Interview with Unpopular Demand
By: Alexandra Cole
Recently I got to sit down with Herschel “the Prophet” and Classic “the Actual Rapper” of Nashville’s up-and-coming hip-hop group Unpopular Demand. Herschel and Classic have always had a creative relationship, having created a song called “Spring Dreams” the first time they met. After that, they remained friends for 2-3 years but hadn’t pursued the idea of working together. They decided to work together in January after laying down the song “No L’s”, which turned out to be their first release together. The night that “No L’s” was created was a milestone for both parts of Unpopular Demand.
What places and experiences shaped each of you as individual artists?
Classic: I’ve been involved in music my whole life. Basically like singing and writing songs and doing all that like when I was in high school. I was in choir, I was doing as much as I could to use my voice. Anything to use my voice interested me because I’m naturally very loud and boisterous, so I might as well use it to my advantage. I can be very talkative and I like to be good with my words; as well as witty and charming. So yeah, I just added the music and when I was in my senior year of high school I met Preppy Punk Thug, a group that I was in and DJ Raw Tune, my cousin and bandmate (PPT). We would create together and that was where I really first began trying to rap. From there, I would just start rapping at parties and I would go to any party I could and just rap for them and talk to them, anywhere I was. If they wanted me to rap, I would rap. It reached a point where people started putting me onto shows. There were especially lots of parties in Murfreesboro. Eventually I began to get calls for opening for bigger artists, such as Coolio, DMX, more…. I just kept rapping and through the Ebbs and Tides people try to hate on you for whatever reason and I just keep being myself and making music. Always be yourself.
Herschel: I’m originally from St. Louis. I grew up with a very musical family. I played violin in 4th grade but I was terrible at that. My older brother and sister were both in bands and when I was young I would be out there with my mom, carrying water bottles in a cooler behind the band and I was the one to hand out water bottles to the band and stuff and music was always in my life. I could always sing a little bit and I never took it seriously until I was headed to move to Nashville. It started out as a revenge thing, I had a homie who was starting a band and I was like, “yo bro, can I be in your band?” And he was like, “can you play an instrument?” And I was like no so he said no. So, I was like okay I’m going to Nashville and I’m going to start a band and it’ll be doper than anything he ever did. All throughout high school I wasn’t the most attentive in class because I would be up so late recording on this 8-track thing, called fruity loops. Eventually, I went to Arizona for school for money, played music on the street for money to survive, all of this was just me growing as an artist. Even with Unpopular Demand we’re still growing as artists and we have this relationship where we push each other. So classic has turned me into a different artist just as vice versa.
Classic: We push each other.
As a group, what would you each say has been your proudest accomplishment / most noticeable show?
Herschel: SXSW, All the shows down there. We traveled for one show, and managed to land three more with the remaining time we had there. There were 200 people at the first show.
Classic: One of them was Starlito’s set, it was pretty packed in there. There was a lot of people partying at the different SXSW shows, the crowds were great.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music?
Herschel: Gorillaz on Kendrick.
Classic: the gorillaz on gasoline! Have you seen planet of the apes? Imagine Planet of the Apes, Wolf of Wall Street, the new Tupac documentary, but like way better if they did it right, and then mix it with like a dope Pharrell soundtrack and then throw in some zombies. That would be our music.
What’s each of your favorite venues of the ones you’ve performed at together?
When talking about what you want to do with the message you want to send you’re both very candid about being yourselves and never being scared to be the black sheep, can you share some light on that? How does that reflect in the name “Unpopular Demand”?
Herschel: To this day I still feel this way. In high school, I was always the nerd or class clown or the artsy dude. Just the artsy, class clown, nerdy dude. I just wasn’t popular. Classic and I were talking about it. We’ve never been popular. To this day, now that I’m growing and doing music and our appearances have changed, everyone is changing towards us. I get hit up by old high school people, where it used to be we weren’t cool with each other. I feel like that represented us being in demand. So, we were the unpopular kids that grew up and now people love us.
Classic: I wasn’t a nerd in high school, I had a lot of friends and different groups I’d chill with. I went to private school, and I just felt like I just didn’t really fit in with a specific group to the point where I wasn’t comfortable because one group was always lookin’ at me. For example, the white kids were always looking at me like I shouldn’t be into the things I was into and then the black kids were like “you’re too white for us” soooo. There was certain people that still liked me though. Outside of school, I was with some hood guys hahah. I just really wanted to vibe with everyone, to be real. It is what it is. I just always kinda had my own thing and people either dug my vibe or didn’t; but I didn’t necessarily dig them. I felt like I didn’t really belong with them. I dealt with a lot of jealousy.
Herschel: You’re slick the only rapper I know to wear a kingdom of hearts shirt and a bunch of chains. Classic has always stood out to me from everyone else.
Classic: My grandfather told me, this is the one thing he told me that I’ll always remember, “Never follow the crowd. If the crowd is doing something, never follow them. Don’t jump off a cliff just because everyone is doing it. Follow your own way.” And you know, that’s what I do. That’s what I relate my whole life to. I got voted “most unique in high school”
Herschel: I got voted the friendliest guy or something
What was the milestone for you two that made you realize you should be working together? Was it just genuinely working together and it came together?
Classic: When we made no l’s at your [Herschel’s] house.
Herschel: That was a powerful moment!
Both: We were in a weird place that night.
Herschel: I just made the beat. He told me he was going to come over and I just jumped in 30 minutes before he came and I just whipped up something and it turned into the intro of no l’s. classic came in and his flow came in and fit so cohesively with my drum pattern and that was just it for us. We knew we had to work together.
What can fans expect for the rest of 2017?
Classic: We just released our new single called NUMB that’s on our SoundCloud, check it out. And that is one of the songs we were just talking about, it’s a dope song.
Herschel: Right now, we’re planning for an actual tour as well. Getting ready for that. Weekend warrior hitting nearby cities. We have a few other singles that I can’t mention right now, but they’re going to be insanely crazy. Stay tuned.
Classic: We’ve got our project pretty much done but it’s on the hush right now. We’re just working. And we have more surprises and moves. We’ve got some juice!
Herschel: Classic’s been working on his dance moves
Classic: My heel toe needs a little work but my electric slide is on point.
To finish the interview; is there a meaning behind the lyrics to either no l’s or numb or anything you want to leave with the fans
Classic: No L’s is about taking No L’s – I was going through some drama I had to address, at the moment, and really I just wanted to express the fact that no matter what is going on you can keep winning. It’s all about winning.
Herschel: For me, No L’s, was kinda a – I took a lot of l’s last year but tonight I bounce back. No seriously, haha. No L’s for me was I had taken a lot of L’s and I was just kinda accepting things. Any of that shit doesn’t matter though, I’m not going to take any l’s regardless. I’ll accept defeat sometimes, because you have to accept to move on but I won’t just accept the loss.
Classic: Check out No L’s on Spotify! Spotify is the main platform we’re pushing right now. Shout out to Alexandra for the photos, she’s shot some pretty dope pics of us so you should hit up our Instagram and go check those out!
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