Tag Archives: pt burnem

UNDERGROUND HIP HOP IS THE NEW PUNK ROCK (BY MC HOMELESS)

I feel like Agent Dale Cooper returning from the Black Lodge. MC Homeless has been laying dormant inside the body of Matt Greenfield (Dougie Jones style). Something recently changed. Perhaps it was metaphysical. It happened out of nowhere and was confusing, even to me. Needless to say, I’m back with a fuckin’ vengeance and coming after the underground musical landscape.

For a long time I have been preaching to people that underground hip hop is just a manifestation of the punk rock present. While most punk and hardcore acts are still doing things that were perfected musically and aesthetically by 1982, rap music is moving into uncharted territory and has been for some time now. When I go to punk shows, it’s sterile and boring. Same shit, new bands. Occasionally the energy is magnetic but unfortunately this has become a rarity. Pitchfork and Vice have taken the once underground bands and thrusted them into an internet, clickbait spotlight. Hell, some pompous jerkoff from Vice even interviewed me a few years ago. It’s hard to say no to the allure but it’s making subterranean art easily digestible and disposable. Maybe it’s just my passion talking but it really feels like someone has lit a fire under my ass to take initiative and purify this motherfucker. I honestly don’t care about modern punk rock in a traditional sense. My energies are better focused on the art form of rap. I’m fuckin’ sick of the feel-good bozos I hear on the radio. Gimme danger! Make me uncomfortable. Challenge me. I dare you!

Hip hop is or at least can be breeding grounds for musical weirdos. Let’s take it to the streets and freestyle like we are some god damn French situationists. Let’s rap in basements and between the cracks in weird crevices instead of at glossy clubs for numbskull douchebags. Harness the chi, my friends…and fuck some shit up.

Now a bit about my personal history for some context. I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, going to punk and hardcore shows in both Cleveland and Pittsburgh, right in the half beating heart of the rust belt. The music changed my life. In 11th grade I bought a 12 track and recorded a punk rock, I mean hip hop demo. I borrowed the Conflict circled E for the cover and adopted the Crass font. I even had an acapella rap about nuclear weapons. Ridiculous, I know. Soon after that I recorded another demo and sold it throughout my high school. I received all sorts of attention that had never previously come my way and knew I was on to something. What started as me freestyling as a joke about the things I could do to people’s moms (sex, duh) had turned into something with potential. Don’t get me wrong, I still wasn’t good and got my ass served at a local battle to prove it, but the potential was bubbling.

I honed my skills at Kent State, and made connections with the hip hop underground. Just to give you a taste of the era, here is a list of artists I opened for; The Coup, Spank Master, Ceschi, K-The-I???, Bleubird, Brzowski, Astronautilis, JD Walker, Nobs, Geneva B, and many others. A lot of them became friends that I talk to even today, but at the very least I felt that I had to hold my own with these established or touring acts, which I did.

I dropped out of college around 24 and moved to North Carolina the next year. That’s when I became what I had witnessed previously, a touring rapper. I hit the road with the likes of Davey Dreadnot, Paulie Think, Nobody Cares and PT Burnem regularly. We played for loose change at a vegan pizza shop, rapped in people’s basements opening up for crust punk bands from Europe, got ripped off playing house shows and had to threaten physical violence on promoters semi-regularly, etc. We were the odd ducks. We played with punk rock, noise, hip hop acts and every oddball in between. We didn’t fit in and sometimes even had people get aggressive with us. We were the new punk rock mutants on the block. I wasn’t afraid to break shit at a show or leave my microphone mid set to swing on some asshole. It’s probably similar to how Black Flag felt in 1984. I don’t know why but I was a weirdo magnet during my sets. One time at the Grog Shop, some juggalos tried to fight me while I was on stage. I toured my ass off for next to nothing. My first tour was funded by stolen books by the likes of Noam Chomsky and Mumia Abu Jamal. Me and John Q dumpstered pizza and got kicked out of a motel in Arkansas when the desk clerk accused us of being a gay couple. We were DIY pioneers, blazing a path on a a shit-paved road to oblivion.

A few years had passed and I was seriously getting my chops up. DIY Bandits released my debut album and Diseased Records put out a split 12 inch I did with Indonesia’s Homicide, that garnered cult infamy. I was still broke as fuck though. I am not trying to glamorize this at all so don’t get it twisted. I lived with a girlfriend and lived off of pizza and beer from the craft brew emporium I worked part time at for my dude and road dog, Richard Benjamin. I toured the country and played at everything from bike shops to weird street protests to thuggy clubs. Where the hell did I even belong? You could find me regularly on the road with Dropjaw, Riddlore, Swordplay, Baker or any other assorted ensemble of outsider rappers.

Around 26, I toured Europe for the first time and while it was a career highlight, I started to suffer mentally and touring became ridiculously hard on me. I lost my antidepressants in rural France with no way of refilling them. I was living with heartbreak from a girl I loved and on top of that my cousin was back home dying of cancer. When I flew back from Paris, my first stop was Hospice. My cousin Ryan, one of the greatest people I ever knew, died two days later. I carried him to his grave as a paulbearer. Didn’t even cry, I was just numb. Left for tour a few days later and was a mess. I hated myself and had a meltdown at a show in the Bay Area. I destroyed everything in my path and was lucky to make it out without an ass paddling. I stayed on the road for about two years after that. Sometimes it was good and I played a magical show or met a nice lady, but often I was silently suffering.

I toured with Aceyalone and Illogic, consecutively, which was amazing. I moved to Austin, TX, and somehow along the way became really burnt out and angry at underground rap. I think it was the wear and tare of the road that started to crack my mental faculties or maybe it was all of the wack rappers I had to sip beer and watch before it was my turn to get on stage The air was stagnant and I knew it was time for a break. I did a “retirement” show and performed sporadically, even doing one last Euro tour with my good buddy Ceschi Ramos and new pal Scotty Sixo. My heart just wasn’t in it though. I took on new projects such as the Destroy Cleveland movie, which also ironically also left me bitter and I started this website to archive things I loved. Other artistic projects came and went but here I am in 2017, yearning for a return to underground hip hop. It has all come full circle even though many times I denied this day would come. Now I’m back and I’m ready to set my own path. I don’t care about the trends above or under the surface. I’m here to do my thing and express myself. Just know that I’m not alone and there are many hip hop warriors that you will be hearing about that have been doing this stuff for years. Thanks for listening. That felt good.
-Matt AKA MC Homeless

PAULIE THINK IS A RAPPER W/ A PUNK ROCK PAST

I met Paulie Think around 2005 or 2006 due to the website BYOFL (Book Your Own Fucking Life). It was a network for bands, promoters, and other’s trying to link together in the punk rock community. We were two of of the only rappers on the website. He came to Kent, Ohio, and played a show at my house that was quickly shut down by the fuzz. We moved the performance to a short lived venue called the ECC, which was ran by this cokehead guy named Joel with a bad temper. Things went well and I didn’t hear from Paulie for another year or two but then we ended up randomly touring together a few years later along with PT Burnem. I didn’t think Paulie liked me. He was sober, doing yoga every morning, and I was constantly drunk and depressed! It was the middle of the winter and we were on tour for over a month with a small break in the middle. We slept in freezing houses, played weird vegan pizza parlors, and hustled night after night, slinging cds to minimal crowds. I can’t say that it was a comfortable tour but we definitely paid some hard DIY dues and formed a tight bond. It’s been a long and sometimes turbulent friendship but Paulie is someone that I hold in high regards for his history, what he has been through, and who he has become.

Over the years I would hear tidbits of stories about how he toured with MDC, played with Fugazi, turned Disassociate on to drum and bass music, etc. He is probably the only rapper ever to receive a beat from a member of Neurosis as well. I always thought that was the coolest thing ever. It’s great to finally be able to document this stuff. We cover his history, punk rock roots, etc.

One thing I totally forgot to include is the story about how he threw a pie in the face of Ben Weasel from Screeching Weasel. Maybe another time! You can’t beat that though, right? Pretty god damn funny. Enjoy this interview and spread it around like the flu this season. Merry Holidays, ya jabronis!

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