Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shortly ago, we received an email and Twitter message boasting the efforts of something called a Herney. Now, typically we steer away from anything named in proximity to any type of medical condition, because everyone knows that if you talk to someone that either has a disease or sounds like they have a disease then you can catch it immediately. We all saw The Crazies, right?
But persistence is an admirable trait, so we checked him out. Thank goodness for the unimpressive number of hernia-related deaths; were he named something like Canser, there's no way we would have chanced it. He turned out to be good. Really good, in fact; a motivated, sporadically fiery MC weaned on classic Houston gangster rap.
So we reached out to talk about Her-nays, President Obama smoking Swisher Sweets and alliteration. Keep it moving.
Rocks Off: We feel like we should address this because it caught us off guard, but your name is pronounced Her-nay, right? Not Her-knee? What exactly is a Her-nay? And why is it better than a Her-knee?
Herney: It's funny you ask that, because I get that a lot. My father, who is Colombian, named me after one of my uncles who passed before I was born, and that's the story behind Herney. And her-knee doesnt sound cool at all. "The Great" comes from my Grandfather (RIP) who used to always call me The Great. So when I was searching for a rap name, it fit perfectly
RO: In your "City Lights" song (which is a lot of fun, by the way), there's a line in there about how the hues of President Obama's lips should serve as indirect evidence that he enjoys Swisher Sweets. If you had to assign a percentage to it, how accurate would you say that statement is? And if it is true, does that make him more or less likable?
H: I think [it's] 100 percent true. I know Obama has hit his share of the hippie lettuce. And nah, I think that makes him more human, because sometimes people view people with a "title" or "fame" as if they're not of flesh like us. I know he'll never admit it, but Barack is cool. We know [he] enjoyed Mary Jane's love.
RO: Who are the six underground rappers that are going to have the most impressive 2011 here in Houston?
H: Okay, in no certain order and no hard feelings to any of my boys I don't mention, but:
- George Young: He is probably my favorite artist no one knows about. Easily Top 5 in Texas. His project We Talkin 'Bout Practice dropped [in] December '08 and still is better than most that dropped since.
- IB (formerly know as ib3)
- Jayy Skyy
- Every Member of The Houston Hard Hitters. (Coby, Mike,EDF,Young A., etc)
Honorable Mentions: Wise, ADD and DoughBeezy.
RO: The opposite of that: Which Houston rapper do you think is most likely to never release another meaningful piece of music again?
H: Would I be an asshole to say Lil Flip? I mean, at one point in my life he was my favorite rapper right along with Magno. But it seems like he's fallen from grace and can't recover. But I would really like to see him do it again. I don't think it's happening.
RO: On "We Really DO This," you guys say over and over again that you just "do the shit." What is it that you all are so adamantly doing? It's not an actual shit, is it? That's kind of gross.
H: We're really progressing. That's the shit I was speaking of, because time after time I see a lot of people who have the biggest of biggest of dreams but never go after them. Like myself, pre-2010, I didn't drop anything, just a lot of random freestyles and features.
My resolution last year was "No excuses, no regrets" and ive been doing "shit" since I adopted that; met [Michael] Watts, shot my first video. got my first project hosted by a guy I grew up listening to and I finished my second project which will be hosted by DJ Merk. It's called Diary of a Young Black Male.
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RO: Have you all (the Houston Hard Hitters) had any run-ins with the Herschelwood Hardheadz? Is you vs. them the greatest alliteration rap battle of all time?
H [laughs]: The Herschelwood HardHeads is before my time. I dont think they still exist. And that's hilarious.