The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper: Yung Redd
This Week's Subject(s):
Inappropriate restaurants to eat in if you're a rapper; would Z-Ro lose credibility if he liked to macramé; whether or not Swishahouse and Rap-A-Lot hate each other
Ask a Rapper: You hear rappers posturing all the time about this or about that; look at all my cars, I only hang out in strip clubs, I'm real, etc. With that in mind, are there places where it's not okay for a rapper to go?
Yung Redd: I mean, I'll pull up to McDonald's and chill. I'm cool with that. I'm a regular guy. Sometimes people think [rappers] can only be seen doing the best things or they get it twisted; ain't nobody above nobody else.
AAR: So, like, is it cool for a rapper to go eat at Applebee's, or is that just too much of a contradiction?
YR: I mean, it's a point where you have to know that you're a real person.
AAR: Let's say you're at home and you decide you feel like doing some arts and crafts. Is it acceptable for a rapper to go to Michael's and buy some ribbon and beads?
YR: That's not my thing, but if another rapper is into that, we can't judge. It won't take away from his music.
AAR: Even Z-Ro? There's no way he doesn't lose just a little credibility if people find out that he likes to macramé in his spare time.
YR: Z-Ro would never do anything like that.
AAR: Yeah, you're right. Please don't tell him we mentioned it. Okay, here's one for you: Swishahouse vs. Rap-A-Lot. What's that relationship like? Is it competitive? Do you all hate each other?
YR: [Rap-A-Lot] are the pioneers. Without them, there wouldn't be Swishahouse. Ain't nothing wrong with friendly competition, but they been doing it for so long. Swishahouse is the only other label that's really been around for more than ten years, but they're Rap-A-Lot. When you think of Houston, you think of Rap-A-Lot.
AAR: Last thing: top three guys from Rap-A-Lot?
YR: Oh, that's Scarface, Bun and Z-Ro, hands down*.
AAR: That sounds about right. And top three from Swishahouse?
YR: That's me, Lil Keke and Paul [Wall].
*As far as musicians are concerned, this last bit is a perfect example of why rappers are great to talk to. No way would a rock band answer this question seriously (except maybe Oasis). Redd didn't even hesitate.
He did, however, sidestep it when we asked him who would win in a battle between the two; Redd said it depended on the crowd. We say it depends on how many human hearts Z-Ro has already had to eat that day.
Yung Redd has recently finished his next LP, Dead Presidents; look for it soon. In the meantime, download the mixtape he released last month right here. It's free, but it's good enough that you should've paid for it. And follow him on Twitter at @therealyungredd.