Swollen Members‘ Madchild has been working overtime since relocating from his native Canada to Los Angeles, searching for a change of lifestyle, which for him, had cost him large sums of money and almost his life.
The Vancouver native had a lucrative career with Swollen Members before jumping into the battle rap ring with King Of The Dot in 2011, helping him dive into a successful solo career. But fame came with a big price that almost derailed all the accolades.
Since then, Madchild has taken all the negative energy and did a 180. We caught him in the middle of a long run of shows, which includes Europe, Colorado for three days and then Australia.
Madchild was very candid about his life, and especially thankful for his redemption from drug addiction that almost took him out.
You’ve been traveling heavy?
I’ve been on the road like five and a half months straight, just hit 28 shows in Canada, 30 shows in America, then I went back to Canada three months later and no one ever does that. Forty shows, sold out all those clubs, then I went to Europe and did a ton of shows, now I’m doing these three shows in Colorado. I did a little run in Salt Lake City and then I’m going to Australia, I think it’s going to be 145 shows in a row with the 12-day break.
That’s a lot of work. Where do you get this impeccable work ethic from?
It’s just what I want to do. I’m thankful man. It’s like where we live in a world where the internet has changed everything, it’s over-saturated, if I’m not super hungry and super busy then someone is going to try to take my spot. If you coming into the rap game now and you don’t love being on the road, you should go pick a different profession, you know what I mean? I travel with my dog, except for like when I go to like Australia, but she flies everywhere with me. Wherever I lay my hat is my home, staying in dope hotels. I love the lifestyle (laughs). I love being with my people, I love being on stage.
Why the move to LA?
I was banned from America for like four years and L.A. was always like my second home. I came up with Evidence and Alchemist, Dilated Peoples, Jason Goldwatch, those are like my friends since the beginning of getting into Hip Hop for me. It’s always been like my second home. When I got back to America from the lifestyle I was living, I changed my life like four years ago, it took a while. When I got back into America, I jumped right on the Warped Tour, I told my manager I wanted to move to LA, and now I’m a resident of America. So it’s pretty dope that they give you a second chance. It went from not allowing me in to now I’m allowed to live here. It’s pretty cool when you change your life and the government or whatever it does give you a second chance.
How do you connect with the international audience?
I think I just go and give it my all. I’m not 25 years old anymore, but I still gotta kill it like I am. I think one of my overall things I really don’t talk about is that age doesn’t have to get in the way. There are a lot of rappers that are older than me still but you don’t have to move on if you focus on getting better and getting sharper, stronger on stage. People really connect with that. I do all ages shows so that’s 15 to 17 year old kids not knowing my songs and I’m like, ‘holy s*it this is crazy.’ Seems like a whole new generation so I guess I’m fortunate. A lot of careers now last six to eight months. People come out have a hot single, then they might come out with second one, and then you don’t hear from them again. So I think if I have this 17-year career and continue to do what I love, who knows how long I can go for. I’d choose that over being hot for a minute and gone.
It’s getting popular with kids again. Kids are really caring about lyrics and word complexity, wordplay. Kids are really getting back into that so I think that’s working in people like my situation, Tech Nine and Vinnie Paz, working to our benefit that kids care about that now. Don’t get me wrong I’m not going to go out and rap like Future, I would look like a huge retard trying to do that. I love his music but there’s like a million people who took that style and try to emulate it. Originality is very important.
When you have artists like Kendrick Lamar, who are bringing it back to consciousness and lyrics, does that give you added motivation that millions of people are listening and downloading that type of content again?
That’s what makes me so happy about this culture, if everything was just like the music we’re just talking about I would kind of be like, uhhh, but because of people like Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Domo Genesis, Tyler the Creator, Pusha T or Lil Wayne for that matter these guys all still kill it lyrically—especially Kendrick is retarded. So that like makes me happy, that real Hip Hop still the main stream level.
What are the craziest things you’ve seen a fan do or heard that just kind of shocked you?
I just went to Europe and that was a real spiritual thing for me because a lot of people were doing graffiti big burners with my name, or big huge pieces with my face, super dope graffiti artists and it was a real honor for me. I used to be in Rock Steady Crew, so the whole thing for me is preserve the culture while progressing. To see that and to see how alive the full culture of Hip Hop is in Europe, this is my first headlining tour as a solo artist, and I was doing shows seven, eight, 900 people like, ‘this is crazy.’ So now I know I can build my brand out there but people are real passionate about the culture when I was out there.
Sounds like you’re saying they appreciate the little things in Europe and you really like that?
Yes. I appreciate the moment. I got caught up and I lost four million dollars to a drug issue. So now I’m really caught up into working real hard, thinking about where I’m going to be in five years, and it’s like they’re just enjoying the day and the moment. So it made me realize with everything going on, I’m going to get where I’m going but I need to enjoy the ride as well. That’s what real self-awareness is. I can appreciate every day is a gift.
How did you pull yourself out of that dark abyss?
I was going to die. It was death or save myself. I was addicted to oxycontin, so it’s like being a heroin addict. I had like a $500,000 drug habit. I had 11 houses back then, $150,000 whips— Hummers, Escalades, convertibles— $60,000 watches, $70,000 chains and I was killing it. And I lost everything. So to come back and to have my dream truck again, an apartment in LA. I’m very thankful that I’m able to build my life back up at a pretty fast pace. But I’m glad I’m working, so I’m very thankful.
Sounds like the future’s bright. What are you working on musically?
I just finished a whole album, with Evidence producing it. It’s crazy. He’s like one of my best friends but like also one of my favorite producers. So him and Alchemist to me are like the homies but I’ve always been huge fans of what they do. When he said hey, let’s do an album, on the low that was like on my bucket list and I was like, ‘yeah dope.’ It might be the best record I ever did. I’m not a dude that goes out and says, ‘hey, can I get a feature,’ but I do have some of the sickest young MCs featured on the album. This is my first album that I really have some young spitters on, like Domo Genesis, Alchemist raps on it, Aston Matthews and there’s a couple others I’m going to keep on the low until we release it.
What’s the album going to be called?
I think we’re going to call it Darkest Hour.