King Kobraz, the guys who, through a catchy, autotuned riff, caused "Feed Moncrief" to get stuck in your head for the past week, are Blake Pruett and Pat Haadsma, a pair of friends from Tupelo who love Ole Miss, music, and life in Oxford. With "Rebelz (Feed Moncrief)" becoming a song celebrated both by the Rebel fans and players at the Egg Bowl this past Saturday, I was interested in seeing how this song came about and who exactly these two tuxedo clad gents were. So I reached out with them and we traded some emails. Here's how that went:
What was the inspiration behind Rebelz (Feed Moncrief)?
Blake: My roommate Davis Abraham came up with the phrase "Feed Moncrief" before the Texas game, actually. I talked with Patrick and our manager Andrew before the LSU game about the idea of making the song and had some ideas for it. Pat and Andy were really about it.
Pat: Yeah, I heard the idea and loved it. I'm all about this years Rebel squad and wanted to make something they could get behind. We were going to use a beat more like our usual stuff, but we decided the more dancy and catchy the better for mass appeal.
Did you at all anticipate this song going viral in the way it did? Did you know they would play it at the Egg Bowl?
Blake: I didn't really think it was going to get played at Egg Bowl whenever we were making it. I did think that players and coaches had a good chance of hearing it for a couple of reasons. First, we have some friends around and in the AD's office. Second, we had a lot of eyes on us around the time we released Moncrief because of the "Itz a 'Riot'" song that responded to the student "riots" on campus [after President Obama's reelection]. Pat said, "My dream is to have this song played in the stadium," and we all looked at him like "yea that'd be cool dude." Never thought it'd happen.
Pat: They never have faith in me.
Have you spoken to any of the players you mention in the song or Donte Moncrief in particular? If so, how did they feel about it?
Blake: Well...I actually snuck back into the practice field after the game that night (shhhhhh). Someone let Moncrief know I was outside waiting. When he came out I patted his belly and asked him if he was full, I'm not sure if he said anything, but he then turned to some other people and said, "This is the guy who made the song." Those guys were like "YEAA I WANT TO BE IN THE MUSIC VIDEO" and I was like "please do be in the next video!" I also got a photo with him. I also met Emmanuel McCray on the practice field and he and his family loved it. It was a great night!
Pat: Me and Blake got parted in the field charge. He always meets Donte Moncrief without me. But Collins Moore tweeted me (he's the coolest) and a handful of other players retweeted or tweeted about it which was huge. I've said it before: we made the song, the players made it cool.
The music, lyrics, videos, all of that - is it just the two of you?
Blake: We have had some guys help us out, but I make all the music, write my lyrics, and edit the videos on my laptop. For the videos, we have had our roommates Peyton Thigpen or Davis Abraham, depending on who was available, to film with my iPhone. [ED: Somone needs to buy these guys an actual video camera for Christmas.] Monty Miller has come on board recently with this most recent mixtape, Always TUSNny in Oxford, and helps mix and master tracks. Andrew Roberts has been a huge source of feedback and getting our name out there, especially in the Athletics Department.
Pat: Yeah, Monty and Andrew put countless hours in. It's crazy how much they do. In high school at Tupelo, Blake and I were both in separate rap groups, (you know, MS public school stuff) before joining forces about a year and a half ago. Until these guys started we've never had the quality or exposure that we do now. That's a testament to their hard work.
How would you describe yourselves as a group musically? Are you more of a parody rap/pop thing like Lonely Island, or is it more of a serious attempt at party music, a la LMFAO? And I apologize for comparing you to LMFAO.
Blake: This has been the hardest question to think about and answer. I understand where people think of us as Lonely Island, and maybe even now to LMFAO after the Rebelz song, but I don't think those really get at who we are and what we are doing. I'm a senior at Ole Miss and Patrick is a Junior, so we understand how things are around here. I think our songs people laugh at a lot because we are white boys rapping in tuxedos, and Pat has some really funny lyrics which I try to compete with. We seriously love rapping, be it serious lyrics like in "Itz a 'Riot'" or fun songs like "Rebelz," but I think our lyrics really bring you into Oxford and what it's like to go to school here. So final answer, we are a rap group that takes what we do seriously, sometimes we are serious about being not serious.
Pat: I agree with Blake. Social commentary is a big part of our music and we usually deliver it in a comical way. It's part of our brand to be weird and attempt at making songs funny. But ultimately we do love hip hop and making music and want to do it as long as possible. In a weird way, our music is a manifestation of our day to day lives. The stuff we say in the songs is the same stuff we say every day. Except it rhymes.
What are your musical backgrounds? What artists do you say inspire you to write and compose?
Blake: I took piano 8th grade and some 9th grade, and starting making beats in 10th grade probably. I also was a choir boy all through high-school (this is me being vulnerable). Been wearing the tux for a little while now.
Artists that inspire me to write and compose. Hmmm. I probably have listened to all of Kanye West's songs 5,000 times since my senior year of high school. But I really like old music like Frank Sinatra and Skeeter Davis. Those songs are great for samples, but Motown is really where it is at for me - Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson - that's the stuff.
Pat: I started guitar lessons in about 5th grade. Me and my friends performed "You Shook Me All Night Long" during our school's show about year later. I didn't know this at the time but, wow, what a cool principal for letting us do that. I loved performing ever since. My guitar career ended years later, though, when I taught my older brother "Sweet Home Alabama" and he began to play better than me in a month. My three biggest rap influences are probably Wu Tang Clan, Big K.R.I.T. and Jay Z.
Any other instruments or formal training or anything like that?
Blake: Just a lot of backseat freestyles, Okay, now open your mind up and listen to me Kendrick!
Pat: I know my way around the piano and guitar. I'm no expert though. Blake is the beat master.
What's next for King Kobraz? Shows? An EP? More videos?
Blake: World domination! Right now we are releasing a new song everyday this week for #KobraWeek on www.kingkobraz.bandcamp.com and on YouTube. We had a short set at the Lyric on Thursday, we'll probably do a house show on Friday [That'd be tonight, y'all. Be there.], and hopefully book something for the bowl game wherever that is. The songs we are doing for #KobraWeek are making up the mixtape called It's Always TSUNny in Oxford. Definitely some more videos for new songs and some old songs off our first mixtape called I am Willy Bolo, and I'm the Dragon.
Pat: Yeah we'll continue to do our "KOBRAZ KORNER" videos out of Blake's basement. We've got a few camera connections now so hopefully we can upgrade from iPhone quality. The essence of the videos were to record quick songs about current or topical events. So we'll continue to do that as long as there's a cool topic. The goal is to put out music ‘til the world blows up. Thanks for the opportunity. Love Red Cup. Love Mississippi. Love Tupelo. Love Ole Miss. Hotty Toddy.
Hotty Toddy indeed, y'all. Thanks to King Kobraz for agreeing to chat with me, and thanks for the the spark that got the Feed Moncrief excitement going.