Chicago-born rapper Chris Crack has spent several years carving his lane outside regional, let alone national hip-hop norms. Peeling back the layers of his complete artistry, Crack isn’t whack. From his free-associative lyrics on top of 70s/80s samples that can sometimes be poignantly introspective to laugh-out-loud jokes in his titles, there’s purpose in the chaos.
Then there’s the sheer amount of material he’s released since 2015’s Free Swag. He has a few dozen projects and even more loosies between then and now. This year alone, he’s already released a respectably received project, Battery Operated Simps featuring hilarious track titles such as “Condom Sex Same As Turkey Beacon” and “Women Don’t Even Watch Women’s Basketball.”
Initially speaking with Crack about that project, it turned into him announcing more projects, including one with A-Trak’s Fools Gold label and possibly three more. While speaking with BET.com, the emcee also talks about his initial starting point for being a rapper and how Danny Brown changed his life.
BET.com: There’s a very crass humor to your lyrics yet you have a very serious technical proficiency as an emcee. How were you able to develop that over the years?
Chris Crack: First, I wanted to be a comedian as a shorty so it just transpired into music. I never thought I would be doing music but I just figured it was another way to get my sh-t out. I could still be funny because these niggas be too serious about nothing. So I just came up with some ideas of just having fun. I’m going to make everything scrumptious and flavorful.
BET.com: Even on a musical level, you have an amazing ear for beats going all the way back to 2015’s Free Swag. Can you describe your approach to instrumentals?
Chris Crack: One of the biggest things a producer told me one time is that if you cry when you hear the beat, that means that the producer cried when he made it. So if I cry off a beat, that’s instant. That song is already written. I just haven’t put it down yet. I just go by the feeling like; well, how does this make me feel? That’s how I name my songs too.
BET.com: Battery Operated Simps is really one of the best albums this year in hip-hop and you have more coming down the pipeline. How are you able to maintain a consistent level of output with over two dozen projects?
Chris Crack: It’s really my team, man, Cutta and Sky High. I want to emphasize the f-ck out of them, man. We are a trifecta where when one of us is kind of feeling down, the other two pick ‘em up. I have another album coming out on 6/13 and I’m uploading it right now for streaming services. You got to do that sh-t like two weeks ahead of time and shit and that’s the most stressful time of my life.
The name of the album is Free Sex and it’s got a lot of different meanings to that name. One is, of course, Free Young Thug and then there are like seven different meanings. Then I have another project coming out through Fools Gold and another one-track album this year as well. That doesn’t count two other albums that are just lingering. I write three to four songs a day.
BET.com: What’s your process of maintaining quality with such a large amount of input you have?
Chris Crack: I’m just super picky about sh-t and I don’t have a job so my time is not constricted.
BET.com: I mean technically, music is your job.
Chris Crack: Real talk. Mothaf-ckas want me to come out and shit or whatever. Then they’ll say ‘well you ain’t working or nothing, you ain’t got a job’ and I’d be like nigga, what you mean?
BET.com: You mentioned Fools Gold and one of the artists I thought about while listening to you was Danny Brown, who released some pivotal albums through the label.
Chris Crack: Danny Brown changed my life, by the way.
BET.com: How so?
Chris Crack: I was locked in a street mentality at the time with everything from ignorance to homophobia and all types of sh-t. Just that dumb nigga goofy tunnel vision sh-t. I remember the first time I heard Danny Brown, and I was like who the f-ck is this? I heard him featured on a Tree album and that lead my niggas putting me on to his XXX album while on a road trip.
I came back from that road trip a whole different person. It showed me you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want as long as it’s genuine. As long as you ain’t faking or whatever you could do whatever you want to do. I learned through that album that you can be yourself at all times. From that time in my music, I just started going super crazy because I didn’t give a fuck no more.
BET.com: You don’t do a lot of features outside of people in your circle and you exist in a lane of your own. Do you have any peers or individuals you know who respect you within hip-hop?
Chris Crack: I’d say, Travis McCoy, Earl Sweatshirt, Madlib, Pusha T, Big K.R.I.T. and Polow Da Don. I’m so f-cking grateful for every single f-cking person, bro. Every day my Instagram and Twitter are full of new people telling me I’m dope and I respond to everyone.
BET.com: As an indie artist, how important is it to have that engagement with fans and describe the average Chris Crack fan?
Chris Crack: That’s who I do it for. That’s literally the only reason I do this sh-t is because we changed the way you listen to music. I’m trying to change your whole experience by trying to do some whole new sh-t. The Crackheads are f-cking amazing bro. They’re just a cult following bro. They f-ck with anything I do because they know it’s genuine and they know it’s going to be quality. The Crackheads are crazier than the Barbs. Just off the strength of where I am compared to Nicki of course cause she has a hundred million and I have a hundred. However, they’re crazier than the Barbs.