We TRUbians appreciate rappers who push themselves to new creative heights. Take the Dallas-based MC named Playdough for example. Here’s a dude who flips more than samples. He’s using complete works outside the genre to inspire new, hip hop-flavored interpretations of songs by artists like Johnny Cash, Modest Mouse, and Queen as part of his Writer Dye series.
We spoke to him about volume 1 almost two years ago and recently reconnected via e-mail to get the scoop on the sequel dubbed Deux or Die.
Sketch: This is your second Writer Dye album where you reinterpret classic songs and lyrics from other bands. I loved the last one and was wondering if you took any fan requests for titles to tackle on the sequel. If so, what are they and were there any surprise suggestions or songs that turned out better than you’d initially hoped?
Playdough: Thanks, man. I wasn’t really feeling most of the suggestions, they seemed to be really centered around big 80′s songs that I’m not into. I think in the end, a lot of the songs turned out better than I expected them to. The biggest surprise to me was probably “Cold N Play.” I never thought Coldplay’s song would have turned out so hard. That beat is really aggressive and I love the “Rush of Blood To The Head” lyrics, it made it a lot of fun to play with the hook and make it mine.
Sketch: Shortly after you dropped the video for “King of Queens” (a tribute “Bohemian Rhapsody”) you retweeted one of your followers who asked why you would cover the song of an open homosexual (Queens’ lead singer Freddie Mercury). Should listeners consider your Writer Dyeinspirations to be a full endorsement of the original author’s life choices and message? Or are you able to separate the artist from the art (if indeed there even needs to be any separation)?
Playdough: Yeah, that was crazy. I get stuff like that fairly regularly so I wanted to RT it so that people can feel what I deal with sometimes. I don’t personally know any of the artists that inspired the album so I’m not trying to endorse anyone. What I’m doing is using incredible songs with great writing and trying to turn them into a chorus on a rap song. I want people to recognize some classic lyrics and enjoy hearing the way that I turn them into something new.
Sketch: With few exceptions, the Writer Dye series plays off of indie rock or other, non-hip hop classics. Do you find those styles of music more interesting than rap music these days? Why?
Playdough: I wouldn’t say that I find rock more interesting than hip-hop these days. I still listen to hip-hop more than anything else. I do think that it’s more interesting to the listener to hear me flip lyrics from another genre than to just hear me re-rap another emcee’s rhymes. Plus it’s very fun to take someone’s lyrics that I’ve appreciated and try to make them work into something that I’d do. It’s like making a vocal sample do whatever I want it to do. It’s the closest to being Bob Dylan that I’ll ever get.
Sketch: You recently Tweeted that you were sending out deluxe pre-order packages of Writer Dye: Deaux or Die and were surprised by the amount of XXL t-shirts you had to print up. You added “Stop eating so much bacon, bros.”
I also know that your last album was called Hotdoggin and in the lyrics and promo materials you had some harsh words about what goes into an American frankfurter. So my question is: What exactly is your beef with processed meat?!?
Playdough: I know there are a lot of big guys that love hip-hop. It was just surprising to see the amount of 2 XL and 3 XL shirts – it was like half of the total orders. Everyone was talking a lot about bacon the day I was looking at the shirt sizes that were ordered so I joked about the bacon thing.
I have my own opinions about hotdogs and meat, but I don’t care what other people put in their mouths. House of Pain said “I never eat a pig cuz a pig is a cop” haha.
Download Writer Dye: Deux or Die from iamplaydough.com for just $5.
1.Cold N Play
3.Stroke of Genius with Copywrite
5.Cash Rules Everything
6.King of Queens
7.Bob Dylan produced by OhNo
8.From a DigablePlanet with Von Pea
9.A to Zeppelin produced by Theory Hazit
10.Jon Bon Iver with Adeem