Interview By: Carrick Wenke
Easily one of Seattle’s hidden gems, and in my opinion one of the best rapper’s in the town, Moor Gang member J Byrd The Lowlife has just dropped his first project in not only a year and a half, but his first project under his new alias, Billy Blanka. Bright Lights & Dark Hadou, was entirely produced by 88 Ultra & Qreepz, with some additional production from PRFCT Storm, and features Billy’s dark puns, and florescent punchlines over the eerie production know to come out of the BSBD camp. Think Exalted-era Nacho Picasso, who also happens to be Billy’s cousin. This is going to be top 5 local releases of the year.
How did you choose the title of your project?
So, “Billy Blanka” is my new rap name, I’m changing from J Byrd The Lowlife, you feel me? Willy Wonka is the best movie fucking ever. He’s a fucking creep, he’s condescending as shit, he’s a fucking savage, he has everything, and he’s like “fuck the world”, right. I’m from the Southside of Beacon Hill, so you know you gotta put a “B” at the beginning of everything. Billy Blanka, that’s where it comes from. Bright Lights & Dark Hadou, is what the actual album is called. “Bright Lights” like I see bright lights off the acid and what not. “Dark Hadou”, like Akuma from Street Fighter, because I’m Blanka from Street Fighter as well.
Can you explain the story behind your artwork and who is the designer?
Kingston is the designer. He did all the Life Of Villains designs. He had his own clothing line for hella long, so I trust him on all that shit.
How long have you been working on this project?
Fuckin’ A, like damn near a year on and off. I be fucked up, time flies.
Where was it recorded?
I recorded it all at Qreepz studio, Jay Battles studio, up on Beacon Hill. I was really loving the energy when I was doing the shit. My nigga Dave B just walked by.
Who are the producers?
I got Kingston from Blue Sky Black Death, 88 Ultra, he did all the Production on the shit. He did dumb work. I recorded the shit, and he worked on the beat for another 10 hours after that, so the beats are gonna be perfect. He would send it over to Jay Battle on Beacon, from New York, because he doesn’t even live over here anymore. But he set me up with Jay Battle before he left, was like, “Come over to this shit”. I went over to Battle’s house, Battle was like “I been recording people for 9 years straight, 8 hours a day, every single day, and you’re like one of my favorite rapper’s I’ve ever heard in my life. Anything you need I gotchu”. So that was a fucking plug that he put me on with. We got some co-production with PRFCT Storm, and Jay Battle. That’s my mutha fucka, he’s actually Qreepz from Gran Rapids.
Who was featured?
I got MackNed on there. Fuck who else made the cut? Mackned’s on there. I got a part 2 coming out that’s gonna be like, an album album, like an LP. So the part 2 is the one that is gonna have Nacho Picasso. I got Ryan Campbell on my shit, RC Yola. The next one is gonna have Dizzi Slick on it.
What was your favorite track?
I re-did “Numbnuts”, and I busted so hard on the shit. It was like perfect to me. I showed Nacho and he fucked with it hella hard. I got the beat re-did and everything. The kidney bean song is gonna be filthy as fuck, we’re gonna call it “Immortal Combat”. “Archer Vice” is creepy as fuck honestly. I like that song, I really really like that song. Fuck dog, I like all these songs! They’re so fucking good. “Rotten Soul” is definitely the one, I fucking love that shit.
Who would you like to thank for helping with this project?
My guy Kingston for sure, 88 Ultra, Ultra Glacial, for sure. He put in the most work on the shit. Jay Battle, off top. That’s my mother fucking nigga. PRFCT Storm, had some beats in there, Kingston was revising them, making sure he fucked with them, making sure I fucked with them, making sure they were perfect. Kingston is a perfectionist and he will really spend 2 days on a fucking beat, whether he’s just putting little ding’s and dong’s in the beat.
Shout out to the gang, Moor Gang. Shout out THRAXXHOUSE. Shout out 88 Ultra, Ultra Glacial. Shout out to Jay Battle and the Battleground. The battlefield was real this year, really knocked out some shit. It’s Blanka.