You know him, you love him, and even if you don’t, you probably have an opinion about him anyway. Yes, this week host Matt Wild sat down and chatted with the one and only Juiceboxxx. The 28-year-old rapper has been a fixture of the Milwaukee music scene since he was a teenager, performing his high-energy, follow-your-dreams rap-rock in basements, house shows, clubs, and anywhere else that will have him. He’s toured the world, opened for the likes of Public Enemy, and is the driving force behind Thunder Zone, a catch-all pop-culture brand that includes music, clothing, and even a Juiceboxxx-created energy drink.

Already a divisive figure at home, Juiceboxxx found national notoriety in 2014 when a video of a technical difficulty-ridden TV performance went viral, earning him the dubious title of “worst rapper ever.” Since then, however, Juiceboxxx has become more popular than ever in Milwaukee and across the country, and is the subject of a new book that been getting positive national attention, The Next Next Level: A Story Of Rap, Friendship, And Almost Giving Up, by Leon Neyfakh.

Matt caught up with Juiceboxxx in the cool confines of Foundation a day after he performed at the Riverwest Public House, and two days after he split his head open at a show in Cleveland. They talked about his first visits to Milwaukee with his father when he was 11 years old, his early shows and tours only a few years later, his background in the punk and noise scenes, his eventual relocation/not-really-relocation to New York City, Thunder Zone, that botched TV performance, his mixed feelings on the new book, and a lot more.

As always, this episode of On The Record is brought to you by our friends at Ale Asylum and 42 Lounge/42 Ale House. Music in this episode (“Walking In Milwaukee,” “Follow Your Fucked Up Dreams”) is from Juiceboxxx’s latest album, Heartland 99, available now as a name-your-price download. Subscribe to On The Record (for free) via iTunes or Stitcher.

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