The aspirations of the hiphop powerhouse that drop rhymes under the moniker the Chicharones lie somewhere between inspiring proletariat party raps and a panty-dropping obsession with the fairer gender. A dual emcee collaboration between the rapid-fire delivery of Sleep and the gravelly croon of Josh Martinez, the Chicharones gracefully showcase the verbal chops of each highly respected emcee at a collective level of "up to my neck in awesome" skill. Martinez took a moment from his vacation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to talk about their new EP, Swine Country, and their "bone-crushingly legendary" future plans.
MERCURY: Is Swine Country a preview of an upcoming full-length? I heard rumors about an album called Sow Side Story, when is that coming out?
JOSH MARTINEZ: Sow Side Story is the full-length album. It should come out summer '09, a concept album about rebellion, rival gangs, girl watching, love, a heist, an honest pair of pants, and the pilgrimage for truth in a dystopian era of corporate optimism. It's also a musical. It is strongly influenced by the many shades of the musical spectrum and happens to follow Dante's Divine Comedy in the journey from hell to salvation. It is timeless and legendary, and it is entirely unfinished. It will be bone-crushingly legendary.
I heard that you were hanging up the mic for good and retiring from hiphop, what gives?
I'm retiring "Josh Martinez." He's tired. The Chicharones are not Josh Martinez. The Chicharones are bonsai wasabi hot. And since it's a musical, our live show will follow musical conventions in both the album form and its stage reproduction. Expect lighting cues, smoke and mirrors, magic, illusion, costume changes, and dance moves (extensive dance moves). My retirement is a fluid thing. I've been bored. Now I'm not.
Both you and Sleep have very different vocal deliveries, but together in the Chicharones it's a very complementary balance. How is it collaborating and writing rhymes with another emcee?
Sleep and myself are the most complementary rappers ever put together on the planet, ever. We never disagree. It just works out that he's always right. I know my role. I'm the hot secretary who takes notes, gets menial tasks done, and keeps the shows free from groupies so he can concentrate on freestyling in the parking lot with dudes. Sleep comes up with all the ideas, I make notes, then he tells me what to sing and when. He'll lay down my raps, and I come in and just do the best I can with what he wrote for me. I'm really good at tracklistings and album liner notes, so I just concentrate on what I do best. I also bring the looks to the table, and most of the muscle. I've been known to sign into hotels under an assumed name so as to not taint the glossy sheen of fame that he exudes (and I live off). I know which side my bread is buttered on. As long as we know our roles, the songwriting is pretty easygoing.
The Chicharones perform Saturday, January 10 at Berbati's Pan.