If you like Hip-Hop and specifically the Milwaukee Hip-Hop scene, there is no possible way that you have missed the name “Haz Solo”.
With a steady stream of beat tapes, mixtapes, albums, and other stuff, Haz is one of those artists that shows his dedication to his craft and beyond that, he is going to take chances. Those may be musical chances or they may be life chances, either way, he is intent on living on his own schedule and he is motivated to make music his career, beyond just being his life.
The road of Haz Solo the artist has been an interesting one. You’ve been a part of a super group, you’ve done solo releases as an emcee and as a producer, you’ve teamed up with a close friend to do an album, you’ve released a project with people met via the internet, all which has led you to move to Los Angeles. What’s the plan from here?
Get cake. Next question.
You took the route of getting out of Milwaukee to pursue music professionally. Do you personally feel that moving to a music capital is going to be the only way a Milwaukee artist breaks or do those who remain in the city have a chance of gaining enough attention to maybe draw consumerism their way?
It’s all about strategy, who you know, skills, and working smart. It’s not about where you reside that’s holding you (artist) back. I don’t think that builds up the confidence in Milwaukee, nor the artist. We have to think beyond the city in order to grow. Can’t stay inside the house all your life. You have to see the world and what it has to offer.
With the world getting smaller thanks to overnight delivery and the wonderful internet, more and more people are doing projects with artists from all over the planet without needing money to fly them here and there. Technology is pretty wonderful in that way. You recently did an EP with a guy from California and another guy from North Carolina. What was that experience like?
Yes Yes! Keno and Wallsauce, better known as theOTHERSIDE. I found out about these cats through this cat King Alga who randomly hit me up on Myspace telling me about a clothing line. He introduced us virtually. From there, after the first record we thought it would only be right to start on an EP. I’ve worked with a lot of folks online and it’s a great resource. I’ve met tons of talented artists online. I wish I could work with all of them or at least link them with other dope artist.
You have a really good musical relationship with Dylan Thomas outside of your friendship. Your album All Jokes Aside was really enjoyable. What was it like crafting an entire album together? There has to be some good (true) stories you can talk about. (Note: *true* is included because Haz and Dylan are quite the jokesters when it comes to many things, specifically each other)
HAHAHA! Well working on AJA was a cool experience. It was still sort of a long distance thing since he stays in Racine and I was in Milwaukee, so we sent tracks back and forth via the net, to having meetings at the Jackalope Lounj exchanging beat CD’s. We’ve also written a few songs together in the same room as well as recorded them. As you stated we are both jokesters but we got the job done.
1 story: Ya momma.
Whaz seems to be another kindred spirits of yours. How do you guys work together when he’s designing for you? Do your minds seems to meet on an etheral plane where you just know what each other wants?
Yes, you are exactly right! Most of the time we collab on projects, I have the music already done which gives him an idea of what to create visually. I’m usually not there while he is being creative. One of his things I guess. I like to be surprised on the final outcome as well. Never surprised on how ill it turns out though.
A friend of mine recently moved to L.A. to make it in music (he’s a dope singer/songwriter) and he loves it out there. He of course misses some of the aspects of Milwaukee. What do miss, if anything, about the Cream City?
Family, friends, Speed Queen, weather……yup that’s it.
Not only did you make a move across the country, but you also recently took some time out to visit Japan. How was your trip to Japan? What was experiencing such a foreign culture like that like musically?
Japan was amazing to say the least. It was definitely inspiring just being out of the states. Being on turf on the other side of the world was an eye-opening experience for me. I did create during my stay. I made a slew of beats and wrote a few rhymes.
My pops is amazing. Very talented man. Like father like son…end of story. No for real, he has inspired me to go far beyond my limits musically. You’ll see a growth in my music soon. I’m just now putting the advice he has given me to use.
You tend to have a lot more fun lyrically, and are filled with punch lines and quick turns of a phrase. Where did you get your sense of humor and how did you decide to apply it to your rhymes?
Thank you sir for that compliment. Truthfully, I’ve always been witty. Since I was a child I would sit back and observe everything funny. It’s just natural.
Doom is an interesting person who loves to play his character and misses shows on occasion saying that people are there to see his character and not necessarily him. Being that you are a Doom fan, how do you feel about that? Also, have you ever filled in for Doom when he hasn’t felt like performing? Was that YOU in Chicago several months ago?
He is an artist! He can do whatever he wants (#villain). If you choose to purchase a ticket to a DOOM show after knowing about his stunts and get mad and rowdy, you should be ashamed. It’s all a part of being a super-villain. And, NO that was not me in Chicago. I was on the last train to Paris…no Diddy.
When you are creating a beat and are looking for a sample to cultivate into something more, how do you begin your journey?
I usually start off by a random grab at a stack of records. I look for smooth rhythms. It doesn’t have to be soul music, it could be rock, jazz, reggae, etc… then I chop away.
What do you like more: Emceeing or Beatsmithing…and why?
Right now my thing has been producing…it has taken the lead of HAZ SOLO now. I still write and love to write rhymes, just haven’t been on that lately. Producing and creating different sounds inspires me to write now…I spent so much time rhyming over industry beats I figure I make some ill shnit to catch wreck on.
Any shout outs?
Shouts out to Milwaukee, all my folks in L.A., Chicago, The Racine Bully (Dylan Thomas), JIMIJAMES <=She’s everything, all of my friends in Japan, Whaz, my blood cousin D. Ellzey, Papa Hun all Day, UMG, The Cranberry Show, House of M, DJ Madhatter, Tarik Moody, Darren Cole, Signif, theOTHERSIDE, NOah Deeakili, Frankie Flowers, any and everyone who has been an inspiration in my life I thank you ALL. Nothing but LOVE.
To catch up with Haz on Twitter, hit him up at @HAZxTHEWORLD.