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Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Country





Interview by Black Dog Bone

What is the project that you’re working on now?
The one I’ve got coming out on November 30 is called “Easy 2 Hate“. The last album was called “Hard 2 Love”. This is just the follow up album to that one. I’m 10 years in business as an independent rapper.
I met you when you were just getting started in like 1999. So many rappers have disappeared, but you’re still doing good.
I’m blessed to be here. I can’t even believe I’m still doing it ten years later. People like Pistol from Nashville, 8ball & MJG, Scarface, Bun B and Pimp C—they laid the foundation. I’m just glad that I got to be a part of that. It’s been good to me though.
How did you survive through all the ups and downs? The industry is struggling at this time.
I’ve got a strong independent company. They say entertainers do better when the economy is bad because people need to be entertained in hard times. I’m glad that I’m out here able to entertain these people, making them feel better during this recession. I’m doing what I can do. It’s been bad for 2 years for everybody. It’s been bad in the streets for 4 years going on 5.
You were one of the first White rappers to come out hard. You were one of the first White rappers I interviewed for Murder Dog.
I’m the Darius Rucker of Hip Hop. You ever listen to Country music?
I like some of the old Country stuff.
Me too, back when it was real. And the thing is Hip Hop went through a crazy stage too. It was just madness. What they did was they dumbed it down, the whole demographic. So a lot of the music that you hear is not quality. It’s not the standards that was set by Tupac or Ice T. You couldn’t forget Eazy E or you couldn’t forget Forty Water who set it off in the Bay. They became legends by being extremely lyrical, being extremely savvy. Nothing now is comparable to them.
Would you say Country music has been an influence for you?
Well, I’m country so I’ve been making Country Rap since I first started. A lotta my more laid back material are the classic Haystak songs. Who knows what I’m gonna give ‘em in the future. I’m gonna keep gunnin ‘em now, because I wanna exist at a time when lyricism is fierce. I just wanna make the best album I can and put pressure on my colleagues to make the best album that they can. Every time I put Ceelo Green’s record on and every time I put Rick Ross on they inspire me to be a better rapper. I wanna be able to do the same for other artists.
On this record are you working with the same producers you worked with before or are you working with new producers and getting a different sound?
What I did was I tried to take the fundamental sounds of Hip Hop, and I’ve got a great producer by the name of Tim Hill. His wife Paisley is an R & B singer, she’s on the album a couple of times. Other than that, no features. I just had to make the best album that I could make without being ridiculous.
I don’t like features. When I put on a Haystak record I don’t want to hear 20 features. I just want to go into the world of Haystak.
That shit is cool for mixtapes. But I’m a 3 16-bar verse writer. I write a hook and 3 16-bar verses. I don’t have no problem doing that. And I’ve got a double CD coming out, so it’s 30 songs. It’s like a ninety verses. Sometimes I’ll get carried away and write 24 bars or 32 bars and then put that out, because I just got caught up in a moment and I don’t want to keep the consumer out of a moment that I was having.
You feel like you’re a storyteller and you have an abundance of stories?
That’s right. I’ve got a little girl who will be a year old next week. I’ve been married almost 4 years. I’m a success story. I was the kid that was gonna go to prison or die in the streets. Rap music saved me, gave me a way to make a living and to express myself. Now I’ve got a family—a wife and two daughters—I was able to move them away from where I was raised at. I was born and raised in Lebanon Tennessee, on the outskirts of Nashville. From Nashville to Vallejo to Pittsburg, California to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania if you talk lies and bullshit you get your head blew off. Cause if 5 plus 5 is 10 and you go to Pittsburg, either Pittsburg (shout out to AWAX), and you start telling 5 plus 5 is 7 ½--you gonna get shot in the head. It don’t matter what area code or phone number you hittin, it’s bad out here. It’s like the fourth quarter every day. You gotta hustle like that. Dudes in the streets, they don’t know nothing about bartering. They don’t know about trading sugar for syrup, corn for broccoli, a cow for a gun. We been out here hustling like that, Black Dog. I got skills from my grandfather, and I’ve been using ‘em. We’re legit-legit. But at the same time, what I see going on in the Rap game is fucked up. The young rappers, I like a lot of them. Wiz Khalifa, Soulja Boy—Soulja Boy grew on me—Lil Wayne. You know, Wayne older than Tupac was when he died. But if you put a youngster on a tour bus, you raise him on stage, in the studio, in the bus—he’s gonna be a phenomenon when he gets to that age. I’m not surprised by his success last year or his success the year before that. And with the Drake thing and Nicki Minaj, they took Wayne from the level of an artist to a mogul.
You said you’ve learned a lot from your grandparents. Not many people can say that. It’s good that you keep in touch with your roots.
It’s like if you plant a seed, in 30 years or 50 years your children will come and admire the leaves on the tree, the branches on the tree, the shade of the tree, and the tree from a distance. But you’ve got to teach the child about the roots. That’s the foundation and the structure that they can’t even see. Greatgreatgrandfathers whose pictures got burned or who never even had their picture taken. We live in the high definition video age so it’s hard to imagine that 4 or 5 generations ago you had people that never had their picture taken. People don’t know their history. We’ve gotta teach our children about it. Murder Dog has always fucked with Haystak. All of the other interviews I did, all they wanna ask me is about other White rappers that came from the South. They don’t ask anything about my album that I worked on for the past 6 months. A Murder Dog interview is like a dream come true. I remember that there was a time that nobody was fuckin with me. In the last 10 years we’ve been able to see a lotta things, go a lotta places. There’s been other White rappers who came specifically for my job, but the people won’t give it to them. They keep me in my office, and I’d like to say thank you. I appreciate my supporters very much.
How does it feel to be independent after the deal with Def Jam South?
I’m free and independent. Nothing’s changed. I’m still that White boy. I just dropped a mixtape called “The Cake Boss”. It’s a free digital download. I’m trying to keep with the times.
What do you think about all of the changes in the industry? Music is available for free anytime now.
You gotta monetize yourself. You’ve gotta make it so people will pay for concerts. They may have downloaded your album, but they’ll pay for a t-shirt. A lotta rappers is too scared to be in the middle of a crowd. They sit in the back room, they rock the mic, they leave. They can’t get out there in the middle of the crowd and politic like Barak Obama. I’m out here shaking hands with every person that ever spent a penny with me, lettin ‘em know that they’re appreciated. You gotta get out there and be social. You gotta interact. You gotta be on your Twitter shit. You gotta campaign or they will forget to vote for your ass. I’m campaigning today, tomorrow, and next week.
Of all your albums which is your favorite?
Ii would have to say this new one that I’m about to put out. When I could go out and pick which woman I wanted to have with me that night, back when I was poppin bottles in the club and that’s how I was living, then it wasn’t hard to talk about shit like that. “We’re fuckin models and poppin bottles.” That ain’t hard to rap about. But when you’re married and you want company and you got children that have to be at basketball practice, then it takes talent. That’s when you gotta really come up with something fresh. Of all my albums I would have to choose “Easy 2 Hate”, the one that’s coming out now. I really recapped everything that I have seen. I never talked shit about another artist, I said I was gonna wait until I’d been here 10 years. After 10 years there would be no discrediting me, because I must be doing something right—I’ve been eating like this 4,000 days. Now I feel like I’m official. So when I rap I don’t rap from the perspective of, “I hope we can sell this.” I sold it in ’99; I’ve been taking reorders for it, bitch! These dudes is out here trying to sell it, I’m trying to get the resales. There’s a lotta young artists trying to do it, and they’ve got all the digital tools and outlets. It’s crazy as shit how easy you can do music now. The first two albums that I did were done on 2-inch analog tape. I’ve been around a minute and I’m not planning on going anywhere.
When you tour where do you usually go?
Utah, Idaho Falls, California, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Rhode Island. We’re really nationwide with this. - MURDERDOG MAGAZINE



Title Released
Mak Million
Released: September 15, 1998
Car Fulla White Boys
Released: July 20, 2000
The Natural
Released: July 23, 2002
Return Of The Mak Million
Released: February 4, 2003
Portrait Of A White Boy
Released: October 19, 2004
From Start to Finish
Released: July 26, 2005
The New South
Released: September 19, 2005
The Southwest Connection
Released: May 2, 2006
Released: March 20, 2007
Paleface, Feast Or Famine
Released: July 4, 2007
Hard 2 Love
Released: August 26, 2008
Cracks The Safe
Released: September 2, 2008
Street Flavor
Released: February 9, 2009
Haystak & Oktaine, Double Jeopardy
Released: March 29, 2009
The Natural II
Released: May 12, 2009
Came Along Way
Released: July 21, 2009
Trash Life
Released: May 15, 2010
Easy 2 Hate
Released: November 30, 2010



Haystak (born Jason Winfree) is an American rapper of Irish and German descent. He is a native of Lebanon, Tennessee, who was raised in a home by his grandparents.[1]
Haystak released his latest solo album entitled Easy 2 Hate on November 30, 2010 through Haystak, Inc.
Haystak is married and has two children, a daughter. In addition to rap music, he embarked on an acting career; he had a cameo in the Academy Award nominated film Hustle and Flow and was featured in the documentary White Boyz Can't Rap.