If the Clash were from Miami and made a record in 2013, it would sound like ¡Mayday!'s new album, Believers.
With rock and Caribbean guitar riffs, simple but heavy bass lines, snap-and-crack drums, multilayered lyrics, and catchy hooks, this slab is the Miami rap crew's latest masterpiece.
New Times spoke with MCs Bernz and Wrekonize about Believers, touring through the weed states, ¡Mayday!-brand whiskey, why music critics don't matter, and how to survive the apocalypse.
New Times: Talk about manipulating the universe.
Bernz: The album is about, like, being able to shift your reality, bro. That's what we're on right now. We feel that you gotta be able to do that. The people we hang out with are constantly living art and living all creativity, and we feel like they're shifting their own realities. That's just metaphoric. In terms of what you want, you can achieve it if you can really see it. That was one of the overlying themes of the album.
Wrekonize: When people hear our music, it all makes sense. We make believers out of them.
How many tours have you been on now?
Wrekonize: The one we just did was our third with our label, Strange Music Inc., and we did one early ourselves. So this is the fourth one, and we're about to go on our fifth in September.
Now that you've been around the country a few times, is it any different in Colorado, Oregon, California? You know, the weed states?
Bernz: They are very different, my friend. They have a different attitude, specifically on marijuana, but in general. We have the most fans in those areas. They have the most open-minded people, and the live music scenes are thriving in those areas. We resonate there. And our music is pretty vibey. A lot of those cities are just a lot chiller.
Strange Music does a lot of great merch, like cups and koozies and sunglasses. What type of ¡Mayday! merchandise would you like to see?
Wrekonize: I'd like to see a flask, a ¡Mayday! flask. A shot glass would be cool too.
Bernz: And I want to take it up a notch, like having a ¡Mayday! whiskey or ¡Mayday! rum.
Wrekonize: Our own rum. That's dope. Something with some wood barrels. Real authentic. With an oaky flavor.
You've now been interviewed by the Source. What other outlets are on your list?
Wrekonize: I don't know, like Rolling Stone and that crap. But the more albums we sell, I feel like music gets to people in the oddest ways now. It is what it is.
Bernz: The critics will hop on the bandwagon as soon as we get huge. Nowadays, critics and reviews, I don't know if they hold as much weight as they did. I don't know if anybody cares what they think anymore.
Wrekonize: That's the beauty of an independent fan base. You have to worry about the critics a lot less.
There's a song on the new album called "High Ride." What's the best route through Miami for that kinda thing?
Bernz: I like Old Cutler. From the Grove, from Vizcaya, all the way down to Black Point and then back up. It's a good hour at least.
"Last One Standing" — what's that about?
Bernz: We wanna speak about the artists that have come and gone in our lives, and the way the world takes artists from us because of real-life situations. We've been doing this for some time. People come and go.
Wrekonize: It's basically just about standing your ground and being the last of the ones to survive the apocalypse or the problems in your daily life. If the walls collapse, what you gonna do? Survive it. Standing at the end of days and being strong enough to survive.