Coasting Towards Greatness with Green Hypnotic [Interview]
If there is one individual who we can say is a quintessential representation of our city’s new generation of rap artists, there is no doubt in my mind that Green Hypnotic is that person. Independent, hard working and not afraid to stray off the beaten path, he has created his own brand, focusing on quality above other considerations. Since dropping his EP InCOASTnito, he has remained as proactive as always, stopping by a few cities in Quebec as part of his Kingdom Tour and releasing a second EP with partner-in-crime Da-P called Nostalgia, which reflects his evolution as an artist, as we prepare for his debut album COASTar. As his Alaiz crewmates Kaytranada, High Klassified and Da-P join reputable indie labels in the States, it’s only a matter of time before they catch on to Green Hypnotic’s crowd-pleasing sound. We asked him a few questions before his hits the stage at Paint Jam, which will be held at Le Belmont this Thursday as part of the opening ceremonies for the MURAL Festival on Boulevard Saint-Laurent.
E: Urban fashion blog AuxJourleJour caused a stir by making a Top 5 list of best Montreal rappers under the age of 25. You were in it. There was a lot of love and some hate as well. How do you feel about the discussion it created?
GH: I’m not going to front, 2012-2013 were big for me career wise so it meant a lot. Hard work pays off but being on a top 5 is only the beginning. My hunger is at a all time high right now, I’m ready to take it to the next level. Concerning the feedback, I was heavily prepared for it. Love and hate comes with the territory. Shoutout to AuxJourLeJour.
E: Super Ego is your first single off your upcoming solo album COASTAR. Is this the beginning of a new era for you as an artist?
GH: Kind of, because I finally found my sound and psychologically I’m ready to share the stories of my personal life with my fans on music. I don’t really see it as a new beginning though, I just took a personal approach this time.
E: Needless to say, you have so many dope beatmakers in your circles from the whole Alaiz Crew. Do you think this gives you an advantage over other rappers?
GH: I guess. It’s a bonus because I found myself as an artist, other than that I think the most important thing is that I actually have a chemistry with them first. See, it’s one thing to make a song on a dope beat but when you have a certain chemistry with the beatmaker, that’s pretty much what takes it to the next level.
E: Just like High Klassified, you clearly understand the need to brand your image, so that people listen to your sounds. Where do you get inspiration for your visual concepts and artist photography?
GH: The only thing that inspires me musically right now is my childhood, see, except for my personal experiences, animes and videogames are pretty much the only things I cared about when I was a kid. Everything about me as an artist is based on that. I won’t tell you my secret technique to stay creative though (laughs).
E: Tells us about your affiliation to C.O.A.S.T. Life, who are the members and do you have any projects in the works?
GH: C.O.A.S.T. is an acronym for “Constantly”, “Observing”, “And”, “Staying”, “True”. I started the team with my best friend BB-Boy (aka Chibi) back in high-school, we had a different name at the time but I added the “Life” because it’s actually our lifestyle. I’m trying to make it into an independant label. The main artists are; BB-BOY, C’nee and myself. The in-house producers are; High-Klassified and Da-P. In their case it would be more of an affiliation because they are both signed.
The only solo project that I’m focused on right now is COASTAR. Other than that, I’m working on the mixing/mastering of BB-BOY’s first mixtape called “Stereo Live & Lounge”. Stay tuned for that.
E: Bow Down was the first single of InCOASTnito, your last solo LP, and you started going by Prince at that point. Why was this a pivotal record for you?
GH: Well “Prince” is more of a nickname, my artist name will always remain the same. It was me, re-inventing myself as an artist. It’s kind of like a kid going through adolescence.
E: On the Nostalgia EP you created with producer Da-P , you came back with a more refined sound.
GH: Yes, indeed, he’s the genius. He’s always going to be involved in my projects.
E: As a performer, what has been the one most challenging thing for you to overcome?
GH: My first tour called the “Kingdom Tour”. It just made me realize that nothing is impossible. You just need to believe in yourself and stick to your plan.
E: You are a 90s baby and clearly rep a new school aesthetic. However, we do see some allusions to artists from previous eras in your flow and swag, namely Big Daddy Kane. Who are your biggest influences in music?
GH: (Laughs). I swear those B.D.K. comparisons are killing me man. Well, if we’re talking about the business aspect of the game, i’m a student of Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa. If we’re talking about rap in general, the rapper who influenced me the most has to be Stack Bundles.
E: In terms of urban music, do you think Montreal has a signature sound?
GH: I might be able to answer that question in a few years. I will tell you this though, ALAIZ and C.O.A.S.T. Life are always going to be innovative when it comes to sound.
E: Which Montreal area artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?
GH: To be honest, i’m picky when it comes to collabs from Montreal, I like it when it’s challenging. Right now I want to collab with Ruffsound, K6A, Alaclair, Leila Bogah + her producer June and Rara Gaya.
E: What can we expect to see at your set for Paint Jam this Thursday at Belmont?
GH: A lot of positive energy, a lot of fun and maybe a new song off my album, who knows.
Catch Green Hypnotic at PAINT JAM, which is going down Thursday June 12th 2014 at Le Belmont (4483 Boul. St-Laurent) alongside Da-P, Kenlo Craqnuques, Banx & Ranx (Soké & KNY Factory) and some live body painting by MTL ZOO. Advance tickets are $10 at Sub-V or Hip Hop Café, and it’s $15 at the door. There’s also tons of other activities happening this week end as part of the Saint-Laurent street sale and the MURAL Festival.
More info on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/268009196704903/