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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