Freddy Madball is full of Catholic Guilt
August 23, 2009
The kid’s been rocking stages since he was literally a pre-teen. Act like you don’t know; but dude’s entire family is the NYHC scene. He was raised by his older brother Roger Miret of Agnostic Front fame and fostered by another AF legend Vinnie Stigma. He’s shared stages with every band of any importance that came out of New York’s Lower East Side Hardcore scene and has recorded some of the genre’s most classic material. As a matter of fact; just the other day I was talking with a good friend of mine and we were reminiscing on Madball‘s first 7″ Ball of Destruction. His quote was something along the lines of “yeah, that first Madball record is about as close to flawless as you can get.” Ever since that record dropped Freddy has been steadily putting it out there: from Madball to Hazen Street to his newest venture alongside long-time friend and producer DJ Stress.
“People that know me from the Hardcore world know I’ve always been a huge fan of Hip Hop,” says Freddy through one of the thickest New York accents you’ll ever hear. “I’ve always been deep into Hip Hop culture; I’ve been a part of that as much as I have been a part of Hardcore. Now I’m finally getting a chance to do my thing and show people what I have to offer.” His latest joint, titled Catholic Guilt is, for the most part, a two-man show in the long tradition of DJ/MC combinations. The beats are grimy and driven; the rhymes are real and gritty and personal. Like everything he’s done so far; Freddy, as an MC approaches the task he has chosen with reverence and the sense of history with which it comes. “I went really deep for the sounds I came up with. Everything from Melle Mel to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick was a big influence on me, Rakim, Wu-Tang…same thing. I don’t compare myself to anyone in particular, I’m just influenced by all the great Hip Hop I grew up listening to. The sounds are on some real other ish; some throwback stuff, some real straight-ahead Hip Hop stuff and also some stuff that’s on a real different trip. We got one joint where we sampled the Clash. I’ll let people decide what my style is; I just let the stuff flow from my life and my heart.” The title itself recalls the most basic struggle of man; the inner conflict of good against evil. These are struggles that Freddy has known all too well throughout his life.
The melding of the Hardcore scene with Hip Hop is nothing new; both scenes were born at almost the same time in New York City. Both are deeply rooted in street culture. Both have borrowed quite liberally from one another in terms of fashion, attitude and influence for decades now. Look at any NYHC band’s logo from the 80s: chances are it is made to look exactly like a graff piece. Same with Hardcore album art; there was a huge connection that was evident and accepted. “At the same time I was coming up Hardcore I was like a lot of kids, especially on the East Coast: there was no division between the two for me. When Madball first came on the scene you could have easily mistaken us for Hip Hop kids just by the way we rolled; the way we looked and the way we carried ourselves.”
Even going back to the earliest Madball songs there was always a Hip Hop presence in the way they wrote songs; the breakdowns, the hooks. You could easily feel the influences in those songs. Freddy’s vocal delivery has always held that same air of attitude that the best Rap records always had. “Yeah, the Hardcore songs I wrote always had Hip Hop overtones and that wasn’t even a conscious thing. It just came out, even when we were just trying to bring you some raw, straight-up New York Hardcore.”
Now, with this newest offering, both Freddy and Stress bring all those influences together in a searing blend of rawness. Stress is another kid who came up the same way as Freddy; he spent half his time knuckle-bombing at Hardcore shows and the other half digging for Hip Hop records. Stress’s own affiliations are numerous and contain some of the best-known names in both games. He’s done joints for Ghostface, OC, Tame One, Lil Wayne, OuterSpace, Army of the Pharaohs, Gym Class Heroes and Good Charlotte, just to name a few. And while Stress’s styles and influences are widely varied and eclectic his sound is very straightforward: nothing but bangers. Catholic Guilt is evidence of that.
“Stress put most of the record together,” Freddy explains. “We recorded, produced and arranged at Stress’s studio. He killed it; he did a great job of recording it and mixing it and the beats he did are insane. He’s a real talented dude and I’m glad I linked up with him. My man LD from Pitchfork Clothing also did a few beats on the record, too. He’s a real talented producer, too and he did three or four joints for me. He did the track that features my man Vinnie Paz. I got Reef the Lost Cauze on there and he’s real dope. I got Slaine, from La Coka Nostra on a song and we got a whole Boston/New York thing going on with that one. Me and him go way, way back. I just kept it all people that I know and respect in the game; people that know me and know my history. I kept it real close like that. I even got Lars from Rancid on a joint where we sampled the Clash. There’s just a lot of different styles on my record.”
[via - TheExaminer] words by: Steven DiLodovico