EXCLUSIVE: Hus Kingpin Performs “Kingpin’s Canvas” At Westside Gunn Show
We spoke with the man behind the 'Cocaine Beach' project
As his name suggests, Hus is the mastermind behind #TheWinners operation. After years of hustling music with his co-d SmooVth, Hus almost said farewell to the game. As a group called Tha Connection, they weren’t really getting the love they deserved…until Hus gave listeners a new wave with The Cognac Tape in 2013. This joint set in motion a movement that is now nine members strong and spans two continents. They even have a collabo crew with Planet Asia’s Gold Chain Gang called #ChainWinners. If Hus’ name is unfamiliar, it’s time to start paying attention.
Those that have been following will know Hus and his team did a bunch of classic cuts with Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine over the years. However, a falling out left the two camps at odds. That is, until recently when Westside Gunn had Hus come on stage during his show at The Observatory in Orange County, LA to perform Kingpin’s Canvas. The occasion obviously marked the end of the beef and hopefully the start of a fresh flow of collabs between the crews once again.
After the performance footage, check out an interview with Hus where he lets us know how he feels about politics, overseas fans, and even comic books.
When would you say you started taking rap seriously?
When I dropped The Cognac Tape with Mello Music Group.
How did you connect with Mello Music Group?
I was going to drop it myself. But they hit me up for the record. So, I shot it through them.
Mello Music Group is a dope label, how come you haven’t done anything with them since then?
It’s all independent shit. I wouldn’t mind doing another one with them. But I usually do one-offs.
You’ve put out a bunch of releases with overseas labels. Sometimes you even release vinyl with one label and the cassette of the same drop with another. Speak on dealing with overseas labels.
Overseas labels are better to deal with just because that’s really who is buying a lot of your shit anyways. So, naturally you’ll get a better response or sometimes a better attitude when dealing with them.
Where would you say your biggest fanbase is outside of the States?
Probably Europe. Japan too.
You have your latest album Cocaine Beach dropping on vinyl on Daupe! Media next week. How did that pop off?
Big Ghost handled that. That’s Big Ghost’s homies over there. He just hit me up and told me, they want to fuck with it.
Tell us about the feel on Cocaine Beach.
It feels like if Blow the movie had a fucking Hus Kingpin soundtrack.
Since we talking on the 4th of July, how do you feel about the political climate in the US right now?
It’s a House of Cards, man. That shit is just coming to real life right now. But it’s always been like that. Politics is like any other fucking thing. Everybody trying to figure everything out. No one has the answers. People are playing games…it’s a fucking House of Cards. Shout out to Mahershala Ali.
That’s a good segue. How did you connect with Mahershala Ali?
Just music. Appreciation for the music. We ended up chopping it up a few more times and clicking, but it started with that.
Had you heard his music from before he got so focused on the acting?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got some new shit from him too. I got a lot of Prince Ali shit.
Will that be like verses on your stuff or his own new material?
I can’t really spill his cognac everywhere but it will come out.
How come a bunch of yall (The Winners) moved out to California?
It was really just to get away from that East Coast. Get out to the sun and shit like that.
Do you find the West Coast better for your creative process and recording?
For me, yeah…and I’m sure for Roze too ‘cause you got everything out here. And they’re more into different types of music than New York. New York is getting back to it but at the time we came out here, the shit hadn’t really evolved yet.
Talk about your relationship with them Griselda boys.
I knew them since 2014. They took it to the top. I mean, shit, they on Shady! Basically, they showed me to stop playing around with it.
Tell us a little something about the performance at Gunn’s show.
We squashed our little beef that night. It was a surprise and none of the fans knew I was coming out or performing.
What inspires you to make music?
I like to record with Roze because Roze gets hyped. He gets really fucking serious with the shit. I like being in the studio with him. ‘Cause I don’t always want to record. I’m not in the studio all the time. I’m not one of those rappers. I’m not one of those dudes who rap all the fucking time. You probably wouldn’t even think I rap, if you knew me. That’s how much I’m not in the fucking studio. But he makes me want to get in the studio. He makes me want to do this shit. Same with SmooVth and same with the rest of the guys.
I know you’ve used Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin for album art. You a comic fan at all?
Yeah, I fuck with Wilson heavy…and also Snowflame.*
Hus Kingpin’s Top 5 West Coast Emcees
1. Planet Asia
2. MC Eiht
3. Suga Free
4. Too $hort
5. Brotha Lynch Hung
*Obscure DC Comics villain who gets his powers from snorting coke