Interview With: Madchild (of Swollen Members)

BestFan’s Mic Tee had a chance to catch up with lead rapper of Swollen Members, Madchild. Find out what his favorite movies are, what his take on hip hop today is and what he thinks about Eminem‘s new album.


Mic Tee: Hey Madchild! How’s it going man?


Madchild: Good man, how are you?


Mic Tee: Not too bad, well first off thank you so much for taking the time to speak to BestFan, I personally am a huge fan truly am in the presence of real Canadian hip hop royalty here


Madchild: Wow, thanks. Much love bro, appreciate that.


Mic Tee: You just wrapped up your tour right?


Madchild: Yeah, I’m home right now for two months after a busy touring year, I was out doing a ton of shows, I’m happy to say I’m home now. The touring season starts again in the New Year so in January I got 15-20 shows in Europe on the Rap Mayhem Festival Tour then I meet up with Swollen Members and we’ll be doing a bunch of shows in America then so a lot of touring coming into the New Year.


Mic Tee: Coming in the New Year we got a lot of solo-touring then eh?


Madchild: Yeah, the New Year we’ll be doing solo-touring as I did mostly this year then we’ll be kicking into Swollen Members overdrive as far as touring and the new album coming out and the re-release and launch of Battleaxe Records with Swollen Members new album being the first release.


Mic Tee: Dope, now you guys have been around for some time now. With all sorts of performances, tours, projects what do you think is the one thing that keeps you guys relevant? How do you keep it fresh and new?


Madchild: Well getting a chance to really reinvent myself as a solo artist, you’re right I’ve been doing this for a minute now, but I’ve only been a solo artist for about two years now. Getting a chance to start as a solo artist and go through the rebirth that I had in life and creatively is what has made the last two years so exciting. I love touring with Swollen Members as a group but going out on your own and experiencing it yourself. The new experiences with being on stage by myself, I was used to so long being with Prev [Prevail] on stage so all this makes things so new and exciting. With Swollen Members every show is different. Every show is a new experience. Now that we’ve switched up our whole set for Swollen Members, THAT’S a new experience. And I think that’s something that I’ve learned recently to add different and new songs. We have so many different songs we’ve done so to go back and continue to switch it up makes our sets really exciting to do.


Mic Tee: You said you’ll be starting the New Year by yourself and I know Prevail has his own things going on and I’m sure Rob does his thing on the side too is it sort of a planned thing that you always all come back together at the end of the day as Swollen Members?


Madchild: Absolutely, the group is the foundation! The group is like going home for Christmas that’s family. That’s a great analogy actually, I love going home for Christmas and coming home to my group and my family at the end of the day.


Mic Tee: Like you mentioned you’ve been doing solo work for about two years but you’ve been with Swollen Members for a minute [15 years]. I want to know though, what would be the difference between a Swollen Members session and a Madchild session?


Madchild: That’s a good question, you know I do my best work when I work with Rob the Viking, so that will always stay the same. Him and I are on such a great working relationship, we read each other’s minds, I don’t even have to say anything cause we know exactly what’s going on so it’s so fast and so smooth and we know each other so well that I completely 100 per cent trust his judgement so that’s a special thing. Sometimes I’ll try and go record somewhere else with other people like Lethal from House of Pain, Limp Bizkit, that’s an awesome experience I had in LA, but for the most part I love working with Rob. It’s a flawless experience every time. As for the energy, a while ago there definitely was a difference between a Swollen Members song and a Madchild song. For this new record though I’m so excited what we’re doing because what I’m bringing as a solo artist is similar to what I would bring to a Swollen record. We’re all striving to do our best and we feel that this new record is going to blow the roof off and rip people’s faces off; it’s a real fire-breathing record. We don’t get older my friend, WE GET BETTER!


Mic Tee: I hear you man, I hear you. And it definitely shows in the records too. You’ve been around but there’s something about ya’ll that keeps bringing you back and putting out great records.


Madchild: Thank you man, thank you. Look at Eminem, he’s a perfect example, he’s been around as long as we have. His new record is so fucking incredible, pardon my language, but his lyrical ability is amazing, he’s amazing. I don’t know how people think about the album but I don’t really care, because it’s incredible! And I was wondering ‘cause his last couple records in my opinion lacked the ferocious punch, that original luster but that new album he sharpened his razor, his pencil and came back with that hunger. And I think that’s what myself and Prevail and Rob try to harness. To keep that hunger, that fierceness is key to staying relevant. We are blessed to still have all ages shows that still have 15-16 year old kids still singing along to our songs. The reason is that we keep that hunger, there are so many artists that were my favourite MCs back in the day that started fading out and their lyrics started to sound watered down, that incredibleness starts dying out. But do you know the reason why?


Mic Tee: Why?


Madchild: The music becomes secondary. As you get older people start having babies, families, or maybe you get money and all you’re doing is partying now, and you have bills, drama, fake people, backstabbers, scumbags, girlfriends, hidden girlfriends bring all this into their lives and their music becomes secondary and the lyrics is often the first that suffers I find. There was a time where our music suffered a bit too actually because of my drug addiction but with me back on track again three years after the fact, music is back on the forefront and now we’re just as nuts as ever.


Mic Tee: Big-ups on that man.


Madchild: Respects man.


Mic Tee: With ya’ll being one of the pioneers of Canadian Hip Hop…


Madchild: Well we come from the era when Dilated People, The Arsonists, Jurassic 5 were coming up and we were strong throughout that so not just Canadian Hip Hop but west coast underground hip hop as a whole.


Mic Tee: Of course and with that said how are your feelings on hip-hop today? Hip Hop has changed a lot and with technology and social media taking over how do you feel the industry is going?


Madchild: Well do you have an hour for my answer?


Both: [Laugh]


Madchild: Ok so I love hip hop today for these reasons; lyricism is coming back in a big way. There was a period of time when club songs were the big thing, not that it isn’t any more, but now we have rappers with mainstream success that are still lyrically talented. I always am happy to see when an MC gets mainstream success that deserves it based on their talent as well as their charismatic character, or the way they dress, or their style, or the fact that they just won the lottery and gets a record deal and gets put under the wing of some other big rapper. When these things happen to someone who is an actual lyricist and MC I’m very happy. Quick examples off the top of my head; Kendrick Lamar and his whole camp with Ab Soul, Danny Brown, Action Bronson is getting a lot of success, these are incredible MCs, Lil Wayne, Drake, these are hip hop icons but their still purists as far as lyricism goes. But then there’s great songs like that Chief Keef song, it’s a great song, I won’t say he’s a lyricist but it makes you feel good when you listen to it. Even someone like Jody HighRoller [Riff Raff] who’s sort of a comedian rapper he’s created this persona and has actually become it that guy’s a fucking freestyle savant, I don’t drive around listening to his music, but I’m a fan of what he’s been able to accomplish and the genius behind him getting himself known. Then you got people like Alchemist who’s a producer and is probably better than half the rappers out there, my brother Evidence, I love hip hop today I can go on and on. But here’s the negative though. With technology now, it is very difficult for me because hip hop has become very saturated. Kind of like skateboarding [a sport] rap and lyricism and mcing has really evolved where kids can start and emulate and go on youtube and sound like Lil Wayne or Nicki Minaj but let’s say 15 years ago there were like 100,000 rappers and like 200 famous ones. Now you got probably 5 million that have the ability to make videos, record albums and use social media to get you out so you have a huge over-saturation of stuff to go through. But this is also the reason why there’s so much more talent. With 5 million people you have so many more people who are actually good at it. There’s so many talented MCs now but unfortunately there’s also so much more krap. It’s the ying and the yang, the good and the bad. How’s that for an answer?! We writing a book or what?


Both: [Laugh]


Mic Tee: Now you keep coming back to lyricism. A couple years back you stopped by King of the Dot, is that something you would do again in the future?


Madchild: Well I’m not going to go kick down Organic’s door, I let him know that I’d be interested in doing it again. When he wants me to step back in the ring I’m sure he’ll let me know. He knows how to get a hold of me so I’ll leave it in his hands. Would I do it again? Yeah, I would. I’m not a battle rapper, I’ve battled twice in my life, once to get into Rock Steady in San Diego and then 10 years later with Dirtbag Dan so I’m not a battle rapper. Now that I understand the dynamics of battle rapping though from having to raise my voice with no mic, to pausing to let the crowd applause and the confidence that you have to harness and bring with you I feel I’d do a lot better. That was also a time for me when I was mentally, and physically, and spiritually healing from years of substance abuse and my trials and tribulations so I wasn’t the man that I am now. So I will be fucking ferocious next time I do it.


Mic Tee: Do you still hang out with all those Rock Steady Crew guys?


Madchild: Naw, I don’t hang out with too many people these days. I’m working hard on Battleaxe Warriors and reopening Battleaxe Records with my new partners with Kevin Zinger & Ivory Daniels, working on Swollen Members, Madchild stuff, Slaine stuff. Other than that I got my two dogs, got a cool chick that I hang out with, got my family, a few close best friends and my group and I keep the circle real tight. But do I have the utmost respect for those guys? Absolutely! I would love to run into them all again and see them one day. I’m a bit of a recluse! [Laughs]


Mic Tee: One last question, one thing about us at BestFan is that we cater to the craziest and the best fans ever. So we want to know what is Madchild a BestFan of?


Madchild: I’m a huge fan of movies. The best movie ever made is Goodfellas, God Father I & II are at second, I’d fight someone over that [Laughs]. I’m a big fan of Cause the artist. I’m a huge fan of that early 2000s arts street culture he erupted, so Banksy and Kostas Seremetis. I’m a huge fan of the clothing brand supreme, Japanese clothing brands like deluxe and bounty hunter and neighborhood. I’m a huge fan of toy culture from Cause toys to bare brick you know anything about that stuff?


Mic Tee: Naw, I don’t know much about that stuff to be honest with you.


Madchild: Very cool, it all comes form that graffiti street art culture. Very cool to get into but it’s kind of expensive. I’m a fan of dope furniture like Eames Lounge Chairs, Phillippe Starck lamps, Kartell, Noguchi coffee tables, classic furniture that were designed in the 60s but are still very in style and popular today. I’m a fan of things that are timeless: Levi’s, the supreme 3-pack white or black tees, chucks, classic things that are timeless! One of my strengths in my life is that I buy something 10 years ago and it’s still dope and people still compliment it from clothes, to furniture, to art. That’s what life’s about, knowing the difference between classic things that will stand in time versus a trend. And of course I’m a huge fan of hip hop, my family and that pretty well sums me up.


Mic Tee: Alright man, thanks so much for talking to me Madchild. Like I said, I been a big fan keep doing your thing and we can’t wait to see what you do in the New Year.


Madchild: You’re very welcome. God bless, thank you. Peace!

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