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Heavy Rotation with Hannibal Buress

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Hannibal Buress is hilarious. Straight up. The guy is doing his thing in 2013 on the stand-up comedy scene, and beyond (did you see him in the new Kevin Durant commercial?) And though he doesn’t use it as a gimmick, Hannibal definitely makes it clear during his act that he’s a huge hip-hop head. The Chicago native, who now resides in Brooklyn, weaves bits into his set about rap music, whether he’s cracking jokes about an over-the-top Odd Future chorus, or how rappers always say how bright their chains are in their rhymes. And earlier this year, Hannibal added music video director to his impressive resume (which also includes previous writing gigs at Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock and a guest spot on Louis C.K.’s show Louie), linking up with fellow Chi-Town representative Chance The Rapper for the Jash-funded “NaNa” video, where the pair took to the Hollywood streets to spend $5,000.

Since Hannibal’s a seasoned rap fan, and we love his comedy, we linked up with him earlier this week to find out what five songs he has in Heavy Rotation. And over afternoon pints of Smithwick’s in a local Williamsburg bar, just up the block from the Knitting Factory where he hosts a weekly comedy night on Sundays at 9pm (fall through!), he broke down his selections for us. Check out Hannibal’s five current favorite tracks below, and make sure to catch him out on tour with Dave Chappelle, Flight of the Conchords, and more at the Oddball Festival, which kicks off this Friday in Austin, Texas.

1. Wale “Black Heroes”

Hannibal Buress: “I’ve been listening to Wale since ‘08. There was a ‘Nike Boots (Remix)’ on a Lil Wayne mixtape. Wayne did a verse on it, but I didn’t know who this dude was. Wale was saying weird references that nobody I was listening to was rapping about, like, ‘Everybody know me like the Contra code for extra men.’ So I ended up looking up more of his stuff, and I heard tracks like ‘Back in The Go-Go’ and stuff like that. I saw him live a few times live before he signed with MMG. I saw him at the Highline [Ballroom] in ‘09, and he had a really good live show. He had the [Go-go] band UCB at the show, and it was just really dope. I’m a fan.

“On this track, he really steps the rapping up. The beat is hot, and part of that song is some of the best rapping I’ve heard this year, as far as the flow, and timing. I start listening like, ‘I wonder if he did that in one take? It doesn’t sound punched in.’ It’s just slick as hell. He’s flowing on that shit. I want to see that track live.

“[The Jerry Seinfeld outro] is cool, but the thing I don’t like about it is it [messes up my flow if I want to play the song on repeat]. I gotta listen to that. I was thinking about that [outro, too]. Was it scripted, and was Seinfeld just playing along? Or did he actually play Seinfeld, like, ‘I just wanted to see if you’d come through.’ Both are funny, because if it’s scripted, it’s funny that they wrote it. If he played him, it’s funny that Wale is playing Seinfeld on a track. But I don’t think [Wale] would put [Seinfeld] out like that. Either way, Seinfeld would have to clear it.”

2. Chance The Rapper “Pusha Man”

“Some people put me on to him when [Chance’s debut mixtape] 10 Day was out. I remember my friend was like, ‘You gotta check out Chance The Rapper.’ And I thought it was Chance from those VH1 shows. Chance from I Love New York. And I was like, ‘Nah, I ain’t fuckin’ with that,’ just based off dude being on those shows. [Laughs.]

“So I listened to Chance’s stuff, and I posted it [on Twitter], for people to check out 10 Day. And it turned out he was a fan [of my stand-up] also. Then, when he was doing the video, Jash maybe saw that I had posted about him, and they asked if I wanted to direct the video. And I was like, ‘Are you sure? Because, I’ve never directed a video before. I’m a stand-up comedian.’

“So I asked some friends to help me with a concept, but we ended up just making it about us spending the $5,000 on the fly, which worked great for me not having a concept. So we were just out and about looking for things that were interesting. [We went to] Hollywood to shoot the people in the costumes. Then we’re in Hollywood, like, ‘There’s a double decker bus.’ So we paid to get on a double decker bus. Then we rode past the Laugh Factory, and we were like, ‘Oh, let’s see if we can shoot in there.’ We worked on the fly, which was a lot of fun. And people seemed to enjoy the video. It was cool. I haven’t got that many offers yet to direct more videos. How is that possible? People must think I’m busy. [Laughs.]

“I like ‘Pusha Man’ because of the way it comes in. I’m big on intros, and how tracks kick off. He’s like, ‘Ten damn..’ and then the drums are so weird on it, but he catches it in a weird way. He hits the shit in a crazy way. I’m a super rewind head. So I listened to the first fifteen, twenty seconds of that over and over. I asked him, ‘Did they make the drums afterwards on that part of the beat?’ I thought maybe they put the drums around him. But he said, ‘Nah, that’s just how the beat is.’ It’s such a smooth song.

“There’s some other cats from Chicago [I really like]. The BRKF$T Club. It’s Fonz-E Mak and this guy Calez. Fonz-E Mak had a great mixtape called The 6:21 Theory. Calez had a tape called Too Broke. They’re dope. They’re doing their thing. Julian Malone is good, too. Show You Suck, I saw him at SXSW, he was dope. There are a lot of people out of the Chi right now. Tree is awesome. And he makes his own beats. Tree is dope.”

3. Thundercat “Tron Song”

“I hadn’t heard of [Brainfeeder artist] Thundercat at all until Flying Lotus was posting about it, and how he was working on the album. He was on this long Twitter thing talking about it. And I like Flying Lotus’ stuff, so I said if he’s working with him and vouches for it, I’ll check it out. So I downloaded the album, and the whole album is great. But this track stood out to me, I guess because it’s so kind of bare bones and weird. It’s a smooth track. It sounds epic and stripped down at the same time. And then it turns out, the song is about his cat. [Laughs.] Which makes it even better.”

4. Phonte ft. Eric Roberson “Who Loves You More”

“I’ve been a Little Brother fan since before I knew who they were. I heard a track of theirs and thought it was De La Soul or something. This is back in college when your friends would play mix CDs or whatever, in ‘02, ‘03, like the Napster era, when someone would just play a bunch of tracks and you wouldn’t necessarily [know the artist] unless they were recognizable. So the track ‘What Ever You Say,’ when Phonte is like, ‘I got your head still bobbin’, and my verse didn’t rhyme.’ I thought that was De La Soul until a couple years later.

“Then, I just followed their stuff. The Listening, and a bunch of their tracks I really enjoyed. Then I went to a Foreign Exchange concert. I’ve seen them live a couple times. So when Phonte dropped his solo shit, of course I was gonna check it out. This track is good because it’s straight up storytelling, and talking about some real experiences. It’s a dope track.

“Phonte [and I actually linked up on Twitter]. I said I was a big fan, and he was like, ‘Oh, I’m a big fan of yours, too.’ And I was going through Raleigh, North Carolina, and I said, ‘Hey man, would you want to do something at my show?’ And he was like, ‘How ‘bout I do an intro?’ And I never met him, but he intro’d me to the stage and shit. And he’s a performer, so the intro was crazy, and he had the whole crowd standing up on their feet, which [rarely] happens. I get a standing ovation every now and again. But he had everybody hyped. It was the greatest intro ever. I wish it was on film. He’s just an entertainer, and so charismatic. He was a cool dude.”

5. The Roots “Doin’ It Again”

“That track is so energetic. It’s dense as fuck. You got Black Thought spitting on it, then you got the John Legend sample. And it’s super short. [Looks at his iPhone.] It goes 2:23. It’s one of those repeat track for me. I’m into the repeat, dog. I don’t do it when I have company, but if I’m by myself, I’ll play a song over and over. That’s definitely in my Top 25 played [on my iPhone].”

Follow @Hannibal Buress

Previously: Heavy Rotation with Chuck Strangers | Heavy Rotation with Sean Price |  Heavy Rotation with MTV’s Rob Markman

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17 Responses to “Heavy Rotation with Hannibal Buress”

  1. Gob Bluth Says:

    Listening back to those old albums you realize just how much hip hop has regressed

    just the other day i was working out to iron man & it’s incredible how visual that album is couple times i had to fall back

  2. Rajon Trondo Says:

    Sarjo back to stake his claim as the WOAT ..

    he wanna end the debate ..

    Eliminate speculation. .

    The WOAT has returned . .

  3. cOLD Says:

    Listening back to those old albums you realize just how much hip hop has regressed

    just the other day i was working out to iron man & it’s incredible how visual that album is couple times i had to fall back

    ^ litterally the album cover was a medley of “flavor tropical” colors.

  4. das Says:

    Hannibal – ‘Animal Furnace’ >>>

    Nice to see this nigga getting some shine.

  5. b Says:

    That dude phonte man

    he should be richer and more popular.

  6. das Says:

    Drizzy made a smart move pushing back his album.

    Seeing as the 17th is GTA V’s day.

  7. Sarjo1988 Says:

    Lol at me being da woat I’m a hall of famer. I bright life to c section.

    Tron you make wack beats

  8. b Says:

    Tron you make wack beats

    > Big bum makes wack beats,tron is a beginner.

  9. Tong Po Flo Says:

    That dude phonte man

    he should be richer and more popular.

    ^ This doe, not one skippable on all of those Foreign Exchange LPs

  10. b Says:

    ^ This doe, not one skippable on all of those Foreign Exchange LPs

    > How many have they released tpf?

  11. Tong Po Flo Says:

    > How many have they released tpf?

    ^ Four I believe with another one dropping this year

  12. Troyvul Says:

    Sarjo did you lurk during the hiatus?

  13. b Says:

    Phonte ‏@phontigallo 9 Jul
    “I open every cell in Attica, send em to Africa.” -Nas

    “NOE YOO WHEEL NOTT, NEEGA.” -Africans

  14. infared Says:

    nah is nothing like the streets.

    nah is nothing more then a place where nerds use terms and words like “he windmillin” “he melting” & some other bullshit to replace potent shit talking. it’s also a fantasy land for a few people who talk about living a life they seen in the movies. you know this is true because they’re afraid to up anything.

    you just have to adapt to the nerd tactics..don’t tell them to up any proof, don’t give them potent ether just tell em they’re “windmillin” or “writing essays” even though they’re the ones who been on here for the last 5 years lolol yeah..welcome back sarjo.

  15. b Says:

    Phonte ‏@phontigallo 21 Jul
    Black America’s zenith really mighta been Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan together in the “Jam” video, yo.

    > lol

  16. S.I.K.H Says:

    please don`t start glorifying Phonte`s corny musings.

    be clear,I was a huge stan of Lil Brother,but that ship has sailed.

    I still think he was silly for not exploiting “Lovin It”when Mickey Dees STILL is using the slogan”I`m Lovin It”

    His management was sleeping at the wheel,easy pay day

    Even slum village had a Ford commercial

  17. b Says:

    Lol there is nothing corny about phonte waakiyl, he is a s skilled as your favorite lyricist, and he can do r& b music. What exactly about tigallo is corny?

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