Hey, You’re Cool! FYÜTCH
“Country Kendrick is my first viral character—there will be many more characters”
Rapper FYÜTCH may have recently piqued on your radar when a video of him performing Kendrick Lamar songs with a Country twinge—thereby being christened as “Country Kendrick”—showed up on MTV’s TRL. However, the New York City transplant (by way of Nashville, Tenn.) has been pounding the pavement for years. His FYÜTCHOLOGY segments on social media are both humorous and socially conscious, and FYÜTCH is also a solid fixture in New York City’s current battle rap scene. But nothing is currently quite as thought-provoking as watching the artist in a leather vest and cowboy hat belting out his own honky-tonk rendition of “Humble.” We checked in with FYÜTCH about his twanged-out revamps and he gifted us with an exclusive country rendition of Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal.” This kid is going places.
Okay, so first of all, you and I “met” when I wrote an article and mentioned your name. Talk about that.
My first rap name was Future. You wrote an article for MTV Clutch called “6 Rappers With the Same Names.” All my friends hit me up saying, “You’re on the front page of MTV!” That was right after “Racks on Racks” [featuring Future], so I didn’t know what was next for my career. Your article was the recognition I needed to keep pushing. I messaged you personally to thank you. The dream was still alive.
And then you flew to New York City and met me…
I told you first chance I got I was coming to meet you! I remember landing at LaGuardia like, “Wuz good?” You treated my girlfriend (now wife) and I to dinner, which was amazing, and told us a bunch of stories about the industry. I told you I was going to propose to her the next day! That was a very memorable trip.
And then you moved to New York City…
Meeting you was a major sign for me to move to NYC. It represented a new level in my career. Nashville groomed my style and influenced my musicality. But I knew NYC was my scene. I started grinding immediately upon arrival. Huge shoutout to Tokyo Megaplex and Smoothie Tunes for letting me perform at Knitting Factory first week I touched down.
How has living in NYC been for you, career-wise?
The city’s been good to me. My last single “Catch Me Cruisin’” with producer Boba Sweat made it to the Spotify Fresh Finds playlist. I teach music production classes at a few schools around the Bronx. I lead music business workshops for teens. I host music showcases called Fyütch and Friends, where I feature youth artists alongside professional artists. I’m really passionate about giving the next generation a platform because I used to be that kid wanting advice about the industry. My next venture is breaking into the comedy and TV/film world.
Can you talk about the current state of battle rap out here? I see you out there winning competitions and whatnot.
There’s so many dope MCs in the birthplace of hip-hop. Wow. It’s an honor to win a few freestyle competitions and be surrounded by heavy hitters and legends. Much love to Rabbi Darkside and illSpokinn. Shoutout to Freestyle Mondays, Supreme Bars, End of the Weak, and Legendary Cyphers. They gave me a platform to establish my name in the scene. It gave me confidence like, if I can win battles here, I must be doing hip-hop proud.
Okay and the obvious question of all: Country Kendrick. What provoked this work of art?
I make parodies in my head for a lot of songs [laughs]. Imagine me walking around the house remixing everything on the radio with ridiculous lyrics? [Kendrick Lamar’s] DAMN. is one of my favorite albums this year. For some reason I started singing “Element” in a twangy accent. I took that concept and ran with it for Episode 12 of my show Fyütchology. Originally, it was just going to be a short intro to the episode. But my wife convinced me I should make the whole episode completely a Country Kendrick skit. So I thought of a few other Kendrick songs that would also translate into country songs. “Humble.” was a no-brainer. I chose “Swimming Pools” because it’s freakin’ flawless songwriting and would sound good in any genre. That seems to be the favorite from the skit. Lastly, I bought a country hat from Party City, found some country instrumentals, and recorded it! It was just supposed to get a few laughs, but people actually like the songs! [laughs] I don’t listen to much country music but I’m a fan of singer Kacey Musgraves. She’s a dope lyricist!
Is this what you mean by your genre being “Fyüsion”?
Fyüsion is a lifestyle. Sure, it also refers to my taste in music. As soon as people think they’ve figured me out, or my sound, I switch it up on them. I hate being predictable and I love challenges. I’m never happy doing the same thing for too long. I surround myself with a diverse group of friends and perspectives. Fyüsion is about embracing the beauty in our differences. I think if more people adopted the Fyüsion philosophy, we would spend more time loving each other, instead of separating ourselves into subgroups like political parties. This unified consciousness is a direction that many of us are already moving towards. But unfortunately there’s still a lot of hatred and evil in the world. Fyüsion is about spreading light and positivity through all mediums.
Do you plan to keep this going or are you just gonna ride the wave and then break out the next project?
I like to keep switching it up. Country Kendrick is my first viral character. There will be many more characters, but sure Country Kendrick will come back and make a few appearances. I’m really influenced by comedians like Key & Peele, [Dave] Chappelle, and Tim & Eric. They play several characters and some are recurring. They know the right amount to do the bit without overdoing it. I want to keep creating classic moments. I’m super honored that people are feeling Country Kendrick so much. My comments are flooded with requests for more. That’s a great feeling.
You do a lot of cool and informative bits on your YouTube and Instagram with FYÜTCHOLOGY. Do you have any acting experience? A lot of this is really humorous and theatrical.
I started doing public speaking when I was 6, so I’m really comfortable on stage. People always told me I should pursue acting. When I was 13, I auditioned for a K-Mart commercial, got the role, but then got dropped. That was an early lesson on Hollywood. I acted in a few church and community center plays. But for the better part of my life I was solely focused on my rap career. My new goal is to write and act in a comedy series. Issa Rae is a huge influence to a lot of us right now.
How’s it been being a new dad? Are you grooming your daughter to be an artist?
My daughter is 3 months now, and I don’t even remember life before then! Waking up multiple times throughout the night is torture. Thankfully, she’s starting to sleep more now. I’m loving every minute of the journey, though. Holding her in my arms for the first time made me want to achieve more than I ever have, but all for her. I started my show Fyütchology the week she was born. Her mom plays classical piano, so I think artistry is inevitable. I just want her to learn as many languages as she can as early as possible. French, Mandarin and Spanish are a good start. Then she can teach me!
So what’s next: new music? More Country Kendrick? We’ve been gifted with Country Gang Starr here so will there be more artists to follow?
The streets have spoken. There will definitely be more Country hip hop remixes. You’ll have to wait and see who’s next. Also, I’m releasing a song/video about my daughter really soon with a producer named Echorobot. Imagine a hip hop and gospel vibe with the most heartfelt lyrics I’ve ever spit. New episodes of Fyütchology every week. Kathy, they gave ya boy a glimpse of the big time. I’m not letting up anytime soon. They call you the Princess of Pageviews. Well, give me five years, and I’ll be the Content King. It’s a working title; yours is catchier.