To tell the story of Hot Karl would probably take up too much of this blog post, but in short, over a decade ago I took a random stint as a battle rap champion on Los Angeles radio, and turned it into a million dollar deal at Interscope Records and EMI publishing. I did release music under the dumb moniker Hot Karl (still available at iTunes) with Kanye West, Will.I.Am., Mya, Redman, Fabolous and others (I say others instead of Sugar Ray). I quickly realized that business wasn’t for me, and moved on to a bunch of other stuff that has thankfully developed a career away from the mic. A guy named George Meeker made a short documentary about it in 2004 when I was fat and you can watch that here-
To tell the story of how much I love the Los Angeles Clippers would probably take up too much of this blog post, but in short, since childhood, due to the fact that we couldn’t afford Lakers tickets, I’ve been a fanatical supporter dedicating myself to the team, even when they were considered “the worst franchise in sports” by Sports Illustrated. It’s one of the only constants in my life, which has been filled with unexpected traumas and career turns. It’s all wrapped up in my deceased father, being an underdog and a hope to stay loyal. It’s about way more than sports and being a season ticker holder has become one of the true joys in my life (I’m very jaded). I wrote about this passion a few years ago and you can read about it here -
When DJ Dense, the in-arena Clippers DJ and a friend from my past as a rapper, asked me to create a song for the team this season, I obviously jumped at the chance, even though it had been over 10 years since I created a new song for myself. I had recently appeared on Burning Love as Hot Karl, and did an interview with Howard Stern about it, both big steps in acceptance and healing, but never actually produced a song. That would be a way bolder move.
So, I immediately started writing to a beat I had from years ago by Greg Mayo (friend to the Hypemen Podcast). I took an emotional approach, which I think best reflects my feelings (it has a lot of hidden meaning in the words to represent my upbringing). Then I took what I penned, and the original beat, to Justin Warfield, another name from my ancient rap career, and he created something inspired by Mayo’s original production. And thus marks the return of Hot Karl, “Where You At? (Clipper Song)”
You can listen to, and download the song for free, on Soundclound here -
Also, and most importantly, you can hear the song at Clippers home games during Halftime when they play the Halftime Highlights. Thank you to DJ Dense, the Los Angeles Clippers, Greg Mayo & Justin Warfield.
It’s all pretty surreal for me. I wish I could just walk up to 7 year old Jensen, wearing the Benoit Benjamin jersey, sad his team could never win but still optimistic for every game his father spent hard earned money to attend, and tell him one day they’d play his music during these games. It’s a small victory for Hot Karl I know, but much like the Clippers, ten years later, every victory counts.