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"Rockacandy write up"


When I first got into the writing game, it seemed I couldn't go anywhere in NYC without running into H.D.

At the time, we were friendly rivals of sorts since we both wrote the news for online hip hop publications (He was holding down Sohh.com, while I was trying see what it do at Vibe.com) but for some reason, he would always beat me at my game - either scooping me first or just writing something extra dope.

So imagine my surprise when reading a hip hop magazine (that I contribute too) and finding out that one of my fav writers is also a hot lyricist. I shouldn't be surprised since, it's was evident in his style.

Check out the H.D. Myspace joint (link below) where you can dowload some of his hotness ("Steriods" is the joint), also check out his recent press blitz on Funkyminds (also below). And let us know if he's more than just a writing phenom.

- rockacandy

"H.D.TV featured on SOHH.com's Talking Videos"


Rapper/Journalist H.D. (I like to call him Diddy) was SOHH.com’s inside man at the VMAs last week. Dot’s a nice nigga. I decided they didn’t want me there talking to them folks. Check out what he was able to scrounge up for us! (Just push stop on the bangin ass music, then play the video.)

I wonder how long H.Dottt had to prep Danity Kane to get them to promo his ass in unison. Six girls, five fingers. It doesn't work out mathematically. Diddy's probably in the background like Joe Jackson mouthing all kinds of obscenities at them. Also, I bet they don’t get to eat if they don’t do promo spots.

Yeah. Why is Gillie broke, Stunna?

Another fundamental difference between H.D. and R.M.... I wouldn't have been laughing at Lil' Jon. My Dutch friends and I would have showed dude why they call that shit the green room.

My favorite quote: “I wanted to kill people, but that’s illegal.” – Remy

Carl, I see you cheesin it up with Vida, my nigga. My dude got 42 teeth! Did you get that number son? If not, I did. Holler at me today. She good peoples.

So the Hulkster is listenin to Biggie, ha?! Biggie is his ringtone, ha?! Tabernacle. Of all the Busta songs out there… “Break Your Neck?” Sheeeeit! Ain’t nobody talking to Brooke. She had to be 'bout the loneliest woman at the show. Damn, look at that girl. He had that one on a steroid nut! That's a big gul. Either she's steroid-enriched or part Klingon.


Fuck it. Next year, Ronaldinho might not sit this one out.
- SOHH.com

"H.D. Steroids"


H.D. - Steroids

Article by: admin
Despite receiving props from A-listers like Swizz Beatz, appearing on mixtapes by the likes of DJ Vlad and P Cutta and opening for Immortal Technique and Boot Camp Click among others, H.D. has remained undetected on a large scale until recently. With his sports-themed singles "Steroids" and "The Draft" slowly spreading across the internet, the Queens emcee is now readying to release his third mixtape, Almost Famous, next month. Here, Myspace Friends familiar with his music play interview to the emcee.

Sixshot.com (Face on Broadway-Brooklyn, NY): What is it about hip-hop that made, and still makes, you want to be apart of it?
If I was to sit here and pinpoint the moment or song that made me get into hip-hop I'd be lying. When I first got into hip-hop, I was a b-boy. I was breaking with my older brother Gary's crew, the Wacko kids. But though I was breaking, I wasn't totally immersed in the culture. My older siblings always had a vast musical taste. So I was into everything, really. Ironically,I have to credit West Coast cats like Snoop, Dre and Ice Cube for really getting me into it heavily. At that point, I started going back to older albums. I went back and bought De La Soul, went back and checked out Rakim. I was a kid when those albums first came out. So once I got a bit older, I was able to understand more of the content. And when I listened to masterpieces like Illmatic, it just blew me away. And that's what keeps me into hip-hop. Though I don't hear as much good stuff, the potential is there. I know there's a chance that someone will drop that record that'll make me run for my pen and pad. And as an artist, that's what I aim for. I wanna put something out and have people open off it. There's nothing like someone coming up to me and telling me about a line I thought went over their heads. Like on "Steroids" (First Single off new mixtape) when I said "I use more Pun than Joe" and people started pointing it out...it made me feel like I'm not doing this in vain.

Sixshot.com (Miss Lady Chi-Brooklyn, NY) Being that you have written about hip-hop and rap music for quite some time, what is one lesson that you have learned that you have applied to your career as a rapper?
Well, I most likely won't need as much media training as the average rapper. My mouth probably won't get me in as much trouble as the average rapper. A lot of rap cats are under the impression that the press is against them. Granted, there's some shady journalists out there. But in most cases, dudes are just there to do their jobs. A lot of time, when they claim being misquoted, they probably said it verbatim. They're just reckless. Artists need to realize something. If you say something during an interview...unless you tell the writer it's off the record, it's fair game. So I think my writing background will allow me to be a bit more calculated. If I say something, it'll probably be because I wanted to say it.

Sixshot.com (Rennasonz-Brooklyn/Maryland): "What is your most personal song, and what motivated you to write it"?
I often give personal tidbits in songs, a lot of introspection. There's always little personal references. But I think "Close Up" may be my most personal song. It's an introspective record and on it I talk about everything from being introverted to growing up in a racist upbringing. That's what I felt when I heard the beat. My man Kast Uno gave me the track and that's what came out.

Sixshot.com (Chris-Long Island, NY)You are a very smart and intellectual. Do u think that this is gonna be a set back, in your rapping career since most rappers dont even have a high school degree?
As much as the standard is for artists to dumb down...that it's cool to be ignorant, I refuse to think that being intelligent can be a set back. As far as education, I'm proud to be a college graduate, but I don't think the grade matches the brains when it comes to hip-hop. Some of hip-hop's most brilliant cats never made it to college. Jay-Z is a smart dude. 50 cent is a smart business man. You can't listen to Nas' lyrics without acknowledging how cerebral his stuff is. What is interesting to me is that some of these cats play dumb. I often hear it about 50 or Jim Jones,but when it comes to business they have a reputation for being smart, saavy. Maybe it's part of their strategy. But me being smart won't set me back. I did a few interviews to promote my mixtape and so far a lot of people have hit me up and say, "oh, you a smart cat." They liked the way I came off. So it definitely won't set me back.

Sixshot.com (Bear Virginia): Apparently ,whenever a rap artist comes out, they try to launch movements which is more along the lines of a bad sales pitch of "buy my record,pimp the shirt and get me money." are you trying to start a genuine movement and if so, what is your message?"
I definitely think the term "movement" is used lightly. I think that in a lot of cases, people use the term just cause it sounds good. I'm just doing me. I'm not gonna claim that I'm bringing a movement or anything.I think that movements form themselves. You can't just say, "I have a movement" and think it's gonna come across as genuine. I think Neo Soul was movement. Because the labels turned that throwback sound into one. But when you asked the artists that were supposed to fit in that category, they hated the term. I think Bad Boy was a movement in 90s. I think Death Row was a movement. I think Ruff Ryders was a movement. Hyphy seems to be the latest movement. All these camps I've mentioned had a significant impact when they peaked on the scene. But I think it's hard to pin point what a movement is, you just know when you're witnessing one. As of now, H.D., my crew Funky Minds, Mayhem, Les Salopards, my whole fam. We're just trying to make good music. Only time will tell if it morphs into a certified movement.

Sixshot.com (Marsha- London, UK): Do you think fame is detrimental to a rapper's musical hunger and skills?
I think it depends on the artist's values. The artistic progressive cats are all about skills in the first place. It's their motto to keep creativity going. So I don't think it applies to them. Off course, everybody is bound to have a dry spell. These artists go through so much over the years and it's reflected in their music, whether it be negative or positive. But it can definitely be detrimental. Some artists, once they become famous, they become exposed to so much more, so the skills become a backseat. They're making loads of money doing movies, putting out clothing lines, so their focus isn't on music 100%. They're eating, so in that case they may lose the hunger. The situation doesn't apply to me at this point in time. And it's beyound success. On the come up sometimes things get rough and you get discouraged, but God willing I'll never lose my hunger.

Sixshot.com (Gavin Leigh, Hawaii): If you could collaborate with any musical artist from any given point in time, who would it be with and why?
On the production end, I wish I could have worked with J Dilla. I think I could have fit very well over his production. You'll see it because I have a little tribute to him called "The Dilla Jam" on my mixtape. Hi-Tek is probably my favorite producer right now. And I'd love to work with him for the same reasons I wanted to work with Dilla. Just Blaze is nuts. But to be honest, I feel great about the producers I'm working with. One thing I always get is great feedback on the beats I rock over. Mayhem has been my main producer for years. My man Graduate has been lacing me with bangers lately. I just began working with a producer by the name of Danny Swain. His beats are nuts. We're planning to do a lot of work together and I'm excited about that. My man DJ Manifest has been lacing me with heat for years, providing me with cuts on the songs as well. So with all do respect to A-List producers, the cats I'm working with will give them a run for their money if they're given the chance. As far as mc's I'm not one to just want random people on my joints. If it makes sense, I'll look into it. I got a song called "Writer's Block." I would love to do a remix with Nas and Common. I'd love to work with Redman. That's all I can think of for now.

Sixshot.com (Lovely Laura, San Diego): How do you feel when you get compared to established emcees?
Me having a raspy voice, I've gotten compared to anybody with a raspy voice. Jadakiss, John Forte, Pete Rock, Canibus, Mos Def, you name it. The funny thing is, none of these cats have been compared to one another. So I feel like it's a matter of me becoming established. Once that happens, people will instantly know it's H.D. When they hear my voice. I don't like comparisons, but I can't really escape it so I'll take them. At least I'm not getting compared to bums.

Sixshot.com (Luscious 69, Philadelphia, PA):What is your favortie type of music?
I gotta go with hip-hop off course cause I'm so passionate about it and it's my life. But I listen to all sorts of music. Me being Haitian, I like kompa and zouk (Haitan music) off course. Eventually, I'd like to make a song with those influences. I like rock, but I don't listen to new rock that much. I love old grunge. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and all. I like Bad Religion, Green Day. My boys put me on to those cats back in the day. I love R&B of course, especially classic R&B and 80s and 90s R&B. 80s pop music was it. Madonna, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson of course. Lionel Ritchie, Prince. There was just so much dope music in that decade. Thankfully, since I was just a kid then, my older siblings exposed me to it. But I have a pretty vast taste in music. Hip-hop has to be my favorite though.

Sixshot.com (Big Dawg, Atlanta,GA ): What's the biggest difference between your new mixtape and your new one?And why did you name it Almost Famous?
This mixtape has more original material. Other than "The Dilla Jam" and "Get Away," all the songs are original, 14 of them. The last joint, Now or Never, was really me just showing I can spit. I'm showing a lot more depth in this one as far as concepts. I touch on a lot on this mixtape and I'm proud to say that I've managed to put a twist on familiar themes. As far as my mixtape being called Almost Famous, it's not literal. I'm basically saying that I feel it, I feel like I'm one step away from getting a situation that will lead me to my goal. I've been through a lot of situations before, broken promises. I had a meeting with Swizz Beatz and he set me up with a J Records A&R. That never materialized into anything. Lupe Fiasco's partner, Chilly, from 1st and 15th. He heard my stuff and apparently wanted to work back when I was in school, 2003 I think. Some prominent managers and promoters all showed interest into me, but nothing came of it. But things have never felt as right as they do now. I partly have to credit that to "The Big Homie" and Mark My Words. They've been instrumental to my current position. We got "Steroids" coming out this week. And "The Draft," a concept where I'm using basketball analogies to talk about the bagging shorties, is dropping on vinyl later this summer. And then the mixtape is following. I want the whole world to hear my music.

Sixshot.com: Any last words? Check me out at www.myspace.com/hdottt. Just make sure to check out for "Steroids," "The Draft" and then my mixtape, Almost Famous. Big up to all the people involved in my project. I appreciate it. And thanks to sixshot.com for the opportunity.

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- www.sixshot.com

"NBA Draft, upcoming MC H.D.'s Draft Song"


NBA Draft, Upcoming MC H.D.'s Draft Song
By: Mark Lelinwalla

June 28, 2006

Tonight (June 28) some of the nation’s elite college basketball players will make their dreams come true, as they enter the National Basketball Association via the NBA draft.

Vibe.com recently caught up with two promising players - Rudy Gay and Adam Morrsion -as they were preparing for tonight’s life-altering draft.

In his college career at Gonzaga, Morrison drew comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki and basketball legend Larry Bird for his shooting range, being an apt pressure performer and overall scoring proficiency.

“I think I can come in and contribute immediately to the top lottery teams,” said Morrison, who was college basketball’s leading scorer last year.

Gay (pictured), on the other hand, frequently left college basketball fans at the University of Connecticut awestruck for his above the rim, high-flying style of play. In addition to Morrison, Gay also feels like he can enter the league and contribute immediately.

“I'm high-flying, but I can shoot the mid-range and go to the basket," Gay said.

Morrison recently defeated Gay 59-56 in a game of NBA Live '06 via the Settle the Score X-Box Live program.

In addition to Morrison and Gay, Texas’ LaMarcus Aldridge, LSU’s Tyrus Thomas, Washington’s Brandon Roy, Villanova’s Randy Foye and Andrea Bargnani from Italy are among the players, who are expected to be drafted high and early tonight. NBA analysts are picking Bargnani to be selected as the first overall pick by the Toronto Raptors.

In related draft news, an upcoming Jamaica, New York MC by the name of H.D. recently recorded a track entitled, “The Draft.” However, instead of looking for talented basketball players to add to his roster, H.D. uses hoops terminology, as he scopes the scene for beautiful women on “The Draft.”

Comment “I stay on the offense always looking to score/at the camp pushin’ up, work 'em out of they pores/I need a shorty on point that can handle my balls/and if she got an attitude/then I waive the broad,” H.D. boastfully spits on the track.

"It's pretty common for guys to speak about women using sports references,” H.D. told Vibe.com. “I was speaking with a colleague and telling him how I needed a new roster for the new season. So we ran with the analogy and started talking about girls using basketball terms back and forth. As we were laughing I thought, 'wait a minute, I can make a whole song out of this.' My man Danny Swain gave me the beat like two weeks ago and the second I heard it, the song wrote itself."

To listen to a snippet of H.D.’s, “The Draft” click below:

"The Draft"

Have a news tip? Email us.

Read more vibe.com news headlines.
- www.vibe.com

"Conscious quiery with H.D."


I'm up as usual working on the site, editing the myspace while simultaneously keeping an ear open to dialouge from a black & white flim that Ted Turner hasn't managed to wrap his colorizing mitts around, when I get an IM from a kat that I for some reason thought to be an artist manager, come to find out he's actually an artist himself. He shoots me a link to an article on Vibe.com about the recent NBA draft with a mention of a song he's written called, "The Draft". It's a song about woman using references to the sport of basketball and it's annual draft. I proceeded to check out H.D.'s myspace and listen to a couple of songs, hearing that he actually had something decent to say I figured why not get a short interview in during the wee hours. The following is a transcribed version of our AIM convo.

Conscious: First. Tell our readers who you are and why they should continue to read this interview.

HD: My name is H.D. I stay in Jamaica, Queens. Repping for the borough as well as Haiti. That’s where my fam is from. Repping for Mount Real. That’s where some of my fam is at. Well, it would be too easy for me to say that I’m different, even though I feel that way. There are a thousand mixtape rappers with the same flow that think, they’re different, so for me to say it, that would be cliché. What I’m inviting your readers to do is peep what I have to say on various topics and then sample my music. Once they do, I’m confident they’ll take something positive from it. Hip-hop ain’t dead. It’s just making itself scarce. I always hear heads complain, ‘nobody ain’t saying nothing, nobody ain’t got no lyrics, everybody sucks’. Well, listen here and I think you’ll find otherwise.

Conscious: Good enough. Well I guess my next question would have to be what sets you apart from the monotonous rappers we're bombarded with in these days of assembly line music. Also what are you doing to be heard seeing as in the difficulty to cut through the abundance of artists out currently, that vie for the public’s attention?

HD: Nobody is a regular guy anymore. I mean, you have the Commons’ and Kanyes’ that are considered poster boys for the common man, but look at them. These two are night and day. That’s what I am, a regular dude. And though facets of my personality may be similar to others, ain’t nobody like me. I did the song “Writer’s Block,” where the whole I’m talking about how I can’t write. I’m getting ready to drop “The Draft,” a song where I’m talking about girls using basketball references. I got a song called “Last Straw,” which just revisits all the times I had to keep cool and avoid beating somebody’s ass. So, there you have a blend of conceptual songs and other tracks that deal with everyday life, but it’s from my perspective. And trust me, it’s worth checking out. And as far as getting my music out there, wow! Politics are a bitch. I’m cool with several mixtape DJs, so they show me love. Other than that, I use the internet heavy. I go on forums and I’m on Myspace coming in contact with new heads everyday, so my music is being exposed to new ears constantly. I’m in the process of trying to get some more shows because taking it to the stage is also a great way to expose your music. I also get a lot of love because of word of mouth. Something as simple as my friend selling my tape to one of his co-workers goes a longer way than you’d think.

Conscious: Are you originally from Haiti? Does your island heritage have any influence on your approach? Do you incorporate any of it into the production of your music?

HD: Nah. I’m not originally from Haiti. I’m of Haitian descent to be technical. Both of my parents are Haitian. I can’t say it doesn’t influence me, because I’ll use little references here and there. And though I’m Americanized, my parents did raise me with Haitian values. I have a song called “Home Sick”, it talks about the clash between Haitian parents or any immigrant parents and their North American kids. Because while you’re being raised with Haitian values, so you’re thinking one way, but you’re hanging out with American kids who think totally different. That can be quite challenging. I got that song stashed for the right project. So I would have to say that Haiti influenced me to an extent. As far as the sound, not really but I do have this idea for a kompa, zouk-influenced song. I just have to get with the right musicians to put it together.

Conscious: HD you've already proved yourself to be different by your previous response. So, how long have you been recording, and what has support been like within your own family. Artist seem to either totally have the support of family or not have it at all?

HD: Dude. Funny you asked. My pops may have been the highest salesman of my last mixtape. [Laughs] He was taxing everybody and they momma for my last one, telling me I should charge them more. My pops, my boy Edcredible, my partner Mayhem and I all sold just about the same amount of CDs. My mom thinks I’m wasting my time, but she doesn’t discourage it. I guess she won’t see it till I buy her something big. My brother Gary is my biggest fan and supporter. My cuz Andy is one of my biggest supporters. I definitely have a lot of support within the fam. As far as recording, I’ve been recording for six years. I was plotting to record for so long, years before that, but just kept pushing it back. I kept flip flopping with ideas.

Conscious: Have you ever performed with a live band if so, what's the experience like in comparison to having a DJ cutting records behind you or even just plain ol having a cd with your set running?

HD: I’ve never performed with a live band. That’s definitely something I’d like to experience. I usually have my soundman oversee the CD. The cutting and scratching is soon to come hopefully.

Conscious: You should do a contest for a DJ like Jean Grae recently did. I guess it's all about networking and building with the right kat. Having a band can be a headache, but, putting together a successful one can be a beautiful thing. So, any plans for a video anytime soon?

HD: Actually we shot a video for “Writer’s Block” a while back, a low budget type joint. We’ll probably post it on the net and try to spread it this summer. But as far as new videos, I don’t have any plans. Right now, my sources will go into pressing my new single, “Steroids” and the mixtape it’s featured on, “Showtime.” I’m also hoping to press vinyl for “The Draft” later this summer.

Conscious: What's your take on battling? There's a lot of DVD's and live events that feature this element of emceeing but it surely isn't the same as it was in the early days of the culture.

HD: I’m glad you asked me that. There are definitely different schools of battling. You got the Supernaturals, the Juices, the Craig G’s. You got someone like Jin and then you got the Smack DVD dudes. I would love to see Supernat go against Jin. They have different styles. I think the battle would be closer than people think. I’ve heard the Smack dudes come with some good stuff here and there. I like when the MC is clever in battle and quick on his feet. The newer battle cats seem to get a bit too personal. Why not keep it straight skills? The more personal stuff seems to be a good way to get a crowd reaction. They get cheap points that way. Me, I’m no battle MC. I can write a straight spitting verse, a verse in battle form. But I’m not a battle MC.

Conscious: At the end of the day, why do you do this? Why spend the time and effort putting your energy into writing and recording when you could be doing something else?

HD: Great question. I ask myself the same question. I tell myself, “You have college degree. You don’t have to deal with this BS.” I got close to hanging it up plenty of times because it didn’t make sense. Like you said, why spend all this time and energy doing this when I could be doing something else? But every time I’m ready to quit, somebody emails me saying how amazing or inspiring my music is. So it tells me I’m not doing this for nothing. Also, it would be pretty easy for me to quit and say, “Oh, I could have blown up if kept at it.” But if I stop, I’ll never know. I think people are content with saying people think they the man on their block. Not me. I wanna see how far this can go. I don’t want any regrets. I don’t wanna look back ten years from now and tell myself I should have stuck with it.

Conscious: By the way, what is 'kompa, zouk'?

HD: Kompa and zouk are two music genres from Haiti. It would be pretty hard for me to describe them. Let's just say they have that island feel. A lot of sunny guitars and that pure bass, drums to get that danceable feel.

Conscious: Cool. Aight man I'mah let you go and get some rest. Anything you'd like to mention for we part ways?

HD: Yes, Yes. Remember the name. H.D. the crew is Funky Minds. Definitely check me on www.myspace.com/hdottt or www.funkyminds-music.com. Shouts to my Putitout team, Edcredible and Variable. I got a mixtape coming out this summer entitled ‘Showtime’. The beats on it are incredible, so I have to big up the producers, my partner Mayhem and my man Danny Swain, who hit me with two bangers in the 9th inning. The Graduate, DJ Manifest, 1man and DJ Mozaic. I'm in talks with a few people about various situations, but I'm not sure they want me to blow up their spots. So shouts to them. Shouts to my man who helped me come up with "The Draft." He knows who he is. And to all heads out there, take time to listen. You’ll never know what you missed out on. One!

Post your thoughts.

- www.freehiphopnow.com

"H.D.: the Story of an emcee's emcee"


H.D. (Hold It Down): The Story of The Emcee's Emcee
Thursday - June 8, 2006

— by Miles Bennett

To say that the art of MC'ing is extinct may be a little harsh. However, to say that it's scarce is right on point.

After seeing and listening to an abundance of rappers that are able to spit a "hot" 16, one Jamaica, Queens lyricist is ready to push the art of MC'ing all the way back to the forefront. His name is H.D. or Hold It Down. H.D. prides himself in rhyming progressively, no matter what the subject may be. In addition, with an articulate hip-hop journalist background, H.D. has gained priceless tips about the industry. Now, he's ready to inject a dose of lyrical steroids into the hip-hop game with his Showtime mixtape, dropping late summer.

This is the ever clever H.D. This is the Story of The Emcee's Emcee.

BallerStatus.net: Tell me where you're from and about the name H.D.?

H.D.: Jamaica, Queens. My roots come from Haiti. I also rep Mount Real. As far as H.D., it means Hold it Down. I first came up with the initials and felt that it had a nice ring to it, so I started toying with the meaning. I eventually came up with H.D.

BallerStatus.net: How long have you been rhyming?

H.D.: I started rhyming in high school. I couldn't honestly tell you the exact date. But at first, I was just rhyming for fun. I would just write rhymes about basketball or something like that, nothing serious, but then, I met my man Edcredible. He was rhyming heavy at the time, so he got me back into it. We would write together. That's when I started taking it seriously. Since then I started taking it seriously.

BallerStatus.net: From listening to your music, I can tell you're an MC that doesn't like to waste a line. Describe your own MC style.

H.D.: It's hard for me to describe it because I feel as though I cover a lot of ground. But, I like to think about my MC style as progressive. No matter what the content is, whether we're talking about girls, straight spitting or even a club song, there's gonna be some depth to it. There's a definite emphasis on the lyrics. I consider myself to be an emcee's emcee.

BallerStatus.net: No doubt. With that said, when you look at the state of the game today, do you feel the art of MC'ing is a distant memory?

H.D.: Not at all, but it's definitely scarce, especially in the mainstream. There are not a lot of lyricists on Billboard's Top 10 -- good rappers, but lyrical emcees, lyricists, that's a different story.

BallerStatus.net: I ask this of all the up-and-coming cats I interview: Why should fans out there lend you their ears?

H.D.: Because fans keep complaining about how wack music is out right now. The thing is you have to go through a process before you're able to reach fans in large numbers. But, fans are always saying they want to hear something new, something different. I think I can provide it. Artists repeat themselves. It's all about who provides a new angle or twist. And I definitely bring that.

BallerStatus.net: You touched on the process an MC has to go through. These days, A&R's are huge on street movements. An MC has to have the buzz for them to even pay the artist attention. Do you think A&R's and labels sometimes overlook skill for an artist's sheer buzz and movement in the streets?

H.D.: Heeeelll yeeaaahh! These A&R's have to start paying attention. A person doesn't necessarily have a buzz because he's good. Come on, like...everybody knows it's all about connections. Dudes will get their boys on even if they're hot caca. And A&R's have to realize...a lot of these kids that signed off mixtapes, flopped. So, why are you still signing them? Was Nelly a mixtape kid? No! Was Kanye a mixtape kid? No! Game was heavy on mixtapes, after he signed. These are some of the best sellers of the last few years and none of them were on mixtapes. 50 was, but his phenomenon is not soon to be repeated. Papoose seems poised to do good as well. Saigon too. But, that's three names out of a large number of "mixtape rappers" signed.

BallerStatus.net: What do you think about NY being low right now?

H.D.: I forgot who it was, but someone made a real good point recently. G-Unit is the highest selling entity in rap. They're from NY. Dipset is one of the most popular brands in rap. They're from NY. Nas is still going platinum and he's from NY. The same goes for Busta. So, NY still has a lot of successful acts. The thing is, they don't have as many chart topping acts as the South. The South makes up for a huge chunk of hip-hop sales. And it seems that they're dictating trends. NY used to do that. So, I think that that's where the whole "let's bring NY back" comes from. The South is just doing their thing.

BallerStatus.net: Now, I'm hearing that you have a background as a hip-hop journalist. Will that help your path to getting signed as an MC?

H.D.: It helps me in the sense that I come in contact with industry people more than the average rapper, but that's where it stops. So far, it hasn't proven to be that much of an advantage. I feel like a strong team or a strong person backing you can be key in an artist trying to get signed because that team or person is the one that secure situations for you.

BallerStatus.net: Have you ever been in a situation where you were sitting down with a mainstream MC and you said to yourself, "I could rap circles around this cat!?"

H.D.: Every day [laughs]. I feel so strongly about my skills. Now as an emcee, no matter if you're wack or ill, you're gonna feel like no one messes with you. So almost every time I'm next to an emcee or I interview them I'm thinking, "Man, I'll embarrass that dude," or "My mixtape is better than that dude's album."

BallerStatus.net: You gonna name any names, in particular?

H.D.: Everybody [laughs].

BallerStatus.net: I'm feeling what you're saying on your joint, "Steroids." Did you come up with that title amidst all the controversy in baseball? Also, how did you link with Pitch Black?

H.D.: As for "Steroids," the title started with an expression that people say, "He's killing it," or "He came off." I remember hearing a bunch of Just Blaze beats and I was like, "Wow, dude is on steroids" and it kind of stuck. Every time someone was really doing it, I would say they're on steroids. So ,I thought about doing a joint where I'm on steroids. It's just me straight spittin' and od-ing on lyrics. As far as Pitch Black, I only have a relationship with Zakee. We met through a mutual friend. And G.O.D. is one of my friends on MySpace.

BallerStatus.net: MySpace is a beast [laughs]...

H.D.: Thank God for it. Shout out to Tom [laughs].

BallerStatus.net: How can peeps get a hold of your music and hear your latest material?

H.D.: www.myspace.com/hdottt. That's where people can get the latest as of now. I'm setting up something where the new mixtape will be available online when it drops, but for now, definitely hit me on MySpace. Be on the look out for "Steroids." It's going to hit the Internet real soon. And make sure to check me out on MySpace, so you can peep the music. Other than that, to all heads out there, keep an open mind. I know the game is saturated with emcees, but you never know who you pass on if you don't listen.

- www.ballerstatus.net

"Soundslam Interview"


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Artist: H.Dott
Interviewer: Bear Frazer

H.D. may be an unfamiliar name to the mainstream public, but he has been in the ear of some of the game's heaviest hitters. Already lyrically approved by Swizz Beatz, Alchemist and DJ Vlad, H.D. has been bringing the heat with his certified mixtape, Now or Never, which helped strengthen his buzz and earned him a review in Scratch Magazine. For an unsigned artist, that's stellar work.

Bear: Now you call yourself H.D. What's that all about?

H.D.: H.D. stands for Hold It Down.

Bear: I like that, I like that. Did you come up with that?

H.D.: Yea, I did. I was finding it hard to come up with a name and I was kicking around a few. I forgot where it came from, but the H.D. initials just really stuck with me and I was like, "It has a nice ring to it. I should stick with that and find a nice meaning to it." So after a while, the meaning came to me: Hold It Down.

Bear: And how long you've been under that name?

H.D.: I think about 8 years now.

Bear: Whoa, so you're not the new kid on the block then.

H.D.: Nah, as far as rhyming, I've been doing that since High School, but it wasn't serious. Just here and there. I used to play a lot of ball, so I would write rhymes about playing ball, about how nice I am on the court or something like that. After a while, I met my man Ed and we used to be in class together. He used to be like, "Yo, you write a couple rhymes, I write a couple rhymes," and we went back and forth like that. After a while, we stopped doing it in class, but I kept doing it on my own and it slowly evolved into heavy writing on a regular basis and taking an interest in doing freestyle sessions, soon I was meeting with producers, started writing songs here and there. In 2000 was when I was recording my first track. That was "Bring It Up North" and I was up in New York. I don't know if you know, but I spent some time in Canada and grew up there for a while. All through High School basically. It was like an anthem. Even though I was in New York and already established over there, it was just an anthem saying that artists are in other places that need to be noticed. That's basically what I was saying.

Bear: You mentioned being in New York and Canada, but I don't think everyone really knows your background. Where are you originally from?

H.D.: I was born in Canada in this town called Sept-Iles, it's a little French town about 30,000 people in there. I stayed there until maybe 10. Then, my mom [and I] moved to Montreal, and in 1998 I moved to New York.

Bear: That's a big move from one country to another. Why leave the French Canadian city of Montreal for New York?

H.D.: Well what people see is a foreign country or a change of culture, but like I said, I was always back and forth from New York to Montreal since I was a kid. Most of my family is here in New York, or in Haiti. So it was always familiar, like the second city. It didn't come to shock when I moved here, there really wasn't an adjustment to make. It was like natural progression. So when the opportunity presented itself, like my mother always made sure I had the opportunity ready to move here, as far as documents, being able to work, go to school. Then I applied, got into Brooklyn College, got accepted and made the move. And as far as the music goes, there is only so much I could do over there. I was like, "You know what? If I'm over there, it's really the place where it really happened," so it was another reason for me to move over there.

Bear: That brings me to my next question. Some people don't always acknowledge the Hip-Hop scene in Canada, so how does Montreal compare to New York?

H.D.: It's real similar if you look at it from a geographic standpoint. New York is east coast and Montreal is east coast too - it's just a different country. Actually, it's kinda close to one another, about six, seven hours. As far as sound, New York Hip-Hop definitely influences Canadian Hip-Hop as a whole. The difference ... I don't know. I don't want to downplay the Montreal scene but I think there is more authenticity in New York, maybe because of their location. They say it's a lot of what they speak about in their music on a daily basis. I think with Montreal, they get lost a little bit. Like the influence may get a little too strong sometimes, but that's not a generalization. That's just a few artists over there. But for the most part, the scene is pretty much the same, but just on a way smaller scale over there.

Bear: so do you feel that Montreal will eventually pop up ion the mainstream or become more accepted by other regions?

H.D.: Honestly, I wish Montreal artists the best, but I don't see it. It's really hard for an artist overseas or from another country to break into Hip-Hop. So far, it hasn't been done. But people have to realize that DJ A-Track, whose Kanye's DJ is from Montreal and he's a DJ of one of the biggest acts out there. As far as rappers out there, I don't know. But one thing is I think there is a chance if the good ones make a move outside of it, but I don't know how much they can accomplish from being there. But one thing I can say is Wyclef is Haitian and the Haitian community is big in Montreal, so Wyclef has expressed signing some acts from Montreal. I don't know if I could see it becoming a Mecca or a hot spot like Houston has become or St. Louis a while back or Chicago.

Bear: H.D., I'm not too familiar with the Montreal Hip-Hop scene and in fact, you're the only one I know who is from that area. So do they rap both English and French over there?

H.D.: Yea! The French scene is bigger over there because it's a bilingual city. But the French scene is doing wayyyy better than the English scene. The English scene, a lot of artists are forced to move to Toronto (laughs). There's also issues like radio play. You can put music out, but there aren't many outlets to put it out. That's another issue: you don't have many radio stations that play Hip-Hop. That's why a lot of artists move to Toronto to try and get a music career established.

Bear: So who are some of your biggest influences?

H.D.: Ah man! As far as influences, artists, definitely Nas... and I would say Black Thought [from The Roots] and Redman. Those are always the names that come up because those are guys who I actually looked to before I did anything. I used to look at Illmatic before writing. I listened to Do You Want More? by the Roots to see how he cut words or pronounced words. And with Redman, I got his attitude. I think it rubbed off on me. Like he's a big star, but he's still humble. That's one thing I always admired from him and something I always tried to follow like just tell myself, 'No matter what happens, just don't get caught up in anything. Just stay humble,' and at the same time, Redman is an incredible emcee. I think people forget that sometimes.

Bear: So let me get this straight. You moved to Montreal to Brooklyn for college?

H.D.: I went there in '98 first like during the summer to work and plant the seeds I guess when I was planning my move but I permanently started college and moved there in '99.

Bear: So you graduated in 2003? And what was your major?

H.D.: Yep, 2003 and my major was journalism.

Bear: Uh oh, I should've expected that one.

H.D.: (Laughs) Yea, yea man.

Bear: Let's get back to this Hip-Hop thang ... that's what they say in the south, thang. I listened to your mixtape Now or Never and you got some pretty hot stuff on there. I heard your freestyle over Mobb Deep's "Got It Twisted," and thought you did a great job. Your voice blended well with the beat and I thought it was a good song selection for you. I heard "Writer's Block" and liked that because I could identify with it, being a journalist myself, of course.

H.D.: Yea, that's one thing. When I did "Writer's Block," so many people related to it. A lot of people named that as their favorite song. As a matter of fact, I recorded "Writer's Block" when I was in school. I wrote it in class. If you listen to the chorus, I say, "I be writing in class." I just drifted from the lecture and wrote a little something in my notebook, so a lot of it came from when I was in class. So when I finished it, I let some of my friends who were in the same program as me listen to it. It was like an anthem because it happened to them all the time. They had to finish articles or papers and they would get writer's block, so it's a pretty universal song.

Bear: That's why I like it. I definitely feel the song and I want to point out, I heard a song which surprised me. You took a Madonna beat ... what was up with that? That came out of left field.

H.D.: (Laughs) Yea. You know what happened with that song? The mixtape format has been the same for a while. You got artists with one or two originals and freestyles, and that's it. So I said, 'You know what? I need to do something different. It can't be a regular mixtape.' So the concept at first was going to have a bunch of alternatives, meaning songs outside of rap. I wanted to get "The Art of Noise," I was gonna rap over that, rap over Beck's "New Pollution" ...

Bear: Dude, that's a hot song, man!

H.D.: (Laughs) I was gonna rap over Beck, Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," get a bunch of different songs with beats you can rap to. I thought 'I'm gonna lose people if I do it too much,' so remember now, the "Human Nature" beat is a Hip-Hop beat. I love that beat, so I said I was going to do a remix. Just loop the beat and spit about "Human Nature."

Bear: True. You released this in 2005, so how has the response been?

H.D.: They are being real positive. I got DJ Vlad hosting it, P Cutta hosting it. I gave Alchemist a copy, bumped into him later and he said he liked it. Bumped into Young Guru at Def Jam and he felt it. Basically, it's all good. Industry insiders heard it and were feeling it. They tell me to come back with more stuff and want to hear more. So now I'm working on more stuff.

Bear: So what's the goal here, H.D.?

H.D.: Ultimately, I would love to have my own label where I could put out my own music and sign some acts, but you got to start somewhere. So the goal for now is to put out our product with Itiah Productions, put out a stronger buzz, distribution and a deal, whether it's independent or major, we're looking to put stuff out.

Bear: So like something from a Koch to an Atlantic?

H.D.: I would love to have an Interscope, Atlantic contract, but I'm being realistic. I'm working on getting a bigger buzz and hoping to boom. If it gets to somebody like a Koch or somebody smaller, if it looks right and feels right, I'll go with it. Same thing for a bigger label and then, once we get off the ground, we can think of what else we have in store.

Bear: So you sound like a man with a master plan.

H.D.: Oh yeah, you always hear this people saying, "Oh, I want my own label, I want this, I want that, I want my own clothing line or whatever." Cool, but you got to start somewhere and I don't think you should put too many eggs in your basket. You should focus on one thing and make sure that one pops. Then, move onto the next thing.

Bear: So can I expect to see a pair of grillz in your mouth in the near future?

H.D.: Actually ... (laughs) ... I don't know man! I always joke around that I'm about to get my own grillz but I don't know, man. (Laughs) If Paul [Wall] holla's at me and gives me some free grillz, I may put them in my mouth.

Bear: Anything else to mention to the people?

H.D.: Yeah, actually, make sure to keep your eyes open for my Showtime mixtape which will be coming out soon. Also, get a taste of my music for free on my page at www.myspace.com/hdottt. Peace! - www.soundslam.com


Still working on that hot first release.



Fresh off Now Or Never, H.D. is readying the release of Almost Famous, his third mixtape. Since his last offering, the Queens, NY lyricist has been planning several projects. In addition to Almost Famous, H is working on another mixtape, The Cutting Room, the 365 DVD as well as his debut album.

Despite a grueling work schedule, the emcee still managed to pop up on a few projects here and there. Look for Dottt on DJ Vlad’s Beef III DVD as well as Pitch Black’s The Best of Pitch Black. Meanwhile Now or Never is still on the lips of anxious heads. The set that had Alchemist and Young Guru among others, giving kudos to Dottt –now has the streets eagerly awaiting its follow-up.

Though it digs deeper than its predecessor, covering much ground in the emceeing spectrum, Famous has yet to unveil H.D.’s immense pinnacle-shattering potential. Whether analyzing the city’s landscape (“Metro”), getting metaphorical (“Fame,” “The Draft”), exploring discipline (“Last Straw”) or straight boasting (“Steroids”), the mixed CD offers a wide range of themes. The effort picks up where its predecessor left off- forward thinking lyricism, torrential flows, addictive hooks and banging production.

“Since Now or Never, a lot of people have been asking me when I’m dropping my next mixtape,” H.D. shared. “The feedback on it was so great that I wanted make sure its follow-up was worthy. I explored several situations and took my time to make sure I can at least match, Now or Never. I’m confident that I’ve surpassed it.”

To date, the Queens transplant has appeared on mixtapes from DJ Vlad, P Cutta, DJ Exclusive and DJ Dennis Blaze, among others. He’s also worked with the Zakee of Pitch Black, producers MoSS (Ghostface, Slum Village) and Big K.O. (Tony Yayo, Jim Jones) and has opened for underground staples like Immortal Technique, the Last Emperor and Boot Camp Click. Almost Famous is set to hit the streets this summer.