The Hip-Hop Heavyweight: Meet Hassan

Rapper Hassan is a pillar of the Downtown music scene. It’s not unusual to find him watching a neighborhood act at Bunkhouse while sipping a PBR. His love for the city (he has a song dedicated to DTLV) and his support for local music no matter the genre, brings different styles together both literally and musically while his lyrics combine poignancy with humor.

Hassan is busy working on new projects and his latest video “Fat, Black and Awesome,” off his 2014 record of the same name premieres on Saturday at 10 p.m. at the Zappos campus as part of the Las Vegas Film Festival closing night.

What director did you get paired up with for your  Las Vegas Film Festival music video?

I got paired up with a dude named Drew Marvick. He’s out here. He’s from Anthem. [The festival organizers] paired us up at will. Originally we posted a song of mine called “Sausage Fest” but a lot of things didn’t happen on time as far as getting a crew attached and it didn’t pan out. So at the end of the day, we chose my song called “Fat, Black and Awesome,” used his house and had a couple little models on the scene. It was one of the greatest days of my life.

Have you been working on anything lately?

I am working on some little one-offs at the moment. I’ll hopefully shoot another video come July with Jim Stone from Dynamic Business Video. We have a song getting ready to come out called “I Got Fam.” This year, with all the turbulence and the division, everybody getting butt-hurt, everything’s just crumbling. So I wrote this song called “I Got Fam” because me, personally, I get along with everybody. I got friends of different races, sizes, shapes, neighborhoods, genders, it doesn’t matter. You know, from the hipster to the redneck, to the crip or the blood, to the business[person], to the doctor and lawyer—I fuck with everybody. Basically, it’s a song to let people know I got fam. At the end I’m like, “Cause under the surface, we’re just different clowns inside the same circus.”

1379You recently posted something on your Instagram about people being superior and convicting on the Internet, can we expect a song out of this?

Yeah, I have been writing on that. I have another song I’m writing called “Don’t Look in the Comment Section”—you go in there [and] your soul’s going to get crushed. Some people are just assholes for the fuck of it. With anonymity you can’t go and check nobody, you can’t be like Jay and Silent Bob and go fly everywhere and go hit up every comment they said. Social network gave the spineless people balls. So [the song touches] on that and lets people know that we could all sit there and condemn and judge, but at some point you got to look in the mirror like, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” There’s a saying of mine that goes, “Before you go rake somebody’s leaves, make sure your grass is cut.”

Have you always been able to get along with everyone?

 Yes. My parents, especially my mother she was that free spirit, almost hippie-like and she taught us you got to live in this world so you might as well make it easier for yourself and get along with people. Because being judgmental and being close-minded, you miss out on some great individuals and end up with dicks. I still choose them wisely, but I’m very open to begin with.

Were you always interested in all styles of music or is it something you developed?

It’s both because even though I grew up with hip-hop, I grew up in a house that listened to everything from R&B to jazz or folk to, hell, even country through my sister Tasha…If music sounds good, you can’t fight it. I just always gravitated to different music styles because I like to say whether it’s rock or metal or gospel, we all dance to a tune.

How come you are such a strong supporter of the local scene?

The way I see it is like: how am I going to spend my money? Am I going to spend it on these big label acts that probably wouldn’t piss on me if I was in a fire? Or do I support my up and coming friends, people with dreams and ambitions, cats that I share the same struggle with? The reason I support them so much is because we all go through the same shit. I don’t have a Bentley, I have a bus pass. I don’t drink Cristal, I’m with y’all. You know what I’m saying? It’s like, let me fuck with people I can relate to.

Why do you think hip-hop is coming back to the Strip?

 [The Strip] recognizes it now. No matter how much they try to suppress it, it’s the reigning music. Either get with it or lose money.

Do you think hip-hop is getting better?

I feel two ways. A lot of the hip-hop you hear nowadays—I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know when it became cool to sound like a total retard on auto-tune. I don’t know whether to turn it off or call 911. Sounds like they’re having seizures. You have that but then you still have a lot of hip-hop that’s still alive whether it be underground or even some of the mainstream stuff that’s dope, the J. Coles and Kendricks of the world. Hip-hop is still alive and relevant, you just got to know where to look for it.

I’m coming from an era where the great stuff got more attention than the whack stuff. A long time ago, if you couldn’t bring it, you didn’t have a career. Even the dudes that could dance back in the day still could spit.

Vegas Seven