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Name: Adam Bernard
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Mortal Conquest - Late Nights, Early Classes
Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rucka’s life is one that’s been full of disorder. The one constant has been his friendship with Beast. A little less than a year ago the Bridgeport duo decided it was time to put their skills on the mic together and they formed Mortal Conquest.

Now both seniors at Central Magnet High School, Rucka, who’s been rhyming since 2008, explains “it was only natural that if I’m going to make something that I’m going to dedicate my whole life to it would be with my best friend.”

What makes their friendship, and their music, so interesting is that their respective backgrounds couldn’t be any more dissimilar. “I’m from Bridgeport,” Rucka notes, “he’s from New Hampshire. I’m a little ghetto boy, he’s a little white boy.” When Beast moved to Bridgeport at the age of eight, a move that he says was “an adjustment overall” from his previous New Hampshire surroundings, the two quickly became friends. Rucka, however, was still experiencing some hard times.

“I was in raised in the projects,” he explains. “I had DCF come into my life. I had to move around. I’ve moved more than twenty times in my life. I’ve seen a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t have seen. It’s been a lot better lately, but when I was a kid my brother was a drug dealer and I had a lot of bad influences around me. A lot of people expected me to become a degenerate, but I just took that and tried to make myself better so I didn’t end up in that lifestyle.”

For Rucka, one of the things he decided he had to do to make his life better was cut his father out of it. “Me and my dad don’t talk at all,” he says. Rucka’s parents divorced when he was only three and he remembers “I had always looked up to my dad, but as I got older he didn’t fill the part.”

Having so many life stories to tell has helped shape Rucka’s style as an emcee. He notes that Beast is “more of a lyricist,” while he is “more of a storyteller.” This leads to an interesting dichotomy. “He comes up with the crazy wordplay and the punch lines and I’m conveying a story. They’re both entirely different aspects of hip-hop, but they come together so well.”

Two other aspects of hip-hop that Rucka and Beast hope to bring together are the fun and purposeful sides of the music. “We like to have fun,” Rucka explains, “but we don’t like to have fun all the time because you have to be serious, and there’s where the purpose comes in. There’s a giant message. We’re trying to show people you have to do both.”

That kind of variety is something that’s ever present in the lives of Mortal Conquest. Beast notes “we’re very diverse when it comes to music,” and Rucka adds “we definitely still listen to the radio, Lil’ Wayne is one of our favorite artists, but we (also) listen to Tech N9ne. I listen to Insane Clown Posse. I have Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold posters.”

That variety is on display both in their recordings, including their recently released The Mortal Conquest EP, and their live show, which has grown by leaps and bounds in the past twelve months. In February alone they played both the Lilly Pad and the main stage at Toad’s Place, and the Webster Underground in Hartford.

According to Rucka, “the first year I played shows I only played eight. Last year we did thirty.” The duo have found only one disadvantage to playing so many shows - it gives them little to no time to sleep. “The only bad thing is going to shows and having to go to school the next morning,” Rucka says, “that sucks pretty bad.”

Mortal Conquest are willing to go without sleep, though, partly because some very interesting things can happen when they’re performing. Rucka laughs a bit when he thinks about it. “We’ve been at Toad’s Place and there’s like girls biting their lips at us and stuff like that. That’s pretty cool, but I have a girlfriend and she’d rip my nuts of if I did anything.”

Rucka may be leaving the adoring fans alone for a bit, but what is in the plans for him and Beast is earning their high school diplomas and going on to higher education. Rucka hopes to further his education in graphic design - he designed the cover of their EP - and Beast is looking to further his music education. Both, however, will be working on Mortal Conquest at all times. “Music is my number one,” Rucka explains, “I will stay up for days straight doing something in music.”

Up next for Mortal Conquest is their Fatality mixtape, which they’re working to complete right now.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.

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