Producer, composer and songwriter Mark Batson discussed the inspiration behind his recent release, “Murdering PSA.” In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, the Brooklyn, New York native explains that he created the song after growing tired of people killing each other in the name of Rap music.
“[I’m] just getting exhausted with the idea that Hip Hop is a death sport like the way Quentin Tarantino had ‘Mandingo fighting’ in Django Unchained,” Mark Batson says. “Just the idea that we can’t criticize each other or have fun joking about each other without someone being so angry they got to take out a gun and kill the other person [is stupid]. I’ve been with Hip Hop basically since the birth of Hip Hop. So when I first saw Hip Hop, we had the Romantic Fantastic Five. We had the Cold Crush Brothers and they used to battle. When Kool Moe Dee battled Busy Bee, it was like the first official diss rap that somebody wrote about somebody else. People went to these battles and enjoyed themselves. They got their education. They got their laughs. People had fun and then they went home.”
Mark Batson points to the size of Hip Hop’s buying market as one reason that violence is closely associated with the genre. “I think because Hip Hop has got a huge financial base now there is a competitive business aspect to it where if you say something to me then maybe that's going to make people feel that I'm not really that gangsta and that's going to cut into my units.
“So the only thing I can do is shoot the other person,” he continues. “We might see the big [Hip Hop beefs]. Everybody knows about the Biggies and the Tupacs… People like it. People like the idea that maybe this kind of art form is this fun death sport situation, where it's like, Black men fighting to the death over they songs.”
Mark Batson Says "Good Kid" Deserved "National Discussion"
Batson compares the response to Kendrick Lamar’s much ballyhooed verse on Big Sean’s “Control” to “Good Kid” from his Grammy-nominated album, good kid, m.A.A.d. City, as an example of the way violence is promoted in Hip Hop. “[The reaction to ‘Control’] was, to me, a little alarming because I love Kendrick Lamar and I think he made the best Hip Hop that came out in the last season,” he says. “All the records that he made just have all the dynamic lyrics. Especially ‘Good Kid,’ which is my favorite Hip Hop record made in a long time—the structure of the song and everything. He and Pharrell made a great, fantastic record and lyrically, I can write the lyrics to that song on my walls as a description. When you think about gangbanging or violence of different neighborhoods, it's not like the majority of people are involved gang activity in certain neighborhoods. When I grew up in the projects, most people were hard working people who just went to work, whether they worked as bus drivers or postal workers or schoolteachers.
“So when Kendrick did ‘Good Kid’ to describe trying to survive inside of that environment, I thought it was a hell of a record,” Batson continues. “It deserved a national discussion and deserved to be on the cover of newspapers, and deserved to be the most Tweeted and deserved to be on the cover of [magazines]. But then ‘Control’ came out and it's like, ‘Wow, Kendrick is popular.’ He didn't say it violently, but that's not the way people took it. People took it like, ‘Ah shit, maybe this is another Biggie and Tupac. Maybe we're going to get to see Kendrick shoot at somebody. Maybe we going to go back to the days in Hip Hop where somebody was trying to bust at somebody and this is the real Hip Hop.’ That's not real Hip Hop. That was just one thing he said on one song. That wasn't the whole message he was trying to get across.”
Regarding his own material, Batson released "Murdering PSA" under the moniker, Roostar Incorporated in late 2013. The song features his close friend Bishop Lamont. “He’s like a brother to me,” Batson says. “He wanted to be involved in a song so we drafted some things and finished the song up.” View the video for "Murdering PSA." Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid" is available below.