The rap game is all about grind. Just ask local six-dude rap crew ¡Mayday!
After scoring a deal with Kansas City spitter Tech N9ne's Strange Music label last year, Bernz, Wrekonize, Plex Luthor, Gianni Ca$h, L.T. Hopkins, and Nonymous took off with their new boss on the All 6's and 7's tour. They played 82 shows in 12 weeks. As Bernz says, "Just grinding every day."
Yet despite that insane road sked, the ¡Mayday! guys still found a way to pound out tracks for upcoming album Take Me to Your Leader (street date March 27), the followup to 2009's Stuck on Island and the band's debut slab for the Strange imprint.
Last week, Bernz spoke with New Times about Tech N9ne, the Strange Music family, postapocalyptic visions, the new album, and stayin' on that grind.
New Times: The trippy Take Me to Your Leader video trailer seems to indicate ¡Mayday! is still riffing along the same lines as Stuck on an Island. Will the new album be some sorta sequel to that last sci-fi concept album from the streets?
Bernz: Nah, we dropped the narrative stuff a bit. The imagery from Stuck on an Island is still pretty prevalent on the new tracks. With Take Me to Your Leader, though, we've finally left the island. We came back home. But the world is not the same as we left it. This album is gonna have a darker, postapocalyptic vibe. Basically, we just didn't want to be as blatant as we were on the previous projects with interludes and all that kinda shit.
Who's the "Leader"?
You know, in this Internet-obsessed society, everybody is a follower right now. We wanted to talk a little bit about how social networking and shit is affecting people, making them lose their personalities by hopping onto these web trends and defining themselves that way.
And the other thing... We left the island. We got back. And we wanna know who's in charge of this weird, dead world.
With the insane touring skeds that you ¡Mayday! dudes have been throwing down, how is it even possible to get any writing and recording done on the road?
It's superhard, bro. For the first few weeks of the tour, you're just getting your bearings. But after you kinda get your routine down, shit just clicks.
Nobody on tour even wakes up till 1 or 2 in the fuckin' afternoon. So Plex and Gio would get going at 9 a.m., sneak into the venue, find the green room or backstage, plug in the amp and laptop, and then just start makin' beats.
And luckily we've got our live equipment — guitars, keyboards, drums, bass. So in a sense, the studio kinda travels with us.
Have you guys made the conscious decision to stay productive while you're on the road? It would probably be pretty easy to just get fucked up every night and sleep late every day.
No doubt. And that's cool. It's every performer's prerogative. 'Cause getting up and playing every single day is hard fucking work, man. But I think anyone who gets ahead in the game just doesn't take breaks.
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Look at Lil Wayne... The dude never stopped working, even when he was on the road. And it's like a muscle — if you aren't rhymin' or makin' beats every day, you'll shrivel up. You can spend three months on tour and then you'll get back and it'll take you another two months to recover.
Next month, ¡Mayday! is gonna be roadtripping with Tech N9ne again for the Hostile Takeover tour. You're signed to his label. And he's doing guest spots on the new album. What have you learned about the rap game from the Strange boss?
We've all got the same work ethic. We don't take no for an answer. We just do it. And the Strange crew works so hard. They're so organized. A lot of bands and rappers wanna live the stereotype of getting fucked up all the time. But that lifestyle doesn't fit with our schedule.
That's what makes Strange so dope. You know, there's always a meet-and-greet at 3 o'clock. Most big artists don't go hang out with fans every single day. It's beyond the music. And Tech has helped us see what the game is really all about.