Today, I finally got the chance to sit down with the man, the myth, the legend; Mr. Brandon L Hood aka “President Hoodie”, the founder of Chiptunes = WIN! Brandon has been helping us not only bring great chiptunes to the chipmusic community, but also moderating our community to be the best that it possibly can be.
Uh… Brandon L Hood, everyone.
I’ll skip the pleasantries and get right to the nitty gritty, and ask the hard hitting chiptune questions!
Featuring tonight on The ChipWIN Blog, for one night only, the Hypesquad! Consisting of Air SeaWorld founder Lil’ Janx and former WCW Champion Sammy Sam, the Hypesquad is renowned as a blasphemous memetic audiovisual offensive by some, and by others, an incredible blasphemous memetic audiovisual offensive. I was fortunate enough to secure a telephone interview with both members of the band earlier in the week. What follows, I frankly do not remember.
AutoReMi-PK: Lil’ Janx, Sammy Sam… Thank you for taking time out of the rap game to be here today.
Lil’ Janx: It’s good to be here.
Sammy Sam: You are most welcome! Please, let’s keep this brief, for we have some hustling that we must do… I mean, yeah, it’s good to be here. Thanks for talking with us!
Lil’ Janx: We’ll tell you almost anything you wanna know about the rap game. How we started from the bottom, and now we here.
Sammy Sam: Emphasis on almost. There is some stuff we definitely can’t talk about.
Lil’ Janx: Secrets, man. I don’t wanna have to get shot again
Sammy Sam: I don’t want to have to shoot you again.
AutoReMi-PK: How would you define “here”?
Lil’ Janx: Here would be at the top of our rap game. Sammy Sam and I have a long history dodging bullets. Rough shit.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, I agree. Here is where we are, and that’s probably where we will stay for a bit, until we go “there”, y’know? I don’t want to go back to dodging bullets… Those things are so fast.
Pictured above: Accurate depiction of The Struggle
AutoReMi-PK: After fifteen studio albums spanning one tenth of one decade, what is it like to be at the top of the chip-hop ladder?
Sammy Sam: It feels good to be at the top, but I have gone through lots of therapy to forget what it was like being at the bottom… So I can’t say for sure, since this is the only way I know how to feel now.
Lil’ Janx: It’s a good feeling, man… Having a message that people will listen to, you know?
Sammy Sam: Yeah, the message. That’s what’s important! Like, I want people to know about #jmolo, that’s a message I can get behind.
Lil’ Janx: It’s all about the message.
Sammy Sam: First and foremost, the message…
Lil’ Janx: Jason Mraz is a role model.
You’re a wizard, Harry
Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, he is such an inspiration. He’s the reason I wake up in the morning. Also the reason why I bought a fedora and eat kale.
Lil’ Janx: He’s the reason I bought a white polo. And drink coffee.
Sammy Sam: Is he big into coffee? I am embarrassed to admit that I skipped over that chapter in his autobio.
Lil’ Janx: Sometimes I just want to BE Jason Mraz, you know? It’s a hard life trying to live up to that.
Sammy Sam: I wanted to read about his philanthropy and the amazing things he has done for cats in need.
Lil’ Janx: Definitely. A well-deserved reputation in cat salvation.
AutoReMi-PK: Your fanbase has described your hashtags as being a mix between Shakespeare and Marky Mark, perhaps two of the finest poets of our time. What would you say in regards to this?
Lil’ Janx: I would say “thank you” because, damn, I love me some Shakespeare and Marky Mark.
Sammy Sam: I would and have said, “To funky bunch, or not to funky bunch. That, is the question.”
I’ll let you decide the answer to that question
Lil’ Janx: That’s a good question. I think I feel an epic freestyle coming on.
Sammy Sam: I mean, I’m in the rap game to pay the bills. #hashtags are my true passion.
AutoReMi-PK: Truly a timeless message. I think one we can all relate to.
Lil’ Janx: Hash tags and drank. That’s what we live for.
AutoReMi-PK: Is there any bad blood lingering over your group being denied to play Coachella this year?
Lil’ Janx: I mean it was a huge disappointment, but we knew that it was because the mainstream just wasn’t ready for our message and passion for hash tags.
Sammy Sam: No bad feelings whatsoever! They can go eat crap, it’s their loss, we don’t care at all. It’s just on to the next thing, you know?
Lil’ Janx: The people who want to hear the truth know where to find us. They’re the ones that matter. The ones that understand and appreciate what we fight for and the daily struggle.
Sammy Sam: I think they knew we were too much for them, but I don’t know, where are we supposed to play? Jupiter? What planet can adequately support our talent? We’ll never know until we know, and then that will be when we know, probably. Those are the people we care about, and pander to.
Lil’ Janx: Damn straight.
AutoReMi-PK: Insightful as always, Sammy Sam! Speaking of pandering, what do you say in regard to your detractors who claim The Struggle is less real than you make it out to be?
Sammy Sam: I made a pact to not talk to those people. #thestruggle is #realtalk
Lil’ Janx: Yeah, fuck ’em. Ain’t nobody got time for haters.
Sammy Sam: Our haters are really what keep us going. I mean, really, they are our biggest fans.
AutoReMi-PK: No such thing as bad publicity, right?
Lil’ Janx: Yeah, so I guess we have to make time for haters.
Sammy Sam: You know what they say, “You can only hate something if you really love it more than yourself.” Someone might have said that, I haven’t been keeping track of what everyone has been saying. That would be so much work. I’m not so good with quotes, I’m sorry.
AutoReMi-PK: What was it like working with Bono?
Sammy Sam: I kind of phono-ed it in… Just another collab, y’know? That one was definitely just for the money, and I had some… “bills to pay.”
Lil’ Janx: Yeah for real, though. Gotta feed Dennis and all.
Sammy Sam: I mean, I still spit some hot fire on that track, and tried to make the beat fresher than Rice Krispies, but it was not my proudest moment. I did it for Janxy, cuz I know she’s a HUGE U2 fan… Do we have any time to talk about our sponsorship deal with Rice Krispies? They’re snap, crackle, poppin’ off the chaaaain DELICIOUS!
You’re welcome, Sam
AutoReMi-PK: Speaking of Dennis, PETA has recently launched a string of attacks deriding your “cruel treatment of inflatable sharks”. You two have been notoriously hush about this in the media. Any intention of setting the record straight?
Sammy Sam: Well, that’s a tricky question, so I’ll pass the mic to Dennis.
Lil’ Janx: I mean, I dunno. PETA doesn’t know shit. Dennis chose to be our main shark, man. So, like, whatever… They can talk to him. What’s more cruel is putting Dennis in a zoo. With us he’s living the dream.
Dennis: I am aware of the attacks, and PETA’s concerns. They are unfounded, and completely false. Really, People for the Ethical Treatment of People should be the ones concerned, because I have been eating peoples’ legs without their permission. And what’s that about, am I right?
This article just got NSFW
Lil’ Janx: We saved him when he was a little shark pup, so suck on that PETA.
Dennis: It’s true, I am very happy, and love my chip-hop family. They are the bee’s knees.
Lil’ Janx: Where was PETA when Dennis was starving in the streets? Nowhere, that’s where. Our shark loves us, and we love him too. Plus his whole eating people’s legs thing comes in handy.
Dennis: Where was PETA when I was running low on helium, air-swimming precariously close to cacti?
AutoReMi-PK: Dennis, I’m going to shoot straight with you. You sound like Sammy Sam. Do you have a cold?
Sammy Sam: Rob, I’m going to shoot straight at you if you don’t watch it. GET IT?
Dennis: Whoa, Sam… Chill. That’s not necessary.
Sammy Sam: I am sorry, Rob. I shouldn’t have lost my cool.
AutoReMi-PK: It’s okay, I was out of line.
Lil’ Janx: Yeah, Sammy. We gotta calm it down. Just remember… JMOLO.
Sammy Sam: It’s just… we’ve been through a lot, which I know is no excuse. Again, please accept my apologies. I will not shoot straight at anyone, I promise.
Lil’ Janx: Those days are behind us now.
AutoReMi-PK: Moving on! What would you say in response to loaded questions?
Lil’ Janx: Loaded like loaded baked potatoes loaded? Or loaded like bazookas loaded?
Dennis: Whoa, hold the phone. I see an air-swordfish a couple nauts away… I’ll catch up with you all later. Dennis needs to feed.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, I don’t understand what you mean. Those are the only two options that make any sense to me.
Lil’ Janx: Straight up.
AutoReMi-PK: You two are frequently accused of not owning nearly enough sports gear. Why do you hate America?
Lil’ Janx: I think that question answered itself.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, we never get falsely accused of not owning enough sports gear when we’re in Colombia. I mean, France. Sorry Janx, I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to mention the Colombia tour ever again.
Lil’ Janx: Are you serious? Everyone wears sports jerseys and soccer shoes in Columbia… I mean France. So people looked at us weird. We stood out. Especially with a floating shark.
Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, it’s like, I’m sorry, I can’t be held accountable for what or who my pet shark is eating, right? Step off, playa.
Lil’ Janx: Hell yeah, bitches be jealous they don’t have a flipping sweet floating companion shark.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, it’s rare to have a shark-buddy at all, never mind one that can fly through the air.
Lil’ Janx: Haters gonna hate.
AutoReMi-PK: Lil’ Janx, your group is known among many things for its controversial merchandise. Parents were livid regarding your controversial shirt that depicted Jason Mraz crucified on a hashtag. What was your reaction when Hot Topic pulled the item from their shelves?
Lil’ Janx: I’m all like, “Damn, we hard as fuck.” If even Hot Topic can’t handle our swag merch, we gotta be doing something right.
Sammy Sam: Truth, everyone knows Hot Topic is the swaggest, so if they can’t even handle our stuff…? WHOA. Y’know? WHOA.
Lil’ Janx: F’reals, though.
Lil’ Janx: It’s like, #swagception… Or like, the #swagpocalypse.
Sammy Sam: Like, maybe the Jupiter locations of Hot Topic stocks that shit, I don’t know, but maybe. #swaggicane
Lil’ Janx: #swagnocerous
Lil’ Janx: They be sprayin #swaggicide on our merch.
AutoReMi-PK: I don’t know how you’re both speaking in hashtags but there’s way too much swag in here!
AutoReMi-PK: Ahem. You two formed your legendary group a month ago and embarked on your first world tour. How did this happen? Did you feel an innate swag chemistry?
Lil’ Janx: Yes.
Sammy Sam: Yes. Next question.
AutoReMi-PK: Now, some people claim that a guitar is not a real musical instrument. What’s it like to find legitimacy in a Nintendo Game Boy?
Sammy Sam: It’s the most freeing feeling I’ve ever felt.
Lil’ Janx: Definitely the end of my soul-searching.
Sammy Sam: I was getting sick of the guitar, and it’s limitations.
Lil’ Janx: Definitely.
Sammy Sam: So to be making the dopest beats this side of Saturn with a Nintendo Gameboy… every morning I wake up and things just make sense. Y’know? My vision is no longer mad blurry, and I haven’t eaten cheese for a month, so things are looking up.
AutoReMi-PK: It sounds very fulfilling! As innovators in the true sense of the word, what was the thought process behind your invention of the JMOLOsound™ mod?
Lil’ Janx: Cutting back on unsaturated fats and high fructose corn syrup was also directly related to discovering the beatmaking magic of the Gameboy. Sammy Sam and I were basically like, “We need to just make this JMOLO as hell.” And then we did, just like that. We got it copyrighted.
Sammy Sam: Trademarked. The whole eight yards. Pasterighted, you name it.
Lil’ Janx: Commercial license, et cetera.
AutoReMi-PK: Et cetera, indeed!
Sammy Sam: What? What was that you just said.
AutoReMi-PK: I don’t recall saying anything.
Sammy Sam: Janx, what’s he talking about? What is happening right now?
Lil’ Janx: Eh? sorry my mind was on swag. And Jason Mraz.
Sammy Sam: Oh yeah, me too.
AutoReMi-PK: Being a human cartoon, do you think it’s necessary to sometimes draw outside the lines?
Lil’ Janx: Definitely, we use it to undergo interdimensional space travel. Makes touring exponentially more interesting. We’ve toured in Flatland several times. Probably one of the best crowds, really.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, I mean, I have a hard time reading and doing math, so drawing INSIDE lines? I’d like to see YOU try it. Being a cartoon, human or not, definitely makes some interesting things possible.
You will never get back the time you’ve spent reading this
AutoReMi-PK: Indeed! Some people have claimed that psychoanalysis has no place in a fluff interview. What’s your favorite television show?
Lil’ Janx: Pokémon. I can really relate to it, you know? We wanna be the very best. That no one ever was.
Sammy Sam: I love reality TV, my favorite is LOST, but I haven’t watched tv in years
because Janx sold my tv to “pay some bills”.
Lil’ Janx: Um, hello, Dennis needed those sunglasses. They had to be Gucci, otherwise he wouldn’t meet the swag quota.
Sammy Sam: He really did, I’m cool with it, he is super fly now. Those glasses really put him deep into swag territory. #swagtory, if you will.
Lil’ Janx: I will indeed.
AutoReMi-PK: The NSA has gone on record as saying that YOU are their favorite television show. At what point did I get too drunk to continue this interview?
Lil’ Janx: I’d say about twenty minutes ago. Probably at about the point we were talking about Flatland… Maybe the PETA part. I dunno, man. I dunno your life.
Sammy Sam: When were we talking about Flatland?
Lil’ Janx: We toured there.
Sammy Sam: Oh, yeah! I’m sorry, I forgot most things.
AutoReMi-PK: Speaking of your tour of Flatland? Which incomplete sentence.
Lil’ Janx: That one.
Sammy Sam: I concur.
AutoReMi-PK: Much indeed! Many thank you.
Lil’ Janx: Such yes.
Sammy Sam: Thank you! It was truly a pleasure!
AutoReMi-PK: What’s next for Lil’ Janx and Sammy Sam?
Lil’ Janx: Our epic rap battle with Roboctopus! He be frontin and we gotta set him in his place before he disrespects the Hypesquad and all we stand for. Which is hashtags and Jason Mraz. Mad beefs gotta be sorted out.
Sammy Sam: That is all we stand for. That’s going to be really good. Also, probably a quadruple platinum album.
AutoReMi-PK: Thank you so much for your time! Any closing remarks?
Lil’ Janx: Um…
Sammy Sam: Uhhh…
Lil’ Janx: Don’t do drugs, kids… And buy our shit.
Sammy Sam: Yeah, buy our albums and t-shirts. And come see us when we are on tour!
Lil’ Janx: Seriously. Spend all your money. #jmolo
Hey y’all. President Hoodie here. Sup? =)
For one thing, it’s my 33rd birthday! Yaaaaay! I made it another year! Woohoo!! ^_^
And to celebrate this happy occasion…
HAVE A SUPER SPECIAL CHIPWIN EP ANNOUNCEMENT AS A PRESENT!!!!!!!!
Chiptunes = WTFLOL Album artwork by the unceasingly amazing Nate Horsfall.
Releasing Monday, May 6th (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO FOXY ;D ) after the usual 8 Bit Power Hour party of wonderful insanity on the always awesome 8bitx.com
(Fb event link HERE), THIS happens:
6 tracks from the 3 previously released ChipWIN compilations (Volume 1, Expansion Pack, & ChipWINter) covered by 6+ amazing artists
(+ = special guests! OH YEAH 8) from the VGM scene. To be more specific:
Stemage <— also mastering this one! OH SNAP~ VikingGuitar Cory Johnson The World Is Square Jameson Sutton Tim Yarbrough
They’ll be taking all the chiptunes out of your favorite chiptracks & replacing them with TROLLOLOLOLOLOL~ :3 (that and, yanno, LOTS OF ZOMBOFURKIN AWESOME).
Yup. Totes throwing a curve ball at y’all this time. Good to mix it up, right? RIGHT. 8)
P.S. Curious to learn which chipartists’ tracks are being covered & by who? Then tune into both the various ChipWIN & VGM artists’ social media outlets during the interim for hints & tips! (What? You didn’t really think I was just gonna tell you right now, did you? ;)
P.P.S. FINE. HERE’S A “TEASER” HINT ON THE CHIPWIN SOUNDCLOUD:
Just in case you missed the announcement Monday night during the VERY CRAZYAWESOME, VERY AWESOMECRAZY listening/release party on 8 Bit Power Hour on Areciboradio (peak listeners for the night = 281!!!!!), THIS BAD BOY IS OUT!!!! SNAG IT AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE AND SHARE IT EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!
And if you lurve it sooooooo much (VERY LIKELY) that you feel like wearing a Chiptunes = WIN shirt, 4 buttons, and SIXTY ONE STICKERS (!!!!!), you can snag that related merchy goodness for only $15 (!!!!!) RITE CHAR (char):
Again, MUCH LOVE AND THANKS to everyone involved in the project, and to all the listeners/supporters/CRAZY AWESOME people that love chiptunes….
A WINNER IS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!