To the joy of their fans, and the apparent dismay of their detractors, Da Korum has come out of hiding to release their latest and most ambitious Mormon Hip-Hop offering to date: What I$ Reality?: Da Concept Album. Instead of being discouraged by the Philistines who lack the high level of cognitive abstraction necessary to understand their work, Da Korum has stuck a metaphorical stick in those eyes and ears by creating a complex, deep concept album worthy to sit between your copies of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and its sister album Ringo the 4th.
Even more astonishing than the brilliant depths that this album has uncovered for the first time in all musical history is the fact that masterminds Valiant B and MC Hot Drankz were willing to sit down with me (for the second time) and talk about this momentous album and its inevitable future impact on the music industry.
(special note – the editor has kindly cleaned up the worst spelling and grammar errors found throughout this article)
So first of all, your last album featured a third rapper who called himself “D3,” but WIR:DCA didn’t feature him at all. Is he a full member of Da Korum or not?
MC Hot Drankz: Yo first of all before I get this interview started I would be remiss if I didn’t shout-out to all my homies back home that deserve honorable mention. That includes DJ Home Invader, G-Bidness, the North-West Tank Drivas, Coin-Money and the Dubloons, my boys out floatin on the moon Titan, St. Peter, the 2 Pow3rful Crew, Numb3rs 4 L3tt3r$, TH Zone, MC Apollo 13, DJ Santa Clawz, Infinit, the RockStonePosse, Larry, Ship$hape, Da Organ Donaz, the Gravelz, Da Pokemon Cardz, MC Frozen Pea$, Refrigeration Unit, Circus Monkey, Da Killa Gnomes, Hammer-Abi and the Codez, Baby Albert, Dishwalla, Johnny Virgil, ZamBronie, Boom Shaka Laka Zulu, the Egyptian Mothership of Funk, Da Mall Fountain Money, Baron Von Rat, and Alexander Graham Bell.
Valiant B: So yeah, you know, D3 is our bro, know what I’m saying? The thing with D3 is he is like a wolf. He is doin’ his own thing. I think he opened a karate dojo in Brazil or somethin’.
MC Hot Drankz: Yeah, shout out to all the Brazilians out there. Anyway D3 ain’t a full memba because Da Korum has always been just two members: me and Valiant B. Any more than 2 and it ain’t Da Korum. It would be Da Group of People, or Da Assembly, which just don’t quite have the same flow.
Which is ironic because don’t you need 12 to make a quorum?
MC Hot Drankz: I’m really not sure what that means dude.
So what gave you the idea to create a concept album instead of your more traditional EP format?
Valiant B: Da Korum always takes it to the next level. Other artists come wearing a suit, so we show up in a tuxedo, know what I’m saying? But really we want to live up to our reputation for being “deeper than a scuba diver” like I said in our Worldz Without Numba EP. And what’s deeper than a concept album? Yo we deeper than the Arctic Ocean, and we colder too.
MC Hot Drankz: Dawg, that’s the shallowest of all the oceans.
Valiant B: Ok, well then we deeper than the Mariana Trench. Like, we be floatin’ in magma in the Earth’s mantle, ya dig?
MC Hot Drankz: Really I came up with the idea because I was listening to Captain Beefheart and I was like, “This speaks to me – I want to create a modern, accessible hip hop version of Captain Beefheart at his best.”
So you would cite Captain Beefheart as an influence?
MC Hot Drankz: No dawg, Captain Beefheart is wack. We ain’t got no influences.
Valiant B: Yeah, we are the only artists with NO influences – we influence all other artists though. That’s why I call our style of music Ex Nihilo Hip Hop – it comes outta nowhere. But then all other music descends from us. So that’s why I call our style Prokaryote Hip Hop.
That’s a lot of styles.
Valiant B: Yo well, you could say dat “Ex Nihilo Hip Hop” and “Prokaryote Hip Hop” are really just “rigid designators” of the same object and this is true in all possible worlds, according to Kripke. Yo Hot Drankz you forgot to shout-out to Saul Kripke when we started da interview. If Da Korum has any influences, it’s Saul Kripke in da house.
Speaking of theology and descent, let’s get into the substance of the album. In your track “Deep Thotz,” you specifically mention doubts about human evolution. Would you call yourself Creationists then?
Valiant B: Yeah dude, we Creationists. We believe dat God made da world in 7 tracks. Ya feel me?
MC Hot Drankz: No I believe in evolution, but we didn’t come from monkeys, we came from otters. You can verify that. That’s why humans like the beach. Straight up, scientists need to release the truth to the public.
Valiant B: At first I thought this theory was faulty, but it totally makes sense. That’s why we like crayfish.
MC Hot Drankz: Yeah crayfish are like da crawdads of the ocean.
Hot Drankz, you seem to have written the most intimate, revealing song about yourself in “Flying (Drankz’ Dr3am).”
MC Hot Drankz: Agreed.
And that guitar solo is killer.
MC Hot Drankz: Also agree.
But does it reveal that there might be hidden tensions in the band between you and Valiant B?
MC Hot Drankz: Man people gotta remember that this is just an album. It’s all fantasy. So just because it seems like there’s conflict between us don’t mean that there actually is.
Valiant B: Yeah, all music has to have conflict. That’s how you keep it real. Hot Drankz ain’t really sick of me all the time.
MC Hot Drankz: Even if I were I wouldn’t go around writing or dreaming about it. It’s such a small part of the album anyway.
WIR:DCA seems to contain multiple narrative layers wrapped in more layers. How did you keep all the separate strands straight?
MC Hot Drankz: Yo, our album is kinda complicated, and we understood that. That’s why we will soon be selling a laminated poster we made that is a listener’s guide to our album. It shows all of the concurrent storylines and signals their distinct planes. Plus we used smelly markers so it smells like a fruit salad. We also made a wallet sized version so you can explain it to your friends.
Valiant B: Yeah, we hope the album will reveal itself over time- truthfully, I only listen to this album, and I still don’t understand it at all. It’s pretty whack.
MC Hot Drankz: Well I like to think it’s like a cross between Inception and an optical illusion of sound.
Valiant B: Yeah, it’s like if a Gestalt rabbit/duck had a baby with MC Escher and the result was this album. Or like those Magic Eyes books. Yo, those was whack. I could never get them to work.
So all your fans are asking: was that really Snoop Dogg on the album or someone else? Also, was the storyline intended to be an actual dream, or is it real?
MC Hot Drankz: I’ll let listeners come to their own conclusions, but I’ll help them out by saying that true dreams… are real if you believe them. But that’s all just a fantasy. Or is it?
Your last song on the EP, “Dance Movez ($take Dance Song)” seems to be a deliberate effort to break into the Mormon market. Has MC Hot Drankz finally embraced his religious heritage?
MC Hot Drankz: Yeah, [laughs] that’s funny that you mention that – I’m active in my own religion that is separate from LDS but it also involves going to LDS church pretty often because my Dad makes me. I still get a lot of inspiration from Elder’s Quorum, like that’s where I learned that tha government gonna steal all our food storage.
Valiant B: Yeah, that’s no lie.
MC Hot Drankz: But seriously though, I think the LDS church is really just a metaphor for a Greater Church that’s really on a higher fractal level to humanity. But dude, what if that Greater Church is really just a metaphor for da LDS church? That’s the real question we should be pondering.
Valiant B: Yo, da real scoop is, MC Hot Drankz just needs to read the scriptures. All his whack ideas would be clarified.
MC Hot Drankz: I’m just waiting for the new version to come out. But I like to think of our new album as “Da Sealed Portion.”
So this album features both MC Hot Drankz AND Valiant B on guitar. Does this mean Hot Drankz will be taking more of a back seat to Valiant’s guitar playing?
MC Hot Drankz: Yo dawg you did not just say that.
You stated that you’re always taking things to the next level. What does the future hold for Da Korum? Where do you go from here?
Valiant B: Yeah we experimenting with different ideas, but it would be pretty hard to top What I$ Reality?: Da Concept Album. One thing that would really take things up a notch is to get some dope recording software. Right now we just recordin on demo software that keeps asking us to register.
MC Hot Drankz: Yeah we also experimenting with the idea of signing to a major label, like Virgin, Sub Pop, or Feel Good Music Coalition.
So you are fans of Young Sim’s Feel Good Music?
MC Hot Drankz: Naw, we just recognize that all their music is basically influenced by us. Like, they basically a carbon copy tribute label for Da Korum.
Valiant B: But you know we ain’t gonna sue or anything – we flattered that they like us so much. Like we said, basically all music is directly influenced by Da Korum, and that includes Young Sim’s crew, but we willing to talk numbers if they want to sign us.
MC Hot Drankz: Yeah, we’d even let them sign us, that’s how flattered we are.
To check out Da Korum’s new EP, What I$ Reality?: Da Concept Album, follow this link to their Bandcamp!