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FEATURE: Everlast, Nine Lives

Everlast seemingly has nine lives. From his early days as a member of Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate, to jumping around with House of Pain, to strumming his guitar as Whitey Ford and now his latest venture with Boston rapper Slaine, Ill Bill of Non Phixion and his former group mates DJ Lethal and Danny Boy, collectively known as La Coka Nostra, this veteran continues to stay relevant in the rap game. recently caught up with Mr. White A.K.A. Erik Shrody to speak on the current Coka project, the direction of his next solo album and the difference between LCN and HOP.

XXLMag: How would you compare House of Pain to La Coka Nostra?

Everlast: House of Pain—I like to tell muthafuckas this, House of Pain was what Coka Nostra is. You know, it’s the same difference. It’s like, I would say with Coka Nostra is House of Pain [but] better. It just improved. You know what I mean? You know musically, I think it’s more fun. It’s more talent in the group, but it’s combinations of what everybody achieved in their lives. Non Phixion—I used to love Non Phixion. Slaine—he’s all about his game and we joke. You can put on any beat in the world and he can rap on it. He’s just that dude. He’s always—“I got a verse for that.” You know, he’s a beast with it. So, it’s been fun. It’s just been a good gig for me. The fact that all the House of Pain dudes happen to be in the group, just led to us being like, “Okay yeah, if somebody wanted to book us as House of Pain and it’s fun and it’s not inconvenient, and it’s not that corny you know, let’s go do it.”

XXL: Do you have any plans of doing a straight up a House Of Pain album or it’s all La Coka Nostra from now on?

Everlast: Not at this moment. I mean, I do a lot of things in my life on whims. You know, I mean the Coka is kind of one of those things. It’s just kind of—me and [Ill] Bill had known each other prior to meeting through Danny [Boy], but we didn’t know each other. We were like, “Hey, okay you’re Ill Bill, okay.” And with Slaine, the same thing. I mean, like I met him through Danny and I kind of just fell into—Slaine asked me to do a guest on one of his records and I busted a rhyme and then the next thing I know, we were making “Fuck Tony Montana” and other songs, and we were like, what are we gonna do with it? It kind of just came along. It wasn’t like this super plan, it was just like aight we’re making some music and Danny already had the Coka Nostra kind of theme thing going and it just all worked and that’s kind of how I run my life. Like what feels good, what’s fun, and what works.

XXL: You guys have some crazy fans on the internet showing pictures of their tattoos, and such—have you met any weird LCN fans? Any stories yet since you guys got on the road?

Everlast: Other than seeing some crazy tattoos, there ain’t been nothing too nutty, but I’m sure Bill and Slaine may have something cause they been going around doing the rounds for the last year so. The tattoos are weird enough for me. It’s like—you know I have plenty tattoos of bands, but they’re all my bands.

XXL: So no La Coka Nostra tattoos for you yet?

Everlast: Not yet. I haven’t done it yet. I mean, it’s not that I haven’t wanted to—again, I do a lot of things on whim, like okay I want a tattoo today, let’s get La Coka Nostra today.

XXL: Artwork plays a major role in the marketing of the group; the LCN images are everywhere. Who is in charge of creating and selecting the images you guys use to represent the group?

Everlast: Oh, hands down, Danny Boy gets all the credit for that. Like that’s his realm of dominance. He’s just that guy. He’s got a pop culture mind that when he starts referencing shit, and juxtaposing things against each other, it’s fun to watch. He does most of the designing with Slick for Dissizit! clothing, and he did the House of Pain stuff back in the day. He’s just always had a knack for it.

XXL: After Rock The Bells, what’s the next step for the group?

Everlast: Well I know we go back to Europe for a hot second, like do a few more hip-hop festivals out there, and then we come home and I’m not sure. I think Slaine—I’m not trying to blow anything up, but I think Slaine just got a really big part in a really big movie. You know, we may not be doing nothing for a month or so after coming back from Europe. We’re all sitting back rooting for Slaine, maybe for a month.

[Editor’s Note: Slaine, will not be performing with the group on their upcoming European tour dates. He was forced to bow due to a scheduling conflict as he is currently in Boston shooting the feature film The Town with director by Ben Affleck.]

XXL: Any plans for a solo album for you?

Everlast: Always. You know I’m working on a gang of stuff. I’m always recording and writing new songs—trying to write for some other artists, you know I scored Saving Grace and written a few themes now, like working on a couple things for TV. It’s a music game. You got to get in where you fit in.

XXL: Musically, are you trying to go more rock on the next record? Or are you going to try to do more hip-hop stuff?

Everlast: My next record is gonna be—I’m venturing to say—I don’t wanna put it in stone, but right now I’m leading towards semi kind of live acoustic turntable thing on the album. And to really strip down beats, acoustic guitar, maybe keyboards, and kind of go at it kind of raw.

XXL: What’s the influence behind that?

Everlast: A little bit of the Bruce Springsteen album, Nebraska, and just, you know, listening to cats. Like I go online all the time and I watch Beat Junkie Radio and just hearing breaks get cut and sometimes I’ll be strumming my guitar along while they’re djing. And I’ll just see, “Oh this works, and that works.” They’re the same. They’re one in the same. My eventual thing is like hopefully cats will really recognize that everything I’ve done that they considered outside of hip-hop, really was hip-hop at the end of the day and that maybe at the end of the day, I would love to be the guy that killed the word genre. –Jesse Gissen

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