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[rock the dub Interview]: Messinian

There's a lot of hate when it comes to MCs these days, especially with MCs who spit over Drum & Bass. Many (in the US at least) are seen as perps, guys who put on certain accents and really try to emulate those before them, as opposed to bringing on their own flavor and inflections. I never had that problem - I grew up on the one known as Messinian. I first saw Messinian when he wasn't Messinian, at a party in Philly called "MANGO". The majority of the party was a bust, but he was rockin' hard in the crowded inner club, and I knew dude had it. I didn't realize that, a few months later, I'd be indoctrinated into the Messinian church at a monumental night in Philly Jungle lore called "Sutpen's Jungle". I truly saw how an emcee with real lyrics and real feeling could not only rock a party, but still educate (KRS called that "edutainment", no?)... all while keepin' on beat. It sounds so simple, but so many have tried and failed. Mind you, this was in 2000 - flash forward 7 years, and Messinian is part of the legendary POTD crew, he has spit for many crowds in numerous time zones and countries. He's completed an album, Vampire Hustle, that is set to drop before you know it. I finally got a chance to fling some Q's at him about this and his come-up, and he returned them Q's EARLY (whattup Phillytown?!). Let's get to it...

khal: EZ Messinian. For those out there who might not be in tune to who you are, can you give us a brief rundown of who you run with, where you’ve ran, and why you’re running?

Messinian: Shhhiiiiiiiiit…My name's Messinian--- North Phil... I run from nothin’...The trap can catch up, mayne... This boy been hustlin’... For real... I've been fortunate to be touring the world for the last 8 years rappin' at underground shows and huge sports arenas. My squad when I rock to DnB is Dieselboy, Dara and AK1200... we are collectively known as Planet of the Drums. The tour we do each and every summer is the longest running tour in Electronic Music, ever. Period. We are very blessed to pack the house every night with the wildest, most headstrong fans in the world. My Rap/Hip-Hop crew is so deep we'll be here for days. I roll with MCs, DJs, producers, and Soul singers from Philly, LA, NYC, The Yay, London, and all around the world that make my musical vision and stage show complete on the Rap tip. All I do is write rhymes, produce beats, and burn roofs like a muhfucka... I've toured Africa, Australia, South America, Asia, and Europe, all of America blah blah blah. Now you know the deal... Don’t want to sound like I'm bragging... but I'm blessed. My life's da shit.

khal: Now in terms of MCs who spit over DnB, I’ve been a fan of yours for the last 8 years, when you were rocking all over Philly as “James Dean”. How did MC James Dean become J-Messinian?

Messinian: Thanks fam. Well, you and Philly know me by my real first and middle name because we're cool like that---Philly and LA made me who I am... we're on a real name basis... and you know damn well that peeps are gonna call you James Dean once they find out that’s what your real name is. That name was made infamous by a pimp from Indiana that blendered his Porsche up. It's a long story, B, but I'll make it short as possible. I love history and I feel really connected with the Mycenaean culture...they were around about 1100-800BC. I ain’t gonna fuck up everyone's high by giving them a history lesson, but I'm the type of dude that could burn the rainforest and zone out to the History Channel for 6 hours straight. Give me Egyptian tombs, Asian Dynasties, and Greek Mythology all day, son! I know that might sound weird ‘cos I make music that moves asses in the clubs and makes people want to murk foes... but damn. I guess that's the duality of me. No one wants to go to the club, get drizzy, and fuck a broad to a song about the Mycenaean culture's advanced cuneiform. Get drunk, get crunk, and get your learn on, bitch. Seriously though... the King Hammurabi special I watched last night was ill.

khal: Now you’ve come up rough. You’ve had to deal with a lot of wild issues as a kid, be it homelessness, drugs, poverty – the constant struggle, which many MCs (signed and unsigned) have gone through, especially in the Rap tracks of today. Why do you think you veered one way, towards self-enlightenment and education of the masses, and countless others have all been captivated by the dollar?

Messinian: I'll be real with you man... I just do what comes naturally. I don't really focus on what other fools are doing to ruin the music... I just live this shit on the daily and do what I do to make it interesting to me and my fans. I love rockin’ shows and moving crowds and focusing on my pad. It’s artistic, but it’s also a party every damn night of the year touring the world with my people. And we did all this without radio or Clear Channel. But if radio wants to jump on board with my Rap shit-- I'm down. I'm anti-bullshit... not anti-money. Being anti-money is just being anti-brain... and you know every dude loves brain, mayne. I feel like every artist, every MC, every singer is just human at the end of the day. You want to know what I'm going through? I'll write it down and spit it for you. Sometimes I'm drunk and crackin’ jokes when I pick up the pen... sometimes my mind is filled with stress and pain... sometimes my dick is hard and my girl ain't home. Whatever it is-- it's just me talking to you... And since it's a personal connection I'm trying to make between my mind and the listener; I like to show ALL of me on my tracks. I have a lot of future ideas musically and I don't want to get pigeon-holed as this or that. I want to be able to collaborate with ill MCs, Pop Stars, Rockers, Symphonies, etc., and make the music I feel like making when I feel like making it. I've been through a lot of bullshit and pain, but so has everyone. Yes I went through Poverty, drugs, homelessness, the loss of family members and friends... but that's life. My life has truly gone from rags to riches and I appreciate each day I'm not in a shitty situation any more. You know what I want? I want my music to make people laugh, cry, dance, punch shit, think, fuck, and change the world. Pick one and do it.

khal: You seem to have really come into your own when you were rollin’ with the Substitution crew – I actually remember being at the first Sutpen’s Jungle (at the Electric Factory), seeing yourself and Mis-Ty going for broke over DJ Dara’s mixing. That was a big night. What is it about the Philadelphia Jungle scene that made events like that and others so moving, so raw, and just so fucking fun?

Messinian: Philly just has that vibe that inspires and encourages the raw shit. People in Philly are very real and they get down to business... when the roof is getting burned the fuck down--then there really isn't any choice in the matter, is there? Get the drinks out, call your people, and start tearin’ the fuckin’ club up... Philly is my home and Philly is the shit. Simple and plain. Thank you to Philly for making me who I am today. And thank you to Philly for all the dope poets, artists, DJs, MCs, bands whose dicks the media will be riding in the very near future.

khal: After that, you started to really branch out – and your name started popping up with the now-legendary Planet Of The Drums crew. You’ve now been all over the globe, touring with the heavy hitters of the scene. Are there any differences between a hype crowd in say LA and a hype crowd in Macedonia or Hungary?

Messinian: Nah. When it comes down to it, a great party is a great party. People love music far and wide and that's one thing that keeps the atlas bound together. A club is a club. A packed house is a packed house. If I showed you my tour footage of peeps jumping around to beats in Hungary and peeps jumping around to beats in Costa Rica, the only thing that would give the shit away is the sun tans. The world is small... Music is a beautiful thing.

khal: Seeing as though you’ve been through many of the changes the Jungle/DnB scene in terms of sound has gone through, do you have any gripes in terms of where the more popular styles of DnB have gone? I ask b/c I know you have an extensive love for the classic jungle cuts, but that sound is really rare these days…

Messinian: No gripes at all... the music keeps moving to where people want to take it. I'm not a hater in any sense. There's room for all styles in the scene. I love the whole spectrum of DnB and I know that the music has grown so universal that there is someone out there making the shit that I want to hear. When that day stops I'll drop DnB tunes on yo ass... but to all the kids that bitch... Get Logic, Pro Tools, or Cubase and make the shit happen. Negativity will get you nowhere. The scene ain’t as big as that stick up your ass... That's one to grow on.

khal: In the last few years, especially on your website, it seems as though you’ve taken satire in Rap to another level, producing both images and tracks that really call into question the songs and videos we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Where do you see this problem of glamorizing sex & violence (among other things) in Hip-Hop coming to an end? Do you think it’s too late?

Messinian: Yeah... a lot of my songs are very satirical. If you know me personally then a lot of the songs take on a whole new meaning. It's funny because there's a finer line then people would think between embracing the bullshit and calling out the bullshit....I'm not a thug that slaps hoes with a gold grill... I'm not a pretentious backpacker drinking Haterade...I'm a music lover and a Hip-Hop head....and Hip-Hop ain’t never gonna die. Sex and Violence, when spit poetically, are the shit. Some of the greatest poems/songs of all time have been about sex and violence. It's up to each of us as individuals to support the artists we fuck with. Music Lovers listen...That's the only way these artists can live and focus on making music that you want to listen to... so don’t be a pussclot... you hear something you like? Then please throw them fuckers a dollar and download it off iTunes.

khal: I heard that you have an album that’s set to hit iTunes in the coming months (Vampire Hustle, I believe). Can you speak on what that’s all about, what we can expect to hear on it (is it just Hip-Hop?), and when we can cop it?

Messinian: Vampire Hustle is gonna be out in October/November on iTunes... Shit is crazy, yo. I'm really happy with it. You def. gotta peep the preview tracks and photography for it at www.myspace.com/messinian. Then you'll see where my head is at. It’s Hip-Hop/Baltimore Club/Top 40/street shit all rolled into one. It's time to do something different that can still reach the underground and the masses and hopefully peeps can tap into the shit I've been making. The album has production by underground veterans and up-and-coming heroes from all over the globe....Rest in Peace Disco D, The Enemy from Evol Intent, Cardiff Giants from J Records, Skynet, Photek and HoChi from TEKDBZ, Jayvon, Brigade, The One, Jon Bourke... the list goes on and on. My website is getting revamped but peep that shit soon and I’ll have free download mixes of new tunes I'm working on and I’ll tell you a shitload more about it.

khal: Now, the world of Hip-Hop has lost some greats in the last couple of years, including someone who was close to you, Disco D. Most listeners might only know him as the guy who produced “Ski Mask Way”, and not realize how much work he put in both behind the boards and on the decks. Your upcoming project has some tracks he produced, right? Can you speak how you two met, and what it was like working with someone who had such talent?

Messinian: Disco D aka Dave was an underground legend. A kind hearted genius that did more for Techno and Rap music than a lot of people know. He was such a good soul and it’s a shame that being bi-polar took him away from this earth at such a young age... that was our brother. I met him through mutual friends in the music community - Jessica in Seattle, Joe in OK... the list goes on and on... He agreed to work with me because he said my name kept poppin’ up in conversations left and right and that’s the same shit that was happening to me. We set aside time and finally said "let’s do this". For peeps out there that don’t know he made his claim to fame for being a co-founder of the Ghettotech movement in Detroit... but that was the tip of the iceberg. He was so versatile with his music... he had shit lined up with Trick Daddy, Chamillionaire, Lil’ Wayne, and was doing remixes of groups like Spankrock and Shiny Toy Guns. Me and him had plans to work on a whole album together. My album has some of the last tracks that D made on this earth. I have so much love and appreciation for his family for helping with everything for the album during such difficult times. They know we were tight and have done everything to help. I felt like when I was in the studio with dude, it was just ridiculous. He’d play a beat, I’d write to it in minutes and then we'd murk that shit. Bam. Done. I wish we could’ve made more music and had more dope memories. His motto was "Hustle Harder". So D, that's what I'm gonna do. RIP homey.

khal: Nas calls himself a thug poet. Young Jeezy says he’s not a rapper, he’s a motivational speaker. What is Messinian?

Messinian: A smart assed, revolutionary, wordsmith with his dick in your girl's hand. Nah really man... I’m a rapper. I rap.

khal: You’ve been doing it for years now – do you envision a time when you will be able to put the mic down and not feel like picking it back up?

Messinian: Yes. I call that death.

khal: With the album project coming soon, and your work with TEKDBZ and POTD always going on, when do you find time to unwind? Do you have any non-music hobbies that you indulge in when you get a few quiet hours?

Messinian: Hells yeah. I love being with my loved ones and catching up on all the time I miss from them doing music, writing, drawing, painting, runnin’ the rock, playing Nintendo Wii, partying, eating at nice restaurants, tappin’ ass, and Scrabble. Scrabble's the shit.

khal: OK so it’s about time to wrap this up. Do you have any shout outs/final thoughts/etc. to share with the readers?

Messinian: Yeah... shout outs to GOD, Allah, Buddha, Jehovah or whatever you wanna call him. Just stop fighting over what his fuckin’ name is. He told me he hates that shit... he said get your balls out of your purse and stop being a bitch. Definite respect to all the kids I teach Rap music classes to that are stuck in the Detention center in North Philly. Those kids are the next batch of unfuckwittable MCs. They been through some rough shit and they are ready to kill mics and show y’all their life. These kids are a problem. Step ya game up! Love to all the fans and beat lovers worldwide... all the artists in the circle that inspire me with dope beats and wordplay and you guys for listening to what this dickhead had to say. Respect! See you on tour.

crucial links:
cdbaby.com/cd/messinian - grab Messinian's Rhymes Against Humanity CD

Messinian videos:

Messinian Summer Tour (2006):

Video for TEKDBZ House of Blues Party:


Anonymous said...

The first Sutpen's Jungle happened at the Fakehaus in West Philadelphia, not the Electric Factory.

khal said...

did I say the first Sutpens EVER!? No... I said the first one at the Electric Factory.