Famed for his extreme lyrical content, Necro has built up a cult following around the world and impressed many with his genius word play and on point production. Yet despite grinding for over ten years, the Jewish born New York native's music has remained relatively underground. Nevertheless, he has grossed an impressive 1.6 million within a few years doing it independently, and is confident about doing it his own way. Anna Nathanson met him to find out more…
To what extent does your music reflect the real you, and how much of it is done for shock value?
I'm a hardcore dude, I've always been into extreme sh**. But I don't just do f***ed up sh** for the sake of it, I don't go looking for controversy, and I'm not a gimmick. I make hip hop I wanna hear, that I'm not hearing. Everything that I do, you won't find it out there; it's my own style. I try and make my shit rewindable. I work on every line.
Where do you feel you're at now, in your career?
Honestly, I have a very long way to go. Because while I do influence people here and there, I don't even feel like I've made a mark, on any f***ing level. I do appreciate it when people say they're influenced by me, I hear that, but in my head I'm so focused on the fact I could be as big as a lot of dudes who are out there. I don't got the money they got, so what I gotta do is take my strengths, combine them, get the best f***ing team around me and build…you have to keep thinking bigger, you can't just be happy with where you're at.
Would you ever consider toning your material down to make it more commercially viable to the masses?
That's a very complicated question because there are so many different scenarios, if I'm being told, 'Oh guess what, the head of MTV just said he's a huge Necro fan, he loves you, and he's gonna put you on, you just gotta make something that's gonna get on that he'll like', that puts me in a whole new realm.
What would you do in that situation?
I would probably come up with the most brutally clean thing I could do. But the fact is I don't got that opportunity. I don't make music thinking it's gonna get there, I have a different mentality. I make music I want, brutal hip hop, and then I worry about the business and how I'm gonna push it. Jermaine Dupri goes in the studio thinking, 'let's make a hit tonight', he makes sh** for corporate companies, I don't make my sh** thinking about all that- I go in the studio and make sh** for me, and for my fans.
How do you respond to your critics?
No one can tell me anything about my music. People used to for years try to tell me bulls***. People hate on you, they wanna bring you down, misery loves company. Little by little I would still hang around people like that, whether it was a lawyer who was being a d***, or whatever. Now I'm at that stage where if there's anyone on my team negative, I kick them the f*** out. Nobody on my team is negative about what I do. But when I started out, everybody was negative; distributors, magazines- people were corny.
You've been compared to Eminem. What do you think about his huge commercial success?
I'm not Eminem. I met Eminem before he blew up and no disrespect to the dude 'cos he was cool, but when he got signed he was wearing bifocals everywhere he went and he was very nerdy looking. So if you go in an office and you look very nerdy, business people are like "oh, I can deal with him", he will not be a problem. Me, I seem like a problem to people.
Does it bother you that your music is seen as to extreme for radio? How important is airplay to you?
I'm not even trying to get radio play, my realm don't pertain to that. If radio's fronting on you, you go a different route. I grossed 1.6 million in sales in 2 years with no airplay. I'm not relying on MTV to one day decide they wanna f*** with me. I'm building my sh** that if radio and MTV don't wanna fuck with me, I'm still getting love, I'll still be huge, 'cos I'm doing what the f*** I want. If the worst scenario is that 100,000 kids buy everything I put out for the rest of my life, I'll still be sitting on millions. I'm building my sh** like a company, like a Walmart. It took Walmark 11 years to gross a million dollars. It took me 6-7 years to gross 1.5 million. I've done better than Walmart and they're the biggest company on the f***ing planet! What's my point? Dudes built their sh** up little by little doing it their way, and that's what I'm doing. We won't even be having this conversation in a few years time; sh**'s about to pop the f*** off!
Is there any subject you'd draw the line at?
Paedophilia; children are sacred.
Necro will be touring the UK very soon, showcasing songs from his new album Death Rap, as well as all the classics. You can see him at the following venues:
November 29 – Underworld, London
November 30 – King Tuts, Glasgow
December 1st – Zodiac, Oxford
December 2nd – Barfly, Birmingham
December 3rd – Academy 3, Manchester