Q&A // Horseshoe Gang

by Kyle McCormick
Kyle McCormick
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on 12 May 2016 in Features

Hailing from Long Beach California, Horseshoe Gang are a gang of four friends and brothers working together to make captivating and honest hip-hop music. Their latest album Ant-Trap Music is out now via Seven 13 Music & Entertainment, and we sent them some questions to gain a little insight into that record and the group in general.

With Amazon’s allocation of CD copies of the record reportedly selling out within an hour, and the record gracing the Top 50 in at least 15 countries, it would seem the hype is very much real. Read on for a little more background detail to familiarise yourself with Horseshoe Gang, and then check out the album stream which follows!

Let's start with the question that would usually come at the end, after the release of your album, what is next for the group?

Work, work, and more work. We never stop working. We literally can't afford to slow down. We have music videos in the works, so our supporters should be on the lookout for those very soon. We're also recording new music and planning to hit the road soon. Putting together a tour is one of our main goals at the moment.

Jumping back in time, how would you say your sound has evolved from the outset until now, and what have been the greatest factors in these changes?

We're a lot more comfortable as artists. We've never been concerned with conforming to fit in with the typical rap crowd, but we've become even less worried about what the majority does. We've officially crafted Horseshoe Gang's identity. We feel we're a well-oiled machine now and we're ready and able to put our stamp on this industry.

More specifically, how were the songs on the record created, and how has the creative process changed over the years (if at all)?

Our song-making process has pretty much been the same for years. The four of us come together and vibe out listening to dozens of tracks then we each start mentally creating song concepts, hooks, melodies, and song titles. Then we each pick a handful of tracks which we felt caught our attention. From that point, we individually take the leader role with each track we've selected and the others follow. We lock ourselves in the lab until we have the skeleton of an album or mixtape, then we add skin and clothes to our grotesque monster... Then we unleash it.

Which artists have influenced you the most over your career?

Aside from our elder bros Mad Man and KXNG Crooked, we'd have to say N.W.A., Rakim, 2Pac, Jay Z and Twista.

Similarly, which hip-hop artists would you say are the greatest in 2016, and which up and coming artists should we keep an eye out for?

Slaughterhouse, Kendrick Lamar, King Los, and J. Cole are what we consider the best hip-hop has to offer in 2016. But there are a bunch of up and coming artists who'll be tomorrow's elite... Like Karelezz, Tim West, Niqle, Mykestro, and DC GanG. To name a few.

What is the meaning of the album’s Anti-Trap Music title?

We're trying to bring attention back to versatility. Hip-hop albums should sound like a broad range of sentiments being expressed over instruments. Our Anti-Trap Music album showcases a bunch of different subjects, feelings and vibes. So it doesn't sound repetitive sonically.

More generally, what is the meaning / theme of the record, and which message(s) are you trying to convey through it?

Hip-hop is like a club which welcomes people of all walks of life. But someone has to be the club bouncers. There has to be some filtering... If we let every Tom, Dick and Young Such-N-Such into our club, that makes our club lose its appeal. Trap Music doesn't sound bad sonically, but the message is all wrong. Rappers have always spoke of hustling, but these whack suckas out now are making it gimmicky. Every mothafucka with studio equipment think he's the next Trap Star. If these other rappers are too scared to say anything, the Shoe Gang ain't. Trap Music needs to take a backseat.

Outside of musical endeavours, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?

Patrolling the slums of Cali. We don't have foreign whips and all that stuff rappers talk about so we're usually kicking it with the fam. Taking care of our children, playing Street Fighter on Playstation. Trying to get anyone with an EBT card to supply the food for our functions haha.

What is your stance on the current political situation in the US, and what are your strongest political opinions?

Well, after Obama dropped the mic, our interest in politics also dropped haha. Sanders has some promising sounding policies, and Clinton would be a long overdue sight to see in the White House because of her gender, but we don't give much of a fuck other than that. We really don't fuck with Trump. In fact, we're working on Anti Trump Music haha.

Finally, how would you say the group have been received in the UK, and what do you think of the UK music scene in general?

Very well! We have a ton of support over there. Shout out to all of our UK supporters. We like some of the newer artists like Hyperaptive. And we've always looked up to the legends like Slick Rick and Monie Love. And we definitely appreciate you guys for showing us love. God bless.

Having acquainted yourself with the talented folks behind Horseshoe Gang, it’s about time to plug that new record more explicitly: you can get it right now from iTunes! If you’re not totally sold quite yet, there’s a full stream courtesy of Soundcloud included below, to help you make up your own mind on this Californian quartet:

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