Mvstermind is in touch with the best elements of hip hop. Just take a look at the artwork above for his most popular single Mali Moolah. Let’s just note that the artwork is crazy dope. Before this massive drop he was putting out singles here and there; along with a few full projects. But nothing compares to his latest output. He’s been featured on Complex, STL Today, and other high quality blogs, but this is just the beginning.
We really believe in him and his movement (you’ll learn more about this below) so we decided to get down to the nitty gritty; learning about his growth, the music video to Mali (see below the interview) , and his collective. Read below.
I’d first like to commend you on how long you’ve been at this music thing. You have a crazy amount of songs and projects on SoundCloud. When did you start creating music?
Bless! I first started producing at the age of 12 Years old. My Pops brought home Fruity Loops (FL Studio) and I’ve been cooking up EVER since. I had a few artist I produced for, doing shows around the city and at the age of 16, I felt it was my time to hop on those stages and actually Rap. Been at it ever since.
Do you feel you’ve gotten the recognition you deserve?
I do. and I don’t. At the same time I can’t receive recognition for these albums, and songs on my computer that no body has heard….So until I release those, I won’t even dare to complain (lol). But there’s certain ways I believe the music game works, and I working on cracking the code. The recognition that I’ve gotten is tremendous, the work I’ve/We’ve put in even more. I’m grateful for everything really, to able to receive love from folks world wide is truly a blessing. I can’t wait till folks catch on even more..cause when they look back they gone be like damn these dudes really been on it and ahead of the curve.
I don’t like to box in artists because it, in my opinion, degrades the sound they’ve been developing. It does seem you are very in tune spiritually, lyrically and have a story to tell. What are you trying to convey in your music?
Expression. If you listen to my music, and study it you’ll prolly end up knowing me more than I even know myself. Pretty much the listener is getting an Ariel view of my stream of consciousness, I rap about process of me finding myself spiritually, my hope and desires, my journey as a young black creative. I send decoded messages to my future self. I like tapping into emotions, and channeling those feelings into Art. And with Art being so Expressive it’s serves as my platform, it amplifies. And I like to be conscious of what I’m amplifying into the universe.
What makes you want to create?
The same reason a heart wants to beat. I truly believe this is apart of my purpose.
You also produce. I really enjoyed Tangerine Tamberine which was released about 4 months ago. How long have you been producing?
Yes I produce, ALL of my own music, with the exception of co producing with folks like Najii Person, Michael Franco, Mir, etc. I like to fuse my production and my Rapping, Vocals etc into what makes my artistry.
You make a lot of your music available for free download. Is there a reason for that?
I just wanna reach the masses right now. Ima pay some more dues until I demand y’all to pay for my ish. 🙂 I still have them available for purchase, it’s a blessing because I have folks who’ve downloaded free music and then later go back to purchase. Thats the relationship I want with my supporters/fans. If you can’t afford it financially doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to have it. I make music to help folks get through those exact type of times.
Your most celebrated track, Mali Moolah is a purchase only song. The artwork is amazing. How did that song come together from the artwork, to the production, and so forth?
Well I was on tour with my collective MME, and I believe we’re was leaving Santa fe, coming back from California, and The idea struck me to. The Mountains of sand out there reminded me of the Deserts in Africa, and I was like yo…this 12 passenger Van we’re driving is the “Caravan” of Mansa Musa. It was successful tour financially and at that time I was REALLY in tune with my spiritual self because I right before the tour… I took a leap, and quit my job. So I wrote a song as an affirmation to my future self, “I’m Tryna monetize All of my endeavors” “Woke up this morning envisioned a check” etc. So if we’ve started at show money…then up next is travel the globe money.
But in the midst of all this money…coming in and leaving I know I have to retain my self worth more than anything and that’s the goal. So yeah, I’m channeling the spirit of my ancestors, when I say I want that “Mansa Musa Moolah” The Ruler of the african country Mali, was at one point the richest man in the world and he was also known as a very spiritual individual. That’s balance. And Entering this rap game that’s exactly the type of focus I need to maintain my mission.
The Artwork was done by Civil Ape. I gave him the song and just let them craft and get to work. I feel like it was perfect.
Do you think Mali Moolah is you at your best?
Lol I personally feel like It’s not….but I REALLY did underestimated that track. I wrote that track last year, and It almost got shelved, but the universe and my friends was like drop that shit. + I did and that speak volumes, to the world and to my own personal life. Also, the concept is actually my favorite thus far. It’s really deeply rooted and REAL. I can’t wait till it all comes true.
The official video has a lot of imagery. It is a lot to take in and decipher. A common theme is nature, money, your city (St. Louis) and you in the studio. What were you trying to convey in this video?
Was trying to convey Black Excellence, and balance. Money represented the world and desires, the fast scene switches represented the momentum that were gaining and the nature represented me tapping into my self worth with my existential self.
Who directed it?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is your first major visual (that has received a lot of attention). Do you feel like you stepped your game up on this one? Who created the concepts?
The game was stepped up. Definitely some of our best work collectively. Louis came to me with ideas, after listening to the song. He does a great job of embodying the artist he’s working with. We bounced ideas off one another, and shot the video in a span of Three Max days. 1 Man crew.
You released a mixtape, Rare Candy, two years ago. Was this your debut? How do you feel you’ve grown since then?
This wasn’t my debut, but I’ve DEFINITELY grown since then. Production understanding is on a whole different level. (Rare Candy) Still has fresh concepts that I double back on today and take notes upon.
You are part of a collective called MME (Meditate, Meditate and Elevate). Talk about the group.
Meditate, Meditate and Elevate is a collective of individuals artists determined to creative fvck the game up. 🙂
We’re each other’s tour managers, our booking agents, we’re our own record label. producers, marketers etc. Not necessarily by choice. Saint Louis doesn’t have to many resources at hand, but none of us were going to let that stop us from getting our art to where we want it to be. Together we done over 20k miles of independent Touring. Right now we got an this crazy new Video from Amir, new videos from Con on the horizon, Dante Wolfe has an album coming out. ciej is crafting up a new project. Lyrique is running the poetry world right now. The whole team is about to blaze the game in all types of creative outlets. MMETTMLDOM
You’ve gotten some good press from Complex and STL Today. Has that helped you get some traffic to your music?
Yes it definitely has. It woke Saint Louis up. Keep in mind our music culture isn’t thriving like other cities. A lot of people don’t even know that there’s like a cultural renaissance taking place in this city…..sometimes it takes verification from big outlets to get people moving. No complaints. but just know all that is going to change soon cause Saint Louis is about to birth legends….who will inspire and cultivate the culture to continuously do such.