Go Rhyme for Rhyme With Mike Control

Go Rhyme for Rhyme With Mike Control

After witnessing an unusual amount of originality, which is very rare in the underground scene today, I was completely amazed by the new EP, and in fact I feel it has potential to sell if it gets the right exposure. How do both of you feel about your newest release? What could you have done better? What kind of feedback have you gotten from local fans so far?

Jonny – Our local heads are feelin it, we had about 100 people at our record release party, and we received a lot of positive feedback. Every one wants more, that’s what we intended cause if people were feeling it, we only wanted to give them a taste, so they’ll be on the look out for future releases. I think every time we perform our fanbase will grow.

Grey – Overall we’re pretty happy with the EP. We feel Our best work has yet to

evolve. The EP was done over a period of 2 years, were already moving ahead

with a lot new shit. But we feel the EP is a solid introduction for Mike


Who have been your major influences in hip-hop? And if you could work with any of these emcees, which would you choose, and why?

Grey – Run Dmc, Beastie Boys, Tribe Called Quest, Rakim ,Kool Keith, Lord

Finesse, Prince Paul and a lot of old school stuff. Kool Keith is guy I respect because he’s from the old school and his current stuff is really on another level from everything else that is out there. He had a record out a couple of years ago called Dr. Octagon that I think is one of the best hip-hop albums in a long time. Very experimental with beats and the rhymes. So I think he would be fun to work because his mind seems open to try anything.

Jonny – Yeah, I would like rakim to spit on a track with us, he was the first to bring lyrics like no one else and was one of my favorites growing up. I would also like to do something with M.O.P. cause they also bring it in a way that reminds me of my favorite old school hardcore groups I was into back in the late 80’s.

You guys have your own website and the MP3.com thing. Has the Internet

significantly helped your fan base grow, as well as sales and recognition?

Grey – I think the Internet is very useful to underground acts because it’s worldwide. We’ve received emails for all over the Globe looking to buy our CD and find out more about us. It’s an amazing way to network and promote. Mp3.com and Napster can be very harmful to big artist’s but for someone trying to get the music heard for the first time The Internet is great vehicle for it.

Now, Mike Control met in 1988. How has your experiences been with one

another? What have been the ups and downs until this point?

Grey – I think we tend to disagree on certain details regarding the group. A lot of the time when were working on a song Jon would like to try something I’m not down with and vice versa. It’s all about meeting in the middle and compromising.

How were you both involved in the hip-hop scene before you became Firm Grip, and then Mike Control?

Grey – We were really just fans messing with rhymes and freestyles doing stuff over instrumental singles. At that point in our life’s were in our teenage years so Our focus wasn’t really there. Years later when we formed Mike Control we were definitely more committed to make it happen.

Jonny – Yeah, I was just the biggest fan out of all my friends, and I would

promote the sounds to people really not into it who later became fans.

The punches leave my mouth wide open, and coming from someone I only know as a producer, I was shocked. By the lyricism, I’m assuming you were an emcee before you were a producer, am I right? I so, how did you get into producing, any mentors?

Well, in terms of you being correct, yes and no. See, I learned how to emcee very young–about 8–but it was just fun to do it because of this West Indian cat on my block who had an echo-chamber–for those of us reading who are that old. The emcee skill never left me. Once I decided to officially get into to the musical side of Hip Hop, I entered it as a producer who knew how to rhyme. I just couldn’t leave Hip Hop alone after break-dancing got too silly for me, for a moment in time, and I got tired of being out in the dead of night bombing as a graf artist. People started killin’ you for that shit.

When you heard the word “hip-hop” back in ’88, what did you think of? And now, in 2001, when you hear that same word, what do you think of?

Jonny – Back then it was something new, I was just getting into. It was something I wanted to be apart of and learn more about. Every day Hip Hop was apart of me. Today in my opinion it seems so commercialized and watered down. Seems like everyone’s trying to make money off of it. I’m really not feelin a lot of today’s stuff compared to years ago, although when I say this, I’m talking about the hip hop you hear on the radio and see on TV, Cause there’s a lot of Underground hip hop out there I love today.

Hip-Hop is constantly evolving, for the better and worse. What do you think hip-hop needs to change, and what do you think will never change? How does Mike Control plan on changing the face of hip-hop?

Jonny – I think hiphop has to change into more of a live aspect, seeing more groups add live instruments to their live act. I see more groups doing this and I think this could be a great change for hiphop also getting more respect form people not into the music. The thing I don’t think that will change is artists coming out sounding like other artists or copying a similar style. ‘Oh thats hot now’, so everyone should sound this way. Thats one thing you will never see from Mike Control, we will always try to create something new and original. We will always go against the grain and stay focused on what we want to accomplish, not letting the current tread get in the way of our ideas.

Let’s go back to 1994: “Firm Grip”. Tell us a little about that. How did your local community respond to the trio? What caused the two-way split?

Jonny – The community was feeling us, the whole neighborhood would see us perform at a local club my boy was running. At that time none of us were really focused and we were all very immature, everything we wanted to do seemed like a mission like getting into the studio and also paying for studio time. The end finally came in a bad show that pulled the plug on Firm Grip.

“The Introduction” brings a new age of production on the underground

rap scene. The beats are definitely ones I can’t compare to previous

beats of other artists. It’s even more surprising to see that both

lyrics and production is done by you guys, with occasional help from

Mike “The Oscillator.” How long have you been producing tracks?

Grey – I seriously started getting into back in 1998. This was really the start of Mike Control. I got into sampling and sequencing beat using computer program, such as Pro Tools. I was familiar with it because I had a background in video editing. So it was really like sound designing. As time went I started experimenting with other equipment like the MPC 2000, but we mainly do everything in Pro Tools.

What are you expecting from “The Introduction” EP? Positive

responses…negative? We are expecting to gain a spot

Jonny – We are expecting to put our name on the underground map and getting our sound out to as many heads as possible, cause we know peeps will be into the sound once they give us a listen or see us perform. We really don’t care about negative responses cause where going to do what we want to do anyway. If you don’t like, don’t listen.

And last, RhymeLife.com wants to thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you. We understand that things get hectic with the new release of the album. Is there anything you’d like to plug before we close out?

Jonny – Right now, where just in the stages of doing promotion for the EP., shows and just getting our word out. If the EP isn’t at a store near you, you can order it at our site. I think everyone should check the EP out cause you will experience hiphop on the next level. We are also working on a new track called “The Naturals” which we should release by June on vinyl along with “Mics I Grab” and another new joint called “Brooklyn Ill Spitters” with some quest MC’s. The shit is crazy. Everyone always go to mikecontrol.com to stay up to date on the latest and keep in mind this is only the The Introduction. Peace Jonny Bro and the Grey Ghost.

interviewed by Jeff


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