Indy: Your father wrote the seminal hip-hop movie Krush Groove, and your first recording was at age 13 with the group 4/29. What did you sound like?
Busdriver: Getting to meet LL Cool J, Run DMC and The Fat Boys as a pre-teen led me to believe that I had some insight into rapper ethos, but we sounded like a bad Kris Kross minus the Jermaine Dupri coaching and expansive teenybopper fan base. It took me years to be actually competent as a rhymer.
Indy: Well, now you're known for your staccato, hyper-literate flow. Whom did you emulate to achieve that?
Busdriver: My main influences came from the emcees of the Goodlife Caf during the early 1990s. When I caught wind of people like Mikah 9, NGAFish, Rifleman, Ab Rude, Volume 10 and Funky Trend, my very concept of hip-hop was rebooted. Since then, I have never come across a scene that boasted such an individualistic spin on what black music could be and what it actually, really was, there and then. That firm shove into unconventional music led me to seek common threads in other acts.
Indy: Members of CocoRosie appear on your new album, Roadkillovercoat, and you've toured with Deerhoof. You seem to straddle that line between the rap and indie worlds a lot. Is that difficult?
Busdriver: No. What is difficult is attempting to crack a market whose artists won't embrace you. I've been lucky enough to tour with a bunch of interesting non-hip-hop bands who I honestly love, yet I couldn't scare up a hip-hop tour to save my life. Am I that odd of an artist? Are the indie-and-beyond-hip-hop circles that politically driven?
At The Black Sheep, Oct. 28.