A Q&A with young Colorado rapper Catch Lungs
Catch Lungs is a bright, emerging MC steadily making a name for himself, both as a member of the Fresh Breath Committee and on his own with a pair of mixtapes, 2008's Food the Famished and his latest effort, Sleeping Pills Scriptape. Born John Morse in Grand Junction, Catch Lungs crisscrossed the Western Slope — with stops in Collbran, Gunnison, Marble, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs — before finally planting roots in Denver in 2006.
Influenced by the listening habits of a young mother, Catch was memorizing and reciting rhymes by Dr. Dre by the time he was in kindergarten. In high school he landed his own radio show, which indirectly led to an introduction to SP Double, another aspiring MC who put Catch up when he first moved to the Mile High City. The two were part of the Boostwell crew before that collective parted ways and Catch and some of the other members went on to form the Fresh Breath Committee. Sleeping Pills is the prelude to Awake in a Dream, Catch's upcoming full-length, due sometime after the first of the year.
We recently spoke with the young rapper about how he got his start, who's had the biggest influence on him, and what his writing process is like.
Westword: When/how did you start rhyming?
Catch Lungs: I have always been a writer since I was young; I used to write short stories and a lot of poems as a child. My mom gave birth to me at age fifteen, so I was listening to all the music she was when I was little. I was exposed to artists like Dr. Dre, Nas, Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin. I developed a strong passion for all types of music, to say the least. I took my love for writing and combined it with my passion for music. My first song had no chorus — it was just me, spittin' for, like, three minutes over a beat I had made on Garage Band. And so it began...
How old were you?
I was writing short stories young, under ten years old. I began rapping in eighth grade, but didn't make a real jam until I was fifteen years old.
What's the significance of your stage name?
Honestly, it's really some knucklehead-type gully, weirdo nonsense.
What MCs have had the biggest influences on you?
Ooh, man, Elzhi from Slum Village is one of my favorites of all time! I'd have to say my top five right now are — in no particular order — Rakim, Kool G Rap, Elzhi, Big Pun and Black Thought.
Who do you think has had the hottest sixteen bars in the past five years?
Elzhi. Honestly, everybody has their own lane, but my favorite is Elzhi.
What influences your writing?
Life in general influences me. Every day I wake up, experience something new. I take everything I do and put it into music.
Describe your writing process: Do you freestyle over beats, or write your rhymes to match the beats?
I usually like to go through beats until I find something I really like, then start writing to it. Sometimes it may take a day, sometimes weeks to finish a song.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.