Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring on why Jay-Z ruined hip-hop

Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring on why Jay-Z ruined hip-hop

MusicAugust 25, 2014

We caught up with Samuel T. Herring at First City Festival in Monterey over the weekend, and we have to say, the man has some good points about the state of the hip-hop industry. He also let us in on the secret behind his notorious sexy-dancing ... so if those two things don't want to make you read this, you can go fly a kite.

What do you think of First City Festival?

I had an amazing time. We killed it. Great crowd; everyone has so much energy here.

 You’re the best dancer we’ve ever seen. How do you get your moves so suave?

Well, there’s a lot of inspiration from James Brown, Chuck Barry, Elvis. They have so much soul. There’s actually a lot of hip-hop involved, too. When was 15, I tried to figure out how to breakdance. My brother printed me these instructions off the internet on how to do certain moves, so I was trying to learn it the best I could in front of the mirror.

… You breakdance?

I can do some upright shit, but I never could do the floor moves … I’m too old to spin around on my head [looks like he’s about to try, but decides against it].

What do you say to people who are too scared to come up and talk to you?

Don’t be scared. Aren’t I nice? I’m actually too nice.

Prove it.

Okay, watch this … Do you need a cigarette?

Whoa that was beyond nice … and yes. Speaking of, if you could punch one person in the face, who would it be?

Aw, shit. I’m gonna get in trouble. There’s so many people I’d love to sock in the kisser, but I just told you how nice I am.

Okay, whose face would you like to “accidentally trip and fall on with your fist?”

Fuckin’ Kanye. He deserves to get put in his place. He’s just full of himself. We need less of that. We need to teach the children well.

Or Jay-Z.. He’s one of the reasons money-rap became a thing, and that ruined hip-hop. I’m a hip-hop fan, and he ruined it.

Actually really, the guy that ruined hip hop is Puff Daddy. He fucked everything up, man. He’s a brilliant businessman, and he knows what you need to do to make a business work. But musically, all he did was take an old hit and sample it. You cover a song that’s already a hit, and … you’ve got another hit song.  That’s easy if you have the money behind it. Some people would say that he made the culture even bigger by doing that, which is true, but it just became a bigger money and pop-thing, but that’s not good for the culture or the art of hip-hop.

Amen to that.

Do your ears a favor and listen to Future Island’s new album here.