Calgary, AB – HipHopCanada’s Shanna Robinson catches up with up and coming artist M-Black to discuss his transition from ATL to Alberta, the inspiration he derives from his family and the various plans he’s putting in motion to position himself as a top contender. Check it out.
HipHopCanada: Welcome to HipHopCanada Mista B! We’re happy to have you here and I’m extremely excited to be doing your first official HHC interview! So what’s going on?
M-Black: Not too much, just been working on my new mixtape and updating all my pages. Working on my Black Money project.
HipHopCanada: So you’re originally from Atlanta, Georgia. What differences in hip-hop do you see out here compared to there? Would you say you rep Canada as well as ATL?
M-Black: I would say that I do rep both. First and foremost my allegiance is home but it’s cool out here. Other than the sound there’s not too, too, much of a difference, same hunger, same grind, different location.
HipHopCanada: Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been doing this for? What got you started in the rap game?
M-Black: I’ve been doing this since I was a kid but started taking it seriously in 2004. My first love was basketball but it didn’t quite work out and music came calling so I answered.
HipHopCanada: Your first mixtape Man On Fire was quite the accomplishment considering the area you were in at the time. Let us in on how you made it such a success in a non hip-hop community?
M-Black: Well I was really inexperienced at the time. All I knew was I needed to get into the studio and rap my ass off, so to speak. I just basically flooded the market, printed off my C.D.’s, [began with giving them to my] friends and fam and let the word spread. Doesn’t matter where you are, people like good music.
HipHopCanada: You have a crew called Team Wallen. When did it form? What does the crew consist of?
M-Black: I came up with the idea back in 2004. I started my own entertainment company. I decided to call it that because it’s my way of life, it’s how I view things, so I started the company off of those values. The team consists of a few members, myself (M-Black), the Cadillac Click, my other rapper Cadillac and others. Although these are just a few members of the crew it extends a bit further with my affiliates.
HipHopCanada: The way you record in the studio is very unique, care to elaborate?
M-Black: Sure! I don’t like to hear myself when I first record so I put down my backup’s first so I can hear my timing and all I need to do is fill in my spaces. I find it keeps my vocals strong and consistent. I found that’s just what worked best for me, it just sort of happened [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: How did you end up in Calgary?
M-Black: It’s a funny story. Where I was, I reached a certain limit. I moved a lot of CD’s in a short period of time and I felt I needed a bigger market. I received a call from a friend and he said it was an untapped market so I hopped on a plane and here I am.
HipHopCanada: Your music seems to be doing very well in Calgary and surrounding areas of Alberta. Are you working with any other artists?
M-Black: I do keep my circle rather small but I work with Cash Flow, Chain Reaction, and Castle Ridge Records.
HipHopCanada: You have snippets of your songs on myspace.com/teamwallen. It’s an interesting way to show a variation of your style but nowadays people do seem to do the exact opposite by giving away full-length projects for free. What made you decide to take your own approach?
M-Black: If you put too much of yourself out there people can get tired of you. I just wanted to give people a little taste, enough that people will keep coming back but not so much that they would get tired. I plan to be around for a while as long as you’ll have me.
HipHopCanada: What artists in the industry are you feeling right now? Canadian and American.
M-Black: Canadian – I would have to say Drake, I love his style. I’m a huge fan of Saukrates [because of his] production and music. Kardinal Offishall because of his flava, he’s different. American – Outkast, T.I., Ludacris. I like a lot of east coast as well like Jay-Z and Jadakiss.
HipHopCanada: What gives you inspiration to grab the mic?
M-Black: My son and the love I have for music… simple as that.
HipHopCanada: When you’re writing, or in the studio, what is your thought process?
M-Black: When I’m writing I don’t like to think about, I just let the pen hit the pad, listen to the beat and it tells me what to do. In the studio – no place like it. It’s my favourite place to write because I can capture everything right away as opposed to coming back to it later. I keep the same thought process. I don’t like to force my music just, let it be what it do you know?
HipHopCanada: Is there anything you would like aspiring artists, such as yourself, to know about the industry that you wish you could have known going into it?
M-Black: The mistakes and the experiences that I’ve gone through at this point have given me the necessary tools that I have now. I would just recommend to keep going at it, it’s dog eat dog, you can’t allow yourself to get frustrated because it will hold back your process. Just follow your heart until the wheels fall off.
HipHopCanada: I know you also have a clothing line that you’re trying to get started. How’s that coming?
M-Black: It’s been a slow process. I want to make sure I do everything right. A lot of this game is about timing. I’ve taken the time to make sure my trends and fabrics are different, it will be a way of life not just another clothing line.
HipHopCanada: What are your goals for 2010?
M-Black: To release my mixtape and the Black Awareness Campaign. I’d like to tell you more about it but it’s on the D/L. The best way I can describe it without giving too much away is it’s just about my growth as a man and as an artist.
HipHopCanada: Thanks so much for your time M-Black. Any shout-outs?
M-Black: Oh man, shout-outs. God first and foremost. From whom everything is possible. My family for always being my strength. Young Wallen I see you! P, Youngest Wallen Marquez my reason for grinding. My squad got nothing but love for ya’ll we on the way! My management thanks for being patient with a nigga. Smilez, what it do! Fuzzy hold your head ma nigga nothing but success when you get home! L, Atlas, Peep game, Dystinkt, ca$h we bringing ’em deep in the south, yeah heard me! Tha clique… Mac, Chain, Skyline, Kjd, Castleridge, Nick, my CUCA family, AGP, my out east niggas, southside niggas, west coast niggas… much love to all y’all. Followers and fans I love y’all like y’all love me, believe that! And anyone acting salty cause I missed them it wasn’t on purpose. To many names to put in a small space but you know I love ya! And when all else fails… Don’t blame me… Blame the purp baby…
Written by Shanna Robinson for HipHopCanada