I’ve been following Herme$ for a while now, and I’ve been very impressed with his work rate, the quality of his music, and the friendly way in which he agreed to this interview. He has a lot to say but it’s all essential to understanding him as an artist and a person. This is definitely my most informative interview to date.
1. Firstly, I wanted to say how impressive your work rate is. Your Soundcloud has a wealth of content and would take a dedicated fan a while to sift through. Where does your motivation to record music so consistently come from? My personal favourite is the Sapphire Pyramid project, that’s really great front to back.
thank u for acknowledging that cuz i fr do got alot of music out like atleast 100 songs. the motivation comes from alot of angles for one i started freestyling before i wrote songs and i would freestyle everyday for hours with the homies. like coming up with new bars was a thrill to me like learning a new skateboard trick type shit. also artists like lil b and chxpo even lil wayne have inspired me to make as much music as possible even tho they freestyle like all they songs im 50/50 with it i’ll write some songs other songs i just freestyle it all depends on how i feel about the beat. lastly i just wanna be successful with this shit if i feel like i don’t get the right recognition i feel i deserve i hop right back in the stu after i drop a project and make more shit tryna improve from what i did last project. sapphire pyramid is a interesting project to me cuz i just was making songs to make em no real like direction i just was making music. and i make alot of music cuz im tryna outwork my peers its cliche but i wanna be one of the greatest ever im not making music for fun. music like my 1st love in life if i can make it off this shit i will do everything i can not in a competition aspect just work so fucking hard its hard to not notice.
2. Your style is extremely diverse, and very hard to pin down or compare anything to. Who would you say were your main influences?
main influences are really lil b rvidxr klvn and like early wiz and curren$y. they music was so ahead of its time looking back that’s what made me gravitate towards it. im influenced by old music too but like overall 2012 underground hip hop really showed me i could be myself in this rap shit. kanye and purrp inspired me also to he a rapper producer i always thought making my own sound would be dope.
3. What would you say is the best project you’ve put out to date? If someone reading this wants to explore your music, where should they start?
i got much music idk where to tell someone to start tbh. sapphire pyramid got like all my sounds on one tape type shit. i feel like bennessy & og and wavey underground 2 my got too 1st listens tho its when i really developed the sound i have today.
4. How long have you been in the game and would you say the methods you’ve taken toward making music in that time have changed? Your rapping has always been great, but each project you’ve released has shown clear improvement, and your newest song ‘Spirit Gun’ is one of your best to date.
hell yeah bruh i feel that like to myself i always felt within i was a good rapper better than most type shit. i been in the game like 4 years now in the beginning i worked with one producer and thru twitter and tumblr i started to develop a fan base and like locals fwm thru ig or word of mouth. me and the producer fell out at a bad time cuz i already was fw rappers who on now and other shit we all just fell out so i was back at square one. got my own studio me and @jayXL561 started recording out his crib and it changed my whole approach cuz i was the one directing my sound completely. now a days my approach has changed cuz we tryna be all in house with everything like recording ourselves ( @XLCartel ) or filming are videos or throwing are own shows we wanna take out the middle man cuz most of the time they aint in are best interest. so in house is the way to go.
5. ‘Spirit Gun’ is super fire, and that Silent Hill EP you did with RXMBO was really underrated in my opinion. Do you have more work with BMB planned?
s/o pies for introducing me to rxmbo there’s a crazy story behind that but yeah silent hill was epic for me cuz i always wanted to work with purrp and bmb type shit. m actually bout to drop a ep produced by only bmb producers. rxmbo, screwmaneflame and iampissed. s/o bmb fr mane they showed they believed in me so i always have respect for them and s/o purrp he a real legend in this shit for the underground and south florida.
6. I noticed that as well as rapping, you often produce both for yourself and other artists, and I particularly like the beat for ‘Sapphire Pyramid’. Is this a recent skill you’ve learnt or have you been making beats for a while?
i always wanted to get into producing. it took me like 2 years to get good enough to make beats that were worth making songs on and im pretty sure @jayXL561 rapped on my beats before me. the sapphire pyramid beat was like a milestone cuz that’s one of the hardest beats i made up to date. i wanna make a tape on only xl beats so hopefully that can happen this year.
7. Tell me about XLCartel. When did the collective form and what do you represent in the underground scene?
the collective became xl in like early 2014 we been homies tho for more then 10 years thru skating and smoking loud other hood rat shit lmfao. me and jay really made the group xl like i wanted to build a team with my homies so we all get paper type shit. jay made clothes his brand was xcel streetwear and xcel cartel became like the group name i wanted a cool clique that sound nice. after awhile it changed to xl cartel it sounded cooler. what we represent are like the old morales of the ogs revolutionized for the new generation tryna pass down the same game we learned. we love hip hop and the underground its are home in a way. we feel like underdogs getting shit out the mud. if we can inspire people to keep it g then we gone do what we came into the game to do.
8. Talk me through the other members of XL. From what I’ve gathered you got a whole lot of talent there, especially Pies as he’s a dope producer.
me and jay like the creators of xl me and @P3S0ofXL met at the skatepark and started rapping me and his song was like the 1st hit i ever made. my brother @WAVXLORD and @jlucid561 always been in the squad lucid my manager now too. when @TimelessTeek4 joined the group him and my brother was starting up the deathwave shit and we all fucked with it cuz of the energy we had at shows deathwave kinda describes it. @prodbypies was like a early supporter of mine and when we 1st started working the chemistry was crazy eventually he sent the whole squad beats and since i fucked with him heavy i asked the bros if he can join cuz we needed a producer on the team the rest is history. me and pies made hits on bennessy and og and we gone work again soon i just got so many projects on deck to finish im pushing it back till they all done.
9. Florida seems to be one of the centres of the modern underground, sporting members of BMB, Souless and of course XL. What other rappers/groups would you say are on top in FL right now?
bmb actually like a nationwide group i think only purrp from florida tbr i might be wrong. jha stacks from miami i think. rvidxr klvn the biggest thing to happen to florida underground anyone who been in the scene since 2012 knows that. xxx and ski prolly the only people on top i’ll acknowledge i fw they music. i think more florida artists are slept on if anything. like souless or @palmtreepaul_ and @Aegis_Young the whole based gang @heartbreakjp @dru_marino @TWAMPSACGOD need more recognition in my opinion.
10. What is your opinion of the hip-hop underground at the moment? And the state of rap in general, in fact, as you are clearly invested in its history.
the underground scene kinda in a tug of war u got like the ogs and few people coming up rn still pushing that energy. then u got like hypebeast underground and that shit invading the mainstream. do i think rap is trash rn tho hell nah so many amazing artists still pushing the limits and the ogs still holding it down. i think the next few years will be crucial for the underground we it recreate itself or will people just keep promoting fuck shit and fast food cookie cutter ass industry plants down are throats.i got hope the underground could be like 2012 in the near future i hope me myself can push that idea so people get to feel what the real music was about fuck the industry shit people need real music and a real message. also shit they can get fucked up too lmao.
11. You and XL seem to do quite a few shows. Do those go down well and do you think live events are important when creating a fanbase?
on the real they been like 50% amazing 50% lame af all types of reasons ion even wanna get into it to much. the good ones tho been hella fie i opened for xxx that was like my best show 1st big show too the video on youtube somewhere. i opened up for x wulf,fatman key,robb banks and chxpo too all those shits been lit. it does help cuz u build confidence off good crowd reactions and people spread the word u put on a good show. for what xl tryna do the shows have to be as great as the music. all the good shows have got me into loving to perform.
12. Based on the samples used in your music and your lyrics, I would assume you and your team are into old horror and anime? I also love the ‘cartel’ samples, reminds me almost of the skits on old Wu-Tang albums. Do you feel there is a strong correlation between these aesthetics and the modern underground scene?
horror and anime hell yeah. i prolly watch the most anime out of everyone in the whole click. horror movies be on at all times of the year like back to back at lucid’s house. gangster movies and shows too like the godfather, scarface, the sopranos and good fellas shit like that. everybody into anime and horror now tho yfm we been watching that shit i think og underground aesthetics hell yeah. it was like damn im not so weird after all rappers and they supporters like me watched horror movies all day and anime and pro wrestling all that shit. i feel like u gotta be into that kinda shit in some way to be the type of underground rapper i am or the rappers i fw/influenced by.
13. Aside from music, what are your other interests? Living in Florida seems cool to me coming from the UK as I do.
i like skateboarding alot thats how xl kinda formed thru skating idk if i said that already. i go out and get drunk with my gf now a days i never used to that. like some cliche grown man shit i play hella video games and smoke hella weed all day. i’ll play basketball and other shit like that here and there i fw sports heavy. i wanna go to a event soon see the miami heat play or some shit. i wanna travel more like round the states network hard and possibly go to europe i always wanted to see what it was like and skate too. i went to cali last year and brought my mic which is how me and rxmbo tape got made we met in the bay thru pies.
14. Finally, what are your aims for your music? I definitely see big things in the future for you given your skills as a rapper and a producer.
i never really said this like publicly but i wanna be a artist people can listen too when they wanna escape or looking for guidance. i don’t gotta be on the radio and shit just making enough money to keep making music. i wanna keep going with producing too and learn how to engineer vocals and shit. also produce other genres of music maybe like a indie alternative rock album or a smooth house edm type shit.i wanna direct my music videos too i got hella ideas for that i directed my last 2 videos i hope too have the resources to make the visuals i want in the future. thanks bruh i see big things too my vision has only became more clear as i went on and i know i can get there if i just never stop going. i want people to feel that way too like u go as far as u wanna go everyday another chance at trying.
Check out Herme$ on Soundcloud. He’s also on Twitter at @561Hermes. You can find me on Twitter at @108mics.