Mic Stewart | Photo via facebook.com/MicStewartMusic
Mic Stewart gets ready for what could be the biggest year of his career
With an exquisite delivery, a 2013 debut album out and a new one coming later this year, Philadelphia’s Mic Stewart may be the city’s unsung hero. Displaying tracks with soulful samples and killer charisma, matched with a wicked vocabulary and vernacular to impress, its no wonder why this emcee is something special and dare I say a “bad mothaf*cker.”
I sat down with Stew last Friday to discuss all things hip-hop, his menacing new single “All Black Chucks,” the creation of his debut Peaceworld, his seemingly quiet 2014 and more.
On his early inspiration:
“I think the artist I listened to growing up most heavily was Lil Wayne. It was during the Carter I and Dedication mixtape era, he was going crazy! So yea that was the Wayne I was listening to, I would rap over Lil Wayne stuff. I think I developed as a songwriter though by listening to Kanye West, Common, and Blackstarr in high school. I also liked this group called Zion I, they sounded a lot like A Tribe Called Quest, super groovy.”
On the Wayne and CashMoney situation:
“I think its amazing, in terms of a story arc for American rap culture, It’s like the WWF of music. I’m starting to find with a lot of the older guys as they’re starting to age and the younger guys are coming, like Drake, Nicki, and Cole, these new guys move into this varsity team cause they’ve been doing it for so long kids now associate them with rap. Now as the older guys start to become legends I think they’re going out with a bang, like Wayne is just emptying out the tank. But yeah, I feel like its just a great narrative for rap”.
On rap in the music industry:
“I think it’s such a pop-heavy industry. That’s why a lot of these well-deserving artists don’t win the big awards but at the same time why all the big rappers that have been in the game wonder why we as hip-hop listeners worry about it. Like who’s looking for hip-hop at the Grammy’s? Grammys isn’t for rap, we knew they were going to get things like Macklemore and Kendrick’s albums wrong, they do it every year.”
On creation of Peaceworld:
“Peaceworld actually happened really fast, it started as 5 records that I was going to pitch for different artists. We were prepping records for Freeway, Skyzoo ironically, and we were prepping for Action Bronson. A friend of mine in New York City was going to pitch them to Epic records. So I’m doing these verses and sending them to Kev (Epic Records) and he’s like naa I don’t think that the one. So I had these records that were finished and filled in the spaces and just put Peaceworld out, it took like 3 months.”
On his 2014 hiatus:
“I never stopped writing and I never stopped recording. I stopped gigging because I felt like I was spinning the tires. Peaceworld was a dope album but it wasn’t a classic album and I didn’t really know what direction to go in after that. I felt like I was shaking people down for money. I was living off my gig money but it just wasn’t where I wanted to be, I thought I had to go back to the drawing board and become a stronger recording artist and come out with an album that just had a stronger point of view.”
On the concept behind the video for “All Black Chucks”:
“A friend of mine, the director Derrick told me I had to put out a visual. He said that we should just forget about production and just basically film me making it. When we sat down to storyboard the video we had a lot of concepts but also talked about potentially getting a Converse deal. We shot that whole in studio video to basically get their attention.”
On what we could expect from Stew in 2015:
“Definitely an album in 2015, a full-length that I don’t have a title for right now, but yeah, an album. In March I’ll be out in Dallas, Texas, at an art studio where my homegirl throws bangers so she’s gonna host me out there. I’m really trying to get to New York City and D.C, I have friends and support in those cities. My hopes is that “Black Chucks” will be the spearhead and with my next single I’ll be able to tour. I also changed my focus, I wanted to be independent but now I’m looking to partner up with a major or indie label. I’m a creative so I’m looking for a deal this year and someone to manage me.”
On his top 5 rappers of all time:
“There are three that don’t move: Black Thought, Andre 3000, and Eminem. I don’t think I’ll ever move those three out. The bottom two is always harder, you have Nas, Jay Z, Biggie, and you can say what you want about Jay at this point in his career but he can still rap his ass off. I went to see him and he would just have his diamond in the sky and spit every verse and every word without missing a beat, he would nail it! Sure he’s not rapping like he was in the 90’s, but no ones rapping like they were in the 90’s. He’s just Jay.”
My interview concluded with receiving a signed copy of his debut and a better understanding of who Mic Stewart the artist was. An individual with a mission and a goal set, Stew displayed a prowess that isn’t often seen and I don’t see him being stopped anytime soon.
Stewart performs at the Hard Rock Café this Friday, February 13th, with SunWun, Def Bananas, The Shady Bunch, and Yonnie Mcfly. Get tickets and more information on the show via the XPN Concert Calendar.