High Rhymes: Shordie Shordie

High Rhymes is our monthly rap column, this month featuring an interview with Baltimore rapper Shordie Shordie, and a roundup of our favorite new releases.
Shordie Shordie
Courtesy Shordie Shordie

Baltimore rapper Shordie Shordie is not afraid to be transparent with his emotions. His new album A Life For Two, plays out like a Romeo & Juliet story, songs radiating with heartbreak, relationships, and the things that could be. On the track “Balcony,” Shordie asks his lover about their absence and the lack of care for him—conveniently appearing for lust and intimacy instead. Shordie dabbles in the things we bottle, the things we ruminate when love comes into play. Shordie Shordie speaks with High Times about vulnerability in his music, his new weed strain, and the DMV’s visibility in the mainstream.

High Times: Recreational weed has been legalized in Baltimore. How do you think that will affect your city for better or worse?

Shordie: At this point I don’t really think it’s going to do anything [for the] better because I think people still get pissed at work. And if you get pissed then you pop up dirty. I think you get fired. They got some other laws that they got [to] loosen up around here for the weed too. But I mean, hey, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s too good for us, because shit like that. When you legalize it on that tip, it ain’t too good. You saying everybody outside can smoke but the people that got a everyday job, they can’t smoke. That don’t make sense. Some of them be the main ones that need to smoke. I ain’t going to lie to you because I be getting on people’s nerves on a day to day. Motherfuckers that work in regular places. So I know they be needing to smoke more than me.

You recently just entered the weed industry with your own strain, Captain Hook Rx. Tell me a little bit more about that.

I would say it’s flowery. It ain’t citrusy. Before I even got to a good standpoint, I definitely went through a couple good flowers for real. But that one stood out to me. More buddy, sticky a little bit, give it a little sticky situation to it but it breaks down smooth. Majority of my crowd, I feel like my crowd, they fuck with the weed so I felt like it was a good timing type thing. I ain’t even feel like it was more of an investment or nothing like that at first. I feel like it was a timing thing. It was all a good timing.

Would your smoke own shit?

Hell yeah. I be smoking the shit out of my weed.

I ask this because a lot of people push a product they don’t quite support themselves.

Yeah right, when they don’t smoke they shit. Right. That’s the problem. That’s my point. You feel me? I know for a fact the gas is going to get you there. My strain will for sure get you there. I know for a fact. We don’t have no complaints.

How did the partnership with Green Label Rx come about?

It was more like a friendship already before, we already knew each other in a past friendship or past relationship that we had, with a couple other people that I knew in L.A. And just moving around. I feel like it was another way for me to bubble. A good situation for them and I, for real.

Let’s talk a bit about the new tape. What inspired your new project? And why’d you call it A Life For Two?

I got a lot of people going through a lot of different things and I feel like A Life For Two summed up a lot of shit. I got people locked up. I got females around me that’s pregnant and by themselves. It was just a lot of, a lot of shit. And I feel like A Life For Two is something that summed it up for me, you know what I mean? A situation that’ll never end but it takes two people to fuck around. Yeah, A Life For Two, that shit was hard for me. A different step in life.

How do you tap into a pool of emotions that rappers tend to steer away from? How important is that emotional vulnerability to you and your fans?

I mean to keep it real with you, the most gangster shit is to do the shit that niggas don’t do, if that makes sense. So I’m going to keep it gangster man, I do the shit that niggas don’t do. So it seems normal. It seems regular, but I feel like that ain’t regular … Letting people know how you actually feel … I feel like that’s real.

I feel like emotions are not a regular thing anymore.

Nope. Niggas trying to push that to the side. I feel like internet fucks us up quite a lot a bit too though. By the time you get off your phone, you got seven different emotions if you scroll seven different times. This person got this type of emotion, that person got that type of emotion. You damn near got anxiety when you get off your phone. So I feel like the social media made people unsocial. People not social no more. Social abilities is gone for.

When did you realize you can untangle complex emotions in the booth?

To tell you the truth, I was getting big high man, popping perks. I feel like when perks was pushing me to get to certain levels, you know what I mean? The slower music. I wasn’t even expecting myself to make “Reservation,” shit like that. I done got a couple little songs like that. What it was? More to the story, shit like that, it pushed me to do other little shit. But I’ve been making music though on some exploiting feelings for females and shit. I’ve been doing that shit. Never really been a time where it was a peak or nothing like that. It was just times in my career whereas though I was getting to a certain level. Certain other situations was coming about.

Writing this tape, did you deal with any heartbreak at all? And if either way, how do you cope with heartache in general?

I wouldn’t say now, I was more on exploiting more feelings for other people that was around me. I can’t say I was, but it was more before because some of the songs were done before I could put the tape together. It was more to explain everybody else’s story. As I really went in through and got to really listen to it and process it myself, I thought I was doing something as far as explaining my own story, but how it came out, it was like, “Damn, this shit relatable to so many different people, and different songs, and different situations.” It’s like, “This shit ain’t my story, this people’s story that I’m just writing out to be mine type shit.” I appreciate people for letting me be their speaker.

What do you look for in relationships? 

I would say some calm collective bro. My life be on some jumpy, jump, jump shit all the time. At any point, I can get my manager [to] line up some shit. Like “Hey bro, line up some shit.” And we be on tour or on shows for the rest of the year. So I be needing some cool, calm, collective bro. I be chilling. I don’t really do too much. I like to bowl and some Dave and Busters and shit like that. I like chilling in the house, watching big TV, shit like that. Watching games, [she] got to be into sports. I like regular cool shit bro. I ain’t really into the shit that niggas really into. I go to events, I’m starting that now. My first event was probably Gervonta Davis and Ryan. Yep. First event I’m like, “Shit, I can do this.” Sit in my own little section, sit in my own little way and watch it from a different perspective, because everybody watching it from a TV or something like that. You watching it from a different perspective with your own people and getting a different view, hell yeah man. So I like to fuck with my money and fuck with my time a different way.

Courtesy Shordie Shordie

Throughout your career, you tapped in with West Coast Legends like 03 Greedo, Mozzy, and Drakeo the Ruler.

Rest in peace to my boy.

How has working with them inspired your own music?

I fucked with them to the point where through every person, I feel like I learned something out of them. Even 03, I learned timing. If you that nigga, they won’t allow you to die out if you go anywhere. I learned that because there’s a lot of people that go to jail and ain’t shit when they come home and shit like that. It gets tricky. A lot of this shit gets tricky. Like I said, It’s antagonizing to go certain places and do certain shit with certain people. It just is. And that’s how the majority of us, we lose ourselves to this game. It’s been always dangerous. Niggas act like it just now started getting dangerous. It’s always been dangerous, it’s just the antagonizing has got to an all-time high. You can record yourself at this time, everybody can see it. It’s just like, there’s a difference, you know what I’m saying? So at the end of the day you got to just know what type of area you in and what type of people you working with. I think I figured that shit out.

It’s like almost like you had to be there pretty much. Coming from Baltimore, do you feel like there’s a lack of presence of the DMV in the mainstream—

I feel like the industry’s scared of us man. The industry’s scared of us. They ain’t even know I was like that when I got here. The industry is scared of us, very period point blank. I’m not trying to hear about that the industry don’t know about Baltimore or none of that. “Shordie is from Baltimore.” I pushed Baltimore enough for everybody to know that it’s something like… So when you hear about certain people from Memphis, they look up rappers from Memphis. It goes like that, that’s how research goes. They’re going to look up other rappers. So I can’t say that ain’t nobody getting signed. I seen a couple of people get signed from my city, and all that out of the situation that I’ve run to the city. We have a different type of area for real, and when you come a certain way, I feel like they don’t want us to promote no violence or nothing like that because we’re just a violent area already. So putting money and all that, putting shit behind us to be even more violent. It’s another Chicago in the industry.

—————————————————————

Discovering new music can be time-consuming and tedious. Millions of songs are updated daily across an array of platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud—finding the gems is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. High Times has you covered; curating a monthly roundup of the most enjoyable rap albums that stand out from the myriad piles of releases. 

ATL Smook – Still High From Yesterday 

ATL Smook delivers his first offering of 2023 with Still High From Yesterday, a 9-track plugg oasis. Smook coats his syrupy vocals with an autotune thicker than promethazine as he goes through relationships, hangs with his friends and smokes copious amounts of weed. Tracks like “A to Z” and “Batman Coupe” sound triumphant, backed by the sounds of astral synths and skin-shredding rage production.

Destroy Lonely – If Looks Could Kill

Destroy Lonely brings forth the hypothetical question: what if looks could kill? Accompanied with a short horror film depicting Lone as the Look Killa, the L.A.-based artist delves deep into the murky corners of grunge and fangoria. The guitars on If Looks Could Kill sound distorted with drugs and glamour, opting in for a 90s rockstar aesthetic with a spooky edge. The track list is extensive, nearly clocking in an hour and a half worth of music across 26 songs.

billy woods & Kenny SegalMaps 

Teaming up for their first collaborative project since 2019’s Hiding Places, Backwoodz Studioz very own billy woods and L.A.-based producer Kenny Segal release Maps. Maps is a collection of stories and experiences accumulated over the years through music and travels. Features include Premrock and Curly Castro, ELUCID, Aesop Rock, Danny Brown, and more. Maps is perhaps woods’s most accessible work yet.

Duwap KaineDuwap So Based

Duwap Kaine is one of the most melodic rappers around, with a knack for finding a flow on any beat. His new album Duwap So Based is inspired by underground rapper Xaviersobased, whose production is known to sound like two songs playing simultaneously, with the clashing sounds providing some sort of rhythm. There’s DJ scratches, serene bells, synths, snares, and more in a single track—it’s safe to say there’s a lot going on.

CochiseNO ONE’S NICE TO ME 

Trap beats started to die off last year, and be replaced by Whole Lotta Red-esque rage production which has already become oversaturated in 2023. Cochise provides the next step in both sounds, a mix of trap and rage beats with industrial synths blaring. The Florida-based rapper’s voice often stretches like Saran Wrap, with tiny rips forming as the pitch increases. Then there’s a moment like “YAKUZA TIES” where the song turns into a punk rock onslaught, with Cochise snarling and ripping his vocals to shreds.

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