991. Things didn't work out and I was doing my solo project. At that time Mr. Bones and Hectic weren't into Rap, they were attempting to get into the music scene. Me being knowledgeable about music, I approached the two of them and said, we were childhood friends and everything, let's get this group together. So we decided to do a group together. We started recording. We got in touch with Esham. We opened up our first show with Esham at St. Andrews Hall in 1993. Everything went great, and we kept rolling. But it was kinda rough cause things over at Latnem Entertainment never got off on the right foot. Things we always promised and always pulled back. Promised and pulled back. Even the budget would be promised and pulled back. It was as if they didn't want to progress.
Did they put out other artists beside House Of Krazees?
Sol: No, just House Of Krazees and another project that I did called The Howse in 1998.
When you first started what was going on with groups like Insane Clown Posse and Kid Rock?
Sol: It was a lot goin on in Detroit, a lotta groups doin the wicked Rap like Esham. There were a lot of Gangsta Rap artists, Hip Hop artists, there was a lot happening on the scene. Insane Clown Posse was on their first release, which was Carnival Of Carnage. It came out independently on Psychopathic Records. It sold well too. Kid Rock was doing pretty good, he was doin some independent releases himself. He was doin some shows with Esham a little before we started House Of Krazees. But Detroit wasn't considered a happening Rap city, it was all about LA at that time, but it was still a lot happening here. It was a lotta good artists and a lotta shitty artists too.
Who was making the beats for House Of Krazees?
Sol: I was the main producer. But everybody always had a lot of input. My partners always had an influence on the music. I'd say it was a joint collaboration.
When I hear House Of Krazees I feel that you were influenced by Esham.
Sol: Very influenced. Esham was a big influence. If you're talkin about Detroit Rap, it was Esham who started it all. We always thought he was the best at what he did. And naturally when you do things you pattern yourself after the best. You don't steal from the best, but you pattern yourself. Esham had a lot of influence on our music.
The more I find out about Detroit Rap, everything leads to Esham. He was the first to be doing that wicked shit.
Sol: Hell yeah. Esham was the innovator of the whole genre of music. The wicked shit.
Also he was using Rock guitar in his music way back.
Sol: Esham used a lotta old crazy-ass Heavy Metal samples. That was something that Rap didn't mess with too much. Esham brought the more rough side of that shit. Esham would sample shit like Ozzy Osborn. Esham influenced a lotta people lyrically too, gettin into the dark subjects and shit.
House Of Krazees used to wear masks when you performed?
Sol: At first we didn't, we just went as we were. Then the masks came into effect. We started wearin the masks on stage, but only in the beginning of our shows when we first appeared on stage. Then we'd take the masks off and do our thing.
I just can't understand why Detroit Rap has been ignored by the media all these years.
Sol: Esham and Natas have done a lot of things that people don't know about, same with Insane Clown Posse. They're pioneers and they've been overlooked, pushed aside. House Of Krazees too.
How many albums did you have out?
Sol: I don't even know. Seven or eight maybe. A lot of that stuff you can't even get. Like the first record that we released in '93, they're very little in existence. We only put out 500 of them, they were a very limited piece. The last I heard, one of them on the Internet was sellin for hundreds of dollars. A lot of that stuff is totally out of circulation.
Who's got the master tapes?
Sol: Probably Walter at Latnem. There are some stores in Detroit that can get some of the tapes because they know the distributors to go through. Like the store Hot Hits over here, they stock like three or four of the House Of Krazees albums. You can call Sue at Hot Hits, it's 810-777-3640.
Mainly House Of Krazees was selling just in the Detroit area?
Sol: Yeah, we were always local. But we always made a lot of noise for that area. Like Esham was always more widespread. And ICP, they were really widespread--they toured a lot. But House Of Krazees never really got off from the first level to progress to the second or third level. We always stayed on that first level. We were always local.
Because of your label?
Sol: Yeah, that's why we were always stuck on the first level. Because of the label. The label didn't back us up enough. They promised a lot and never produced. You can't blame the other guys for leaving. I don't even know why I stayed as long as I did. I shoulda left a long time ago.
Then after they left you went on to release one more House Of Krazees album?
Skrapz: Around August of 98 is when we decided to do the final House Of Krazees project. We weren't sure what kinda response we were gonna get with the other two members gone. But Sol wanted to finish it the right way for the fans. We did one project called The Night They Kame Home. It was an ep, it had 8 or 9 tracks on it. It ended up dropping in February of 99. It did real good, Overture distributed it, and they got us on the Mail Dominance Tour with Esham. Around that time our investor, Walter, decided that he didn't want to front out the funds to progress. Sol knew that's the way it had been in the past, so he and I decided to "Fuck it, let's get the hell outta hear." So we started with what we're doin now, that's Half Breed.
Have you released anything yet as Half Breed?
Skrapz: Yeah, our first maxi single was released on November 23. It's called Serial Killaz. It's got six tracks on it. It's doin pretty good. A lotta people still don't know that Sol is the guy from House Of Krazees. It's like a rebirth for everyone. It's all new projects, but it's the same people. We're still local here in Detroit, we're just in the first phase, we gotta get it to that second phase.
It's hard to break in when you're doing something different. What you're doing, Esham, Insane Clown Posse, Natas, Twiztid, it's a whole different kind of Rap.
Sol: Right and a lot of people don't realize how much work everybody has put in since day one. Like Esham now, he'll push and work. And us, we push and work. And Insane Clown Posse, all they do is tour--work and pushin. That's some hard workers. We're all just tryin to think of any way possible to get ourselves out there. Now with Murder Dog openin up doors for us it's incredible. Especially with me and Skrapz, cause we are like the lowest on the totem pole, just starting out and on our own. For us to be getting exposure, it feels good!
How different are you from House Of Krazees?
Sol: It's not a major difference. Growth-wise there is a difference. We are going through a transitional phase, we are getting better at what we do. We're still keeping our hardcore sound, still kickin the wicked shit, but the music is gettin better. It's goin to a different level now. We're becoming more complete now. It's the same kinda lyrics, but the lyrics are deeper now. It's not just all kinds of crazy shit, it's a meaning behind it.
You're still making the wicked shit?
Skrapz: It's all wicked shit.
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