Raw Side Hip Hop

Chopping it up with Hanzo Bladez (Interview)

Let’s start by giving the readers a little bit of background as to who you are, how long you’ve been in the game and how you got to this point in your career.

First let me begin by saying thank you for this interview, and know that I am truly humbled and honored to have this discussion with you. Originally a native from Brooklyn, but I pretty much lived everywhere in NYC. Although, most of my teenage years were spent in Harlem. I grew up listening to all kinds of music like Hip hop, Spanish, Classic Rock and RnB. First time I really fell in love with Hip Hop was when I bought Big Daddy Kane’s “Smooth Operator” cassette. The production and lyricism on that album really captivated me to a point where I felt the need to rhyme and write lyrics myself. I was truly inspired by that, as well as, the many freestyle cyphers I would have with some of the friends I grew up with. I’ve been rhyming for well over 15 years (Not trying to give away age lol), but only decided to take this very serious since June of 2019 when I met my homies Mo Rukuz and Noxxx from GRIMEWAV. Back in the early 2000’s I was part of a group called “Da Livest” and we definitely were making some moves, but unfortunately things never popped off. I still stay in touch with all members of that crew as we’re all still good friends. In the mid 2000’s I moved to Upstate, NY to focus on education and a professional career in order to take care of the family. As far as production, I’ve been producing for about 10 years now, but mostly spent a lot of time trying to hone both my production and writing skill. As I mentioned, I met Mo Rukuz and Noxx last year. This was during a studio session I was invited to by a good mutual friend of ours. I let them listen to some of my production and then we spit some bars for each other, and instantly we built a connection. We all felt the need to want to continue to collaborate from that moment on. After sometime of working with my brothers and doing a 7-day East Coast tour with them, I naturally became a part of the GRIMEWAV movement.

You’ve just dropped a new EP titled ‘Birds of Prey’. Where did you come up with the title and talk us through the making of that record?

I honestly came up with the whole idea for the EP after working on the title track “Birds of Prey” with Iron Lungz and Miskeen Haleem. I produced the beat a few months with that title in mind. I sent the beat to Iron Lungz and Miskeen Haleem. While working on that song, Iron Lungz sent me “The Habit” and I felt the urge to go full on story mode with that one. With Birds of Prey and The Habit complete, I went into the vault for “Moment in Time” and “Bite the Bullet” as these were song previously made, but weren’t mixed down yet. After listening to them extensively I really felt they would complement the aesthetic of the EP and showcase Mo Rukuz (who is currently incarcerated) and Noxxx, whom are both GRIMEWAV. “Drum Machine” was a track I knew I had to have my homies LaceFueg and Enels on. Both are members of GRIMEWAV. Current members of GRIMEWAV are: Mo Rukuz, Enels, Noxxx, Lace Fueg and myself. Lace Fueg, Enels and I discussed and agreed that the song should have cuts on it so with Miskeen Haleem’s recommendation I reached out to BodyBagBen. While Enels was mixing the whole project, he came up with the beat for “The Feared One.” Once I heard that beat I felt it would be a great introduction track to show case my pen and lyrical ability. Last thing I felt the EP needed was some sort of audio or intro and after watching one of my favorite movies “The Crow” it all fell into place. The cover art was also inspired by the movie as you can see hands coming out of a grave with a crow sitting on a tombstone.

We’ve spoken about The Crow being one of your top 5 favourite movies, what are the other four? What has been the best movie of 2020 for you so far?

Top 5 favorite movies for me would have to be (In no particular order)

  1. The Crow
  2. The Godfather 1 & 2
  3. Samurai Trilogy (Trilogy about Musashi Miyamoto)
  4. Scarface
  5. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2

So far, I’ve only seen “The Invisible Man” and “Bloodshot.” Both were decent films, but I’m looking forward to watching Capone with Tom Hardy.

After I’d first heard Birds of Prey, I mentioned that I love the inclusion of the 2Pac soundbyte. You mentioned he was iconic in all ways – which I certainly agree with. Talk us through your view of 2Pac.

Tupac Shakur to me was a revolutionary artist, but also someone who constantly fought with his demons. I feel like he created timeless pieces of art, which is why to this day most people can still relate to his music. I first heard of 2Pac when he was with Digital Underground in “Same Song” and then I heard “Brenda’s got a Baby.” That song is truly raw and depicted what I saw everyday growing up in in NYC at that time. From there I instantly became a fan. The song “Pain” from the movie soundtrack “Above the Rim” is also another one of my favorite songs from Pac.

This EP is really gritty, quality street sounding boom bap. It’s a sound that never seems to age but you’ve got it sounding so fresh. Who are some of your inspirations?

I’d have to definitely give it to Wu for sure, but I certainly was inspired by many other artists such as: Big Pun, Sean P, Gangstarr, Black Moon, Nas, MF Doom, Roc Marci, Ill Bill, Immortal Technique, Nems, Eto, Griselda, list really can go on and on and on!!!!!

At the moment though, I will have to say that we truly have been inspiring each other within GRIMEWAV, and I feel it’s the main reason our music currently sounds the way that it does. Much of that credit has to go to Enels and Mastermind Studios.

Hanzo, Nox, Enels & Mo Rukuz

If you could have 3 people featured on your next album, who would you love to rhyme with?

This is pretty tough because I’m a fan of a lot of artists. But for mainstream artists I’d say: Nas, Kool G Rap, or Ghostface Killah

Underground artists would have to be Eto, Daniel Son, or Griselda (Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn)

Hanzo Bladez. Talk us through the name – is it Kill Bill inspired like it sounds?

I first heard of the name “Hanzo Bladez” in an Anime called Samurai Deeper Kyo, but my biggest inspiration for the name was the movie “Kill Bill.” Hattori Hanzo was known as a famous samurai who served the shogun during the Edo period of Japan. The logo (Baby with sword in hand) was inspired by the movie “Shogun’s Assassin” when Lone Wolf requested his son to choose between a ball or a sword. Kind of my way of saying I choose this music over a everything, career wise.

What’s next for you?

Currently myself, Enels and Lace Fueg are working on a 7 track EP called “No Survivors.” Lace Fueg and I are also pretty much done with our collaboration EP called “Tin Man”. Both projects have no official date for release, but we plan to release them by at least July. I also have several upcoming features with Iron Lungz, Miskeen Haleem, ProBangaz, Skinny Bonez The Godfather, and tons more!!! Also, really looking forward to Mo Rukuz’s release from prison. As soon as he is released, we plan to work on several projects, as well as, an actual GRIMEWAV album. I also am providing production to many artists as well. Such as, Hus Kingpin, Ren Thomas, Xkwisit, and Cuban Pete to name a few.

How can people stay up to date with what you’re doing?

People can find most of our music online specifically at the following links:

https://hanzobladez.bandcamp.com/

https://grimewav.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hanzobladez

You can also find our music on PakaDaPlug and GrindModeCyphers YouTube channels

We’re currently working on a new GRIMEWAV.com website as well.

Anyone can follow us on IG:
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Hanzo Bladez @hanzo_bladez
Mo Rukuz @morukuz_grimewav
Enels @Enels278
Noxxx @vacationfxever
Lace Fueg @lacefueg
Miskeen Haleem @miskeenhaleem_302
Iron Lungz @ironlungyoung_ttr
BodyBagBen @bodybagmusic
Deadly Album Covers @deadly_album_covers

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