“King of the New School” is finished and on rotation, what are we getting from Mic Terror through this new tape?
Basically you’re getting why you should consider me king of this new school of Hip-Hop. It’s like my running for office speech, this is why I’m king of the new school and why you should think I am, just listen to the mixtape. By the time you finish with it, you should think so too. It’s a persuasion. Also, my first mixtape was not as well rounded as this one. My mixtape before this, Terrordome Volume 2, that was a lot of my alter ego Pipeman and not as much Mic Terror and this joint is all of my alter egos in the spotlight an equal amount of time. I’m really happy about everything turned out.
Do you have an alter ego?
Yes, I do. I have two main egos and that’s Mic Terror and he’s just pretty much the emcee, the lyricist, the more serious guy. And then I have the Pipeman and the Pipeman is like my nymphomaniac, party animal, alter-ego and that’s like the dude that’s more just going nuts making porno movies and juking the hoes and doing the whole nine. Mic Terror is just focused on the lyrics and the world around him and what’s really going on.
How did you come up with this, or is this a reality for you with these two egos?
I don’t know, I’m in a state of psychosis, I don’t know if it’s real or if it’s not. It might be in my head it might be how it is. To me it’s real but it might not really be like that though. Somebody’s got to pinch me though if it’s not, that’s how I feel.
The mixtape is obviously in a way addressing the current new school of Hip-Hop, what is your opinion on the new school?
I think it ranges from wack to mediocre.
Why so harsh?
Well, the thing about it is it’s too PC. Hip-Hop is like gay(laughs), not in a homosexual manner but I remember when Hip-Hop was scary and it’s not scary anymore it’s club music, it’s house music, it’s elevator music. Not saying that I’m not happy about those being mainstream but it’s just lost it’s edge and I just want to bring that edge back to it. Like, the reason your parents didn’t want you to listen to it [Hip-Hop], now parents are buying their kids Hip-Hop albums and that’s disturbing to me like they think it’s okay now which means we’re not doing something right.
But couldn’t the reason for that be because we’re in an age where these parents are the ones who grew up on Public Enemy which was something pretty radical at that time.
You’re right, the parents music had more of an edge to it than ours does. I mean you still have your cats out there that are coming with it but now it’s very corporate like they’re selling iPods and nobody has a real message. Not necessarily a message but just reflecting the times which Hip-Hop has always done. Don’t get me wrong there are a few artists now that are doing it but it used to be the majority that did.
Would you blame the breaking of the millennium for the new trend like the rest of Hip-Hop has?
I think there were some dope contributions within it. The crazy thing is that most of the dope contributions were from the dudes who were here during the 90s. When I say wack it’s as far as new artists. The last new artist people were really excited about was 50 Cent. What has been around since then that you can really say ‘oh my god this is the next best thing in Hip-Hop!’ It’s just a bunch of old dudes still doing it.
The title track “King of the New School” has a lot of superhero references and the tape obviously has that theme, why did you choose that?
Pretty much I’m a comic book dork, like I got a dope-ass collection of comic books. It’s crazy I’ve got Spawn No. 1 and all that good shit. Also kind of symbolic of me coming to save the day in the sense like a superhero would.
Is that a theme that will stay intact or do your themes change from project to project?
That was just for this mixtape, like the next joint I’m working on is on some whole other shit. I’m always going to come with different concepts and I just wanted to do like a real comic book base for this mixtape and get that out. I’ve got mad different concepts. I’m really just a big-ass kid, real talk. I’m just having fun doing this.
Do you feel themes that are not as expected in Hip-Hop, like Kid CuDi’s outer space theme and your own comic book theme will become more relevant in the next few years?
I think some of the newer artists are starting to just have fun with Hip-Hop again. I think a lot of artists that are out now it’s a job to them and when you listen to their music you can hear that it’s a job. It’s like, ‘We’ve gotta make something for the radio, what are we going to do, oh my god!’ I really don’t give a fuck about that, if I make a hit it’s accidental. I’m just making music and if a bunch of people happen to like it then great. I’m just trying to have fun with it and do my concepts. I’m pretty much make music for me and people like me. So, if your mind state is similar to mine then you’re gonna feel it. There’s 6 billion people on the earth, I might be able to find at least 10 million people and go diamond, it’s a possibility.
There are many new artists though that say they make music for themselves and refuse to go to the cooker cutter format or deal with industry politics, what separates you from all those artists?
I just want you to be dope, if it’s cooker cutter or not I just want you to be dope in the fundamentals sense of being a dope emcee. You can be the most commercial mother fucker in the world but if your flow is sick and your punch lines are sick I can tell that you’re a dope rapper. I don’t like a lot of abstract bullshit. I’ll be like, ‘Alright dude thinks’ he’s dope because he’s different but he sucks just as bad as Soulja Boy or any emcee he thinks’ he’s better than.’
I just want to hear good rap, I don’t care if it’s cookie cutter. I don’t care if it’s underground. I just want to hear dope rappers again like someone that makes you want to push the rewind button and be like, ‘you hear what the fuck he just said?’ And that’s what I feel I’m trying to bring back to it. Like Lupe, I like Lupe a lot and he’s one of those cats that I don’t care if he’s rapping about a skateboard or selling drugs, he’s dope. If he’s talking about selling crack and talking about it in a clever way, it’s dope. It’s just dope no matter what he’s doing because he’s a dope artist. We need more dope artists as opposed to people coming up with these gimmicks like, “I’m a weirdo and I do this, I’m not like the mainstream.” It’s like, ‘No, just spit something good.’
Do you think Hip-Hop fans have a misconception that anything that is different from the mainstream is dope when in fact it’s just more artists hating on success that they want just as bad?
Yeah, a lot of underground cats, if you really sit down and listen to them you will understand the difference. You can ask any rapper that studies “Hip-Hopology” or “emceeology” and they hear an underground cat and a mainstream cat they will understand why that guy is mainstream and why that other guy is underground because he’s actually not as good as that mainstream dude. Like they can hate on that mainstream dude because he raps about dancing or whatever but his song structure is better and just overall he’s a better artist so more people like him.
That’s a pretty bold statement. Would you put an artist like Soulja Boy over Slug of Atmosphere simply because he is mainstream?
Well, Slug is definitely a better rapper then Soulja Boy but in mainstream terms he might not necessarily be a better song maker as far as the whole pop thing goes. Soulja Boy knows how to brainwash people and that’s a talent in itself. He makes something melodic that brainwashes you. 50 Cent is very good at that too. That’s a skill and some people don’t want to respect it but a lot of people that don’t respect it can’t do it. If you can do it in your own way then it’s all good.
Like, Kanye transcended that, Kanye made what you would call “underground backpack music” but he gave it a pop appeal where it would appeal to the masses because he knows good song structure. He’s a real artist that knows how to put a song structure together where it will have mass appeal. Gangster rap was underground as hell until Dr. Dre gave it that mass appeal, the melodic feel to it that made it appeal to the masses and they were still talking about the same shit. They were still like blunts, 40s, bitches, it just had mass appeal because the song structure was better.
Is there a point where you get too pop with song structure to the point where you are literally making the music to please everybody and their mother? Kanye has been criticized for this on 808s and Heartbreak most recently by Phonte, what do you think about that?
I’m not really too big of a fan of 808s & Heartbreak, I mean there’s a few joints on there, it’s cool. I think Kanye is at a point where he doesn’t even have to be a good artist anymore, he can really just pootie tang it on the record and it will sell, he can fart on records and people will buy it. He’s getting his Howard Hugh’s on and being a weirdo.
He promised he wouldn’t be a weirdo for the next album which is supposed to be straight Hip-Hop, do you think that’s possible for him?
I think he can. I think he just pulled an Andre  right quick, like Andre 3000 went off into another zone and he’s still one of the dopest emcees when he came back. Andre was doing “Prototype” and all of that and everyone was like, ‘he can’t spit no more!’ And then he come on a track and killed some of the so called “best” rappers of the time period.
That’s a good point that people probably don’t realize and think back to.
Coming from Chicago you know all to well about the Midwest which has not really had it’s “time” like the east, west, and south. Do you think this will ever be the case?
I think the Midwest has always played it’s position in Hip-Hop as the rare gems and I think it will continuously be that. I think that every few years you get a rare gem from the Midwest but usually when something comes from the Midwest it’s the biggest thing in the industry period at that point in time. People in the Midwest don’t have a sound because we are influenced by everybody around us so like even just in Chicago for instance you can’t take one emcee from here and be like ‘that dude really sounds like the rest of mainstream.’ At least not the big ones, like Twista, Kanye, Common, Lupe, like are these dudes even in the same planet let alone the same city.
Chicago is like a consumer market because as far as the music industry goes Chicago is where everybody tests everything because if it works in Chicago it will work in other places because our radio is the most accurate to the Billboard top 40. If you’re number one on the Chicago radio stations then your number one all over the country most likely. It’s a consumer market and the industry wants to keep Chicago like that.
When you go to Atlanta that’s not identical to the top 40 at all, you hear stuff you’ve never heard in your life on the radio but they are taste makers and we are more so taste testers as you would say. That’s pretty much how they use the Midwest but I don’t think there will ever be a Midwest movement at one time but I do think you get a rare gem every two years. You get an Eminem, you get a Nelly, you get a Kanye, you get a Twista, you get a Lupe, oh and I forgot MC Breed from Michigan, rest in peace.
A lot of people say the West Coast fell off, the South oversaturated, and that the east coast is waiting for the next big thing from New York. Do you think it’s better that the Midwest not have a movement so that they don’t end up like the rest of Hip-Hop?
Yeah, definitely, I definitely think that’s better. I think everybody should be like that. Another thing that I kind of see coming for the future of Hip-Hop is that it’s going to become unimportant where you come from because everyone’s sounds are starting to melt because everyone’s influenced by everything. I grew up on Nirvana just as much as I grew up on Dr. Dre so it’s like I’m influenced by shit coming out of Seattle and everybody in my age group is kind of like that. You go to the ATL and you hear somebody like B.o.B. and you wonder if he’s from Chicago or from Atlanta, it’s like where are these people from?
A big name in that light, Jay Electronica.
Yeah like I would’ve never guessed he was from where Cash Money from. He from New Orleans, for real? The Knux is from New Orleans too, and people are like ‘they from the Hot Boys city?’
Could you argue that Chicago is having an industry wave of success because of the hipster movement?
I really hate that word and every “hipster” does. That’s kind of the hipster thing to do, to say they’re not a hipster. So I don’t want to say I’m not a hipster or I’m not apart of a hipster movement. I think Chicago has held an important spot in it but the hipster scene is kind of global. It’s like the end of pop culture, that’s what hipster movement looks like to me.
It’s just a bunch of people with 50,000 different things that they think is cool while mixing it in one pot and you come out with “hipster movement.” That’s what I was getting at when I was talking about how it’s not going to be important where your from because like when I go out of town, say I do a show in Chicago that is like a “hipster” show, when I go to New York I see kids that look just like those same kids I just left in Chicago. When I go to San Francisco and do a show I see kids that look just like those kids that I just left in New York. They got the sneakers and the Super gear on, it’s global. The first artist to get recognition in it for doing it are probably from Chicago but they might not necessarily be the first it just came out here of here first and it’s where you heard it from first.
Would you consider yourself a hipster or at any point in your career did you consider yourself one?
I never considered myself a hipster, I didn’t know there were weird people like me until about two years ago. I just know that I never fitted into any other group before. The backpackers never fully accepted me even though I would eat their ass up at every backpack event like I would go to Scribble Jam and Breaklanta, all the backpack shit like all the Hip-Hop Mecca’s. I never dressed like them but I went to their things and they would be like, “what’s up with dude, he’s not like us, he doesn’t have big ass timbos on and shit, what’s up with him.”
And then one day it was just like ‘damn who the fuck is these mother fuckers,” and I just like kind of fell into it because it was some kind of description that I finally fit into but I’ve always been like this since high school. You could really say that like me and Million $ Mano and my boy Hollywood [Holt] really influenced the movement in Chicago because a lot of cats weren’t on that. Me and Mano was doing our thing before The Cool Kids and we were on the old school shit before them.
I kind of left it alone but I still had my high top and that’s like to pay homage bust as far as the gold ropes and shit, that shit’s corny now so you let the other cats play with that. You’ve got to keep moving on and you’ve go to shake the biters and that’s pretty much all I do. These motherfuckers have been really pushing me back to my hood roots and it’s like all the people in the hood are starting to dress like this shit. I live in Riverdale and that’s the ‘hood and I see motherfuckers on skateboards and shits just crazy.
So now you would define yourself as more of a cross between hood and indie?
I think it’s a bunch of different amalgams of different shit. Because I’ll say this about hipsters, if you go to a hipster party and ask them what they used to be before a hipster they were probably a backpacker or a raver. The white kids were usually ravers and the black kids were usually backpackers but some of the white kids were backpackers too. Pretty much like all underground culture molded into one that’s, it’s just all of the indie themes molding into one big movement. When you go to indie shows you’re gonna hear indie Hip-Hop, you’re gonna hear indie electro, indie house, indie rock. They’re into anything that no one really knows about yet. I’ll say this, I am hipster for now but once I become mainstream I won’t be hipster anymore because that’s kind of the whole key to being hipster, it’s exclusive. Like real talk, I don’t dress any differently than Jeezy, like Jeezy wears Crooks & Castle and his shit aint baggy as fuck and my shit aint baggy as fuck. Lil’ Wayne would be considered hipster if nobody knew who he was, he got on the Supras, the tight ass red jeans, and the lip rings. He would be considered hipster if nobody knew of him. Andre 3000, that dude is hipster but that dude has been around 15 years so he’s just Andre.
Mainstream can’t be hipster?
No, not truly. They can bite it but they aren’t true hipsters.
Connecting to not being mainstream on “I’m an Asshole” you take aim at major labels saying that “the label man said I need to make a hit/but I’m a get up on this microphone and talk my shit.” Have you had any experiences with a major label that has kept you independent and “talking your shit?”
I’ve had a label man that said the dumbest shit to me I have ever heard in my life. He was like, “I like it but can my grand mother listen to it?” I was like ‘why the fuck would your grandma buy a Hip-Hop album anyway? I don’t think your grandma wants to hear Fresh Prince either, she’s going to listen to blues or whatever the fuck she listens to you dumbass.’ Yeah you get dumb shit like that pretty much, and some people say that I’m not as PC as I could be. I’m pretty gutter with it and there’s label people that respect it and there’s label people that don’t and I’m looking for the ones that do. Pretty much the whole thing is about saying what other people are scared to say and that anybody that things differently from the masses is considered an asshole. It’s like ‘dude’s an asshole because he isn’t going with the group.’ But it’s like, ‘Fuck the group!’
I’m guessing this doesn’t totally rule out major label deals? Do you have any on the table?
Definitely, I’m in talks with a couple majors right now and as long as I get that creative control that’s all I’m adamant about. If I can get that it’s all good.
Whether or not you get on with a major, will you be releasing an LP in the near future?
Yeah, I really have a lot of shit. I kind of have my first three albums mapped out in my brain. Of course I’m gonna meet new people and make new shit and some of that old stuff is going to get mixtaped out but I’ve always had the concepts in my head. It’s going to be dope.
Are you waiting on the label or will you put it out independently?
The major label right now is looking like around the corner, first quarterish, there’s paper work out and everything. I’m just kind of going through my thing seeing which one I want to go with and what I want to do. I’ll definitely drop a few more mixtapes before an album, at least two more.
What’s next with the mixtapes?
The next mixtape will be The Fresh Prince of Darkness and that’s going to have a fresh prince theme to it but in hell and that’s bringing out another alias as like Will Smith’s evil twin, “Fresh Prince of Darkness.” The other one I haven’t come up with a name yet. Matter of fact that one will be the Terrordome Volume 3, that will be the ending to the Terrordome series that I’ve been working on.
The mixtape game see’s a lot of “remixes” that rappers use just to use them but with you, your two remixes (M.I.A.’s “Come Around” & Tequila Mockingbird’s “Snow Globe) are true artist to artist consignment. How did that come about?
My boy Million $ Mano is M.I.A.’s DJ and M.I.A. was in Chicago at an after party after one of her shows and Mano was spinning and he dropped “Juked Them Hoes” and that’s one of my tracks that’s really huge in Chicago and on the radio here and she basically saw the entire crow go crazy. She was like “what is that shit?” and he was like “that’s my boy Mic Terror, Juke Them Hoes.”
Then the next day M.I.A. hit me on MySpace and was like, “I want to sign you.” And she has an imprint now called Neat and it’s on Interscope and she was like, “I want to sign you and you can say whatever you want.” And I wasn’t necessarily sure that was who I wanted to go with originally because I had other things that I was going with as far as label situations. So instead I just kept on building onto that relationship and she said one day that she was doing remixes to a bunch of songs of the album and asked me which one I wanted to do and I said “Come Around” so she sent me the beat and I record that and the rest is history.
I’m not even sure as far as Travis how he even heard of me but I just remember him posting one of my “Porno Movies” video on his blog and he was just like, “yo, Mic Terror is a beast!” Mo Billionaire [manager] had a contact with Travis with this dude named Nicholas Scimeca, Tequila Mockingbird is Travis and Nick who make up Tequila Mockingbird. Nick hit me up and was like, “yo, Travis really wants you on this track, it’s called “Snow Globe”” And that’s pretty much how that happened. I didn’t meet Travis until like a few weeks ago when he came to one of my shows after his show at the United Center. He went from there to the Beat Kitchen to see my show and he had the nappy boy chain on from getting signed to T-Pain’s imprint and he was flicking.
To get more into the mixtape, DJ MoonDawg hosted this tape and he’s one of the few DJs in Chicago that hosts mixtapes regularly. Can you explain to people why there are not as many mixtape DJs in Chicago?
You know what, there is really no excuse for it because there’s definitely people here that want for it. It’s like every few years you get two dudes in Chicago and that will be it. Like Sean Mac was doing it for a long time and he was like, ‘DJ Sean Mac, Shadyville DJ!’ and he was putting out one every month. Mike Love was putting out one every month, DJ Pharris was putting out one every month too. I don’t know. It’s definitely needed out here I don’t know why more people don’t do it. MoonDawg is self employed and doing his thing here and I had to fuck with him because he’s one of the only ones out here doing it how it should be done. He’s been doing his thing for real.
What’s the next step for Mic Terror?
The next step is invade your television, MTV, BET, TRL doesn’t exist so whatever show they put out like The Deal. Also, Mic Terrorvision is coming out this month and that’s the internet reality show which is just letting people inside my routine and what I’m doing. Showing the journey of coming from the underground to mainstream. It’s actually pretty funny so even if you don’t like my music you’ll probably still like it because it’s dumb ass hell, it’s jackass-like and a lot of funny shit going.
Download Mic Terror’s new mixtape here: http://www.zshare.net/download/54673287c9359594/