The subject line read, “Hey girl, I finally leaked.”
Always ready to investigate a new lead and continuously seeking fresh underground tunes, I immediately streamed the Soundcloud tracks that were waiting in my inbox. Two days later, I had emails piled up of correspondence with Freddie Bunz, while his new mixtape The Mutant Virus streamed on constant repeat. On top of all-original beat production by RJD2, Bunz lays down lyrics that are not only articulate and decipherable, but also authentic and easy to relate to. The eight-song mixtape includes everything from a junkie-directed outlash (You got high with heroin… in a cop car / They let you go? Stop snitchin’ / You hate the government? You didn’t vote. Stop bitchin'.) to a commonplace act of concealment (blowin’ dro through dryer sheets).
When discussing his diversity and cross-genre appeal, Bunz emotes over the notion of making music that the public at large can connect with. He prefers his music be defined as hip hop and expresses discontent with today’s rap music. He vents “Rap gives genuine hip hop a bad reputation. I think rap music should be banished. People win Grammys on subject matter such as rims, money, clothes, and degrading women. The great Alfred Hitchcock never won an Academy Award, but Three Six Mafia won an Oscar for a song called ‘It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp’?”
In our interview below, Bunz writes off The Mutant Virus as “just some mixtape stuff” but the album is legit and mega-addictive. Highlights include “Ghostwriter”, a tune calling out rappers who purchase rhymes and claim them as their own, and “Kill Bill V3”, an excruciatingly slow and low-end pulse over which Bunz boasts, “They said I couldn’t even rap on this beat… but, on the contrary, I’m ‘bout to murder it”. The mixtape is deserving of your time from front to back, but pay particularly close attention to the closing track “Mexican Visectme” where Bunz confronts the state of today’s music industry and plots his plan to take what’s rightfully his. It’s been a long time coming.
NUVO: Tell me about The Mutant Virus.
Bunz: It’s is just mixtape stuff. Just trying to get a buzz going again. I haven’t made any noise in Indy for a couple years now. But I’m living here again and in full effect.
NUVO: I find that people often use the term “mixtape” loosely; its meaning varies slightly from person to person. How would you define your mixtape?
Bunz: What I mean by mixtape is a free album that basically showcases my abilities as an artist. A lot of the time in hip hop, rappers will remix other songs and release them for free to generate a buzz for a future project or debut. Instead of rapping over well-known rap songs, I choose to use more underground and lesser known stuff. I love to do cross genre stuff and help generate fans for that artist, and vice versa.
NUVO: So if the mixtape is to generate a buzz, what are you building up to?
Bunz: I have a short record that will be available April 5th called Helvetica. It’s remixes from the band Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra.
NUVO: How did you connect with Shawn Lee? His music is a bit of a stretch from you hip hop arena.
Bunz: I heard a song on Pandora and I emailed him to tell him I wanted to do some stuff over some of the instrumentals. All those songs are previously released songs by Shaun Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra; I merely chopped the tracks, rearranged some things, and did my thing on top of it. He is a talented person. There's just something about that audio. I know its miles away from what people who do this hip hop thing would do, but there is just something about when I hear a Shawn Lee track. It's like... I get it. Something clicks. That's the arena I wanna be in.
NUVO: I have to ask- is Helvetica named after the font?
Bunz: Yes, Helvetica is named from the typeface. I am a graphic designer. Typography is plays a role in my designing. Helvetica changed the game of graphic design when it was introduced. The album is designed to create a buzz for an album I’m working on with C-Rayz Walz from New York City. That one’s called From the Soil to the Soul. We are in production for that, but taking it slow and letting it develop itself. Collaborations on that include Shaun Price, Vast Aire (of Canibal OX), and C-Rayz on every song.
NUVO: But that’s not all?
Bunz: After that, I’ll drop Visual Rhythm my first release with Suncycle Entertainment. The label is owned by C-Rayz. Shay Daily (of Sleeper Cell), A.C.E. O.N.E., and C-Rayz are on that one. We’re shooting for the 3rd quarter of 2011 and it will be available everywhere.
Danielle covers local music for NUVO.net and IndyMojo.com