Mikey D: Inside The Mind Of A Rhyme!

| July 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are many self appointed Kings in the world of Hip-Hop today.  But few would have any notoriety without the millions of dollars record companies put behind them in the form of marketing campaigns.  Mikey D was considered a Great MC before he made records.  As I was doing the research for the interview I noticed an astonishing thing.  There are people on You Tube in the comment sections of Mikey D’s songs requesting tracks he made before having a record deal like: “I’m Treacherous”, “Break The Bells” and other songs that hit the cassette tape circuit back in the days.  They are trying to find out how to get copies of songs he made in the 80’s in 2013!  On one hand you have rap artists who need millions of dollars to be remembered and on the other hand you have Mikey D who has earned respect based on his skills alone.  You may remember Mikey D and the LA Posse, and Main Source featuring Mikey D.  In 2013 there is Elements of Hip-Hop featuring GrandWizard Rasheen, DJ Mercury and Mikey D.  The purpose of this group is to breath fresh air into Hip-Hop and introduce the actual elements of Hip-Hop through live shows, videos and tracks.  In the past Mikey D has won the New Music Seminar defeating Melle Mel in 1988.  He has worked with the late legendary producer Paul C and was also close friends and rhyme partners with LL Cool J. He has also battled Kool G Rap.  Kool G Rap even admits that Mikey D had the edge over him in that battle and that he was not ashamed because Mikey D was nice.  This interview is an indepth look at the inner workings of a legendary wordsmith and his two exceptional DJ’s.  Enjoy this interview and share it everywhere.  This interview contains some unique questions Mikey D has not been asked before.  Enjoy!

 

JH: How is everything going with the new project “Calm Before The Storm”?

Mikey D: We are good so far.  We are about to start working on the new stuff cause it is starting to get warm outside.  Calm Before The Storm was just to get the buzz out.  The buzz is out now, it is time to start the fire.

JH: What is the difference lyrically between the Mikey D of yesterday and today?

Mikey D: There is no difference.  I have always been ahead of my time.  The stuff that I am kicking now is stuff I would have kicked back then.  When I kicked the stuff I am now, back then people were not ready for it.  So I am basically in the same lane doing the same stuff that I used to kick with just new lyrics.  Now people are catching on, cause they had to catch up to me.  So basically there is no difference.

JH: How did that feel being ahead of your time back in the days? With people not really being able to relate to what you were saying.  Or even on the battle tip with rappers not being able to hang with you lyrically.

Mikey D: Well from a record making standpoint it was very frustrating.  Being ahead of my time as I said, people weren’t ready.  It is not that they were not ready.  It is just that they were not understanding where I was coming from.  That kind of hurt me as far as radio airplay.  As far as the battle scene that is something that I wanted.  That is the reputation that I wanted to have.  I wanted to be seen as an MC that was a notorious battle rapper.  When people weren’t able to touch me, that just made me feel good, because that is just what I expected.  I didn’t expect anyone to try to come at me or to want to battle me.  That was the reputation that I wanted.

JH: So that was your intention?

Mikey D: Yes, Exactly!

JH: How intense was your writing when you were building your skills as a battle MC?

Mikey D: It wasn’t really hard because I have always been the type of person when in school, I would bite my tongue a lot.  I wouldn’t speak what was on my mind because I didn’t know how it would come across.  I was the type of person that wouldn’t think before I said something.  When it came to writing battle rhymes I had the opportunity to let off a lot of anger that built up when I bit my tongue.  I knew what I was going to say.  I was always pretty witty.  My moms, pops, grandfather and grandmother were very, very witty.  They had this way of words that was just passed on to me.  I had all of that anger and being shy at first.  I had so much built up in me.  I knew how to finesse my words.  The battle stuff sort of came naturally to me.  I just mastered it.

JH: I remember hearing about battles and how you used to rhyme off of the top of the head.  Is that something that you practiced?

Mikey D: Off of the top of the head was just fun.  I battled so much and I had so many rhyme books that sometimes I would be rhyming off of the top of my head and I would end up incorporating one of my written rhymes into it, not even noticing that I did it.  Then I would slip out of my written rhyme into a freestyle.

JH: Who were some MC’s that influenced you most in terms of skills when you were developing your style and delivery?

Mikey D: For me it was my man D Money. He brought a tape of Grandmaster Caz and Kool Moe Dee around the way.  We used to listen to those guys all of the time.  As far as hands on or me knowing somebody that did the same thing and was from Queens, it would have to be the Clientele Brothers.  Eddie Ojay had the ultimate swag.  He was a lyrical beast plus he had this swag, he was the coolest dude out there.  Another brother from the Clientele Brothers was Will Seville.  I was listening to the cats from the Bronx all of the time.  But these dudes were reppin’ Queens.  They were reppin’ Laurelton.  I used to really look up to these guys.  I wanted to be just like them.  Further down the line when me and Johnny Quest were doing things at a young age, they noticed us at one of the park jams and put us down with the Clientele Brothers.  So I definitely have to say Eddie Ojay and Will Seville as far as my development and who I am today.  They were my biggest influences.

JH: What was it like preparing the rhymes and routines for the Clientele Brothers performances?

Mikey D:  I was always amazed cause these guys were like the Hip Hop Temptations.  There were 2 groups from Laurelton back in the days with the dance steps.  That would be the Professional 5 and the Rappermatical.  When they did the dance steps they were awesome.  But the Clientele Brothers had cool dance steps but they were Lyrical beasts with it.  See the other 2 groups had the showmanship and the routines.  Watching the Clientele Brothers back in the day I used to be like Wow, I want to do that.  I remember performing with those guys for the first time at the Racket Club, a tennis club on Springfield Blvd and Merrick back in those days.  I wish those days could come back.

JH: What did you like most about the park jams scene in Queens?

Mikey D:  The whole park jam experience, I just loved it for the simple fact that I was very respected on that level.  I could walk through any park and be recognized.  These guys would give me the mic and I was real young, probably the youngest out there and to see the fear in the other rappers eyes.  It was really incredible.  There was no beef in those days.

JH: What do you think needs to be done to save hip hop and make it more respected as an art form?

Mikey D: I think the adults that are my age that came up off of this music, need to get their heads out of their a–es.  Stop acting like their 9 to 5 is better than what I am doing.  I see people that are my age looking at me like you are still rapping?  This is the reason why the music that we are putting out is not getting the proper respect.  These people grew up and outgrew the culture.  Like they didn’t grow up off of this music.  I don’t tell you how to do your 9 to 5, don’t tell me how to do mine.  Stop hiding behind your desks and uniforms.  Then the real hip hop can come back.  Until they stop hiding, it is gonna be the same bullsh–.  It is gonna be flooded with this new stuff.  I am not mad at the new guys at all.  It is up to us to show them the way.  Cats that are my age and know that they love this music need to stop hiding and speak up.

JH: Exactly. Once you get to a point where a music art form is over 25 to 30 years old it is not a game any more.  You are dealing with something that is special.  Nothing can last that long on a fluke!  It just cant!

DJ Mercury: We went through all these transitions.  The record labels are just going for what sells.  It’s all about how many cars you got and how many chains you got and how many girls you can get.  That’s all it is about right now.

GrandWizard Rasheen: We have got to show them the way.  We can’t just tell them.  When they see us do what we do they will idolize that and copy off of us.  Right now they don’t see anything that they can go by.  They are seeing what they think is Hip Hop right now.  The old school have to be teachers of the new school.

JH: They still do specials on TV about disco, but disco did not last as long as Hip Hop has lasted.  Hip Hop is an outgrowth of  disco, so I am not looking down on disco.  Rappers Delight and the music in the parks jams were all filled with disco music and break beats.  There are cats who were into jazz from the time they were teenagers until their caskets dropped.  They were listening to jazz forever.  People are discarding Hip Hop.  Once they get to a certain age they say I am not listening to that any more.

JH: Who are your top five MC’s in terms of skills and delivery?

Mikey D: Jay-Z, NAS, Eminem, T.I., and lot of people will say I am contradicting myself or selling out but LL Cool J.

JH: It is interesting you said Eminem.  I was gonna ask you a question because when you are looking online, on You Tube and you see some of his freestyles. They are crazy.  Since you are a tried and true Battle MC, what do you think of the skills of Eminem and his writing, because he also started as a battle rapper…

Mikey D: I love Eminem for the simple fact that he reminds me of myself when I was younger, when I was coming up and was his age.  The hunger and the steps that he took in the battle.  How he would diss himself first in the battle instead of dissing the person.  I used to do all of that.  The only difference between Eminem and myself was the he tried to mess with drugs.  All I did was drink alot.  Other than that we are identical when it comes to our personalities and our fearlessness when it came to battling.  He reminds me of me.  That’s why I envy that guy so much.  It’s incredible that alot of people I came up with say the same exact thing.  They would say Eminem is You all the way.

JH: I have a controversial question though… What kind of battle would that be for you?  I am not trying to instigate anything.  Not to spark any controversy just on the level of skills and battling…

Mikey D: That would be pretty interesting because as much as we are similar we are different also.  Our styles are completely different.  His style of battling is a little more complicated.  So basically he would lose a few people because they wouldn’t understand what the hell he is saying.  My style is direct, straight in your face, straight forward.  You can understand every word I say and I am going to rip you apart.  It would be a real good battle.  That would have been a real dope battle or a would be a dope battle if we ever have to do that.  Yo but I respect that man a whole lot.

JH: By making a group called Elements Of Hip Hop you can take the DJ and MC elements and create a portable park jam anywhere.  Was that your intent?

Mikey D: Our intention was to shed light on the DJ once again.  A lot of the MC’s had forgotten that without the DJ there would be no rappers.  I have got 2 of the hottest DJ’s out there.  Once we come out we bring the break dancing element.  What ever countries we go we will have the baddest graffiti artists hook up a banner for us.  I want to bring all 4 elements of Hip-Hop to the forefront again.  But first I wanted to shed light on the DJ again.

GrandWizard Rasheen: It all started with the DJ’s.  We’ve been basically been pushed out of the system.  With Dat tapes and things like that, they have gotten rid of the DJ.  We want to bring that back, the whole element the DJ and the MC, the dancers all of the elements.

JH: What’s so funny is that if you parallel Hip-Hop and Jazz, the instrumentalists in Jazz were more important than the singers and back in the park jam days the DJ’s, the DJ is the one who kept the whole thing going.  Without the right songs, the right mood, even to the point where I remember in Queens the DJ had to even control how loud the system was because if it got too loud you could break somebodies windows with the sound systems.

Mikey D:  This sums the whole thing up you could bring a microphone to a party.  But you could not rock that microphone all night.  But if you bring 2 turntables with records to a party you could play music all night long.  The MC is not going to play the music because that is the DJ’s job.  So of course the DJ is the most important part and we cannot forget that.

Rasheen: The skill levels of the DJ’s has not been that good so that is why they have not been promoting the DJ as much.

DJ Mercury: Alot of DJ’s sit down and watch DVD’s of real DJ’s and copy everything they see on the DVD’s that everyone has done in the past 20 to 30 years.  They are just studio DJ’s not real DJ’s.  They are not DJ’s.  They do not know the history of the music or the culture.  I don’t respect that type of the thing.  Most of those DJ’s cannot hold a party down, they do not know how to watch a crowd.

JH: How did each of you guys get started in the Element of DJing?

GrandWizard Rasheen:  I am a dance DJ.  I came from a dance group called Franchise Dancers in Philly.  I was listening to tapes of Cold Crush, Grandmaster Flash back in the day.  I had cassette tapes.  I used to want a break beat that we could dance off of.  Before I got my turntables I used to do pause tapes.  Once I got my turntables which were the black DSR’s, I started mixing then.  I began to play music for my group.  Then I also taught DJ Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff and the rest of them.  Cash Money was the first to use my techniques at the DMC battles.  Cash Money taught Jazzy Jeff right after I taught Cash how to mix in my room.  He went to Jeff’s house to him what I taught him.  You would probably never know from Jazzy Jeff that he learned from me and Cash Money.  Cash was in our group and Will Smith was also in our group.  Meek Mill’s uncle was around as well.

DJ Mercury: I lived in Albany, NY which is the capital of New York State.  I was only 2 hours from the Bronx.  I heard “Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels Of Steel”.  That’s when I started DJing when I heard that record.  I had my parents stereo system and plastic turntables.  I used the volume knob to adjust the sound.  I would try my best to cut the record without the needle skipping.  I started in 1984 in 10th grade.  We had no Hip Hop stations.  We had mostly college stations.  I made a tape off of my parents stereo and won a DJ contest with the first Hip Hop radio show up there back in 1984.  It was 91FM WCDB which was SUNY college.  The guy that was running the station used to pick me up every Friday night for a show called Midnight Madness.  It was from 12 to 1 in the morning.  Most people did not even know that I was an Italian guy.

JH: Interesting!  That is a good question for Mikey D.  Alot of people have questioned whether or not you were mixed with Spanish or part Latino.  I know you are black but these are questions people often throw around, but it was never put in print before.

Mikey D:  Even to this day I walk around and people speak Spanish to me.  I say excuse me I don’t know what you are talking about.  My ethnicity is that I am Black, Blackfoot Indian, and I have Cherokee Indian in me.  I have been in America before Christopher Columbus (laughs).

JH: Do you think the youth can sustain Hip Hop in the future, if they don’t study and respect the past?

Mikey D:  I can show you better that I can tell you.  Everyone talks but few people make the first move.  With us we are doing it the different way.  We are making our own lane.  Instead of talking about it,  we are doing and being it.  Elements of Hip Hop is a breath of fresh air and like taking a trip into the future in the present moment.  We do what we used to do, but we do it now and better!

JH:  What do you want the audience to know about the Elements Of Hip Hop new album: Calm Before The Storm?

Mikey D: Calm Before The Storm is self explanatory.  We are not beating any one down.  I am not ripping anybody’s head off.  My DJ’s are not going crazy.  We are staying calm.  Just Chillin’.  It was done to make a statement that we can make good music.  Feel Good music.  There are a couple of songs on there where I went a little lyrical just to let these cats know that I still got it.  Calm Before The Storm is just an introduction to the album we are about to End The World with.   That is when you are going to SEE what we are all about!  You going to hear DJ skills.  You are going to hear the MC go crazy.  I am  going to revert back to the Mikey D that people remember me as,  doing to other rappers.  I tried to be nice on this one.  Evidently the nice guy always finishes last.  Well it is time for me to be the bad guy again.  It is going to be on another level.  I am tired of people trying to still hold us back.  We are grinding every single day.  We are not asking anyone for any help but they are still trying to hold us back by keeping certain doors shut so I can’t get through.  You can’t stop me.  I am not going to quit until I am 89.  God blessed me with a gift.  I am not going anywhere, neither is my team going anywhere.  Everyone is going to have to pay on the “Day Of Destruction” (album).  I am not biting my tongue anymore.  I am just coming at everybody.  We are expanding on this new album.  Elements of Hip Hop as it is now is Mikey D, DJ Mercury, and GrandWizard Rasheen.  K-Cut from Main Source is now down with us.  My DJ Johnny Quest will be down when he is ready.  The doors are wide open for him.

JH: Is it true that the song Beastin’ was recorded in one take?

Mikey D: Absolutely!  Rasheen came up with the beat.  He was messing around with the computer in the studio.  We had extra time left over.  Rasheen was messing with that beat.  He played it through the big speakers in the studio and it was Hot!  DJ Mercury got the record out and started scratching and it sounded dope.  They let me get on the mike, I started rhyming and my boy Billy pressed record.  We just went in there and knocked it out in one take.

JH: Tell about the song “Never Can Say Goodbye” on the new album?

Mikey D: That is something for the people that keep on saying you are too old!  You are still rapping?  I could never say goodbye to this good ole game.  I love Hip Hop! I love what I do! I could never say goodbye!  That is what that song expresses.  A lot of people say yo, you didn’t make it yet!  You should have done this or you should have done that.  The whole thing is that God has a plan for everybody!  Back in the day when I was doing my thing I had every opportunity to make it big.  But there were decisions that I made that prevented me from doing that.  I might not have been ready for it at that time.  There were things I had a lack of knowledge of and things I was going through.  I was not ready to take that responsibility.  But Now I am still just as nice!  God preserved my looks.  He preserved my health.  He also preserved my skills!  For a Reason.  Not to quit, but to continue.  He is showing me and I am showing y’all that I am ready for it now!

JH: In the documentary “Making Of A Legend”, LL Cool J states that when you guys were hanging together you were the one that was the Battle MC and that he witnessed you winning battles.  Do you think you influenced him in his public battles?  The way LL finishes off rappers like Moe D, etc.  Rappers do not come back, their careers are destroyed.  Do you think you were some kind of influence?  Not in how he rhymes but the fact that he saw you taking cats out.  That is the same thing he did, but he did it on records.

Mikey D: I believe I was a big influence as far as the battle aspect goes.  LL Cool J was nice lyrically.  His writing was undeniable.  But me, I had a growl and an aggression that when I battled somebody I not only had dope rhymes.  But I had fearlessness and I could be very disrespectful.  In a lyrical way.  I think LL, I think he dug that.  He wasn’t really battling like that.  He was battling, but not the way I was going in.  He witnessed me go through a lot of cats!

JH:  Tell me about the next album: “Day Of Destruction”?

Mikey D: We do not have a release date for that now.  All I can say is that it is going to be what people expected the first time.  I am going to bring back the aggression.  I’m gonna be barking.  I am going to show them that it is never too late.

JH:  Tell me about the special single you have coming out called “Real Talk”?

Mikey D: Real is basically self explanatory.  Hip Hop needs a song like Real Talk.  It is what grown men do.  It is a grown man clearing his mind.  Getting the weights off of his back.  It is just Real Talk.  People that know me personally, or even don’t know me.  This song is going to open up a lot of people eyes.  They are going to take or see cats like me differently.  I do have a spiritual side.  I am a man now.  I am not a teenage anymore.  No one has asked me the questions that I talk about in Real Talk.  I can’t wait to release it man.

JH: What do you want to leave the youth in terms of building their skills in terms of MCing ?  If an MC wants to know what it really means to be an MC?  What would you tell them?

Mikey D:  Be real with yourself  first.  Don’t lie and rap about what the other person is doing.  Don’t follow anyone’s lead.  Do not be a pathfinder, be a trailblazer.  Rap from the heart before you rap from the pocket.  Everyone wants to talk about how much money, but you don’t pay dues!  Keep following your dream for sure.  Don’t let anyone discourage you, tell you, you can’t do it!  I have heard it a thousand times and 1 times.  I am tired of hearing it.  Follow your dreams and be real with yourself!  Put God first and the rest will follow!

 

Much success to my fellow Laurelton Queens native Mikey D and the Elements Of Hip Hop!!!  Please support and download the single: Real Talk!  Share this interview!

 

 

Hip-Hop Ain’t The Same – Elements Of Hip Hop featuring: Mikey D

 

 

REAL TALK – Elements Of Hip Hop Featuring: Mikey D – (Preview Clip)

 

 

 

 Article: Mikey D-Lightning Strikes Again!

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