So, being a white guy in a small town. Coming from that perspective it’s…
In terms of rapping, was there anyone around Berne who helped you get started on your way?
No, I had to fend totally100% for myself. That’s why I say I’m the mastermind. Like Albert can make a beat. But I paid for everything you see here, minus these speakers. But I found this stuff, found out what it was and how we needed it. I started out on three beats I had on singles: Cool Breeze, “Watch for the Hook”; Canibus, “Second Round K.O.”; and Snoop Dogg, “Woof” and I just rapped over them back to back to back. Freestyle.
How old were you?
18. I got my first karaoke. It takes a little while to get stuff around here. Wal-Mart had ‘em but I ain’t have no money.
So that was the first thing you got?
Na, the first thing I got was a mic for $20 up at The Music House in Decatur. I said, “Is this gonna work?” And she said, “It ain’t gonna sound good.” I said it don’t gotta sound good. It’s gotta put my voice over a beat and let me hear if I can do this.” I had been freestyling for a long time but I didn’t say that to her, she’s just some old lady.
What was your first rap?
Who knows, It could be recorded somewhere. I’ve got tapes, archives. Most of my stuff is written and hasn’t even been recorded. I was waiting to get a beat for it. ‘Cause I write without beats a lot. I can change the syllables and even change some of the words in a line. I’m planning on releasing a mixtape with other people’s beats. But I can’t record yet. Really I’m just getting off the ground, doing it all myself, in a town where no one else is doing s**t. They might have a rock group but as far as rap, I’m it.
Why not rock, why not country, why not anything but rap?
I don’t know. It just grabbed me at a young age. I just loved the way it was put together. And by the time I was thirteen, it was my life.
What was the first one you had memorized?
Probably “2 Legit 2 Quit.” But the first one I was really proud I memorized was old Bone Thugs “Everyday Thang.”
What are your favorites now?
Dipset, I like JR Rider under Dipset. I like the way Chamillionaire does it and my perennial favorites are Scarface, Yukmouth, E-40 and Saigon. He ain’t got his CD dropped yet. Some of the themes get old but I like a lot of Texas s**t. Trae from Rap-A-Lot and Z-Ro too. And Stat Quo, he’s the main one I like out of the whole Shady/Aftermath label.
Would you say rap is a social statement, a political statement, race, youth…?
A little bit of everything, like this song “Strugglin’” that C-Mob got. He said, “This life ain’t f**kin’ fair, feel like I look in my pockets and there be nothin’ there, f**kin’ nobody cares, whether I life or die…or something.
When you’re sitting at the Shell station what are you thinking about most of the day?
Flows I’m about to type when I get back inside. Thinkin’, hell at least I’m makin’ something out of this job. And eventually, who knows what I’m going to do. But I’m trying to make some money one way or another. There’s endless possibilities.
In a way you’re kind of like the American Dream, you’re basically reinventing yourself and you believe you can do it.
One of the things is that I saw all of this s**t on TV. All of these people in rap videos and I could just tell a lot of them were coming from nothing. They were still wearing t-shirts and stuff. They’re not rich. I felt like I was more like them than I was like these other people… like rock, like Aerosmith in the early 90s. I just couldn’t get into it.
One last thing: Why the name “Infamus”?
It just came up one day to me a long time ago. Just for different things I did. I felt like different people knew I did it. Like I was in a bad spot, like I was infamous.
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So, are you recording it?
Can you give me some time before I answer questions so I know what I’m going to say?
Sure…well, it should come naturally.
It won’t if I know I’m being recorded. I’ll be all nervous.
Well, I’ll turn it off.
When I was, we had to call in rounds…
You had to what?
When the radar picked up rounds, we had to call it in on the radio. Even though there was no one there I knew there were people listening and I still got nervous and I got tongue-tied.
What did you call in about?
Counter fire. Counter fire, counter fire, counter fire. Target number. Yankee, Yankee. We send it over the net to the gun line.
What’s the gun line?
So did you only work inside the compound? You didn’t go out and do work?
Not much actually.
Did you carry a gun.
Yeah, I carried my M-16 to church. With 30 rounds.
Really? You carried that wherever you went?
Even if you were in a radar station underneath a desk, you would have your gun nearby.
Mmm-huh. It was always on.
Did you have a bayonet?
I didn’t. I didn’t get issued one. Other people did but I didn’t. I just had a gun. My drill instructor and basic trainer had stabbed somebody so hard that the rifle, it went in up to the front sight post. That far. It got stuck.
How do you get that close to the enemy?
That’s when you either run out of ammunition or hand to hand combat.
I didn’t think they even did hand to hand combat anymore.
Sometimes you get into a lot of trouble. When you shoot the wrong guy you’ll here on the news these soldiers getting into trouble. And somebody’s got to take the blame. The Army will, it depends on the situation, but they will help, it’s not like you going and committing murder. Unless it’s intentional. And they prove it. There’s a lot of times where in a split second…you know…I shot a grandma in training.
A fake person?
Yeah, it was a silhouette in a building. Steel containers.
When you were over there were you just thinking about being there? Were you living in the moment or were you looking forward to coming home?
My job was a lot of boredom and not much excitement.
So you were looking forward to getting back?
Yeah. The most excitement I had was we chased a dust devil. They are big over there. We chased it across…its all desert, even our post. We chased it across the open field. It was a big ball. I was sitting in the bed [of the truck] and I was flipped up and landed on my back. That was one of the funnest times.
That was sort of like a mini-tornado?
When you were over there you were just thinking of coming back here and getting an apartment, getting a car…
Buying a farm. Getting animals and tractors.
So your parents have a farm?
I grew up on a farm. And I was thinking about organic farming.
Yes. But I think you have to let the ground sit for three years. I was thinking about goats or sheep because the ethnic people, my dad told me, I didn’t know this; the sheep is the most milked animal in the world. So there’s a lot of foreign people from the Middle East who are over here who would be interested in sheep. There would be a market for it. The vegetables would take a lot of work. And I wouldn’t have the tools or machines to go and pick it. Like tomatoes. That would be a job done with hands.
Yeah, I know a few people up by Goshen who do organic farming and they’re doing well. A lot of them do it form the perspective of living simply. Sort of a hippie mentality. And there are a lot of traditional farmer types who are starting to go organic.
What I’m afraid of is everything is starting to turn. I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of the traditional type of farming. It’s just like everything else; the market is going to get flooded soon. I know that’s what happened with hogs a few years back. The price was really good so everyone started building hog barns so the price goes way down. The only people that could afford to stay in are the ones that are already set up or the bigger corporations can get better prices just with the quantity. And they will be able to produce a product cheaper than anyone else. That’s what’s happening to a lot of small farmers.
Is that what happened to your parents?
Pretty much. And I don’t know what dad was really thinking I guess. I never asked him. I don’t know if he was ready to get out of the hogs. They were a pain.