MC Longshot

MC Longshot (May 23, 2013)

Chad Heslup high-tailed it up to Minneapolis a few years ago, to continue to develop his connections with that city's entrenched independent hip-hop scene, but his roots as a rapper are in Chicago, where he began. He returns to the city this weekend to play a record release for his latest, "Instant 4 Eternity," which as he explained last week, is about memory. Here is an edited transcript of that conversation.

Q: What's the big idea behind the album?

A: Artists, especially, we try to hold on to moments that last forever, and I tried to do that with this record. Good moments you try to make them last forever, but the worst moments are often out of our hands. "Len Bias" is a tribute to a man who died after being drafted; there is a song about domestic abuse; there is a song about memories about a breakup.

Q: What is your most significant musical memory?

A: I never forget the interaction that I have had with fans, people who happened to hear a song where it affected them and came and talked to me about it, said thanks for playing or thanks for your art. Fortunately, that happens a lot for me. That's why I do this, I love making an impact on their life. That is what inspires me.

Q: What are the musical memories that have had a direct impact on the music you make now?

A: I was about 8 or 9 years old — I was in a foster home at the time and my foster brother was three years older than me and we would tape this show in WGCI — I think it was called "The B-Side." It was about 1987-88, so it was KRS, Eazy-E and Big Daddy Kane. It introduced me to a lot of music. Also, my foster brother, every month he bought a copy of Word Up! magazine, and they had a "Verse of the Month" feature, and I would memorize them. The first one I memorized was Slick Rick's "Children's Story," and would rap along with the whole thing whenever it would come on. That was my introduction to rapping. When I started rhyming, I knew that this was going to be something I did for my life.

Q: Is that where your journey as an artist begin? Did you start writing rhymes at that point?

A: No, it started when I began writing and reading poetry. I moved to a group home in sixth grade, where we got to take one-on-one classes and mine was English. Me and a teacher, all I did was learn and read and write poetry, so it picked up from there. By eighth grade, I was ciphering (freestyle rapping) at the back of the bus, but I was really too scared to do it. Finally, my freshman year at Drake (University), one night some other players were up one night ciphering and a friend of one of my boys jumps in the cipher and just killed it! And I thought "If he can do that, I can do that," so I went back to my room and started rapping, freestyle rhyming. My roommate came home at 3 a.m. and I was still going. I knew this is what I was put on earth to do.

MC Longshot
When
: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Jerry's Sandwiches, 1938 W. Division St.
Tickets: $5-7 (21+); longshot.eventbrite.com