‘This Is The Best Record I’ve Ever Done’ Prozak Talks ‘Paranormal’ [Strange Music Exclusive Interview]

Dec 22 2011


In the final part of our exclusive interview, Prozak reveals his direction behind his upcoming album Paranormal, and explains exactly why this will be his best album yet. In a revealing section we also highlight the creative freedom that Strange Music has to offer and how it contrasts to the dark dilemmas that exist for many artists on other labels, major and independent.

Speaking of paranormal, we understand that Paranormal is the title of your upcoming album. Did the making of this album coincide with your film work and get inspiration from that?

Well let me explain this because I know that a lot of people are going to hear that title–so many things are going to come to their head, why it’s called this. Let me set the record straight and say why: “paranormal” is defined in many ways but ultimately the general consensus is that “paranormal” is something that is out of the norm, “paranormal” cannot be explained–it’s out of the box–and that’s what I am as an artist on Strange Music and that’s what I am as an artist on any label. The album differs: you’ve got metal in there, you’ve got hard rock in there, you’ve got hip hop in there, you’ve got storytelling–you’ve got all kinds of shit and it’s all on one record. I’m one guy that comes out with a microphone and yet I could split up the crowd into a wall of death: 2,500 people splitting up down the middle on the count of ten, smashing into each other–mosh pits. I’ve been told by friends of mine that are in huge metal bands that I get bigger mosh pits than they do–and I’m a solo hip hop artist on a rap label. To me that’s paranormal. I don’t want people to hear that title and make assumptions like “Oh is this a horrocore album? Is this whole album about death and ghosts?” No! That’s what I am to the industry: I’m paranormal, out of the norm, something that can’t be explained.

For your fans that are used to your work, what can they expect to be the same and what can they expect to be different for this album?

That’s an excellent question. What you can expect is a Prozak album. What I mean by that is that I’ve had all the time that I’ve ever desired. All the records I’ve done to this point have been rushed, so to speak. Of course I don’t mean rushed quality. I just mean that they were all songs that were done within a certain deadline and that it was quite a bit of me writing in the studio and things of that of nature. This record is something that I had lots of time to craft, to hone in, to do exactly what I wanted to do. This album isn’t full of features. This album is not about collabs–this is a Prozak album. This is what I believe will define me as what I am. It’s exactly that. I believe that this is the best record I’ve ever done. Of course most artists are going to say that to “hype” their new project.

It seems that every time you pick up a CD it’s going to say “featuring” and have ten names on it. I suppose art is art but I would love to see people making more attempts to stake their own claim and define their own sound. What are your views on that?

I completely agree with you. When Tales From The Sick came out it had a certain point to it. It was a huge record, it was a huge collaboration effort as well. It was basically a personal record because I wanted to work with everybody–virtually and within reason–that I’ve wanted to work with and “Can I pull this off?” Those people included of course obviously Tech N9ne, Insane Clown Posse, Twista, Cypress Hill: these are people that I’ve always wanted to work with. I grew up listening to them and I accomplished that. That’s why it was called Tales From The Sick because it was a lot of different people’s input and perspective because there were so many features on that record and that had a specific point to me. But I do see what you’re saying in that it’s really important that artists, solo artists, keep their own material on there as much as they can. At the end of the day if someone says “I want to go buy a Jay-Z record” well that’s because they’re a Jay-Z fan and they love Jay-Z and they want to hear Jay-Z. Don’t get me wrong, it’s dope and refreshing that two or three of them tracks got somebody else on it that comes in and matches well and you can look at that and say “that was dope as hell hearing them two together” but ultimately I think people want to hear the artist that they’re spending their money on and that’s what they want. I think it was due time that I did this with Paranormal.

You have a knack for reinventing yourself with every release, more specifically your flow. Can we expect this now that you’re on Strange?

Well I think that my flow just changes with time because time changes a person. It is what it is. People don’t stay the same. People advance, people grow. People get better with time. There’s a lot of reasons for that but no. I’ll go ahead and say the answer is no, I’m not changing my style because I’m on Strange Music. Because I’m on Strange Music doesn’t mean I’m going to emulate and start chopping fast on all my songs or start trying to mimic certain things that Tech N9ne does because I feel that you have to be you. That’s one thing that I notice that goes on out there in the industry and on different record labels around the country. People get signed and then all of the sudden they start to shift in a whole different direction because someone else who’s on top right now is doing this certain thing and it’s hugely popular. But I believe that Strange signed me because of who I am, therefore I’m not going to all of the sudden flip it around and start trying to emulate other artists.

Do you feel like you have more freedom to do darker music with Strange than you would at other labels?

You know, I’m going to say this and I told a lot of people this and this is whole-heartedly the truth: Strange Music is so fucking open to artists’ creativity. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re the best label in the world in terms of creative freedom. I mean bro, I have never ever been told by anybody on Strange Music: “Hey, you can’t say this” or “You shouldn’t say this” or “You need to rewrite this certain verse” or anything–or even imagery. The only thing I have ever been told in my very long career with Strange Music is that I had to tone down some of what I was doing live during the Project: Deadman era because of some lawsuits that ensued–but that I only made absolute sense all around the table. So yeah, absolutely–Strange Music is pure, pure freedom. Never seen anything like it in my life dude. They never tell you what you should be doing or try to change what you are doing. Literally it’s like “We signed you, you’re doing this with us because we believe in what you’re doing.” Nobody but the artist knows what the artist wants to do best and they leave that all in your hands. That’s fucking phenomenal and that’s true.

Have you ever sat down with other labels who tried to tell you how to be?

I haven’t necessarily been in that particular situation but I do know a multitude of people: rappers, bands, some on very big independent labels, some on major labels, and I hear about this shit all the time–all the time. I hear some pretty amazing things actually about the extent of the label’s input on songs on a song per song basis and it’s absolutely amazing to hear what they’re saying and to hear how many times they had to re-do things. I just sit there and think “Holy shit, I’ve never been in this position in my life” and I am literally able to say that I create x amount of songs that is needed to be submitted and that the creative freedom is a hundred percent. I almost feel bad even saying this and interjecting that into the conversation because I’ve watched friends of mine going through a lot of turmoil and I don’t even want to say “Oh, well damn dude, all I got to do is turn in my record!” I haven’t been in that position myself but I know dozens of people that go through it annually.

Basically being told how to make music by people who probably don’t have much experience making it.

Yeah, that’s the funny part is that out in the industry you have a bunch of desk-jockey types that don’t make music so it’s kind of interesting that you have all these people trying to throw in their two cents or trying to throw in what they believe is trendy or popular and all that kind of garbage. Strange Music is the opposite: they sign an artist because they believe in that artist and they leave it up to them to do what it is that they do. Once they have the record they do what they’re best at which is the hundreds of thousands of things that they have to do from that point.

What are your hopes and plans for your career now that you’re officially signed with Strange Music?

My goal is to become a lot more stable as an artist and what I mean by that is I want my listeners to be able to count on the fact that next year there will be another Prozak album and when that drops the next year there will be another album. They won’t have to have long gaps in between and wonder “When will the next album come out?” and that kind of thing. Strange Music is really incredible at keeping records dropping all the time. They’re incredible at keeping their artists on tour and keeping them active. I believe that as long as an artist wants that and pursues that then Strange will definitely be right there to keep shooting them out of the cannon. Personally my goal is to become a lot more relevant.

Do you plan on touring anytime soon?

I do as a matter of fact. I will be doing a massive amount of shows in the spring and the summer.

I know you have a New Year’s show coming up in Columbus, anything you want to say about that?

Absolutely. I will be performing on New Year’s Eve with some of the best indie rappers in the fucking country. My homeboys Twizted. If you don’t know about them where the fuck are you living, under a rock? Twizted and I are doing the New Year’s Evil 4 show at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. Twizted puts on a show every year called New Year’s Evil and this will be the fourth. It’ll be crazy, it”ll be sold out, it’ll be pure mayhem so definitely go to Ticketmaster and look that up.

You’re signing is going to surprise a lot of fans who have been waiting to hear more from you, is there anything you want to say to them?

I do. I guess it’s like, have you watched that movie The Poltergeist? In that movie there’s this creepy kid that always stares at a TV full of static and it’s like “They’re heeere” and “I’m back.” Look at it that way…I’m back.

– Interview conducted by Jeff Nelson (@JeffreyPNelson), Senior Blog Editor

Follow Prozak on Twitter @THEREALPROZAK

Click here to pre-order Paranormal.

Prozak - "Paranormal"

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