conducted by Hugo Lunny
MVRemix: Now you’ve been rapping for quite some time now, describe a day or memorable event back when you first tried to record your music and get it out there.
Mr. Lif: The first thing that comes to mind is sacrifice. I remember sacrificing the holidays with my family to sleep on a cold stone floor in Rochester New York. My friend knew this producer who said he’d make a beat for me and provide studio time to record. Nothing about the arrangement was definite. In fact, the producer flaked on me a couple times. So I just kept going back to Rochester and sleeping on that stone floor until I finally linked up with dude and made my first song. It was titled “Da Whole 9”.
MVRemix: How does that compare to today?
Mr. Lif: There are many links to that era for me right now. This is an era of humbleness. Due to the economy, all of us have had to scale back somewhat. I have faced so much adversity between “Mo’ Mega” and now. My hunger is completely renewed. I am more focused on reaching my goals than I’ve ever been.
MVRemix: You went through a pretty serious tour bus crash a couple of years back, how did that change you?
Mr. Lif: That crash changed so many things for me. I went through some hardcore bouts with depression. The physical anguish I’ve tried to work through still and is a constant reminder of the incident. It took me a long time to figure out how to go about being a musician again. I couldn’t finish any songs for about 2 years. So much shit hit the fan for me I couldn’t possibly sum it up in this interview. The most important thing is that all the tough times have made me outright ferocious now. I’m a much stronger man than I was before the accident.
MVRemix: Tell me about “I Heard It Today.” How did the title come about?
Mr. Lif: “I Heard It Today” is the album that guided me out of the post accident dark era. The title came about as I was writing a song to a Willie Evans Jr. beat. The song was about the housing crisis, which was the #1 topic on in the news at the time. Things seemed to be collapsing so fast with the economic crisis, housing crisis, energy crisis, etc., I felt compelled to make music that reported on current events to document one of the toughest eras in American history. So with “I Heard It Today” as a title, I’m saying you can hear my perspective on world events right now. I’m bringing you the hardworking, blue collar, people’s perspective of the modern day.
MVRemix: How long did the record take to record?
Mr. Lif: I always find it impossible to quantify how long an album took. Much of the material was written between mid September and…
MVRemix: Are there many songs which didn’t make the final album?
Mr. Lif: No. I don’t really make extra songs. I focus in on what I’m trying to convey throughout the scope of an album, draft an outline, and write until I feel the poetry gives a vivid depiction of the topics chosen.
MVRemix: Any videos planned?
Mr. Lif: I’m planning on doing videos, but I can’t say for which songs until everything is done.
MVRemix: The album is heavily influenced by this election. What are your thoughts on Barack Obama being the next president?
Mr. Lif: I think it’s wonderful that America has made enough progress to choose a Black man as president. Historically in American films, the Black man has had to play to role of a servant, a criminal, etc. Seems like they’ve got Obama playing the role of “the janitor” for the next 4-8 years because they left him a fat mound of shit to clean up.
MVRemix: Do you believe that the “change” which has been widely spoken of will take place?
Mr. Lif: America’s focus is global domination. No one man with a great slogan will stop that. Obama has us focused on changing things within a fundamentally unsound system. So basically, he will make life more bearable for us as we spiral into oblivion. I hope I’m wrong and people will start to treat each other and the planet with more care, but capitalism doesn’t exactly bring out the best in people from what I’ve seen.
MVRemix: You’re planning to release the album on inauguration day, why the decision for then?
Mr. Lif: Actually, we are looking toward rescheduling the album release for March. Initially, I chose that date because it’s going to be a historic day. The date is changing because I’d rather have proper promotions prefacing my album than rush it out there just to stick to a date.
MVRemix: Tell me about the liner notes and artwork?
Mr. Lif: Much like inside the artwork for “I Phantom”, the liner notes are there to guide the listener through the links between the songs. This album is quite enjoyable without reading the liner notes, but the meanings behind certain subtleties are revealed once the listener reads my perspective.
MVRemix: How does it compare to your previous releases?
Mr. Lif: In my opinion, this is the true follow up to “I Phantom”.
MVRemix: America, and the rest of the world have been heavily publicized and “informed” that we are heading into a recession. As an artist, what does this mean for your life, plans and the product you try to sell?
Mr. Lif: It means tough times across the board. Everyone will be more conservative with their money. All I ask the listeners is if you believe in what I’m trying to accomplish with my music, please buy it. If you don’t want to buy the album at a store or online, come to a show and buy it directly from me. I gave it my all on this album, so at least meet me halfway.
MVRemix: Out of your vast discography, which songs are you most proud of and why?
Mr. Lif: I’m proud of some of my research songs like “Home of the Brave” or “I Heard It Today”. I love the oldies like “Madness in a Cup” and “Elektro”. “Ol’ Crew”, “Live From the Plantation”, and “Because They Made it that Way”, seemed to strike a chord in people where they related to those songs on a profound level. “Be Out”, “Jugular Vein”, and “Inhuman Capabilities” display a real raw zone I get into when I produce my own tracks. For that matter “Hatred” is one of my favorite tracks on the new album.
MVRemix: What’s the biggest misconception people have of you?
Mr. Lif: People think I smoke way more weed than I do. I believe in moderation. I smoke from my bong. I pack a bowl and it lasts me all day. I don’t smoke every day. Also, people think my hair is fake. It always astounds me. If anyone out there knows a grown man with a dread weave, I give you permission to smack the shit out of him.
MVRemix: You’ve been rocking the same/similar hairstyle for a long time now, would you ever cut off the dreads?
Mr. Lif: If I felt like it, I would cut them off. I just don’t feel like it yet.
MVRemix: In a sentence or less, what do you do to relax?
Mr. Lif: I watch my dogs run around in the park, hang out with my beautiful woman, watch NFL Football. Honestly, I don’t like to spend too much time relaxing though. I’ve got work to do.
MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la “Fight Club” – “If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight”?
Mr. Lif: I would fight Puff Daddy hands down.
MVRemix: Would you win?
Mr. Lif: No. He’d have someone shoot me.
MVRemix: What next do we have to look forward to from you?
Mr. Lif: The “I Heard It Today” album is the main focus now. I’m cooking up lots of other stuff too, but I want “I Heard It Today” to be a landmark record of this tumultuous era.
MVRemix: Any last words?
Mr. Lif: Any fans or potential fans out there who want to hear some of my exclusive tracks or be involved in productive conversations about important topics should visit www.myspace.com/mrlif I’m on there daily, talking with my listeners. Thanks!