Boom Bap guru Maine the Medicine tells all in the in-depth interview about his new album ‘S.O.A. (Son Of Alice).’ The album in tribute to his late mother not only exudes classic head-nodding energy but also pulls on heartstrings. Maine discusses the creation of the album, emcee producer chemistry, making his mother proud, and more.
MJ: I see you and Leadgeon are still going strong, talk a little bit about that chemistry.
Maine: Well with Leadgeon, that’s 30-year chemistry and brotherhood. I don’t have to tell him what kind of beats I need, he already knows. Now lyrically we always push each other with the pen. For us, that inner competition will always be there.
MJ: One thing I find when it comes to your albums it’s difficult to pinpoint one or even two favorite records. All your albums are theme-based and flow like a story from beginning to end, with no skipping. However, I do want to touch on “Pour Liquor” as that seems to hit hard and hit home with many fans and listeners.
Maine: Yes, “Pour Liquor” seems to be a popular one with the fans. I wrote that hook during the Covid, because of all the friends and family I lost that year. I hadn’t gotten a chance to write a verse to it until the night of my dad’s funeral. I was already halfway through the album, but I needed to pay homage to my father. As for the feature, that’s my cousin Khali Hustle from the Bay Area. He, like myself, lost a few people, and almost lost his own life to an attempted murderer. So, I’m grateful he’s still here to jump on this record with me.
MJ: I want to take a moment to pull on heartstrings and ask how difficult it was to create “Momma” and the array of emotions you must feel hearing that song being played.
Maine: Yes, that song was hard to make, and at times was hard to listen to. My mom was my everything, and that void will never be filled. She was a single mom, worked 2 jobs, and tried her best to provide for my sister and me. She was a big fan of my music, even though she said I curse too much. But she would love to watch my videos on YouTube. So, I just wanted to honor her with this album, and make her proud. Maybe one day I can compose myself enough to perform it.
MJ: Both as a fan and professional in the music industry, I must say how refreshing it is to experience your growth as a man and artist with each album you release. There’s a manner in which you invite the world into your personal life experiences that allows us to authentically embrace and grip your emotions. Your use of lyricism and wordplay flows effortlessly over boom-bap cadences. What is it about Maine The Medicine that stands out from other artists?
Maine: I just try to be the best version of myself. I move off of the emotion and the vibe of the beat. Sure I have topics that I want to address, but instead of forcing I wait for the right track to bring it out of me. I also know as an artist I can always get better. I can always make my sword sharper. I never convince myself that I made it because that can go to your head. I want to continue to keep that hunger for more.
MJ: Take us behind the scenes of the album ‘S.O.A.’ Let us in from the inspiration to creation to the final product. I know the album is buzzing with a social media frenzy and fans are listening on repeat with genuine compassion.
Maine: The creative part was fun and therapeutic for me. I mean, of course, it was some pressure because this album is dedicated to my mom. But at the same time, that’s what helped it flow. When I was listening to the tracks, I was thinking who could’ve made this dope? There are so many dope artists I know that I hadn’t worked with yet, so I wanted to link with them on this album. Plus I got the few staples that are always on my albums like Leadgeon, Suspect, and Tysoul. But I listened to this album about a hundred times to make sure it gave me the same feeling as the first time. I can honestly say it most certainly did.
MJ: What is your secret to being able to stay afloat and create timeless music? In an era where music seems to fall into an abyss of one-hit wonders and what’s trending, there must be some challenges.
Maine: I make music on how I feel and the vibe the beat gives me. I put my all into my music, and I’m not afraid of being vulnerable about my life. I think artists fail when they force a hit or try to sound like what’s hot. The best thing to do is to let the music come naturally. In the process sometimes you end up with a hit that you didn’t know was going to be a hit.
MJ: I’m not sure what can top ‘S.O.A.’ but can you give us some inside scoop on other projects or endeavors you’re working on?
Maine: It’s going to be really hard to top ‘S.O.A.’ but I’m not really sure that I want to. Because it’s such a special album, I wouldn’t mind if this is my “Illmatic.” No album I do after this will ever be as special as this one. As for future projects, I will stick to the same formula I have been using and let the mood and the beat take me on a journey. I have a few projects coming up, like the Mercy Gang EP and an EP titled ‘Iron Horse Talk.’ Leadgeon and I have an EP as well. But for now, I’m just pushing the ‘S.O.A.’ album, and the tee shirt line we’re working on with Electric Frog Designs.
MJ: As we wrap up, take this time to let the world and fans know anything else about the album or Maine The Medicine
Maine: I want people to know that I put a lot of time and emotion into this album. I’m super honored about the response I’m getting off ‘S.O.A.’ The love and support make me feel like I succeeded in making my mama proud. The thing I want people to know about Maine is I love being creative. I’m going to always try to give you something different.
Taot Recordings presents Pro-Logic and DJ Quanta ‘The Serum’ volume 1. The 10-track project features superb talent including Lakes, McOllie Skulkin, Doc Philly, Hectic, Choze, Mista Murray, HolliZay, Madame J, Es, Dox, Sharky, Rym-B, iLL Tone, Greg King, Jonni Riddim, Righteous, Fraction, Substance810, Age, and James D.
At first, the duo linked to create an EP, but after listening to a catalog of fresh beats they decided to move forward with albums, volumes 1-2 of ‘The Serum.’ Stream volume 1 below for an addictive dose of head-nodding Hip Hop and stay tuned for volume 2.
Renowned Boston emcee Poetic Killa is back at it dropping gritty punchline after punchline in his new single “Stand Up.” The anthem-style track is out now on all streaming platforms. Within the first minute of pressing play listeners will grip Killa’s school of hard knocks truths. “Stand Up” isn’t for everyone and Killa makes that more than clear through cut-throat bars. “Stand Up” is for real ones who are on another level just like Poetic Killa. “My names heavy it holds weight/ Murder murder my aim steady a cold case/ The fame’s deadly it ain’t get me like OJ/ Look at y’all still stuck in your own ways.”
Killa’s rawness is underlined by gully, yet dramatic melodies that also resonate throughout the track as does the catchy hook. So, if you’re a real one then stand up, put your hands up, and wear out that repeat button. Stream the single here on preferred platforms.
Dizzy Scratch, the producer responsible for over 20 hits from Madonna, TLC, Nas, Seal, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Backstreet Boys, The O’Jays, and Seal, returns to the forefront with new music. “Tribal” features vocalist Anoinette Roberson and is available now on all streaming platforms.
The single/video ultimately shows off Dizzy’s mastery as a producer but also magnifies his knack to blend infectious melodies with multi-genre influenced instrumentals. Both along with flashy neon hues transcend audiences into a state of tranquility but also sways bodies onto the dancefloor or city rooftops to kick back and unwind.
Stream/watch the catchy video for “Tribal” and stay tuned for a brand new video “She Moves” dropping everywhere on April 8th.
When the world thinks of conceptual, timeless music Hip Hop trailblazer Dumi Right comes to mind. The acclaimed emcee/songwriter/performing artist/cultural ambassador has been doing just that since the golden era of Hip Hop and his latest single/video “Stay Focused” is no exception. The track features Outspoken, Sykotek, and KHz Pro on production. Before diving into this mastered canvas check out the full interview below with Dumi Right. He chops it up about the inspiration and creation behind “Stay Focused”, current and upcoming endeavors, his role in Hip Hop, and more.
“With so much going on in the world in the grip of a global pandemic, it is easy to be overwhelmed and lose focus. This head-nodding track serves as a call to action and a reminder that we should always rise to the challenge, even if the odds seem insurmountable. It also speaks to bridging the gap between generations to help propel us to a brighter Afro Futuristic plane. As the chorus implores, “Focus on the challenges we’re facin’, Music that’ll spark elevation, Trying to change the current situation, Building with the next generation…”
MJ: For those who might be unfamiliar with Dumi Right, let’s begin by introducing you. Your history in Hip Hop dates to Zimbabwe Legit, one of the first Hip Hop groups in Africa to receive global recognition. How did that experience pave the way for you as an emcee, songwriter, and performing artist?
Dumi: When I first came out, all I wanted was for the world to hear the story of a young dude from Africa, a “brother from the Mother” that had been drawn to the power and magnetism of Hip Hop. Back in 1992, my group Zimbabwe Legit dropped a groundbreaking EP that included production from Black Sheep’s Mr. Lawnge and DJ Shadow. Since then, I’ve remained deeply immersed in the art and culture performing domestically and internationally and recording critically acclaimed albums and unique projects. I like to live by the phrase, “Don’t let your past be brighter than your future” so I was never one to rest on my laurels. Even though back then we were written up in Billboard magazine, The Source, and yeah even “Word Up! Magazine” that I read from cover to cover admiring my favorite rap stars like the Biggie lyric says, I knew that if I didn’t keep pushing and keep moving, I could easily fall off. When we first got started, international Hip Hop was by no means at the scale that it is today. There wasn’t a well-defined blueprint on how to make the connection between Hip Hop in other parts of the world and what was going on in the US at the time, and so I had to navigate and learn by trial-and-error style. I loved the fact that we could give voice to a whole segment of the culture that many people may not have been familiar with and bring a unique perspective and view of the world through the music. Also coming out at that time meant that I was a de facto ambassador of sorts, representing a bunch of people like myself. That meant I had to come correct and make a mark because a lot of eyes were watching, and I felt the weight of people who were counting on me to be successful. Having that pressure from the get-go gave me the drive and perseverance to realize that failure wasn’t an option and that I always needed to put my best foot forward. You don’t realize at the time the impact what you do might have, but hearing from people how that initial splash was an inspiration is definitely humbling and very deeply appreciated.
MJ: You are not only respected as an emcee but also as a cultural ambassador. How did that role come into fruition? How does it tie into your music?
Dumi: Coming out of the international scene, I have always had a desire to connect with artists from all over the globe. Knowing how Hip Hop culture influenced and inspired me growing up and so I understood how important it was to build bridges and community globally. As a result, for many years I worked on collaborations, projects, and initiatives that involved artists from countries around the world. I later heard about a formal opportunity to practice many of the things I had been doing already, by teaching Hip Hop overseas through a program called Next Level. A DJ friend of mine had participated in the first edition of that program and he told me that it was amazing and that I needed to apply. I did and was selected to teach emceeing in Thailand a few years ago. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my music career and even my life in general. It was an extension of the work that I had been doing but it also allowed me to build with up-and-coming emcees and teach the principles of Hip Hop and performing as well as learn more about Thai culture and the people. It was an affirmation that I was doing meaningful work and strengthened my resolve to continue to be a global connector and bring artists together through music.
MJ: Your latest video “Stay Focused” features Outspoken and Sykotek with production by KHz Pro. Before we dive into the content of the video, tell us how everyone linked up with each other. The filming aspect alone of the video is incredible.
Dumi: Outspoken is one of my favorite emcees from Zimbabwe. He has insightful rhymes that address the times, and he is a very versatile artist. I have performed with him when his group visited the US and we collaborated on a previous song and video. My homie Khz cooked up this head-banging track and as I was formulating an idea of what I wanted to do with it, I realized he’d be the perfect artist to collaborate with on it. He also works quickly, and the finished product is always dope. I was introduced to Sykotek by a mutual friend and really liked the way he rhymed and the way he seamlessly transitioned between languages. He raps in English but can stop on a dime and start spitting in Ndebele and he’s got crazy skills doing both. Also having previously done a song called “Doin’ Damage in My Native Language” it seemed appropriate to have him carry the torch and represent that here. In addition, the three of us had collaborated last year on a Covid-19 awareness song for a project that a counterpart was putting together. That song “In These Days and Times” turned out well and our styles complimented each other so I felt we needed to do it again for this. We are all in different countries, Outspoken in Harare, Zimbabwe; Sykotek was in Johannesburg, South Africa at the time and I am based in Washington, DC but we were able to get on the same page and record music first and then later the video to bring the “Stay Focused” concept together.
MJ: What was the inspiration behind “Stay Focused”? Did the video meet/exceed your expectations?
Dumi: The song basically talks about following through on what your goals are despite distractions, setbacks, or roadblocks. It also speaks to connecting with the next generation to build a stronger community and change sub-optimal situations or circumstances that we might find ourselves in. The beat slapped so hard that I knew I needed something high energy to match it. I did a couple of different things for the chorus but then I thought it would be dope to switch it up and have someone else rock the hook and summarize the whole concept. I loved what Outspoken did with it and that set the stage for everything else. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to pull off a video given our different geographic locations, but the guys were all keen to try it out and made plans to record their footage and send it to me for editing. Another longtime friend and collaborator by the name of Magee offered to edit it all together and he did it seamlessly like the pro that he is. The footage was shot in 3 different countries, and he took the challenge of weaving the story together and he did an amazing job. It exceeded all expectations for me even though I know he’s a wizard with video. He’s directed and edited a lot of African Hip Hop music videos but also works in the field so has edited numerous films and documentaries, so it was certainly within his realm of capability, and it shows.
MJ: It seems at times music that offers empowerment and motivation that wake up and stimulate our core and minds, has fallen by the wayside. As an emcee and cultural ambassador, what is your blueprint to ensure “Stay Focused” doesn’t take a back seat to the monotony that is being saturated on the airwaves and in communities?
Dumi: The first thing for me is not being influenced by the flavor of the month trends prevailing in the industry. Understanding who I am and what my authentic and unique voice is means I can exercise the freedom to not go along with whatever is trendy now and stay focused on my grind and the work that I’m trying to do. I also know that saying something in music might mean it might not be highlighted in those mainstream circles so finding alternative outlets and audiences to amplify the messages that we’re dropping and spread the word about what we’re doing. I focus on non-typical music outlets but also leverage the global Hip Hop community to find the eyes and ears that appreciate that raw and true Hip Hop sound and lyrics. Like-minded people are out there, you just have to find them. I do work in Hip Hop education and so this type of music also finds receptive audiences in those types of forums as well. And a wise man once said, “Market and promote, and you gotta hope, that the product is dope” (word to Q-Tip), so to begin with I always make sure that I put forth dope music with beats and rhymes that people are going to want to listen to. If you have a great product, when the audience hears it, they can’t help but appreciate it. I also lean on my network of international collaborators to help carry the messages to fans in their areas that would dig it but I otherwise might not be able to reach on my own. So essentially building an ecosystem of progressive Hip Hop on our own, knowing that we can’t count on support from the mainstream. Doing things beyond just music like workshops and panels also helps to build that community and work to “try to change the current situation” besides just dropping records. Hopefully, through all these combined efforts a major impact will be felt.
MJ: Can you share with audiences and fans what they can expect from Dumi Right in 2022? New music, more collaborations, and/or other endeavors on the radar?
Dumi: While finishing up my next solo album, I ended up inking a deal with a label in the UK to re-issue one of my prior albums on limited-edition vinyl. That will drop later this year via Chopped Herring Records. I feel like folks that cop vinyls are some of the biggest supporters and truest fans and of course, that includes many DJs, so I am thrilled that we’re going to be able to make that happen. The biggest news though is the impending launch of my new website dumiright.com very soon and a brand-new solo album, Dumi Right – Foreword to the Future. I’m real amped about this as it has been a long time coming but it has some pure heat on it. Guest artists include Chubb Rock, Speech from Arrested Development, YZ, El Da Sensei, Breez Evahflowin’, Kev Brown (on production), Emskee, and more. I had an artist in South Africa draw some ill Afro-Futuristic artwork. It will drop also on limited vinyl first and then go on all the streaming platforms thereafter. We’re putting the finishing touches on it and working on the marketing and distribution plan.
MJ: Take this time to share anything else with the world of Hip Hop…
Dumi: I just served as an executive producer and artist on a compilation series, Stop Shooting Vol 1 and 2 that features emcees and producers from all over the world speaking out about gun violence and police brutality. Lots of exciting music on those two volumes including a new single called “Global Love Warming” that includes a chorus sung by Aloe Blacc. There are so many great artists on it and they all bring very unique perspectives and styles to the table so it’s refreshing to hear…Please subscribe to my YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/dumirightmusic and follow me on Instagram, FB, and Twitter for all the latest scoop.
Esteemed Hip Hop artist Substance810 lives up to his name, release after release. The Port Huron, MI-based emcee lures audiences in with his raw emotion, honesty, and his vulnerability. Influenced by 90’s Hip Hop, Substance810 attests to keeping Hip Hop at the forefront of music and as a way of life. His vivid lyricism along with his introspective style and flow are sure to please Hip Hop enthusiasts across the globe.
Listen to “Savage Lands/May It Be Swift” and connect with Substance810 below.
Blacbird Records along with Maylay Sparks, Clever 1, and K-Sluggah announce the release of their collaborative album ‘Frozen Mugs’ available now on all digital platforms with distribution by PHI Records. The 12-track project includes features from D.J. PH, DJ Too Tuff, Malik B (The Roots), Chukk Rukkuz, Planet Asia, Rocc Spotz, Briefcase Bugg, and Joe “The Butcher” Nicolo.
The dynamic trio of Maylay Sparks (Philly MC), Clever 1 (Chicago MC), and K-Sluggah (Swedish producer/MC) have rubbed mics and stages with Hip Hop legends and music icons for over a decade, so it only made sense they linked to curate and deliver an epic dose of earmilk. Hip Hop purists, prepare to be compelled by an overflowing kaleidoscope of gritty head-nodding production, classic cuts and scratches, edgy wordplay, and raw lyricism…
Stream/download ‘Frozen Mugs’ on preferred platforms below and stay tuned as vinyl, cassettes, and CD’s will be available in August.
Ev Jones releases his latest single “On God” featuring Merse, available everywhere music is sold.
Jones delivers convincingly smooth vocals over soulful, yet invigorating R&B tones. He’s setting the mood for love, enticing both the physical and mental…On God, Jones is nothing without his lady. Stream/download the single and connect with Ev Jones below.
True Story Entertainment and Rockboy Records present “Keep Pushin” single featuring Zeeno and Coco Banks, available on major platforms.
The soulful vocals of Coco and Zeeno’s lyrical gems serve as an empowering masterpiece set to motivate and inspire folks to follow their dreams. To survive you must move smarter, heal broken wounds, and steer in the winning lane while passerby’s kiss your a**. Stream “Keep Pushin” below and press repeat.
Brown Skin Quin release visuals for
“Bitch/Knowledge is Power” single, produced by Code Red Ent.
The Atlanta based wordsmith delivers a
powerful record with a powerful message set to take over schools, streets, and
mindsets. Quin’s extreme lyrics urge folks to bow down and pay homage instead
of smoking, drinking and twerking. She urges females to pick up a book to start
educating and elevating.
The catchy hook along with thumping bass serves as an intense, yet jewel dropping anthem. Watch “Bitch/Knowledge is Power” and connect with Brown Skin Quin on Instagram @brown_skin_quin and on the web at www.brownskinquin.com.