After being in a group called Reelaktz for years and years — technically since 4th grade — but not dropping any product, I did my first solo sessions with Patrick Murphy in 1999. I was living in Dallas (1997-99), and Patrick had also moved back from UT to the exact same complex as I. In 1999 I’d also gone back to Austin to work on my boy NickNack’s first single (we did a duo 12-inch under the name Soundscape) and his “Reconstruction” album.
By the summer of 1999 I’d literally moved back to Austin hoping to do the unthinkable (would it make us look crazy?) and launch an international hip-hop career straight outta the capital/casual city conveniently known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Before that year was up, a real hero named DJ Baby G had also moved to Austin. My boys from Reelaktz who’d started this event called Hip Hop Humpday (the main reason I moved back) also started a Sunday residency for Baby G at the Sidestreet Bar, which I think is now called Fuel.
By the year 2000 my neighbor from back in grade school, Bobby — the same amazing artist who did everyone’s graffiti sweatshirts, jeans, etc., at North Garland High, all the way up to my Create & Hustle album cover — who was also my ride to high school and an emcee in Reelaktz for a year or two… became the art director of a hip hop clothing store (basically) on the Drag in Austin, that was owned by another friend from school named Alex the mexican Alpha. The clothing store was the stepchild of the screenprinting shop around the corner, and I started working there as a mascot. Since we promoted the store at spots like Humpday, I met alot of folks coming in to consign CD’s as well as DJ’s, including but not limited to Jeffresh, 2DQ and UT student upstarts DJ Kurupt and Rapid Ric. Ric was doing some “mix every kind of hip hop on Earth” mixtapes with IHOP-styled artwork (not Mountain Dew, yet) and was looking for local emcees to rap on his CD’s so I offered myself.
I wanna say Hot 93.3 in Austin started around late 2001 or early 2002. And one day I heard a song by Memphis Bleek featuring Nate Dogg on my homie Deuce’s evening show. I don’t think it won “Hot or Not” or played more than 20 times, but it sure was funky and soulful. I never forgot that song, called “You Need Dick In Your Life”. I guess it was about the Vice President, to help with his approval ratings. Yes, absolutely.
August 13, 2002 I picked up 1,500 copies of my debut (and only) album, Create & Hustle. Later that night was the release party with DJ Baby G, Fort Knox, Strange Fruit Project, M-Y-K and S’ence.This was the 100% indie version before another indie, Bomb Hip Hop, picked it up for distribution and re-released it May 25, 2003. To make a long story short, I played as many shows all over Texas as I could through at least 2005.
Needless to say, I was looking for more ideas for music, and the whole Texas mixtape thing was getting big. This was 2002-03, a little over a year before Rapid Ric started getting a buzz by positioning himself as one of those guys with Trae on his mixtapes and such. I’d done verses on pretty much all his mixtapes for a few years, so I thought I’d try an actual underground song since it seemed to be working for a whole buncha folks in Houston. [By underground flow, I mean making a whole tune on someone else’s beat and maybe mimicking their hook and/or melodies too, then calling it a freestyle. It was customary to jack their flow patterns and all that, too, but I wasn’t ready for all that yet.]
So one day at the studio I asked Ric, who was also spinning on Hot 93, if he had that Memphis Bleek beat and he did. And that day “Me on the Mic” became the first underground freestyle I ever recorded, and I was proud of it ’til Ric told me it wasn’t hot. I didn’t believe him, but I wanted to because he was becoming an expert on that kind of thing. I knew I’d use it one day, just not on Ric’s tape for obvious reasons!
By 2004, Ric had released his second Austin Powers mixtape which included features by some hot Houston rappers. He’d also met my boy Matt, who was now booking the hip hop acts at South by Southwest. That year I performed in between Swishahouse (Paul Wall ‘nem) and Color Changin’ Click (Chamillionaire ‘nem), so I brought my A-game as to not look like a fool. I was all proud to have held my own, and the crowd was all into it. But the journalist who covered the event was not feeling me at all. Thankfully, he was writing for a small magazine that day and not Rolling Stone, where I usually see his byline.
Anyway, where was I… 2004… needed to bring my A-game… ok so later in that same year, Baby G proposed that we do a mixtape together. I was blown away because I have always considered G to be a hero of hip hop and a role model of upstanding character. He is the only DJ I’ve ever known who’s gained alot of notoriety [more notoriety than any DJ I’ve ever known, by the way… do your own research] but didn’t get the big heads. So we planned out the mixtape, and figured we’d make it somewhat contemporary to try to attract that Texas mixtape crowd. We even got consultation from Ric, who was outworking everyone on the Texas mixtape scene and quickly getting a huge name for himself.
By 2005, I’d recorded half my flows at Big J’s crib in Dallas. He’d moved North from Houston, and wasn’t DJ’ing yet, but he sure is fresh on the tables and the mic now. G and I did our last recording session in person at Backstage Music on Cesar Chavez in Austin.
March 2005. It’s South by Southwest, and we’ve burned some samplers for South by Southwest.
May 2005. Baby G and I released “Blazing Saddles” on double disc, including a screwed and chopped version.
And I wanna say that outside of the original tracks on the CD — Nobody Leavin, Play the Role featuring Paul Wall and Money Waters, Overnight, Stay Strong feat O.G. Fatal [sorry if I forgot one] — the songs I got the best feedback on were hands-down “Me on the Mic” and “69 o’s” feat Ntymydat.
Sometime not too long after that I met Crew 54, when I was still pushing (1) Create & Hustle (2) Blazing Saddles (3) Spring ’06 Collectors’ Edition and (4) The Woodgrain Collection mix with Rapid Ric circa 2007. [I’ve calmed down a bit since then, but I hope and pray to relaunch a full-blown music career someday soon with my second album, “Too Selfish”.]
The homie M.O.S. aka Dookie Vizion always liked “Me on the Mic” because it’s pretty derogatory towards sucky rappers, handicapped mc’s and such. I don’t really do that style often, but when I do you get a song like “(bah-VOO)” or the upcoming “Remedy” off the upcoming “Too Selfish” album. Well M.O.S. likes that brashness, the whole school-a-rapper, slightly angry type thing from me because he knows I suppress it at this point in my life. But he is of the opinion that in hip hop you have to bring the bully out sometimes.
M.O.S. and I are close enough to where when he really feels a song that I had something to do with, he is able to slowly but surely get the details worked out with me and not charge me a million dollars to get a nice quality video done. If you don’t believe me, check out Mojoe’s “Strange Revival” feat guess who.
So earlier this year during Texas Relays, a day after I had an abcess located 1/4-inch from my rectum sliced, drained and stuffed with gauze… we shot this video at the Highball, which is a bowling alley, music venue, bar and karaoke club. If you can’t tell, we shot in the Old School Hip Hop karaoke room. As a matter of fact, when you see me sitting down, I’m sitting on one of those red innertube things you use when it’s best for you to not sit down on your actual behind. It is what it is. No… it was what it was. So the reason I look sleepy and out of it, is because I’m really on medication and had surgery the day before. This is hip hop people! LOL
All that to say… Five years after releasing this song on a mixtape, we now present to you… “Me on the Mic” feat Vooski… The Video!
P.S. Who is Vooski? Vooski is the real me, the guy my wife lives with. [It’s the only natural nickname I have besides Voo, so poe-tay-toe/poe-tah-toe.] Folks like S’ence, Picnic and ‘nem always call me that, so it sticks at times. Anyone who knows “the real me” knows that I’m an old school R&B head who secretly wants to be Keith Washington and/or Peabo Bryson on the mic. So that’s Vooski singing the hook. The real me would sing that hook BEFORE the real me would rap like that. I’m just saying. Rapping is fun and all, but a lot of rappers are just black music artists in general who grew up while hip hop was hot. And I would sing like no tomorrow if I could sing a lil’ better. [google “Phonte”.]
P.S.S. What is this whole Mr. Drakes thing? If you’ve seen the “Me on the Mic” video trailer and you lack discernment to know whether I’m (A) Biting Drake, (B) Making Fun of Drake or (C) Making Fun of these Kids Biting Drake… the answer is absolutely (C) and no offense intended. Frankly, I used that Keith Sweat “How Deep Is Your Love” beat under myself singing on autotune because I love Keith Sweat (see Vooski), so even though that whole lil’ skit idea [engineered/produced/mixed by Wes Sanders, of course] was conceived as stealth social commentary, I also think it’s jamming and have been lip synching it at my shows for the past year!
Peace, and enjoy the video!