Over the last two years, you've probably seen a mixtape, video or random throwback from the EMS Productions crew. We've helped present releases, and just bigged up this Boston-area collective of MCs, DJs, producers and just talented mufuckas. One of the heads of this outfit is M-Dot, who has been representing on his own for a while, be it dropping sick mixtapes or the recent release of Run MPC - dude does it for Hip-Hop, and recently came back from a European tour. I got a chance to speak with him about his beginnings, the beginnings of the EMS crew, and his success. We also get a couple of exclusive pieces of info about what this cat has for the future - and trust, dude's plate is hella full! Two plates! Let's go!
khal: Thanks for sitting down with us, fam. Introduce yourself and your affiliations to the good people. Where does the name M-Dot come from?
M-Dot: Thank you for having me, homey. A pleasure for me, real talk, been messing with your site for awhile now. I genuinely appreciate the continued support. It all stems from the relationship my brother Rev has built with RocktheDub. As far as my name. It's just my initials (Michael . Januario). It originally was "M-Dot-J", but I dropped the 'J' (my nickname when I played basketball in college), and spelled out the "Dot". Then of course it developed into an acronym (as you know with all my CD titles, lol).
khal: With the amount of product you put out there, it feels like you’ve been rapping forever – when did you first get into Hip-Hop, and how did that love/appreciation for the music turn into you wanting to pick up a pen and start rhyming?
M-Dot: I have been writing for along time, I'd truly say since I was 11 or so, but didn't start really spitting over beats 'til I was in HS. I never thought it could be my job, but then I kinda got stuck in it. Real talk. One show turned into 2 shows, turned into me being hype off the reaction of listeners, and fiending for more of the same. The hardships, the enjoyment of the ups and downs, even this Hip-Hop roller-coaster, with all the constant turbulence, made me want to prove it more that I could do it full time. Fast forward to present day, and it's been my full-time job for four years. Rev can attest, it ain't easy (I have a 4-year-old son), and a family, but it's a commitment that is expected if you want the fruits.
khal: What is it about writing that excites you?
M-Dot: It always changes. Three years ago was the pain in my life - death, fights with my baby mama, the bullshit of having to break thru the door of an overly-populated industry. Last year, it was challenging myself, as you see, to top every previous song recorded, match six or more syllables, get respect from pioneers, and prove everyone wrong who feels I shouldn't have garnered accolades. Current day, it's just making good music, not just "rap", good music (performing with my band more often, so composing more music), and proving to myself that I deserve to have accolades (fuck anyone else), deserve to have vinyl out, deserve to have distributed respected releases and deserve be on tour in Europe for the third time.
khal: Do you remember one of your early favorite rhymes, from when you first started getting into it?
M-Dot: 2Pac. Anything 2Pac was dope. But the first rhyme I can remember that got me wanting to write? Damn. Had to be Gangstarr or even Snoop. Believe it or not, I know Snoop isn't a lyricist but his style really had me wanting to write. I dug that track he had with Dre on The Chronic, it wasn't a single but I will never forget the content. The song "Lil' Ghetto Boy". That was real dope.
khal: Now you’re affiliated with the EMS crew. How did you get involved with EMS in the beginning?
M-Dot: Rev and I started EMS. Then about 5 months later we added Mayhem (who at the time, to me, was a really dope spitter, and could only add to the group and solidify us well rounded trio). Since Rev & I have added so many members, from DJs to Producers, MCs, graphic artists, everyone contributes. To many to name. Shout outs to the whole family. And shout outs to everyone in the crew for believing in Rev and my vision for the label (EMS Productions).
khal: What’s it like having a collective like that around you for support?
M-Dot: It's a blessing. And there's no egos. They really stand behind me. And I appreciate them, real talk. I legit have a small army who are there for me when needed. Each tour, show, song, release, they rotate accordingly when I need them. When May or Strick can't be there, Rev is there, when DJ Clashious Clay or D-Rek can't be there, Family Tyz, Pauly Fingaz or TyQuoddy is there, when Kore can't be there, Desco is there. The list goes on. Shout outs to the whole crew once again. Shout outs to DJ Jean Maron, Explizit One and so many other EMS members who hold down the production.
khal: Now with your mixtapes and album releases, you’ve used different plays on your name “M-Dot”. Where did the idea for doing that come into play?
M-Dot: I just really wanted words that embodied my name and way of thinking. Money Doesn't Own Thought gave light to the concept that money doesn't dictate all my decisions. Unlike most these lames, I am not just trying to put on a clown suit for a dollar, or looking for the short cut. I want my music to last throughout the years. And Making Doubters Over Think, that's an easy one to figure out. That's for all these people out there who keep over-thinking my sudden success. Get used to it, I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE. It is not SUDDEN, we have been doing this for years, and my SUCCESS is not even half-met, I still have a lot left to do. Just realize that anytime y'all type on your safe little keyboards and pour out your hate, it gives me more fuel to bury your disbeliefs, as you watch me on YouTube touring another continent and your scratching your nuts working a 9-5 mad at me.
khal: Aside from the praise you’ve received worldwide for your music, you’ve also won some awards locally. Talk to us about getting that recognition from your hometown peers.
M-Dot: Its cool to work so closely with Krumb (that's my real brother), 7L (who produced four beats on my solo CD, whenever it finally comes out lol), Edo G and so many other Boston legends. It is real special for me to have earned their respect, especially being so much younger than everybody, and doing so off my music. As far as awards, those don't mean as much, only because I wanna do much more than win awards (they're just trophies). Shout outs to all the other nominees (Eso, Reks and Slaine), they were all equally as deserving.
khal: Speaking of getting recognition, your work has found you collaborating with a number of talented producers and MCs. Who would you say is your favorite collaborator, outside of your crew?
M-Dot: Krumb of course (we have too many songs to name together, and whenever we work it blends well). Again, there's to many to name. But def KS.
khal: You recently put out M.ore D.oubters O.ver T.hinking in March. What’s lined up for you for the rest of 2011?
M-Dot: I am working on an EP with King Magnetic (of AOTP), you are one of the first sites to know this. This CD will be bananas. Also my solo (probably due in mid 2012), a full CD with producer Explizit One, and EP with Red Eye (of the Closers), aas well as another mixtape in the acronym series. Plate is full for sure.
khal: You recently just got off tour and I believe you’re about to go on tour, right? How’s the response to your show been? Where will your next leg of dates be taking you?
M-Dot: I just did my 3rd European tour (22 days). It was real cool. I am exhausted from the tour, no joke. Did 12 features (on Europeans albums), 5 shows (throughout Switzerland, Nancy, Les Gets, France & more), and two major music videos (shout outs to DJ Brans & SoulSlicers). Big thank you to Oto10Dakt (the clothing line that now sponsors me) for putting so much together. Working is great. And many so called rappers don't realize what it takes to make money off music, how much it entails and how much you have to do. I was proud to work and return to USA with money and love from Europe. Crowds were dope. Sold my whole luggage of merch (left in empty suitcase in Geneva, which was full when I left Boston).
khal: Where would you like to see your career in music take you in the next couple of years?
M-Dot: More countries. More musical. More listeners. I just wanna expand. Traveling always opens my eyes, and I realize there is so much more than just Boston. I wanna keep striving to improve. And hopefully make a better album next release, cuz realistically I haven't put out my own solo. And I hope that CD will give me a stamp. The mixtape love has been amazing, but its time to work on my real solo after the CD from me and King Mag.
khal: Before we wrap this up, do you have any shouts or final thoughts?
M-Dot: Shout outs to EMS!! Oto10Dakt, my son. Desco (for being with me on tour as my hype man, and brother), DJ Jean Maron, Kris with A K, my girl, my whole family, Explizit, Pat Reardon, Jace, Snowgoons, Jimmy Kang, Mario, Lucas, NANA, Quentin. And thank you to RTD - for real I can't say it enough times, I appreciate y'all holding me down.