Rap­per Mar­gar­itavil­lain speaks to us about his latest single ‘Thoughts, Pray­ers & Guns’, writ­ten in light of a tragedy, we dis­cuss Hip-Hop, lyr­i­cism and using your music as tool to cre­ate change. 

Tell us a bit about your rap name Mar­gar­itavil­lain – how did you come up with it?

Legend has it that on one Taco Tues­day many years ago I was allegedly drink­ing a very tasty frozen straw­berry mar­gar­ita in an extra large beau­ti­fully hand­craf­ted mar­gar­ita glass that I picked up on a trip to Mex­ico. Being the infin­ite klutz that I am, I some­how knocked it over and it fell to the floor. And no, I was­n’t drunk. It was my first one of the night and it was nearly full when it took its dive, so this tragedy was not caused by DUI — Drink­ing Under the Influ­ence. I’m guilty solely of clum­si­ness and bungling a poor inno­cent glass and wast­ing its con­tents. In that sense I guess you could call it alco­hol abuse. The glass did not com­pletely shat­ter, instead it broke into a few large jagged pieces with smal­ler shards around it. It looked viol­ent with the red mar­gar­ita splattered all over. The way it was drip­ping from the sharp glass edges was sin­is­ter. I pic­tured rop­ing off the crime scene with yel­low tape and remem­ber think­ing that I felt like a “Mar­gar­itavil­lain”. Also I totally hate the Jimmy Buf­fett “Mar­gar­itaville” song/restaurant/hotel so I’m pok­ing fun at that a bit. Iron­ic­ally, when you try googling Mar­gar­itvil­lain, Google auto­cor­rects it to Mar­gar­itaville and auto­mat­ic­ally shows res­ults for that! You have to click a small link below the search bar that says “search instead for Mar­gar­itavil­lain” to be able to find res­ults related to yours truly. I think that’s fucked up (laughs) but I guess that is what I get for mak­ing fun of it. Maybe someday I can flip it around so people search­ing for that crap song instead find me. That would be very sat­is­fy­ing but my friend that works for Google said it’s not likely. Thanks buddy. Any­ways, fast for­ward many years and many oth­er cas­u­al­ties (broken glasses, mostly wine) later when I was writ­ing my first rap and I con­fid­ently felt that I should in no way use my own name, instantly and for no reas­on in par­tic­u­lar that mar­gar­ita crime scene memory popped in my head. So I just went with it. Also the name Mar­gar­itvil­lain flows off the tongue smooth­er than “TequilaBadguy”. Right? Both the concept of me rap­ping and that name each star­ted out as a joke, but while I con­tin­ued writ­ing songs I real­ized that I love rap­ping, became a little more ser­i­ous about it, and also found that the name has mul­tiple mean­ings that con­nect to what I’m doing. Some of them are too per­son­al to share at this stage, but gen­er­ally the songs are often either goofy, or ser­i­ous, or some­times both. I sup­pose “Mar­gar­ita” would be the goofy aspect and “Vil­lain” is the ser­i­ous side. I could also say what I write can be sweet and sour. Up and down. Etc. So deep eh? Like Mari­ana Trench deep. James Camer­on will have to invent a whole new sub­mar­ine to reach the depths where I swim. Any­ways, wait, what was the question?

Your last track ‘The Earth Day Rap’ had a great response, how import­ant is it for you to use Hip-Hop as a tool to share socially con­scious messages?

Ori­gin­ally not at all. I star­ted doing this for fun mak­ing over the top, way over the top, com­ic­al raps. Rap­ping for me was nev­er sup­posed to be ser­i­ous, in any aspect. From the begin­ning I’ve been mak­ing these silly songs but too many fucked up things in the world keep hap­pen­ing and my anger and depres­sion can’t help but spill over into whatever it is I am work­ing on. One day I’m rap­ping a song that includes an under­wa­ter orgy with Ari­el, Flounder & Sebasti­an (not yet released) and the next day I’m rap­ping about guns and school shoot­ings, or the envir­on­ment (The Earth Day Rap), or Trump & Cov­id (So Sick), or Putin (not yet released) and on and on. While doing these songs are obvi­ously less fun, I’ve found rap­ping about issues I care about to be very thera­peut­ic on one hand, so that is self serving, but also if some­thing I put out reaches and changes even just one person’s mind, or inspires them, if it helps someone oth­er than myself, it would be very reward­ing. That said, I do keep com­ing back to con­tin­ue work­ing on the ridicu­lous ones when I can and more of those will be released soon, but I don’t see myself ever stop­ping in regards to rap­ping about vital issues. Even the slim­mest chance of hav­ing a pos­it­ive impact on someone is worth the pursuit.

Tell us about your latest track ‘Thoughts, Pray­ers & Guns’? The track was an impromptu record­ing ses­sion when you heard the news of Uvalde shoot­ing in Texas.

As usu­al I was try­ing to fin­ish one of my goofy songs, that day spe­cific­ally I was record­ing a hype track, in which the main vocals are already fin­ished and I’m just free­styl­ing ran­dom shit to maybe put in the back­ground. It was the day after the Uvalde shoot­ing and I star­ted record­ing the hype for this oth­er silly song but instead out of my mouth came a 30 minute free­style rant about guns. I was­n’t going to release it but a couple friends heard it and encour­aged me to do so. I edited it down to what it is, about 5 minutes, so on one hand it is an authen­t­ic free­style in that lyr­ics were not writ­ten and I did it in one take, but it is edited.

Do you envi­sion the Gun laws ever chan­ging in America?

Such a depress­ing ques­tion. An instant tug-o-war takes place in my head between a hope­ful and optim­ist­ic side vs a more real­ist­ic and per­haps slightly cyn­ic­al side. Do I think they will change? Yes but way too slowly. Will they ever change as much as they should? I don’t know. I live in this coun­try, I’m ori­gin­ally from a small con­ser­vat­ive mid­west­ern town, I have many hunters in the fam­ily, I had many friends grow­ing up that were obsessed with guns, but des­pite all that back­ground I can not for the life of me under­stand why so many people in my coun­try love guns so much. Why are they so incred­ibly adverse to hav­ing weapons, guns that are made for no oth­er reas­on than killing humans, taken away from them. I get hunt­ing. I get want­ing to be able to defend your­self or pro­tect your fam­ily. I per­son­ally have no desire to use a gun for either, but I get it. Yet,

I don’t get why people here have a pas­sion­ate need for auto­mat­ic weapons, which are of course not needed for either of those things. I wish so des­per­ately that my coun­try could do what yours has done in regards to gun con­trol. The res­ults speak for them­selves. It’s worked in many coun­tries. It’s a no brain­er. So many more people will die in Amer­ica while the elec­ted offi­cials drag their feet in cre­at­ing mean­ing­ful change in gun laws. Yes, they did pass some laws recently but it’s not even close to enough. On one hand every little thing helps, but it’s the first time changes like these have been made in so long, I fear that since they passed some­thing, not adequate at all, but some­thing, that it will be a long time before they con­tin­ue to do more.

How account­able do you think music artists should be when it comes to speak­ing about guns in Hip-Hop music?

Extremely. I wish I did­n’t have to feel that way. But the uphill battle is not uphill. It’s up Everest. It’s up K2. Since we don’t have politi­cians or com­pan­ies that put people’s lives and safety first, we need any­one and every­one that has a plat­form, in all fields of enter­tain­ment and espe­cially in hip-hop, to try and use that resource to keep striv­ing for fur­ther change in gun laws until mass shoot­ings and auto­mat­ic weapons are extinct.

You also released the track as an instru­ment­al, tell us about the pro­duc­tion on the track, was it ori­gin­ally meant for anoth­er record?

No, I made it for this. Rather than leave it acapella I decided to add in sounds and instru­ments to elev­ate it and I think it was the right choice. The song does­n’t have a tra­di­tion­al beat because the vocals were of course not recor­ded to any BPM, but I thought it became a more effect­ive song hav­ing the “music” with it. It was fun to put togeth­er because it was a very dif­fer­ent pro­cess than it would be with tra­di­tion­al songs and so it allowed for more cre­at­ive flex­ib­il­ity. At the same time it had its own chal­lenges which were fun to solve. I nor­mally don’t do this but for this song everything I used were roy­alty free “Apple Loops” included with Logic. A lot of the loops I chose were from a cat­egory called “Tibetan Peace Instru­ments”, drums, gongs, chimes, etc. For the sec­tion where I ref­er­ence Aus­tralia I chose loops of a tra­di­tion­al Aus­trali­an didgeri­doo. I include instru­ment­al ver­sions with each single release because that is some­thing I always wished my favor­ite rap­pers and bands would do so I could hear both ver­sions. Also, it’s an easy way to double my dis­co­graphy. Shhh! (Laughs)

You are releas­ing your LP later this year, what can we expect from it?

A little good, some bad, and a whole lot of fugly.

Where can we fol­low your music?
Not the dis­ney channel.

Listen Here to ‘Thoughts, Pray­ers & Guns’

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.