BioWhen Hip-Hop began its attack on mainstream culture in the mid-80's, it found itself in some pretty strange neighborhoods. It started to influence kids that the music was never intended for. Shows like Yo! MTV Raps and national tours from Run DMC brought rap music to uncharted territories never thought of during its birth on the streets of New York. This is when the suburbs discovered rap music. And so did Hot Karl.
Karl utilizes his new album, The Great Escape, to blend his upbringing in the affluent suburbs with the art form of Hip-Hop he so dearly loves. Whether reminiscing about the late 80’s on "Kerk Gybson," detailing the grotesque and surreal lifestyles from his upbringing on "Home Sweet Home" or giving a second hand account of a struggling actress’s life aspirations gone wrong on "Lonely Girl" and "Dreaming," Karl has proven his unique and unheard voice is here to stay. The Great Escape features guest appearances by MC Serch, Reggie Watts (Maktub) and Ali Abnormal, as well as production from 9th Wonder, She Wants Revenge (Justin Warfield & Adam 12), Ali Dee, Mayru and Jamey Staub.
Hot Karl, born Jensen-Gerard Karp (25), grew up in Calabasas, CA a secluded suburb only a few miles away from the Malibu beaches. He listened to N.W.A. and Slick Rick, never relating to their subject matter or lifestyle, but loving the art form. It wasn't long before Karl began writing his own lyrics, hiding it from his well-to-do neighbors who still looked down on rap music and its possibilities.
Karl continued to write lyrics, enter battles and freestyle at USC, creating the Hot Karl persona. This is when Karl decided to call into KKBT “The Beat” 100.3FM Los Angeles radio show to rap on the Roll Call competition, where he lasted a record 44 days on air to become the all-time champion and create a massive buzz in LA. As managers and labels began to call, Karl created a demo exhibiting his style of witty satire and clever rhymes with help from House of Pain and Limp Bizkit's DJ Lethal. Karl weighed out his options from the firestorm of interest and eventually signed with Interscope Records, where he created what was to be his debut CD.
That series of recordings, entitled Your Housekeeper Hates You, included guest appearances by Redman, Fabulous, DJ Quik, Kanye West, Mya, Sugar Ray and DJ Clue. Once Interscope informed Karl that his CD could not be commercially released due to “scheduling conflicts” and alleged complaints from a white rapper on the label, Karl asked for his immediate release, hoping to return to his roots and stay away from this corporate side of the music industry that he slowly began to hate.
As Karl continues his attempt to "make Hip-Hop fun," he never focuses on the morbid world of violence, baseless exaggeration and falsities of escapism that continue to prove strong sales in rap music. "I'm only going to speak about things I know," Karl explains. "My keeping it real is much different than most other MC's.”