MidaZ The BEAST is one of the artists that I always show support for here @ The Lost Tapes, as he is not only one of the absolute illest young spitters out there but is also extremely driven and always bring quality material to the table. With that being said I'm proud to present an exclusive interview with the man, something we've been meaning to do since before "AU: Another Universe" dropped last year but things kept coming in between. Well, better late than never, so here it is y'all... Enjoy!
claaa7: Peace MidaZ, good to have you on the other line of this interview!
Let's start from the beginning, you grew up in Orlando, Florida; a place that's not primarily known for its bulging hip-hop scene. How did growing up in Orlando effect you as far as becoming an emcee?
MidaZ The BEAST: There’s actually a really robust hiphop scene out here. Maybe not household names but a lot of super emcees ran through my city. Guys like my whole Doxside team, the Vets Of Kin, my man Illa, and tons of others. It was a really competitive enviroment to be an emcee in back in those days for sure. You could get battled at any moment, and dudes played for keeps. So growing up out here you kinda had to be sharp on the mic all the time.
c7: Where you involved in other aspects of the culture at that time as well, e.g. writing, dancing, or DJ:ing? And if so, when did you ultimately realize that emceeing was your true calling?
MidaZ: Definitely not. Haha. Knew I wanted to rhyme to moment I first heard C.R.E.A.M.. I’ve always been a storyteller tho from young. Love a good story. Always had a love for language and creativity. So I think i pretty much only had one option.
c7: In my mind you're the epitome of an artist who truly embraced the growing digital culture to build yourself a name. You released loads of free street albums that a lot of heads loved - did you have a plan from the get go to build a fanbase that way before releasing your debut album, or was it more a case of you just wanting to get some music out there?
MidaZ: Absolutely. I knew it was important to get people to trust me before I decided to make them purchase anything. I think giving the people music is a sign of good faith. Like now the ball is in their hands and I trust them to support me back.
c7: Definitely. Which would you say is your favorite out of all the street albums and mixtapes that you released between the "Grandmasters" tape and your official debut album with "AU: Another Universe"?
Thats tough. There’s joints on them all that i love. Probably LOOPS if I had to choose, because it was a “MidaZ” record. Had the feel that it all my own. It was personal, and colorful all at the same time because there werent any drums to get in the way of the words. That project was a blast!
c7: I would agree with you on that one, for me I always felt "LOOPS" was particularily strong and gave it a glowing review here on The Lost Tapes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this was in large the first time you rhymed over all new beats, and although it made use of a DJ it felt a lot like an album. To me that was the true predecessesor to "AU: Another Universe". Would you agree with that?
MidaZ: Nah it def. wasnt the the first time I rhymed on all new beats for a project. All of the music i recorded with IMAKEMADBEATS for the Nightlight project proceeded the work on LOOPS, as well as some other stuff i had recorded. But yeah it was def. the predecessor to AU, although timeline wise, LOOPS was recorded after AU.
c7: Wow, I totally forgot about the IMAKEMADBEATS album that you did with Butta Verses! One thing I noticed on "LOOPS" and that you took even further on "AU" is how extremely intimate you can get with your rhymes; meaning that you often rhyme about extremely personal topics that often touch on your very saddest, most vulnerable moments - a place many emcees don't dare to go in fright of hurting their "thug persona". You, instead, manage to get across the whole human experience... What's your thoughts on this?
MidaZ: Yeah man, you gotta understand i'm a fan first. I’ve always loved a good story. The art of storytelling completely fascinates me. Whether it be from personal experience, or completely made up. In either case your goal is to bring the listener into a world and captivate and keep them there. Its fun to me. Even the super depressing shit is fun to me, because I just love to write.
c7: Continuing on that same topic, how hard is the process of writing introspective songs such as "Worthless", "Coma" and "Walking Away" in contast to an MC exercise like "Champion of the Block" or "Fire"?
MidaZ: Honestly it depends on the song. Each one is its own beast. I'll say this, I write pretty fast regardless. So I just feel out the beat and try to bring out what i think the beat would say if it had a voice. I don’t go into a song with the idea already set. I sit with [the] beat and feel it out...if it sounds like a bar fest, then its a barfest...if it sounds like a story, then its a story...something heartfelt or introspective? Then thats where I go.
c7: Being that you had already built a fan base and released a lot of music by 2013, how much pressure did you feel going into releasing an actual retail album?
MidaZ: Not a whole lot because I believed in the music. I knew it was good, and I know my team and I make great music. And like i said, I'm a fan first. Its gotta be something I would wanna bump in the whip myself.
c7: How much did the process differ between "AU" from your earlier digital projects like "LOOPS" and "El Michaels Affair"?
MidaZ: The process was actually really similar. That’s probably because I'm always working on projects simultaneously. AU was being constructed for a few years, and in between, I worked on a whole slew of other stuff. There’s almost never been a time where Ive worked exclusively on one project at a time.
c7: I think you did an exceptional job with the album, I really liked how you balanced more introspective joints like "Worthless" and "Coma", which I think a lot can relate to, with powerful hardcore hip-hop bangers such as "Champion Of The Block", "Fire", "Goldberg", etc. Did you feel a pressure to make sure every side of MidaZ The BEAST was represented on "AU"?
MidaZ: That was the goal, I'm glad you picked up on that. AU was like a MidaZ Sampler. Just wanted you to get a glimse of the different things i can do lyrically, because I really feel like lyrically I can do it all. Also, fans like different aspects of my style. Some like the story joints more, while others like the concept joints, and still others like to see me go into “BEASTMODE”. I wanted to make sure I had something for all of them on there, and expose the other sides of myself to people who may not have known.
c7: "Fire" with Roc Marciano was the first single from the project; a real hard track that worked great as a first taste of the LP. What was it about "Fire" that made you go with "Fire" as the first single? Do you think you'd still release it without the weight of Roc Marciano's name attached to it?
MidaZ: Roc is the homie...good, good brother. Yeah, I still wouldve went that way, the joint is tough. I thought it would be cool, to come out the gate swinging for the fences. Its not easy to hold your own on a joint with Marc. That man is a genius wordsmith.
c7: I was also curious about how you hooked up with Marco Polo and Roc Marciano?
MidaZ: I knew both Roc and Marco thru some mutual acquaintances and put a call out to both. I'm gracious that they were interested in the joint.
c7: Next up was another guest heavy single, the Blueprint and Sabac Red collaboration "Seeing is Believeing", which also featured an incredibly strong performance from producer IMAKEMADBEATS. I loved that you released this as a single, and the emcees you choose to represent with you on it was perfect, cus it dealt with a very important topic. Every single word on that record represents truth that needs to be heard, and is becoming more and more critical each day. How did that record come about, and would you care to elaborate on its theme?
MidaZ: This was one of those joints where the theme kinda came about on its own. IMAKEMADBEATS KILLED that beat. It might be my fav on the record. When he sent the beat thru, the opening line jumped out at me, and I jusy kinda took it from there. Print and Sabac really took the concept and ran with it. I loved what they did with the idea. Sabac has been a good friend and mentor for me in the game for a while and when i reached out he’s always down to rock out with me. Print is another good good friend of mine for a spell now. After laying my verse, the first person I thought of for the joint was Sabac. It just sounded to me like something he would kill. After Sabac, I shouted at Print because I felt the track was missing something. He was what it was missing haha.
c7: Oh No produced the grimey, almost psych-funky "Goldberg" on the LP. You obviously have obtained a good relationship with the acclaimed producer, as well as his Gangrene partner Alchemist being that you've appeared on cuts on projects from both. How did y'all first hook up and are there any future projects between y'all planned for the future?
MidaZ: In 2008 I went on tour with Oh No and Roc C in support of Roc C’s album with IMAKEMADBEATS “The Transcontinental”. We hit it off really well, while on tour. Oh No is my dude, and we definitely have a similar taste in music. I think Al got at me via Oh No. Al’s naasty on the beats and the rhymes and the vibe that their on right now is my same vibe. Me and Oh No may have a project in the works soon for sure. There’s a LOT of unreleased music there.
c7: Very interesting! Another track from "AU" that really moved me that I want to touch upon is "Coma" which was just mindblowing to me. First off the verses are painfully honest, something that anyone that has gone through a real hell can definitely relate to. Was that based or inspired by a real, personal story, or just great cinematic storytelling?
MidaZ: Great cinematic storytelling haha. Coma is probably the one song on the LP I had an idea for prior to the existence of the music. I thought it was just a wild idea that i knew no one had touched before. I came up [with] the entire idea, the loop, and if you listen reeeaaal closely, the people who are talking in the beginning of the song actually talk throughout the entire song. I brought all of these ideas to IMAKEMADBEATS who is plainly put the illest motherfucker i know, and he knew exactly what to do with it. He transformed it from a great collection of ideas, into an experience. Especially with the way the bass plays on there and the inclusion of the heart monitor. I love that song.
c7: Word, that was the second thing about that joint that really grabbed me was the production by you and IMAKEMADBEATS which not only elevated the whole theme of the song to another level, but also was extremely creative. What came first the beat or the rhyme?
MidaZ: I wrote the song to the sample. So I guess you could say either rhyme or the beat came first. lol.
c7: Both on "AU" and many other projects you favor two main producers - IMAKEMADBEATS and TzariZM. Let's start with IMAKEMADBEATS, what's your back story and what is it about his sound that keeps drawing you to work with him?
MidaZ: IMAKEMADBEATS is literally the first producer I ever met. He’s my partner in crime, and my best friend simultaneously. He knows how to get the best out of me and he has a fantastic ear. His sound IS my sound at this point. They are one and the same, and thats why we work so well, and so often together. We’ve got whole albums in the stash literally, its nuts.
c7: What about TzariZM, same question?
MidaZ: I met the both of them (IMAKEMADBEATS and TzariZM are brothers) at a showcase they used to run in Orlando. Me and IMAKEMADBEATS almost instantly hit it off, while me and TzariZM eventually did as well. Now the three of us are a great team. TzariZM is dope. Like he’s a pleasure to be with in the lab because hes a crazy free spirit. Will try anything, and being that he’s a super emcee himself, we just get up and spazz out.
c7: Flipping it, what do you think is the difference between working with IMAKEMADBEATS and TzariZM as far as in the studio, and how you work together?
MidaZ: Hmmm...Me and IMAKEMADBEATS have really organic sessions. We’ll typically come up with ideas at the same time, and we really work like a hand in glove. There’s an excitement in our sessions, and amazement on my part because he’s always doing some unbelievable shit lol. TzariZM sessions are a lot more random. We will start working on one song, and end up knocking out some whole other shit. Or saying fuck it and jumping on XBOX. The three of us work really well together though through our different styles.
c7: Before we leave the topic of "AU: Another Universe", I got one more related question. The album was released and distributed on HiPNOTT Records. Did you sign a one-album deal or will there be future albums from you on the label?
MidaZ: Def. more work planned. Next up is the New 52 box set, and some other things. We plan on working together for a while. Kevin is my brother.
c7: You got the single "F.N.U." that was just released on the The Lost Tapes compilation abum "The UpRising", what can you tell me about that track?
MidaZ: That was an AU holdover. Thats the song that gets one of the biggest responses at shows. Thats a joint I did with my man Tough Junkie. He’s one of my favorite producers. Hes got a lot of monster material. That song is a grab my nuts track. Just wanted to boast off and let cats know its not a game over here. My own little “MidaZ the BEAST ain't nuthin to fuck with” haha.
c7: Another project that I heard rumours about is a collaborative EP with South African producer The Militia. Have you actually recorded anything for that, or what's the deal with that?
MidaZ: The Militia is doope. There was talk of another joint but no talks of a project.
c7: Following "AU", you surely didn't take a break from hip-hop. You recently launched your "The New 52" series. I really love the concept and am highly impressed by the material released so far. Tell me how the project came about?
MidaZ: No days off. Thats the M.O. I just didnt wanna rest on my laurels. There’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of people to be fed. I'm a big comic head and I got some of the inspiration from my homie Sha Stimuli from when he did the weekly a few years back. I knew I work hard enough to be able to do that as well so i just dove in. I also thought it would be a fresh way to showcase the talent that’s in our crew as well, and inform people on how very dope our artists Gift Revolver and Ben Goraj are. And its fun. I love that the fans get so much music this year from our camp. Its kinda like a thank you for the support.
c7: 52 songs are a lot of music, and I know it's a collaboration between MidaZ and Doxside Music Group. Will you be featured on all 52 songs, or will there also be songs only staring other Doxside spitters and/or producer?
MidaZ: There will for certain be some joints featuring only other members of the team. One of the upcoming ones will be from Synopse and his artist Mozaic. I think TzariZM is gonna drop off one of the joints from “Via Satellite” which is his LP with Planet Asia. IMAKEMADBEATS is gonna pass through a couple exclusives, amongst others as well.
c7: Dope! So what's your favorite joint of the 9 tracks you have released so far?
MidaZ: Def. Hat Trick. Thats a joint from LOOPS 2. Thats my shit right there.
c7: I know you have mentioned that the next installment, #10, will be something a litle special... Can you reveal something about that?
Ten is special cause its a posse cut. The DMG squad was in effect on that one. Theres a video for it too, although it will release later. [note: #10 has just been released - check out "The Hallway"]
c7: For my final question I want to ask if there's any possibility that HiPNOTT or any other label might release a selection of your favorite joints out of the 52 around Christmas this year or something?
MidaZ: Definitely. We are working out the details as we speak. Its coming for sure.
c7: Alright, MidaZ, I want to take this opportunity to wish you good luck on all your future projects and please continue to keep me updated on any news and new music. Keep rocking the "New 52" and much thanks for taking the time out your day to make this interview happen, it means a lot! Take care and peace fam!
MidaZ: One love and respect to you and The Lost Tapes. Your support of real hip hop doesnt go unnoticed here at DMG. We got a lot of love for the site!'
If you haven't already bought MidaZ's slamming debut album "AU: Another Universe" make sure to grab a copy @ HiPNOTT Records, UGHH or iTunes. Also be sure to check out MidaZ @ Bandcamp where you can check out most of his earlier releases like the aforementioned "LOOPS". Last, but not least don't forget that MidaZ and Doxside Music Group is currently hitting us with a new dope jam once a week via their "The New 52" series.