Exclusive: MIMS explains his GZA-like ode to Rock & Roll on Guilt, going against feature-formulas, and why Tech N9ne will body your Top 5.
Next Tuesday, Washington Heights, New York rapper MIMS will be releasing his sophomore album Guilt. Among the album's songs, is a standout song, featuring Kansas City's Tech N9ne [click to read], called "Rock N' Rollin." Late last week, MIMS spoke to HipHopDX about the song, and how it may be one of his biggest hits and credits to lyricism, in complete disguise.
"Jim Jonsin actually produced that record," revealed MIMS. "I don't typically go in the studio to work with any major producers, 'cause if anybody knows my M-O, I really like dealin' with the up and coming talent. We did that the first album [Music Is My Savior] with The Blackout Movement. The second album [Guilt], I actually linked up with these cats outta Chicago called Da Internz."
He continued, "When I got into the studio with Jim, we had cut a couple records. The records we cut were hot, but I felt like because he had already did 'Lollipop' with Lil Wayne and 'Whatever You Like' with T.I., I was listening to his records in my head and [thinking] I should do something like that. That was the wrong mindframe of goin' in with him. So I came in one day, the last day of the three-day session, and I [wanted] to do something different. Jim Jonsin is like the motorcycle, biker dude."
By virtue of Jim's passions and style, MIMS and the Florida hit-maker crafted a guitar-laden song that is to Rock & Roll band names, what GZA's "Labels" was to Rap imprints. "I want to take all the names of the greatest Rock bands and I want to put them in a record that'll make a bit of sense, but also be twisted. It took me a couple hours to write it, get all the groups down, but I think that's one of the most notable records on this album. It definitely stands out. And you would have never, ever have guessed that I would have gotten Tech N9ne on it."
MIMS says that he first met Tech N9ne, a cult-followed, record-breaking independent artist, by virtue of the two both performing on a taping of MTV's My Sweet 16. The relationship grew, "I was planning on putting Tech on the 'Move (Remix),' but after hearing this record, I said I knew that Tech could destroy this record. I'm a fan of his because... if lyrically, he did on this record what I feel not a lot of artists could do. You name 'em, top five dead or alive, I don't think they could've come into the studio and did the verse that he did on that record."
The rapper went on to expound on his own natural knowledge of Rock music. "I know my fair share of bands. Taking it back to the old school, obviously, everybody knows The Beatles. Everybody knows The Eagles. I got on the Internet and started lookin' up some old titles of records and just started puttin' things together."
With potential for Rock radio cross-over, MIMS is hoping fans help drive this song to a hit. "The record is so much bigger than this album that hopefully that it doesn't get buried within the album, and the fans will naturally gravitate towards that record to listen to it."
With Rock/Rap-friendly deejays like Z-Trip and AM, MIMS was asked, especially given his history of cutting in records on beats, if the song lends itself to remixing. "You want to entice the deejay, and make them feel good about music again. Everytime I was able to name a region [on 'This Is Why I'm Hot'], [Blackout Movement] was able to put a record behind it. It enhanced the record to where people were waiting to hear what would happen next. It cost me a lot of money, but well-spent. I wouldn't be where I'm at if it weren't for those samples."
As rappers like Nice & Smooth also appear on Guilt, in addition to Tech, MIMS was asked about his reputation for putting unlikely - or less formulaic guests on his album, stemming from his debut, featuring underground vet emcee, Bad Seed. "Although people see me as one of the biggest commercially-released artists with a record like 'This Is Why I'm Hot,' I still came in the game as an independent, no different from what a Bad Boy did or what a Roc-A-Fella did."
He added,"I just like music, and I don't let it limit me. I would be willing to work with anybody from a Bad Seed all the way to a Katy Perry...There's a formula in music that everybody seems to follow: let's get hit-makers to work with other hit-makers and make hit music...Bad Seed is an incredible lyricist, an incredible artist, and a really good friend of mine. So if I can go in the studio and make a hit record with Bad Seed as opposed to trying to half a million dollars trying to get Jay-Z or Kanye West or someone - and no disrespect to those guys, 'cause I admire their work, I'ma stick with my dog. To a listener now, the playing field is even. It's not about who's on your record, it's about what it sounds like."
With an album based around an industry stigma of one-hit and one-album wonders, MIMS told DX he disregards first week sales, after claiming he sold 80,000 units first week of his debut. Instead, the New York rapper is pushing art. "The album is designed to live. Hopefully, that's what'll keep me afloat, and bring this to a gold or a platinum or double-platinum, diamond status, as long as it catches on."
Guilt is in stores next Tuesday, April 7.