Rap duo Da Korum are a paradox to most listeners. Since they began recording music together, people wondered how two white Latter-day Saints from Knoxville, Tennessee with very different perspectives in life could succeed in hip hop. However, they have both beat the odds in very interesting ways with creative local shows and an unashamed, honest attitude towards their religious beliefs and upbringing. MC Hot Drankz and Valiant B accepted an Internet chat interview (and allowed us to correct their spelling and grammar) to hopefully resolve some of the questions we had for the group, and have even allowed us an exclusive peek into one of their upcoming singles. A Linescratchers exclusive.
Da Korum has made their latest single, “Back (4 Tha First Time)” available to Linescratchers listeners at the end of this interview!
So just for the record, both of you are Mormons, right?
VB: Yeah we both Mormons.
HD: I am for the most part. LOL
How did you guys meet each other and decide to work together?
VB: Actually we both worked at Target when we were 19. Drankz used to bring a CD player to work when he was stocking shelves and it was always music I dug so finally I asked him if he raps.
HD: It was foreordained. It was only a matter of time before we were playing shows.
VB: Yeah, we just got together and would freestyle to each other while we were working, and we discovered that our thinking is like on the same wavelength sometimes.
Tell us about the beginnings of your duo, and your “dry pool” concerts I’ve heard so much about.
VB: Well my cousin has a pool behind his house but it’s empty a lot of the year because he never uses it. And Drankz got this idea to have a party, and it’s a pool party except instead of being on stage, like where you’re above all the audience, you’re down in the empty pool.
HD: Yeah, most artists perform on stage which is like they’re “higher” than the audience. And we want to show that we real, and humble, so we play down in the pool.
VB: It’s a big pool too, so there’s a ladder and the crowd can come down in there or stand on the edge and look in if they want. Anything goes. Plus it means we’re truly “underground”.
VB: People just have to be careful because if they spill their drinks in there, it drains into the pool filter.
HD: Respect tha property.
Any plans to expand into regional markets or tour?
HD: So we’re trying now to start having shows at more local venues too. But I think the market’s a little over-saturated. Plus I think they bias against Mormons.
VB: Yeah, so right now we’re just doing the underground thing and we’ve got some YouTube plans too.
You could move to Utah or California though – someplace with more Mormons.
HD: Nah, I just don’t see that happening.
VB: I’d do it.
HD: LOL… Tennessee is home, know what I’m saying? We might reconsider if an offer came along.
You two have been known not to see eye-to-eye on several issues. In fact, that seems to be a big part of your image. How do you reconcile being in a duo together despite your differences of opinion on religion and culture?
VB: We get asked about that all the time. I think it’s a little exaggerated that people say we don’t see eye-to-eye. We might disagree on stuff like ear piercings, but not about faith. Know what I’m saying?
HD: Yeah, I agree not to push my bad habits on Valiant B, and he agrees not to get self-righteous on me.
VB: We’re just extremely blessed to be a part of the music scene these days and can’t sweat the small stuff.
But from what I understand, there are a few rumors that you have almost broken up as a group a couple times.
HD: Those are just rumors. I mean, we’ve had to work out a few things. All bands or groups have their struggles and we’re no exception.
VB: I think you’re talking about when HD almost joined the Latta Day Stuntaz.
Actually, I wasn’t going to bring that up, but since you did…
HD: It’s all water under the bridge dawg. We don’t ever think about it or talk about it, except when interviewers ask us about it. The point is that we together and recording now.
VB: We just try to avoid contention these days.
Hot Drankz, how would you respond to criticisms that you are a bad influence, or promoting a way of life in opposition to church teachings?
HD: It’s one thing to sing about a way of life, or to just write about it, but it’s another thing to promote it. I don’t feel like I promote anything. I just sing my lyrics and be honest. It’s just like the R-rated movie thing. Just because a violent movie might depict violence in it doesn’t mean they promoting it. You dig?
VB: Well on the other hand if you talk about it too much, people might think you’re bragging or promoting it in your own way.
HD: I would just call it honesty, that’s all.
VB: You know, I just try to balance Drankz out by being honest in my own way. So between the two of us we neutral.
Valiant B, you served your mission in Tampa, Florida, and have written about the harsh realities that exist in some of the poorer areas there. Tell us about your experiences there and how that influences your music.
VB: I saw some scary stuff out there on my mission. I had an investigator who had tried drugs, and we tried our best to get him away from the people who were leading him on the wrong path. All his friends smoked marijuana and drank alcohol basically every day.
VB: That’s the great thing about the Gospel, though, it gives people power to change and go down a different path if they want. I also knew a guy on my mission whose cousin got arrested for gang-related violence. It’s just the world we live in but you can’t let it get you down.
Hot Drankz, you are now 24 and some people are wondering if you will serve a mission. Any plans you want to clue us in on?
HD: Well, I guess I have to quit drinking Dr. Peppers first LOL.
Would you serve a mission though?
HD: Yeah, I mean, it’s always been an option but there are still a couple things I want to do before I send my papers in. In the meantime I just work and do music. I just got promoted to night manager at Arby’s so it’s kind of hard to walk away from that LOL.
What about dating or marriage? Either of those in the cards?
HD: I guess I’m more of a “hang out” kind of guy LOL. But seriously, if you want to know about my dating life, just listen to my lyrics. It’s got the good and the bad.
VB: Mostly bad.
HD: But some good!
Where can interested readers hear more MC Hot Drankz and Valiant B?
VB: We loyal to Myspace so we got a page there. But we got a Facebook too.
HD: Y’all enjoy our newest track, “Back (4 Tha Furst TIme)”.