We’d like to introduce you to El Monte, CA product Skribbal who just recently released his debut album, “Drug Spun Funk” (now available on all digital outlets). I know that often times we see an unfamiliar name and just pass it by so I wanted to present this young man’s story so you can get an idea of who he is and where he’s come from – as opposed to just putting something out there with no story behind it. Once you check out his story and listen to his album sampler, I think you’ll agree with me that this dude has skills.
So with all of that said, meet Skribbal.
Interview by Tim Sanchez
You’re relatively new so it’s important that we cover some of your background. Please give us a brief rundown.
Basically, I was born to a couple of drug addicts. I guess that’s a great way to start this off. My parents had a pretty big meth addiction before my birth. I honestly don’t remember much of the first ten years of my life. By age nine, I was already in foster care – me and my three older sisters. Usually the foster care system gives the natural parents about a year to get their shit together so they can give the kids back to them. Mine were given two and they never got their shit together. My siblings and I were split up and we went to our own separate foster homes.
After two years, I came to California to live with my grandparents. I was the only one out of my siblings, however, because my grandfather didn’t want to deal with teenage girls. I was eleven at the time and for whatever reason, he thought that boys were easier to deal with than girls, and that’s how I ended up in El Monte, CA.
Up until that point I wasn’t a real fan of rap music. I knew who Eminem was and shit like that but I was more into 6 Feet Under, Black Sabbath, and White Zombie. I was heavily into music though because of my dad who constantly played Rob Zombie, so I’ve loved music since childhood. As far as rap goes, my real introduction to it was through Limp Bizkit. I dove head first into rap music after that and we have them to thank for that (laughter).
Thanks, Fred Durst.
I thought if Limp Bizkit could do this, so could I.
Did you rap like them too?
Oh yeah. Actually the first five years of my journey into rapping was emulating anybody that I loved.
Who else aside from Limp Bizkit did you start listening to?
After them, I moved on to Eminem. He was pretty relatable to me because he was angry at times. At twelve and thirteen, I didn’t really get in too deep to hip-hop acts – you know like Wu-Tang and all. It was all Eminem and Limp Bizkit during those times. I didn’t go fully into hip-hop until I was sixteen or seventeen years old.
At that point what other rap groups and acts did you get into?
I remember listening to Immortal Technique and having my mind pretty fuckin’ blown away. Then I started listening to Apathy, Self-Titled – I gravitated to the underground shit. It seemed more angry to me than mainstream music. I liked some of the classic gangsta shit like Ice T. He is probably to this day my number one rapper of all time. I actually discovered his music because of Body Count and then I went back and discovered his other albums like “Power” and “Rhyme Pays.”
Some don’t feel that rap and rock should mix as evidenced by some who have spoken out about N.W.A. getting into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Obviously, you feel different.
Rap can be angry just like Rock can and when you mix the two, you can create the most fucking angry music ever. That’s why I connected with shit like Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Body Count. You have angsty and violent lyrics supported by heavy sounding music. However that era of rap metal got diluted by other acts coming in to imitate it.
I think it can still be effective at times like adding live guitars to tracks (ex: Jack White and A Tribe Called Quest) and what Anthrax did with Public Enemy years ago on Bring Tha Noize.
Oh yeah, that’s another one right there. It was very energetic. Hey look, I’ll be the first one to say that rap/rock is a white boy thing for the most part. I connected with it because I was a metal head first. I needed angry and aggressive music because that’s the type of kid I was – and that’s the way my parents were towards me and my siblings. If you listen to my music though, you won’t hear a heavy metal sound but you will hear an attitude. It has that metal edge to it.
That’s pretty interesting. You really don’t hear too many stories about metal being a gateway to a career in hip-hop. Was there a reason why you didn’t pursue a rock career?
I tried to be a rock singer but I suck at singing. Rapping was always more fun to me. It was easier for me to rap especially when I was younger, than to sing or scream. It was also a lot better as far as noise was concerned especially for my grandfather. Instead of screaming, I could go off somewhere and rap quietly. I just loved rapping. I remember being in the 7th and 8th grade and have battles at my school. I never rapped my own lyrics, just stuff from others that I had memorized.
You never got busted doing that?
No, never. I would use lyrics from a band called Pillar who did Christian rap and for a period that’s what I was doing too. That’s another story in itself. Nobody knew that Christian group so I would say their rhymes and people would flip out over it.
You know you broke a cardinal rule in rap there.
I was in 7th grade and I didn’t give a fuck.
Tell me about the album that you just released.
It’s called Drug Spun Funk and it’s my debut album. I’ve released mixtapes in the past but this is an official album that I recorded and mixed myself. I met Dennis Enright at a catering job that I used to have and I gave him a CD with ten tracks on it. He came back the next day impressed by what he had heard and invited me to come down to the studio. One of the songs on the CD had a beat that he had heard previously and so he wanted me to come down to the studio and meet some artists and producers. I’m an antisocial person so it took me a while to actually make it to the studio – I’d say around three months. Once I did, I met Apakalips, DJ Broadway and all of the others that worked at that studio. They started playing beats and I got excited because I couldn’t wait to have my own original songs. It took about a year to complete the album but it’s out now and called Drug Spun Funk and it’s available at all digital outlets. It hit the Top 100 on iTunes in Ireland for some reason. Its highest rank was #64 and now it’s at #93. It felt pretty cool.
You mentioned your partnership with Dennis Enright. Tell us about that.
We’ve been grinding and he’s been on me pretty tough to get all of this shit done. I’m very antisocial as I told you before. When he finally got me into the studio after I put off going for so long, I just sat there for like a half hour. I get anxiety being around people. So after I sat there in the studio without interacting with anybody, I went outside to smoke a cigarette. Dennis came outside and told me that if I heard a beat that I liked, I had to take the initiative and start spitting in the booth. He told me that he had been telling the fellas inside about me for months and now that I was there, I was just sitting there and not saying anything. He also told me about Broadway’s past work at Loud Records with King T, Xzibit, and Wu-Tang – and that helped tremendously. I went back inside and heard a beat that I liked and started ripping some double-time shit. It’s been on since that moment. After two minutes, they were all in agreement about working on my project. I’ve learned to come out of my shell a bit more even though I don’t consider myself to be the life of the party although I’ve made improvements on being social.