Mike Mictlan | 7th St. Entry | Saturday, November 1
Doomtree MC Mike Mictlan dropped his latest project HELLA FRREAL this week. It's a powerfully crafted combination of the abstract, hardcore, and inspirational parts of the rapper's brain. As grimy and hard-hitting as his last project, SNAXXX, Mictlan again advances his sound by effectively blending harsh realities and positive forward momentum.
Gimme Noise caught up with the rapper at Palmer's for an enlightening conversation about his process and his upcoming album release show at 7th Street Entry this Saturday.[jump]
The beat tells me the story. I like movies a lot and that's kind of how I write my albums, but not in a story type of way, it's more like Tarantino. It's different dialogues, different situations. Art film, Kenneth Anger or Jodorowsky, where it's just total visual art. You're in there. When you're in that movie, it's not like you're reading it. You're in it. You see the whole setting of everything. I feel like I'm developing that shit more. It's funny, I've been putting out solo records for fucking six years - well, fuck that, for ten years, since the Deity For Hire shit -- and I still haven't considered myself to have put out an official record.
I always felt like I wasn't ready. I'm always critical of myself. I know what level of rapping I'm at. I know how good I wanna be and I know where I'm at. That's why I feel like SNAXXX and HELLA FRREAL were to separate myself from everyone else and be like, "This is my sound alone."
That's why that first song is more specific. Everything surrounding that time, that was SNAXXX. Over the years, [Doomtree] got pegged as a lot of things. We got pegged as emo, we got pegged as conscious. I made really serious, heady music for a while. There's lots of parts of me. I'm funny, I'm weird, I'm fucking gross, all types of shit. On SNAXXX I wanted to show people that rappers are gross. Don't like me, I'm a creep. Fuck you.
I used to do hella questionable shit, and because I rap, that's kept me out of trouble. The whole reason I even have a connection to Minneapolis is because I was getting in trouble when I was a kid. I came out here for a year because my parents made me come out here. My uncle lived out here, he bought a ticket one day in Orange County because his brother died, and I'm like gonna fly to Minneapolis.
I don't have any other connection other than that. I came out here because I was fucking up. I came out here for ten months in high school and met [P.O.S.] and started a rap group, then got sent back because I was still fucking up. I was a too smart for my own good type of kid. I had a troubled past. We're all just regular-ass people. That's part of SNAXXX: I wanted to fuck with people.
The times that I've been single, I've had sex with a lot of girls. I rock shows. I do dirty shit. HELLA FRREAL was like, that's real, [but] this is hella for real. This is really real. I have a lot of different experiences and things that I'm still waiting to write about. HELLA FRREAL was a little glimpse into that. Then [songs] like "Wild At Heart" or "benicio del TORSO", "CLAPP'D", a refined way of where I'm going.
To be completely honest, "CLAPP'D" is like my best P.O.S. song. I see what [he] does, how he makes everybody hang on every word with bass drops and little drum flutters before you come in with this huge-ass part. I'm really just trying to play around with this shit. I have so many more ideas. I've been really hard on myself for so long with Doomtree and solo shit. I gave 100 percent to Doomtree, and I'm thankful enough to be involved with people that are really self-motivated. We trip cuz it's like a marriage. It's the longest relationship I've ever been in, even with my parents. My mom was in prison. I didn't see my mom for like 11 years... I've been with [Doomtree] the longest ever.
I'm going to be extra real with you. A lot of people won't take you there. They don't want to really be real with you, because you really don't wanna know that shit [laughs], and I understand that. I respect that. I'm just confident in saying that, being upfront like, that's what it is, now watch what I do next. It'll be more awesome than you ever fucking thought, if you like this shit, if you're reading this fucking article, get ready for this and more. Tons more.
I can't be in interviews with Spin or around the whole country preaching this Minneapolis shit and not really knowing what the fuck is going on here. I could never do that, or else you would never hear it out of my mouth. I wouldn't be able to say Minneapolis, Southside, wag, without knowing what's up.
Tell me more about that.
I went to outer space, Parliament-Funkadelic. I was the black spaceman, I was the Aztec ancient fucking interstellar galactic traveler. [I] went off into my own realm of self-discovery. This is who I am and this is why I am. I grew up wearing fucking Dickies and Cortezes and creasing my pants, fucking Tres Flores in my hair... I was a Mexican kid.
I wanted [to include] somebody Native [on the bill, and] I fucking love [Akrite of Mundo Libre]. Every new verse he comes out with is just the best. Killing it. One of my favorite right now. They only do shit when it's super special, and I was like, hell yeah, kind of represent the Native side of out here. That first song [on HELLA FRREAL], "benicio del TORSO", that's about me talking shit to these cops.... I fucking hate cops. I'm not a gangster, but I grew up with gang culture and it's heavily influenced how I think. I understand the structure. As a warrior, as a tribal person, that's how I am, especially with Doomtree and my friends.
Being a tribal warrior, you kind of put who you are out first. Put it all out in front, and then you proceed. [I]n ["benicio del TORSO"], I explain my origins after the first four bars. The rest of that verse, I mention Native shit, Red Lake and shit, the same thing with my lineup for my show. I recognize who I am. I can't hide my face. I look so Native. I'm so Mexican. This is who I am. That was the whole thinking. Sims is like my white constituency. That's like my best representative. That's a dude who like, [if] somebody came up to like, you fucking beaner, if Sims is next to me, he would just punch the fucker, he wouldn't hesitate. He would fucking knock them out in a heartbeat.
[T]here's tons of Chicano politicians and organizers, people that are more famous than I would ever be, but just in terms of pop culture, there was nobody to really idolize growing up, and now we're coming to the point where there's more Mexican people in this country than fucking anybody. This was our country. My Dad's last name Marquez, my great-great-grandparents were from New Mexico when it was still Mexico. People [who] are native to this country before the Louisiana Purchase, shit like that. That's why Native rap is so ill right now, this is the authentic American story.
At this point, especially with this future America that we live in, this new fucking Mad Max future we live in, why haven't you heard the story from the most authentic American people here? My name is Mictlan, my name is Aztec. I want to explain, this is Mictlan, this is what it means. I am [that] unapologetically, plus [I'm] this futuristic rapper too, and this regular Mexican kid. That's what HELLA FRREAL is, reality on this exaggerated, not fake, tip. Exaggerated truth. Make the truth bigger than it is. Hella for real.. It's super West Coast too. People on the West Cost say hella. Midwest Coast.
Being as true to yourself as you can, being true to everyone else and having a respect for what we do. This is our way. We're all I Self Devine's kids, straight up. I enjoy this scene, I enjoy these people. They fucking enjoy me back and respect me back. People I look up to give me respect and that's a responsibility, you have to uphold that respect. There's a reason they fuck with me. I think just putting all that shit on blast, we're fucking next. Up here, we're just next, in terms of the whole country. Our story's ready to be told, it's been boiling up for so long. It's so crazy, living here for so long and seeing how much we influence, as far as politicians, creative people, athletes, different thinkers, all over the whole country who go on and be successful out of here. They have a certain ethic, a certain energy about that.
I've sold weed and different drugs, I've sold drugs to do more drugs; it never went into Doomtree. Being one of the only groups like the way we are, I'm confident at this stage to say, you should support this. We can all support each other. There's people who, when they started they didn't go out and talk to the crowd, they didn't go to the merch table. That was mandatory for us as a group, now it's just a natural thing, going in the crowd and talking to people after the shows. People have influenced us as much as we've influenced them, this is a symbiotic thing. Be able to give people truth, and finding better ways to do it. HELLA FRREAL, Doomtree's record, it's about finding better ways of connecting people and doing it so that we can support each other.
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