HHC: In 2000, you released "Freelance Gynecologist" independently. What gave you the will to release this album the independent way? Could you describe this album (for those that never heard it) and tell us what you think of it a few years down the line?

Robust: People in Chicago have been putting out their own music for years (because most labels outside the city don't really have an appreciation for the music made here I guess) and they sell'em in mom and pop type stores like Grammaphone and such.....But, anyhow, I was just kinda doing what seemed the way I was supposed to do it... That way, I burned all the copies, sold'em all and made all the money (which wasn't that much). That's aside from the part where years later a shady roommate ended up sending copies to his Cousin in L.A. who had some phony ass label out there called "" (don't support these busters ever). He went on to bootleg I don't know how many copies out there and on the internet..... I hate to black ball but those dudes have nothing to do with hip hop besides the act of making money off of talented artists and not looking back. But yeah “Freelance Gynecologist” is just some jokey stuff I wrote when I was 17 and 18.... It's just a lot of satire and a little seriousness....Pretty immature, but it was fitting to the time...

HHC: How did you hook up with Galapagos 4?

R: My homie Qwel had asked me to do some music on his album, which I was honored to do, and gradually they just asked me to do an album. That helped me a lot, cuz I'm lazy and hate having to music business shit.... I'd rather focus on making tunes.....

HHC: How did you approach this new album considering the increased exposure that being in G4 offers you?

R: Just put songs I've been working on the past three years... Some are from 2002; some were done the day I finished the album.....

HHC: Let's talk in detail about your new LP. "Potholes in our Molecules" is infused with a kind of melancholy and a lot of dark thoughts. What gave you the will to do that?

R: I didn't mean for it to be that depressing. I just get frustrated with how things are in the world we live and how everyone acts like nothings wrong. I just felt like pointing out some of those things....namsayin?

HHC: Do you really think that "there's no chance to even save this place”?

R: No....There is a chance...That's an older song. If you listen to ‘Pessimist Recipe', it's about how nothing can go right for this guy and he's just complaining until he realizes that he has to be patient and faithful and that things will change....

HHC: You rarely write hooks for your tracks. Why is that?

R: I just take it one song at a time, however it comes out you know....

HHC: Why have you invited so many different producers for this first album on G4?

R: I just wanted all my homies to get the respect they deserve. There's too many dope ass musicians who get overlooked and I know some of them, and I love their music. They give a different vibe to the album and they're all my favorite producers....Sunspark, Bles, Dreas, Maker, Meaty, Prolyphic, Dwight, ect. Those guys make the beats I listen to even when I'm not writing rhymes....

HHC: Even if there are a lot of producers, the album really has its own sound (downtempo, jazzy, etc) and is very coherent. How did you manage to do that? Did you give the producers any instruction?

R: I know what beats I like and I pick'em out.....

HHC: Who is Prolyphic exactly and what led you to work with him on your last LP?

R: Prolyphic is my homie from Rhode Island. He's highly overlooked and very talented. He's an MC who started making his own beats a few years ago and we have similar taste in music, I guess......We traded tapes of our music through the mail a while back and made it a mission to work on music together. When I was homeless for a while, I took a train out there to visit him and Bles and we made some songs and have been getting up ever since... He has an album that's about to be released and if you like anything I did on my album then you're gonna be blown away when you hear his shit....

HHC: Meaty Ogre produces a lot of tracks on your album. It sounds as if there's a real chemistry going on between the both of you since 'Flibbertigibbit'. Could you elaborate on that?

R: Meaty is just the man. That dude is gonna be famous. He's one of the most original and intricate producers I've ever heard. Just wait till he unleashes what he's got onto you guys.....

HHC: On the album, there are several instrumental interludes. What gave you the will to do that?

R: I always bump instrumentals from my homies and I wanted them on my album....

HHC : Could you tell us a few words about your first steps on the Chicago hip-hop scene?

R: I was just a young dude trying to make a name for myself.... making friends and meeting fellow artists.....I can't really recall any steps but life definitely led me to this place and point in time for a reason.

HHC: I know you've worked with the Molemen in the past. These last years, it's fair to say that they've come to be regarded as some of the best boom-bap producers of our era. What do you think of their work and what's exactly your story with them?

R: Those dudes are dope as fuck man.....Before I met them, I used to rap over instrumentals my friends had on records.....I was definitely privileged to be able to rhyme on those beats.....We've since been doing our own thing but I hope to work with them again in the future... They taught me many things....

HHC: How did you end up appearing on Sage Francis' "Still Sick... Urine Trouble"?

R: I went to one of his shows when I was younger and they wouldn't let me in because I was underage.... Basically, the only way I could get in would be if I was performing which I wasn't....I saw Sage outside the show and told him and he told the bouncer I'd be performing with him. So during his set, he asked me up there to rhyme. I could barely remember many rhymes. I wasn't really expecting to rap that night or anything......Then, a few months later, he told me he put it on a CD......There you have it....

HHC: In a few months, you'll be in France for a few shows. Do you know anything about French hip-hop?

R: Nope...nothing... I heard MC Solaar a long time ago but that's about it. I'm interested though. I'm sure they got some nice stuff...

HHC: What are your thoughts on the current state of Chicago hip-hop?

R: I think it's finally starting to get its due respect. I just feel bad for all the dudes that been doing shit here for so long and still don't get any fuckin' respect or recognition... One day, hopefully....

HHC: What are you listening to these days?

R: Meaty's records.

HHC: What are your current projects?

R: The next project I'm working on is an album with myself and Prolyphic.... Him making the beats naturally and both of us rhyming. Then, Qwel, Rift Napalm, Mestizo and myself are going to do an album as a group called "Spare Change".

HHC: What does the drawing on your album cover represents?

R: My boy Josh made the cover. I kinda just let him listen to the music and do what he felt with it. Another one of my homies did some drawings like the characters. The little dude on the back of the cover, that's just me, chillin' and kickin' it in a cool way. The rest is just a mixture of animals all combined together.

HHC: How have the hard times that you lived influenced your music?

R: It just makes it harder to get shit done, basically! I don't have people. A lot of people have like publicists they're paying 3000 $ a month to get their face up in a magazine. We don't have that option, man. We're just really underground artists: we sit at home and write rhymes and make beats… We're so broken, going through regular life problems… This is the first time I've been out of the country, you know what I mean.

HHC: I believe you're going to work on a project with Prolyphic?

R: Yeah, this summer, when I get back from tour, we're gonna do some shit in Chicago . I'm not sure yet about what we're gonna do and who will release it though.

HHC: What's behind the title of the LP?

R: Just about making mistakes and shit... but keep improving on them instead of regretting them. When you go through life, there's potholes but you just deal with it. It's so deep in life that it's in here, in every molecule. The world's got potholes. It's not perfect. The world is even like a break-off of another planet and shit… The biggest organism we live on is like a broken piece of another planet. The album is also like a dedication to the artists that don't get the respect they deserve, that never get shows, etc.

Interview by Cobalt
May 2004

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