“Everything that I’ve ever done, in my definition, is hip-hop. Even if I sing a country ballad . . . ”
Erik Schrody picked a fitting handle. Longitudinal legends reinvent themselves several times in their careers, and Everlast has already dominated at least three life cycles. As the frontman for the multi-platinum rap trio House of Pain, he eviscerated Caucasian-rapper stereotypes. Years later, Everlast's transition to his Whitey Ford troubadour persona proved to be the most successful crossover in rap history. And just a few years ago, with Grammy recognition — in two distinct genres — in his rearview, he laced his shitkickers back up and climbed to the pinnacle of underground hip-hop with the all-star squad La Coka Nostra. Now back on tour with House of Pain, who smash the Paradise this Sunday, Everlast spoke with me about fatherhood, paparazzi, and how the reunion disc that everybody's waiting for may have already happened.
BESIDES ADDING UP ROYALTIES FOR MULTI-PLATINUM CLASSICS, WHAT'S AN AVERAGE DAY LIKE FOR EVERLAST WHEN YOU'RE NOT ON TOUR?
I just finished a solo record, but I have a year-and-a-half-old daughter, so I've been doing a lot of daddy time lately. That's probably the roughest thing right now — waking up in the morning and helping out around the house.
EVEN WHEN YOU'VE BEEN DEAD CENTER IN THE SPOTLIGHT, YOU'VE AVOIDED HAVING YOUR PERSONAL LIFE PLAYED OUT IN THE TABLOIDS. ARE PAPARAZZI AFRAID OF THE GUYS YOU HANG AROUND WITH?
I'm no thug or crazy killer, but I would probably be one of the first people to smack a camera out of someone's hand. There's a line — if I show up at an event, that's fine, but I like to go to the supermarket and not be bothered. I tasted fame young, and I realized that it was cool, but I saw the bittersweet side to it too. At this point, my music is far more famous than I am.
LA COKA NOSTRA WAS YOUR RETURN TO WRITING A LOT OF RHYMES. TWO YEARS LATER, ARE YOU STILL DRIVEN TO MAKE HIP-HOP MUSIC, OR IS IT GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER AWAKENING TO GET EXCITED AGAIN?
I tell people every night on stage that I love hip-hop — I've never turned my back on it. Everything that I've ever done, in my definition, is hip-hop. Even if I sing a country ballad, the way I wrote it is no different from the way I write a rhyme. What gets me excited is just finding something that works, and that resonates with all people. That goes for something fun and silly like "Jump Around," or something like I wrote for Santana. Money and all that shit comes with it — and that's good, and it pays the bills and feeds my daughter — but nothing beats hitting a common denominator in all people.