Meet Hass Irv, an Artist Handpicked by Pusha-T

"My heart dropped."
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Hass Irv, 2018

Standing out in 2018 requires an immense attention to detail. Up-and-coming New York rapper Hass Irv brings exactly that, and wordplay, and passion. The works, really. Even so, when he found out Pusha-T handpicked him for the 1800 Seconds album, he neither believed it to be real nor did he know anything like this was possible for him. 

"When I found out it was real and when I called and spoke with one of the representatives, my heart dropped," he tells me gleefully. "Woah, this is the real deal! The time that it happened, the mental state I was in, was just looking to be productive and find something to put a stamp on my name and this dropped in my lap." Consider the 1800 Seconds record the blessing of all blessings, then.

"This is big, super big, really big," Hass continues. "Humongous! I look at it like, people like my older brother, he’s 32 and he’s been making music since before I started making music. He looks up to Pusha-T. So for someone like me, two-three years into making music, that’s something big. Older people look up to Push as a legend, and so do I. This never happens, so to get the opportunity make me feel great."

Hass Irv channeled that energy into a song that people could really, really feel. "A lot of my music is based off my emotions," Hass explains. "I like using my energy and emotions to change the direction I go in on a song." 

With his methodical approach to music, Hass' second greatest concern is how his music is packaged. "The music is just the first step, to put on a plate who you are and where you come from," he says. "Your music is being put on a plate, then you have to figure out how you’re gonna serve your guests." With the 1800 Seconds album, Hass Irv has his guests, and he's serving them in the same turn, but now comes the hardest part: keeping your customers loyal and happy.

DJBooth's full interview with Hass Irv, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.

DJBooth: Take me to when you got word that you were part of the album.

Hass Irv: Truth be told, I didn’t know it was gonna happen, but I knew something was imminent because I already knew my manager was in talks with Pusha-T about my music in general. The actual reaching out part, I thought it was fake because I got a DM. When I found out it was real and when I called and spoke with one of the representatives, my heart dropped. Woah, this is the real deal! The time that it happened, the mental state I was in, was just looking to be productive and find something to put a stamp on my name and this dropped in my lap.

What does it mean to have been handpicked for this record?

This is big, super big, really big. Humongous! I look at it like, people like my older brother, he’s 32 and he’s been making music since before I started making music. He looks up to Pusha-T. So for someone like me, two-three years making music, that’s something big. Older people look up to Push as a legend, and so do I. This never happens, so to get the opportunity make me feel great.

How would you define the energy you bring to the album?

Going into the project, I hadn’t written a song or anything [in advance]. I just knew we were doing this project with 1800 and I wanted it to be a song where people could listen to while drinking, while already in their mood and feel it. I want people to feel it! The workspace we were in, I appreciate 1800 putting us in that workspace because I wouldn’t have been able to make that song.

Now, each song is around three minutes. So you have to make a big impact in a short time frame. How did that affect your creative process?

I don’t time my songs. I feel like my songs are based on an emotion, so if I’m making a song where I’m passionate, I’ll probably prolong a song. I wouldn’t have been mad if the song was one minute, two minutes, or 10 minutes, as long as I get my point across.

How do you usually get inspired?

A lot of my music is based off my emotions. Not to say I make my music based off being sad, but it’s my emotions in terms of how I’m feeling that day. If the day is a hustle type of day, I’m chasing money, then the song that I’ll make it is a Get Money song. If I’m in a bad mood, the energy on the song might be sad. I like using my energy and emotions to change the direction I go in on a song.

Do you ever struggle to craft material that matches your mood?

Always, always. That’s the hardest part: transferring the emotions and energy into words and flows that make sense. Sometimes, you can get on a beat and yell the whole time and people are gonna jump to it anyway, but at the same time, I like to make sense [of my feelings]. I like to put everything in sequential order, like a story. At that point, it gets very difficult putting everything together.

Do you think that storytelling and passion are enough, or do you need a viral moment as an artist on the rise?

Since we got the internet, since we got YouTube, it’s never been you put your all into your music and you blow up. There’s a lot more that comes with it. The music is just the first step, to put on a plate who you are and where you come from. Your music is being put on a plate, then you have to figure out how you’re gonna serve your guests, how you’re gonna get guests to come to the restaurant. It’s a whole sphere of things, you have to hit 10 different points. You have the music, the business aspect. When I look at music, I don’t just look at it as music, I look at it as an art.

How do you get your "guests?"

Everybody judges a book when they see the cover. The way I see it, the first thing is presentation, you gotta present yourself the right way before somebody even clicks on your song. Not just in terms of looks, but also how you carry yourself, how to speak to people, how you present yourself to people. You gotta make sure that everything looks right.

Attention to detail.

You gotta draw the people in, and you gotta make sure they stay in, as well. You don’t want it to look great, and then it’s shitty music after they click on your music but the cover was great. You gotta make sure that all ends are met.

How do you plan on using this opportunity to your advantage? What comes next?

I look at this as a two, to three-week process. For the next week or so, all of my content is gonna be revolving around this. The way I see it, I would probably ride the 1800 wave for a month and start off fresh 2019. My project is expected to release in the spring of 2019. I’m just looking forward to releasing music.

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