Hit-Boy and his powerhouse HS87 crew have one goal in the music industry: putting the nostalgic warmth that they remembered as children back into music. Back in September 2013, Hit-Boy preached the same message to XXL
. "Just trying to recreate vibes that I got when I was a kid," said Hit. "I can remember my mom playing quality music. I’m not trying to make no shit that I don’t feel like it's quality and get it out to the people. I’m just trying to recreate the vibe, man."
That vibe is evident on HS87's recent collaborative project We The Plug
, which dropped earlier this month. That's only possible if you have a group of people who are in sync with the same goal, producing quality music. Rappers BMac The Queen, Audio Push's Price and Oktane, N.No and Kent M$ney, as well as producers S. Dot, B. Carr, Rey Reel and Haze Banga and do-it-all singer/producer/drummer K. Roosevelt have all contributed to the sound of HS87. Hit-Boy brought most of the crew—minus K. Roosevelt, Rey Reel, S. Dot and Haze Banga, who were all at work in the studio—by the XXL
office to talk about restoring integrity into music, hearing G-Unit remix their song and being The Plug of hip-hop. —Emmanuel C.M.
hs87 we the plug interview
XXL: What is the HS87 Sound?
Hit-Boy: I feel like the HS87 sound is just quality. We ain’t out here saying we’re going to make a song like something [else]. We’re going to make a song that impresses us. If it doesn’t impress us we’re not going to fuck with it. We’re just trying to challenge ourselves just to get better. So the sound is just good.
Kent M$ney: When we grew up listening to music, it really affected us. It really changed our lives and made us want to do this rap shit; it made us really want to come out here and be better than all the people that we looked up to. The quality of music that we're making now, HS87, we just all represent what we grew up on. We're just taking it to the next level and pushing it, because there are kids looking up to us now that we’re getting bigger and bigger. We’re not even near our pinnacle. Not even close to the top of where we want to be yet.
BMac The Queen: I think the unique thing about us is that we strive to be great. The money and fame, all that stuff, that’s going to come as long as you put the music first. We care about the music. At the end of the day, we truly care, and there's so much trash music, it hurts our feelings. [Laughs] We’re not mad at people or trying to start war or beef with nobody, we just really care about what we’re doing. It’s kids that look up to us. I’m not saying we want to be role models. We fuck up, we do dumb shit. But when it comes to music, it affects lives and we should just be spreading positivity. That’s what HS87 is about.
Hit: Since I make so much music I can hear something and know the amount of effort you put into it. If you're being lazy and we’re hearing it, we don’t respect it.
Price: It’s easy to tell nowadays when people are not trying to be creators. When you’re just trying to do or make music that other people are making. I got little homies that are sending me music and want my opinion. I always find myself having to tell them, find who you are. Do your own thing, because there are too many people making [things] like everybody else and not making it tight. The people you're making music like don’t make good music. So all you're doing is just keeping the cycle of just shitty music going. That’s what we trying to break.
Hit: Everybody's always doing something. We got enough talent. If we're not writing raps or making beats, we’re writing for somebody else or producing for somebody else. Its just a constant thought process of how can we make the best music and how do we get better. We don’t have no kind of malice, we just want the culture and the kids under us to be better because of us. If we can help—I literally see people on Twitter, which is a great way to connect with fans—I see kids saying, because of me, they want to produce. You know how many people hit me saying that the fact that you put your pops on a song shows how real of a person you are? We're just really being us and showing that you can really do what the fuck you want to do.
hit-boy hs87 we the plug
g-unit summer jam
G-Unit's reunited, and their first song back they remixed HS87's "Grindin' My Whole Life." How crazy was that?
Shout out to G-Unit for getting on our song. The fact that we were all together, all of us, it was crazy. We heard it in NYC all together.
G-Unit, hands down, other than HS87—I'm not trying to be on no cocky shit—they're the coldest collective. For a while every album that came out under G-Unit went platinum. Them niggas was killing it. So for them to jump on the song from another collective...
We had no idea.
People think that we set that up, but we had no clue that that was going to happen.
That just inspired us to keep going and keep letting people know that we got the swag.
People are pressing play, people are listening to what we're doing.
50 Cent and them are guys who are really street dudes, so you hear them on the song we got, "Grinding My Whole Life," that [must have] really moved them. It probably reminded them of where they came from.
N.No: We The Plug
reunited G-Unit. [Laughs
] Believe this—I grew up on 50 Cent. Back then I used to go over his instrumentals. I grew up on G-Unit, so that's crazy for them to remix a song that I'm a part of. That just let me know it's real.
g-unit summer jam hs87
So what's next? How do you take HS87 global?
Hit: We keep doing us. The whole plan is just to continue to get better, and I know that's going to lead us to the right place. I took too much time out of my career thinking, "If I work hard and go get this co-sign, or fuck with this person, it's going to be like this." But none of that shit is real. You can make a song that goes 10x platinum and they still won't care about you. So it's like, I’m going to rock with my family, it's going to keep on getting better and it's going to go where? To the fucking top.
B. Carr: I got stuff I'm working on. I'm just trying to create something different. Be myself but at the same time do my shit.
BMac: I'm in attack mode. I got some stuff dropping on other people's albums as a writer, and as an artist I'm about to drop my album. I don't even want to talk about it, it's so beautiful, man. I just want you guys to stay tuned to BMac The Queen. It's dropping this year.
Price: We're just working on our album, creating ideas and watching the homies do their shit. I'ma be posted watch [K Roosevelt] kill the game with Journey and watching We The Plug keep doing what it's doing.
Hit: I got my project coming out, I'm not exactly sure when but I got a lot of it put together. Just finishing that up and helping everybody finish their shit up. About to drop this new BMac The Queen single, this Kent M$ney joint "State Of Emergency" about to drop, this Big Hit joint called "G's Don't Cry," we just did the video for that in Pasadena. Helping N. No on his shit also. My album might be coming this year; I'm not exactly sure yet. It's going to be another HITstory; HITstory Chapter 2. We just did the Mariah album. Everybody hitting my phone, but we just putting shit together.
Kent: I got this single coming soon. I dropped "Home Alone" already. Everybody snapping on it and it was produced by Haze Banga. I got this Crown EP coming soon. We just are wrapping that up.
N. No: I got the "Shit, Shit" joint, and I'm also working on my solo project. Shit's booming, this shit don't stop.
hit-boy hs87 we the plug interview
Meet The HS87 Crew
Hit-Boy Says: "Hot-headed, creative, hard-headed but just dope."
In His Own Words: "I just have my own different sound and bounce to shit. We have a beat that him [Hit-Boy] and me actually collab together; it's the same sound, but we went at it in a different way. Everybody's got his or her own thing, but my shit is more open. I listen to a lot of music. I listen to street shit, so what’s catchy to me. That’s just what I put into my music. Passion. Throughout the crew, not one beat is done. I can present something to Hit and he presents it to S. Dot, and now it's eight different things in one sound. That’s what we got that other niggas don’t have."
BMac The Queen
Hit-Boy Says: "Real, family and that's my homie straight up. Bmac got stories. She bringing that raw, she brings that real. That’s what people are going to need to hear, them stories that’s going to motivate somebody in this world to do better. To go after their dreams."
In Her Own Words: "Just dope shit. I don’t even have no style. I don’t rap like nobody. We’re not rapping to be cool; it’s not a trend."
Price of Audio Push
Hit-Boy Says: "Visionary. He reminds me of myself a lot. That's another dope nigga."
In His Own Words: "We all got our own story and once we all tap into the fact of, 'Hey, let's stop rapping about bullshit and rap about our stories'—like, get on the beat and rap your life—now we're all starting to find our own style, because niggas ain’t trying to rap like someone else. I’m a rap god, I know I’m a rap god and my niggas are rap gods. It was time to chime in with the fact that we got a story to tell and we’re not like the rest of these kids out here not really caring. We used to write our raps in composition books. It’s not a game.
"But at the same time it’s like, we can talk our street lifestyle and what we've been through, but we’re flipping it in a way that we’re not glorifying it, we’re just telling you what we've been through. It’s not even on some trying to do stuff we don’t really do. Regardless of what we’re talking about. I feel like a lot of stuff that we’re doing is making people stop doubting themselves. That’s what we’re trying to do. Do what the fuck you want to do."
Oktane of Audio Push
Hit-Boy Says: "One of the best rappers I've met in my whole entire life. He can just rap. It's almost irritating but it's dope. It motivates all of us to just continue to attack when we get in the booth."
In His Own Words: "Our whole collective is the biggest testimony of doing whatever the fuck you believe in and not stopping. We got everybody wanting to go hard for his or her clique now. At first, niggas used to be just all about them, and now it's the opposite. We are creating the music to change the world."
Role: House DJ/Utility man
Hit-Boy Says: "Fresh. He's current. He knows what's hot as soon as it comes out. Cas is up in the morning, 8 a.m., DJ'ing already, playing the newest shit. That catches my ear because he playing records that are really moving. I get the perspective of hearing our shit and just keeping updated on what's going on from this guy."
In His Own Words: "[I'm] the utility man. I try to be whatever I can be. It's part of being a DJ. Being a DJ, that's second nature. So now whatever I can help [with]. I started with Audio Push when they were still The P.U.S.H."
Hit-Boy Says: "That's my nigga, he's loyal as a motherfucker. Before music he was helping me put dressers in my room and put up TVs on my wall and shit like that at my mom's crib."
In His Own Words: "I really used to rap when I was a little kid. I used to take my mom’s old tape and she used to record and I used to spit. She used to play it in the car and my little voice would come on and it used to be trippy. I didn’t really take it seriously. Then I got locked up and I really took it seriously. After I got locked up, someone asked me, 'What do you want to do for the rest of your life? What’s your passion?' I said I really want to be in the music business. I really can rap. I really do this shit. I was just blessed to be around a bunch of people who got similar types of stories but different perspectives.
"That’s what we all bring; we all have different perspectives on somewhat of the same environment, but we all come from different places. I’m form Norfolk, Va. I come to California and I can go to their hood and say that this is not different from my hood. I go to Pasadena and say the same thing. Same thing for N. No being from New Orleans. You go there and you know what they've been through down there. We watched that on the news every day."
Hit-Boy Says: "Real street nigga, but talented as fuck. He a rider."
In His Own Words: "I’m from the streets, man. I speak from the streets. But at the same time, it's positivity, because we do this for the youth, we do this for the generation under us. We're trying to make it better than what is here now. All my stories are going to be street stories, you're not going hear nothing but that from me."
Role: Singer, Producer
Hit-Boy Says: "Humble and ultra talented. You just want to hear that nigga sing anything. He can sing the McDonalds menu and that shit bangs. Everything [on his new project] is produced and written by him. I'm just so proud of him. This shit is amazing. It's dope for him, for the culture, for the game, for HS87. It's just a step forward."
Role: Rapper/Hit-Boy's father
Hit-Boy Says: "Another rider, another real one. Loyal."
Hit-Boy Says: "Real and honest. Loyal."
Hit-Boy Says: "Another one of the homies. Crazy, ridiculous, insane, nutty but dope as fuck and it all shows in his music. How he thinks about shit."
Hit-Boy Says: "Humble, talented and a good guy."
hs87 instagram we the plug