Death, taxes and picking who had the best verse. Whether it's a freestyle battle, an emcee-filled remix or say a DJBooth cypher, hip-hop heads have been debating who came out on top since dudes were first rapping in the park. As I am sure you know, The DJBooth has kicked off its new City Cypher Series, and while I may be a little biased here, I'd say it started off with a bang. On top of a Brooklyn office building, Emilio Rojas, Maffew Ragazino, Black Dave, HD and Kirk Knight all took to the mic to represent The Big Apple, and the debate around who did it best came as naturally to rap nerds as killing a sickly gazelle comes to cheetahs.
While answers have varied, a lot of folks on Facebook and YouTube have been calling out HD's name, and it's not hard to hear why; that "pawn moving sideways" line is the essence of a cypher. With eight features on our pages in the bag (one of them being a DJBooth freestyle) HD has been a Booth regular for a hot minute, but it seems like with his cypher effort, more and more people are now asking, "Just who the fuck is this HD cat?"
Well, for starters, he hails from Brooklyn (a breeding ground for dope emcees) and, though you might not believe it, he is only 20-years-old. The young, up-and-comer already has a crisp, effortless delivery well beyond his years, and it makes the future that much more exciting There is only so much I can tell you about HD though. For the rest, you'll have to get it straight from the emcee's mouth, so we asked him a few quick questions about music, life and more importantly, '90s cartoons.
For fans that may have been introduced to you via the DJBooth City Cypher and are interested in hearing more of your work, what is the one song you would want them to listen to first? Why that song?
I love bodies of work so I really want them to sit with "Stepping Into Tomorrow" because it'll allow them to understand me as an artist. But for the sake of the answering the question, I'll go with "Aladeen."
Where did you get the name HD?
When I was 13 I started producing and went by the name Hitmaker D. When I began recording I realized "Hitmaker D" sounds stupid on songs, so I shortened it to HD. Once I took music seriously I knew that being a "hitmaker" wasn't my focus, I just wanted to bring people into my world with the music, but HD was still a cool name to me. So now HD has a totally different meaning to me that I'll explain years from now…maybe.
What is you favorite album from a New York rapper not named HD?
Cam'ron - Purple Haze
Name a band, song, or album that you are listening to that we might not expect.
On a personal note, from one '90s kid to another, what is your favorite childhood cartoon?
Definitely The Rugrats. My honorable mentions are Rocket Power and Recess.
Describe your next release (album or single). Bonus points for using words that all start with the letters H or D.
Delayed, Dynamic, Honest, and Human. Can I cash in these points or what?
So, when he isn't killing cyphers, HD can be found watching Rugrats or listening to Jack Johnson. The more you know. This cypher is just the beginning for the ultra talented HD. He may be young, but he already has a seasoned, razor sharp flow and the confidence to take on anyone or anything in his path (see "Aladeen"). Keep an eye on this young, promising emcee; you don't need an HD quality picture to see his bright future.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]