House Of M: Super rappers
The comics-inspired collective rails against the "swag" of local hip-hop
The House of M—a collective of 10 Milwaukee MCs, producers and DJs—takes its name from the eponymous Marvel Comics series, and some of its swagger as well, donning superhero masks on stage and pulling their stage monikers from X-Men canon. HoM’s first full-length The Alternate Reality Of …—which will be celebrated with a CD release party Saturday at Mad Planet—it is a 17-track allegory about saving the Milwaukee hip-hop scene from the clutches of lesser rappers.
“We want to show hip-hop is not dead with this record,” HoM member Echo tells The A.V. Club. “We don’t like where the music is going. We’re doing real hip-hop. We’re saving Milwaukee from horrible faux hip-hop music.” By inventing recurring characters like Dr. Wacktagon and other fictional archenemies, the group airs grievances against the ailments of the local rap game, calling out flash-over-substance artists, auto-tune, and cliché poetics that plague the art form—all of which fall under the umbrella term “swag.”
“Swag is everything the House of M isn’t,” Echo says. “A swag artist is one you know everything about after hearing one track. We’re not like that. We’re a lot deeper. House of M has a lot of layers.” There are plenty of thinly veiled jabs at rival rap crews on the album, and whie the group is reluctant to identify any specifics, those in the Milwaukee hip-hop circle shouldn't have a hard time speculating.
“I’m not going to mention names,” Echo says. “They’ll know who they are when they hear the record.”