Joe Hound: Hound’s Up

Hip-Hop has always had a fascination with the culture of Miami. Many rappers today seemed to be obsessed with the story of a young Cuban refugee named Tony Montana who rises to power in the Miami underworld. Today’s lyricists litter their tales of drug dealing with references about South American drug cartels who filter their […]

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Hip-Hop has always had a fascination with the culture of Miami. Many rappers today seemed to be obsessed with the story of a young Cuban refugee named Tony Montana who rises to power in the Miami underworld. Today’s lyricists litter their tales of drug dealing with references about South American drug cartels who filter their product through the port of Miami. While movies like Scarface affected the stories of Hip-Hop, the bass music scene of Miami led by Uncle Luke and the 2 Live Crew, affected the music.

Many of today’s top producers reference 2 Live Crew and their bottom heavy music as being a strong influence on the music they construct today. Today, Miami also appears to be the vacation and party spot of choice for the Hip-Hop community with artists like Lil’ Wayne, Fat Joe, Scott Storch and Diddy frequenting the beachfront properties enough to call it a second home.

But while Miami was affecting Hip-Hop, for better or worse, the metropolis itself seemed to be ignored by Hip-Hop. The city may have had a strong influence on Hip-Hop but the number of Miami artists who reached the mainstream didn’t equally show that. That’s all changing with artists like Rick Ross following the path left by Trick Daddy and Trina, and producers like Cool & Dre and Beat Novocain producing a number of successful tracks. Newcomer Joe Hound is trying to solidify the Miami brand left by these artists and make his own name by attempting to bring Miami together over his Cool & Dre produced Misery Loves Company. Where did you get the name Joe Hound?

Joe Hound: Basically, the term “hound” is a popular word in Miami. There’s a million and one hounds in Miami. Every camp or every click got a hound. There might be a hundred Joe Hounds out there too. In my camp I was the one that was called Hound and I just put Joe in front of it – that’s my first name. How did you link up with Cool & Dre?

Joe Hound: I knew Dre since high school. We grew up in Miami together. Cool was out there too, but I didn’t know Cool at the time. I met Cool later on in high school because he used to throw parties and DJ all the time. Late ’98, I bumped into them at a studio and he was like “Yo, I didn’t know you was doing music.” They gave me a couple of records to rap over and after that we were rolling together. That’s when we started putting together my first album. Now this was in 1998, so what happened with that album?

Joe Hound: We never even got a chance to even break the record. At that time the record station in Miami wasn’t playing any local acts, and if they did, it was at three in the morning when nobody was listening. We didn’t have mix shows back in the day, so it was just the regular rotation [of popular songs]. The record never even had a chance to walk or even crawl. We would throw parties but parties can only do so much for breaking a record. After that, the label we were on crumbled and we had no other way to push the album. We were so young at the time we had no idea how to push the record on our own. It all just fell apart. So you’ve been rapping since 1998?

Joe Hound: The end of ’98 going into ’99 is when I started doing it officially. Before that [Cool & Dre] and I were just playing around with it. We didn’t know how to get into anyone’s studio. Miami wasn’t about music and studios at that time because it was all about drug dealing. Then we started seeing cats doing it and more and more I started thinking that I should stick to the rap game. So now we’ll fast forward to today where Cool & Dre are among the top producers in the game and you have the ability to push out an album…

Joe Hound: After the first album fell apart we were all just driving around wondering what we were going to do. Dre was like “We’re gonna hit the road, make more tracks, and go to New York and link up with some big acts.” I was like, s**t, if that’s what the plan is, I’ll sit my ass in the backseat and ride with y’all. Next thing I know we’re going to New Orleans and doing tracks with Juvenile. We’re working on projects with Fat Joe. Before I knew it they were like “We laid our groundwork and made it big. Now it’s your time to do what you do.” Now everyone knows that if Joe Hound is f**king with Cool & Dre, it’s gotta be something serious. They’ve worked with a lot of top artists out here. I met Beat Novocain through Cool & Dre. I met Fat Joe through Cool & Dre. I met DJ Khaled through Cool & Dre. I met Rick Ross through Cool & Dre. You just spoke on the struggles of Miami and also described it as a party town. Do you feel that people don’t really see the city as a whole and ignore the area where artists like you, Trick Daddy and Rick Ross come from?

Joe Hound: Yeah, we’re trying to show how Miami really is. You see Miami and you see the beach. I know cats that have lived here their whole lives and never even been to the beach. For a while, I didn’t go to the beach ‘cause I didn’t see any reason to go out there. In Miami, there are people that live across the bridge that have never even scene South Beach and it’s only four minutes away from their house. They don’t even cross that bridge. Some cats just stay in the hood and go to the hood clubs and that’s just what it is. People don’t understand that when you come to Miami and go straight to South Beach, you don’t even see what’s happening on the other side of the bridge. You have people living in poverty. All they got over here is drugs and a lot of violence. Then you have a lot of racism over here with Cubans, Dominicans, Haitians, Blacks, Whites and Jews–you got so many cultures out here that you run into different problems. Like, Jamaicans have problems with Haitians, and Haitians have problems with Cubans, and Cubans have problems with the next group. That’s just the way it is down here. People are just use to staying in their own little community. Someone may think if I go into the Cuban community and I’m not cool with a couple of Cubans then there ain’t no point to me being out there. Miami is tough in that way because you learn to stay in your own circle and make your money. Maybe one day you go to the beach and meet a bunch of cats from different areas in the world and start to broaden your horizons. What’s the name of the album?

Joe Hound: The name of the album is Misery Loves Company and I call it that because it has the struggles from my first album up until now. I thought my first album, Stressed Out, Lost and Confused, was going to be a classic. When we saw that album just dry up times got rough and I was just miserable. I just wanted to share that feeling of misery with the whole world so people could understand my struggles. Especially understanding my struggles with this music because people think its fly-by-night and/or overnight-success-story. This music takes work and time. I mean, I started in ’98 and now it’s 2007 – that’s almost ten years. And I love rap. I’ve been loving it for a long time and I’m just sticking with it. You have to work hard, especially out here in Miami because it’s so easy to get sidetracked. You can sell drugs on almost any corner in Miami because there is an overabundance of it. It’s so easy to go that route, but I kept seeing cats making money off of music and finally I just told myself that I had to try this s**t. Are Cool & Dre going to be working on the whole album in terms of production?

Joe Hound: They’re going to be working on the whole album but we are reaching out to some other producers. Producers like DJ Khaled, The Runners, and just in general as many Miami cats as we can get. Uncle Luke could get on the album if he’s free. With new artists coming out of the Miami rap scene, where do you see the city’s place in the rap world in the next five or six years?

Joe Hound: It’s going to be a problem because we have a lot of good acts down here. The music has gotten so much better. You’ve got me, you’ve got C. Ride, you’ve got the Po’ Boy Camp. Maybe ’07 you’ll start to see these Miami cats on Rap City, 106 & Park, and MTV. The music is getting better and the young producers down here have been soaking up the game and making better beats. They’ve been bringing heat so now you don’t just have to go to only Cool & Dre. Don’t be surprised if Miami is out here in ’07.