New Release and Interview : Fargo’s Tony The Butcher and Blitz

CousinofSleepYears before the idea of this site was even born, Kipp G and Tony The Butcher were inching their way in to the Sioux Falls music scene. I’ve met them numerous times through shows, interviewed them for articles, and even driven up to Fargo to see them perform in their hometown. (I also wrote a [slightly fictional] biography on them for 605 Magazine last July.) But the hip hop duo also seems at home in Sioux Falls, and why not? They’ve probably played more (and bigger) shows than half the local artists (together AND solo), and supported our scene like their careers were dependent on it.

Even when they’re NOT playing shows, the members can sometimes be randomly seen around town supporting other artists, crashing couches, and making friends. I support these guys 100% which is why I was pretty excited when I heard about Tony’s new project {just released last week) with emcee Blitz called The Cousin of Sleep.

I’m a little more familiar with the Butcher’s catalog than Blitz’, but I’m really into the grimy feel of this album and how the two emcees play off each other. They definitely work well together.

Stream the album below to form your own opinion, and while you do that, check out this quick interview I did with the duo about the release and their relationship with Sioux Falls.

TLR : How did you two meet and decide to work together?
Butcher : I don’t remember the exact date off the top, but I met Blitz through playing shows around Fargo probably a few times within the last few years. Then a couple years ago I finally copped one of his mixtapes and was like, “Holy shit … this dude can rap!” Right around that time I got a beat from the Sioux Falls homie ADAPT and asked Blitz if he wanted to hop on. I remember I rode my shitty bike with broken handle bars from Romkey Park in Moorhead all the way to South University in Fargo to record the track in his little closet studio. I liked the way we vibed together on “Da Butcha Block” track, so I sent him another beat and it ultimately became “Might As Well” on the album. After that, we were like “fuck it, let’s make a whole album…”
Blitz : Yeah, I don’t really remember the exact time either. I just remember seeing the homie rap at local shows, killing it, so we connected and started building.

TLR : It looks like COS has been a work in progress for some time now. How long have you been working on it?
Butcher :
It’s been a little over a year. The album probably would have come out sooner but we both work full-time jobs, have families, we had to move the studio a few times, and I guess real life just kind of became priority. I also had a few legal fiascoes and that probably threw a stick in the spokes for a minute or two.
Blitz : It’s been too long. It’s been a long road, kinda rough at times, but we stayed diligent and kept it moving forward. Basically conflicting schedules is what made the process so hectic, not to mention technical difficulties along the ride.

TLR : What’s the album like? Is it a personal album? A party album? Something else completely?
Butcher : Something else completely. Haha. The album was actually supposed to be an original EP, then we couldn’t clear our samples and had some issues with the beats so we just made it a unique type of LP/Mixtape. It’s a very gritty, raw, underground take on emotions and hunger and most importantly lyricism and wordplay. It’s a little darker and definitely is not for everybody but it will turn some heads, that’s for sure.
Blitz : It’s definitely different. It has some real dark tones ingrained in it. At first, It was kind of like a shot in the dark for us because we decided to put out a collaborative album but didn’t really know which direction we were going to take it. After a couple of tracks in we were deciding on a name and I was listening to Nas’ Illmatic album and heard the line “I don’t sleep cause sleep is the cousin of death”, so I just flipped it and came up with The Cousin of Sleep. I thought it was ill, Tony thought it was ill, so we kept it. From that point forward it pretty much evolved into a concept album dealing with more darker, taboo topics and lyrics.

TLR : How does this body of work compare to your stuff with Kipp?
Butcher : Kipp is my big brother and he will always be a part of my music. Him and I have been rocking shows together for years and try to bring a high intensity, humorous approach to every show to make sure everybody has a great time. The project with Blitz and I is a little darker and is more about the ‘take home and marinate on the words and vibe on the thought’ type of music.

TLR : Is Blitz-n-Butch a duo that will be making more music together in the future? Do you plan on doing any out-of-town shows together?
Butcher : I mean, yeah, I hope so.  The Cousin Of Sleep tape is a themed project. So it is really dark and all about death (a.k.a The Cousin of Sleep). I have a feeling that if/when we get together again, we will probably pick another theme and go with that. Probably something a little less hair-raising so people can focus more on the lyrics and rhyme patterns and less on thinking we should probably belong in prison or a psych ward. (Haha.) But yeah, Blitz and Butch will be back for future endeavors.
Blitz : Yeah I’m pretty sure we are going to reciprocate with another album in the future. I definitely have more to say, and I want to be able to show people that we are more versatile than just The Cousin of Sleep. This album is only one side of the spectrum, there are many more layers to us as artists than can be shown in just one piece of work. So definitely expect something new, something different from The Cousin of Sleep, but just as raw.

TLR : Butcher, I know you have a lot of connections with Sioux Falls and the music scene here, do you remember the first time you ever came to town?
Butcher : Sioux Falls, honestly, is probably one of my favorite places to be in the world. I actually grew up a few hours from there in Minnesota and my parents currently live real close by so its like another home for me. Getting out of the Fargo-Moorhead area and away from the bullshit I deal with there and spending time with my family and friends means more to me than anything. The friends that I’ve acquired, whether music related or not, are some of the g raddest people on the planet and I perpetually cannot wait to see them again.

TLR : Are there any groups or performers in Sioux Falls that you really like?
Butcher : Nope. All Garbage. Hahaha. Naw, Sioux Falls is exploding with talent. It seems like every time I come down I find out about some new artist who is killing it. I love that about the small city scenes, though. Everyone stays real connected and supports one another and appreciates talent. The Soulcrate dudes are like big brothers to me and some of the illest inspiration an artist could ask for. I’ve always said that if anyone deserves to be famous it’s super humble, incredibly talented, and just all around rad dudes; those homies created that mold down there. They are a big part of the scene and the city in whole. They have introduced me to other artists such as Phantom Balance and Tony and Dino and countless more that I love to play shows with, but mostly just like to kick it with. But yeah, too many to name or count.

TLR : Anything else you’d like to add?
Butcher : Yeah. Just want to say thanks to you, Lucy, for the exposure and also everyone from the Sioux Falls area who checks out any of my solo joints, my new project with Blitz, anything with me and the Kipper, and anything I make in the future. Also, I have a new project that I’m making with my dude Carson Schilling that hopefully will result in me coming down and kicking it will y’all soon … music wise or other. I hope to remain part of the scene down there for as long as I remain. Keep it greasy Sioux Falls. Love y’all and I’ll see you soon.
Blitz : First and foremost, thank you Lucy, for the opportunity and the support, it’s greatly appreciated. I’ve never been to Sioux Falls before but I have heard nothing but great things about it so I DEFINITELY hope to have the honor to come rock a show with y’all in the near future. Also, much respect to all the fans out there and all the independent artists out there grinding, keeping underground hiphop alive. It’s nothing but love.


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