Before the Young Parisians left for a trip to New York City, CL contributor Michael M Sinclair caught up with one of the collective's de facto leaders, Tampa emcee Mike Mass, to get caught up on a few things like his monthly Wine & Rhyme event, who he thinks is nice on the mic and that much-anticipated new LP.
Have a look at the short Q&A below. See more photos from rehearsals here.
CL: I have overheard you call out MCs who use a backing tracks throughout their whole song. Why is that such a big deal for you?
Mike Mass: If you lean on your backing vocals, there's no display of breath control or lyrical delivery skills. It takes away from the impressive aspect of rap itself. Not to mention most times you can't understand what's being said. Huge deal for me. Cool on the hook, cool to have a few ad libs. But not mains. In MY genre at least.
This question is on a lot of people’s minds, when is the next Mike Mass album coming out?
As the formats of music change and attention spans grow shorter, so does my album (laughs). We will be releasing a series of small EP's called the Like Kings series instead of releasing one whole project. I'm ready to start performing 100-percent fresh material by 2017.
Wine and Rhyme has become a talked about event; you and Beyobe really curated something different. How did your relationship with him relationship start?
Our first official event was the first South Florida Producer Showcase at what was then Pure Bliss Lounge across the street from Crowbar. The first time we met and worked, however, was at the old Pachyderm Wing Company spot. Beyobe, myself and videographer Dustin Devars were all involved in several events at that location (now Petra) on Kennedy Blvd. From there we just continued to work.
Your trips to New York City seem to be more frequent. Are you hoping to make these expeditions a monthly thing?
We hope to be in at least two cities a month next year, repeatedly going back to New York throughout the course. We have a few planned already, but New York is definitely a hub for getting our names out there and getting our city some recognition.
With so many artist popping up in the Tampa scene, what local artist has your most respect? Who is someone we need to watch out for?
There are a bunch. Watch out for Mason Monroe, an amazing songwriter, singer, producer and MC. Also Haze Ala, one of my personal favorite southern style MCs ever. Watch out for the kid Blinsky, he's one of the nicest lyrically in the city, bar for bar. Keezie who won the King of the Stage contest is crazy, Demi Nova is destined for greatness, and of course Gat & Cris. I think out of every MC in Tampa, I respect Cris the most from a business and musical standpoint. Also Mighty Jai, the Tampa legend Prophit, and the gawds The Rukus and The Villianz.