Fred Durst Details His Hip-Hop History, “Lil Wayne & I Bonded Over Skateboarding”

That’s not the only song you’ve done with a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. You had “Rollin’” with Method Man and Redman—who’s kind of like the 11th member of the Wu-Tang Clan—but you also did “Combat Jazz” with Raekwon and Mathematics. What about Wu Tang’s sound best fits with Limp Bizkit
I’m honestly just an insane fan of these guys. Like even the production—Mathematics and all the MCs, I’m just such a big fan. It’s just an honor to be in the same room with them and just vibing out and seeing what comes out. I don’t know what makes this [work]. All I know is that I’m a big fan and I’m honored that they would even collaborate with me in the first place. I don’t know if it’s a good fit or not, I just know that I’m really happy with it.

Did you ever have a specific moment like that where something happened with music or you heard a certain song that made you really attracted to hip-hop?
I just grew up on all kinds of music, and then got turned on to hip hop around 1979, and in the early stages—because I had some friends who had some relatives, some from North Carolina had relatives from New York—I was checking out all these mixtapes, these longs mixes they do on the radio. DJ Chuck Chillout, DJ Red Alert and all these crazy things, [the films] Wild Style and Beat Street—it was something that was in me, it was always percussive in sort of a way…I was able to hear a lot of just that earlier primitive stage of hip hop where the groups were forming—the Disco Three before they were the Fat Boys, the Treacherous Three and the Cold Crush Brothers and all these types of people—somehow hearing that stuff just changed my life. I don’t know what it was it was just these guys telling these stories, sometimes braggadocious, sometimes sentimental, and everybody had aliases for their names and called themselves, you know, “I’m Whippa Whippin’ and I’m here to say…” The way they rhymed and the drums…it was like drums and vocals made one little thing, and I just remember being perplexed and obsessed with it.

I was just a kid going “Oh, oh man this is amazing!” [And I was] the only white kid in my whole town that heard it and just knew it. I would sing it all the time, getting beat up all the time, but I couldn’t stop singing. Just so many moments, man, I got to tell you…it was there was a void [in my life] that was filled by [hip-hop] and obviously I held on. You know, Chuck Chillout’s got these long mixes that they’d be playing, and it just had everything, a lot of music you could breakdance to—different types of [music] that were just instrumental. It just was a movement and we were really into it.

I started mixing—well trying to mix—in like ’83 and ’84. And then in 1984 going into ’85, Radio Shack had this one cool mixer with a cross fade and uh, I stole one. I remember I got the [Man Parrish featuring Freeze Force] “Boogie Down (Bronx),” two of those vinyls and learned how to do [spin] back and forth, playing the records a millisecond apart…I was just obsessed with it man, and I was the only white kid around [who listened to it]. There was only one,two other guys in my town who were hip to it and people were going, “What the fuck is going on with these guys?” I swear to God it was like Wild Style and Beat Street –I was basically in that movie. I mean, it was insane. I knew every word, I had to find them Puma jackets, and I had to crease my Lee’s in the same way in the front and my shoes had to be the same [as the rappers]…I was that kid, that little white kid where you go, “This kid is on fucking crack or something” —but this was way before crack.

And with Limp Bizkit, you guys obviously blended a lot of hardcore and metal elements with hip-hop. Where do you see the two genres overlap?
I don’t know—in the 80’s I was a big [fan of bands like] Angry Samoans, Minor Threat, Black Flag—all kinds of shit. It kind of just went along with it. It was the honesty and the vocals, the sincerity…the unsung hero, the misunderstood speaking out. In both worlds they had that, and it just always was blending together with me. Before hip-hop, it was like Elvis Presley and Kiss, fucking KC and the Sunshine Band…once hip-hop came in the ‘80s, the punk rock all came along at the same time. So many things went together for me, and I didn’t see the difference, I was just reacting to the feeling I got, and so it all crossed over and collided all the time with me…I think with Limp Bizkit, it was a time when people who loved Cypress Hill and Wu-Tang Clan could also love Helmet and Rage Against the Machine and 311.