Hard Target Talks "Death of Me", Tour, and More
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 12:59:29
Hard Target can't be pegged easily.
The Florida native drives hip hop down a different trail, fusing elements of country and rock into his sound seamlessly. He doesn't sound like anybody else on the scene at the moment. His flow remains sharp and smart, but he's also instantly relatable. Hard Target's latest single "Death of Me" stands emblematic of his intriguing amalgam and impressive storytelling ability. Give him a shot, and you'll find your new favorite rapper…
Right now, he's doing dates with Hopsin and Dizzy Wright, but there all kinds of surprises up ahead from the man. In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Hard Target talks "Death of Me", "Look Out" featuring Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, touring, Demolition Man, and more.
What's the story behind "Death of Me"?
When I work on music, I always start with a hook first. Then, I go in and write the rest. I do a lot of love songs. Sometimes, it's from my standpoint where I'm doing wrong. It's not always about the same girl or from the standpoint of what she's putting me through. Anything can happen to me. I could be getting shot at, stabbed, or caught in a fire. When it comes down to it, the death of me is going to be the stress I've got dealing with this woman. Think of an old man on the porch saying, "That woman is going to be the death of me one day". That's my thing. I like that idea. I actually wrote four or five verses and ended up settling on those two.
How did you come up with the video idea?
It's funny. I originally had two ideas for the video. In one, there was going to be a girl and guy arguing back and forth. In the other idea, this girl was just trying to kill the guy. I didn't like either of them solo. So, the day before the shoot, I came up with the final concept. I combined them ultimately.
What did the song start with musically?
I've started a few songs with a hook or lyrical idea, but normally I go off the music. I sat on the beat and came up with a couple of different hooks. Once I got the final hook, that was the real starting point.
Where did "Look Out" come from?
I actually have video of us creating the beat and me doing the melody. I liked the hook when I came up with it, but there were gaps. I felt like it was missing something. I sent it to Fred Durst, and I asked him if he would re-sing the hook I was singing. He added this whole new part with a verse, and it completed the song. I remember listening to it with my buddies, and we were like "Holy crap!" Before the song was alright, but now it's awesome. Lyrically, it's a similar situation to "Death of Me."
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Oh yeah! For every song I do, I'm thinking of a music video as I write it. I may not actually shoot a video, but I do picture it in those terms while I'm writing. A movie is playing out in my head. Sometimes, it's very random, while others it's straight to the point. I treat every song like a single though.
What encourages that storytelling?
It's movies and other music. Lately, I've been on this love song stint. I've recorded like 15 love songs [Laughs]. I don't know what it is. They just happen to come out. I draw from everyday life in general.
What are some of your favorite movies?
Demolition Man is awesome [Laughs]. It's one of those movies I could literally watch over and over again. When I was a kid, I had all of the action figures and stuff like that. I still watch it to this day. I can pretty much recite it word for word. I'm big into the comic book movies. There's a new one out every couple of months.
What artists shaped you?
When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with Limp Bizkit. I was into that whole era when rap rock was going on like Kid Rock, Korn, and Deftones. I was super big into Three Dollar Bill Y'All. I was such a hardcore fan. I remember I had the VHS tape of Family Values 1998, and my boys and I would mimic every stage move they did [Laughs]. I didn't play any instruments or rap back then. That's one of the things that led me to wanting to do this.
What's next for you?
I'm constantly recording, and I'm not going to stop.
Have you heard Hard Target?
See our review of "Look Out" here!