The Hoarsemen
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The Hoarsemen


Band Hip Hop Alternative


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"Goods Magazine"

"Keep an eye for The Hoarsemen they're working on a new album and dropped an exclusive track while we conducted our interview, good lookin' out fellows!!"

-Goods Magazine,

- Nicanor Cruz

"Rock the Dub : The Hoarsemen Snacks & Catastrophes [review]"

"Got that fun vibe to it, not far from cats like Digital Underground back in the day."

"Lyrically, this reminds me of the Anticon heads, but with more rhythm to the flows and less SAT words..."

"Sexshuwal" would get the crowds rocking, especially those who are full of couples, or those just trying to get buck nasty on a broad."

"The Ballad Of Three Fingered Joe" is more Hip-Hop/Country hybrid than anything Nelly and Tim McGraw could ever come up with." - Khal

"Quote from KRTU-FM in Austin, TX"

Crazy! These cats are on some completely other biz, topic wise, production wise, rap wise. - Steve B.

"Quote from Switchstance Recordings (Germany)"

"Very fresh, nevertheless old school; great album!" - Kinski

"SPECTRE review of Snacks & Catastrophes"

"15 tracks of solid production hold together an album that showcases an eclectic hip hop sound tasting of indie rock, dance music, and even gospel."


"Interview With MC Long Division"

Long Division is the MC for NYC-based alternative hip-hop group, The Hoarsemen. I recently had a chance to talk with him about Gilgamesh, Bob Dylan, and their debut album, Snacks and Catastrophes, coming out April 15th on Mealwagon Records.

RE: Snacks and Catastrophes will be your debut album, but how long have The Hoarsemen been around?

Long: We've been recording together since 2004 as The Hoarsemen.

RE: You specify, 'as The Hoarsemen.' Was there a previous incarnation?

Long: Well, (producer) Sonny Ray and I had a group with two other MCs and a DJ that was active from about 1998 through 2000. Then one night Loosey, Ray and myself got together in Ray's apartment in Fort Greene and recorded a song called "My Style." It's sort of the "proto-Hoarsemen" song. We realized we wanted to continue in this incarnation, and we approached (DJ) Dialect about joining the group. He had already been involved with a radio show we have on East Village Radio. So the next time we all got together, Ray suggested the name "the Hoarsemen." We didn't think about it too much; we just kind of ran with it. So then we recorded "City Man."

I passed out directly after recording my vocals in one or two takes, I forget. When I awoke, Loosey and Dialect had laid their parts down and the song was done. This also happened on several other songs, including "You're Not Allowed to Volunteer Here Anymore."

RE: What was it about working together that was so appealing to you?

Long: I guess what attracts me to working with this particular outfit is that each of us has a role to fill. Like a rock band has a bass player, guitarist, drummer...rather than just some beats with a bunch of guys rhyming over it. It's a machine, a band. Not just a "crew" or whatever. And our approach from the beginning was to do something really different from anything we had heard before. Loosey's presence alone forces us out of the comfortable hip-hop parameters we were familiar with previously and made us shift our creative focus into more eclectic and abstract territory.

RE: How would you describe what Loosey does?

Long: Well, Loosey is a really big blues afficionado. He hosts a radio show in Piscataway, NJ called The Sickbelly Blues Hour with the Outlaw Billy Hanks. He tends to play a lot more traditional stuff, or new stuff that emulates traditional blues styles. I think you can definitely hear that in what he does. I'd say his strength is creating small, elliptical narratives that reflect his life and observations. The themes of the choruses or vocal parts he does don't always--actually, they almost rarely match up to the themes or ideas that I'm expressing in my rhymes. They're more likely to reflect something he is feeling about his own life, or even the conditions we're recording under. For instance, the chorus of "You're Not Allowed to Volunteer Here Anymore" (Okay I'm peeping, peeping in your windows/I see you ain't got no clothes/You should have closed them windows on me") was developed when the other band members discovered a woman undressing in a window of a neighboring apartment complex. At least that's what I'm told; I was passed out on the couch at the time.

RE: Hah!

Long: But at the same time, I feel like his choruses or mini-narratives or whatever, I feel like those do correspond in some sense to what I'm rhyming about and the feeling of the beats. It's just not really in a conventional, you know, Mary J. and Method Man kind of sense. I guess that's kind of the point; the cohesion between the disparate elements of the group is kind of unlikely which is what I think distinguishes us from other hip-hop groups. Or bands in general for that matter.

RE: Right, right. It's more...reptilian

Long: Ha! In the brain-stem sense?

RE: Exactly.

Long: It absolutely is...I think that's something we have been going for all along. I actually made a reference to the reptilian brain in "Brown Bag," our first single. It's sort of like...Loosey and I could be seen as separate brain functions or I'm the more cerebral, surgical lyricist and he's more outlandish, overt, and unhinged. But at the same time, I think those elements, the visceral and the intellectual or idea-based, are throughout all the other elements of the music, down to the scratching. And even within our respective parts...I feel like the stuff I write now is more visceral than battle rhymes or general conventional hip hop rhymes I wrote when I was more, you know, going for that. And though it might seem like Loosey's parts are totally unhinged and casual, he puts a lot of thought and work into each one. We're three sessions deep into our new album and we haven't even finished a song yet. Loosey is being really careful about what he wants to put out there, and we all respect that. At the same time, it gives me a chance to rework and re-record my rhymes, which I love.

RE: Sure. So ideally, the effect on the listener is more complex, more multi-dimensional than commercial music; is almost…psychedelic?

Long: Yes, ideally that's what we'd hope for, that it has a more complex effect on the listener than, whatever, 'insert radio hit.' At the same time, there's an accessibility in our music that I feel like is lacking from a lot of underground hip-hop or "avant garde." I shouldn't say lacking, because I definitely like a lot of that music and play it on our radio show. But there's a pop sensibility for sure. So hopefully it's kind of a Trojan horse of weirdness.

It's funny though, I've thought about this a lot...what does it really mean to make "psychedelic" music? Psychedelic music is music that was made under the influence of, or at least influenced by, the hallucinogenic psychedelic experience. I can tell you that I've enjoyed our music while engaged in that sort of experience. I've told Ray his production reminds me of Brian Wilson's at the time. His lifestyle too. Just kidding. But the songs have a kind of abstract quality to them, a sort of epicness. By abstract, I don't even mean "weird" or "trippy," I mean we kind of shy away from being's a kind of attempt to remove that grounding element to most hip-hop. You know, like "who is this? Oh well, I'll just wait 30 seconds and he'll definitely say his name and the group he's in and the name of the producer and his label and his neighborhood." It kind of removes it of that typical context.

And Loosey's narratives...I could see them being really heavy to someone in the throes of an acid trip or something. They're simple and silly but they usually touch on some kind of universal sensibility that, we hope, resonates with people in general. He's also really big on Urdu poetry, a form called the ghazal which dates back to the 11th century. The goal of that poetry, from my understanding of it, was almost a hallucinatory one. It was like a maelstrom of ideas addressing many speakers as one and vice versa. God, women, wine, longing, love, they all get jumbled up into this strange elliptical non-linear narrative. Trippy

RE: So what do you picture as the 'ideal' Hoarsemen listening scenario?

Long: Wow, that's a tough one. I mean, the easy answer is "at a live show that we're playing," but I sense you're going for something more specific to the recorded material. I always pictured us appealing to a younger crowd, since they seem more open to different genres. Especially now. I mean, we get a lot of that "you're not hip-hop" shit, in so many words, from people who operate strictly within the parameters of that culture. For the record, I do consider us a part of that culture, but, I see more of a listening trajectory, as presumptuous as that might sound. Like a teenage kid who happens to hear a song by us on college radio or whatever and gets hip to it that way, then tracks us down and pays closer attention. I guess, we set out to make stuff that is fun to listen to in a casual context, like at a barbecue or key-party, but then also stands up to a closer listening, with headphones or whatever. I kind of always picture some kid listening to the album and flipping open the lyric book to figure out what a line was. I used to get criticized, even by Ray when we were working on more conventional rap shit, for making some over-the-head type references. In this day and age, in the scenario I just constructed, the kid could just look up "Gilgamesh" or "laudanum" or "bumboo" on the internet and understand what I'm saying in mere seconds. So there is that too. I guess I picture the ideal scenario being a close listen after enjoying the album in a more casual context. Or, you could just drop some acid.

RE: That sounds exactly right to me-- I was thinking of it as the same kind of kids who are into graphic novels

Long: Yes! Actually, Ray said Mad Magazine!

RE: Yea- I kept wanting to use the word literary to describe you

Long: Interesting...what do you mean?

RE: I mean, that as you were saying about the Gilgamesh references and like that, there is a fair amount of 'reading' of the material to be done. Not just in your verses, or in Loosey's choruses, but in the interplay between the two, there are ideas and themes and imagery being used that require closer reading; that are not designed for quick digestion

Long: Yeah, it's a tricky line to navigate though, you know? Because you don't want to totally alienate people who don't get it right away, or come across as some kind of pretentious type. But at the same time, yeah, it's totally a tradition that's a big part of my general orientation.

RE: Well, that's where the music comes in, i think. The beats and the melodies and the hooks. We might never know who Bob Dylan was if he were just a poet

Long: And I guess for me, the Hoarsemen was a chance to actually "be myself" in the music, as corny as that sounds. Like oh, I can't make that Dashell Hammett reference, the streets won't feel that. Well...who gives a fuck? Who gives a fuck if somebody doesn't "get" Loosey's whole thing? We're not doing it for that person, we're doing it for the people who do get it.

RE: That's an amazing revelation to have.

Long: You brought up Bob Dylan. He's totally one of my biggest influences. It's kind of funny, because Loosey's not really that big on Dylan, and they sort of...don't have dissimilar singing styles at times. My take on Dylan, or what I get of it that I apply to what I do, is his sort of...again, hallucinatory approach to his narratives. Every song, at least in the period during which he recorded Highway 61 Revisited, all those songs are kind of surreal, don't see that confessional, very intimate "singer persona" that you often hear. A lot of it's in the third person, some of the lyrics are like Dada exercises almost. But if you really "get it," I feel like you can see what was going on with him. He was like an antenna or a receiver for a million impulses and waves and energies in the cosmos. I wouldn't be arrogant enough to say that I possess that same quality through my writing, but it's...definitely what I'm going for. And I think it translates to the entire package, the music itself. The songs aren't "about" Gilgamesh or the things Loosey explicitly says in his rhymes. They're, hopefully, a reflection of our experience in society, right now. If there's irony there, it's really the irony of being a round peg in a square hole and the bewildering experience that it comprises. - R. Eggensperger


Snacks & Catastrophes LP - 2008

Shake Hands With Danger (5 song EP) - 2006



With a loyal following and a history of explosive live performances, The Hoarsemen turn hip-hop inside out, using the tools of the trade--microphones, turntables, and a beat machine--but incorporating live bass, slide guitar, organ, marimba, kazoo, jaw-harp, and anything else they can get their hands on. They have been compared to acts as varied as De La Soul and Captain Beefheart, and this album shows the scope of their sound to be even wider.

The debut album Snacks & Catastrophes is getting a great reception on national college radio, having CHARTED IN THE CMJ HIP HOP TOP 10 FOR 3 WEEKS! The first single, “Brown Bag,” delights with its thumb-piano percussion and lunchroom innuendo, while the rest of the album offers an all-you-can-eat buffet of sonic variety. Meanwhile, the lyrics will cause you to laugh hysterically while looking up exotic animals and culinary terms on the Internet. From the transgressive hijinx of “You’re Not Allowed To Volunteer Here Anymore,” to the irresistible bounce of “Sexshuwal” and the electrified boom-bap of “Flavorite,” the album is just as appropriate at a barbecue as it is in a listener’s headphones.

Combining the surreal imagery of MC Long Division’s verses, producer Sonny Ray’s contagious beats, and DJ Dialect’s off-kilter turntablism with vocalist Loosey’s hilarious and disturbing scenarios, Snacks & Catastrophes provides a new and exciting audio experience that is guaranteed to astound and amaze. With a regional tour to follow the release of their debut album, The Hoarsemen are ready to share their unmistakable vision with the world.