SO MANY WORDS.
Late last year we caught up with our mate, rapper & producer, Mike Floss. With his musical instincts and lyrical mastery, he's continued to capitalise on the momentum of 2015 album, 'Don't Blame the Youth'. 2020 couldn't halt his creative progress, dropping heat like "Mind State’ & 'DVP' to help us through lockdown'. This year is no different: Mike Floss has just released 'God's Leather'. A five track EP, which can be found on all major streaming platforms or through the Spotify player below. Get it!
Mike, where did you grow up and where’s home now?
I grew up in Nashville, TN, right now I’m back and forth from Atlanta to Nashville lol. I guess I can’t find it in me to leave
Where did you go to High School?
I went to Pearl Cohn Highschool! Firebirds forever
How did you start out in your music career?
I used to just freestyle with the homies all the time. Rapping in school, but I started to feel like I could take it seriously around 2012. I had a couple mixtapes I had made. More like a bunch of long verses on stolen beats, but people liked it. So I stuck with it.
What styles of music were you surrounded by growing up?
My dad was a Jazz musician and I grew up in the church. So a lot of gospel, jazz, classical music, wind Motown records.
Who were your early musical influences?
Early on, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Jay Z, Ludacris, TI, and Common.
Which artists have you looked up to during your music journey?
A ton of artists for different reasons. I really look up to Waka Flocka Flame, Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar, and Tyler The Creator. Waka for how he tours and how he moves with a small team on the road. Nip was just so legendary and progressive in his approach to the game. And his writing style and perspective was extremely clear. Once Kendrick made TPAB my whole perspective on commercial music changed. I think maybe for the first time, we live in a era where rappers can do weird experimental creative projects and still have massive mainstream success. Thats encouraging for me because in a lot of ways that’s my goal.
How would you describe your sound?
I’d say it’s cocky pro black rap for introverts that like to drink and get fits off. But I got feelings tho.
You’ve toured a bunch – where’s your fav town/city
Mannnn that’s tough. Id say any small town that’s not your usual tour stop. Like that lil random college town in Iowa. We go crazy in them spots, the appreciate the energy. Like when we was growing up as black kids in Nashville, TN it was super boring. So anytime there was something to do, a rap concert, a big event we really latched onto it. The city’s crazy now but I know what it’s like to feel like everybody steps over the small town so. So I like acknowledging those places.
Where would you say your audiences are mainly from?
I’d say in America it would be the southeast region. Nashville, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Birmingham. I get a lot streams on the West Coast, even New York and Chicago. But down south is where I’ve made the most in person connections.
This could be contentious - but - do you have a fav club or festival?
There’s so many good ones. My favorite festival I’ve played is probably Made In America. Just a different vibe than a lot of the other ones. A lot of hip hop, and they have a bottle of Ace of Spades and told me it was from Hov directly. Maybe they lied but I’ll roll with it lol
How important is your look on stage?
Critical. Even moreso now than before because I just have a greater handle on my personal style. I see it as a part of set design and it communicates personality. So I’m intentional about it.
What do you like wearing / what's in your wardrobe?
I been wearing a lot of oversized tees, extra long jeans, boxy hoodies are a go to, and work jackets. On a chill day I’m probably in some sweats with a couple rings on, vintage tee, and Jordan 1s
Any people who inspire you in terms of style?
I’m usually inspired by designers. Jerry Lorenzo, Kerby Jean Raymond, Matthew Williams, Demna Gvasalia. It’s really more the story telling than anything. I love the art form being used as a way to communicate
What advice would you give to artists starting out?
I’d say be yourself first and foremost. It’s hard to find your voice and it’s a constant evolution. But the common denominator is you. I believe the only way to bring something valuable to the world is to show up authentically. No matter how it looks, that’s the key.
I know this is a difficult one but how do you go about crafting a track or song? What’s your preferred process (if it all went smoothly)?
Well if I’m producing it’s tornado lol. But let’s say I link with a producer to work. We would go through beats and I’d find one that I feel an emotional connection to. Something that feels natural to the vibe I’m in for that day. I’ll listen to about 15/20sec of the beat because that’s all I need to hear to know if it’s the one or not. So after finding the right one I go straight into the booth and start rapping gibberish through the whole beat. I’ll do that a few times then I’ll come out, play it out loud, and write words to whatever I just mumbled that match the same flows and bounce. Done. Next beat
How do you adjust, when things don’t run to plan?
Before or after the bottle of tequila? Lol man nothing ever goes to plan haha. So I’m used to it, sometimes it’s more detrimental things like a global pandemic that throw you off. Other times it’s just the shape of your shirt not laying right on your waistline. No matter what it is, you gotta keep going forward. That’s my only weapon, I never stop. I don’t care who’s with or against me, I’m always going to push ahead. So I have that mentality before anything goes wrong so I’m never in a spot where I feel like something is over. It’s just a matter of time and energy.
You’ve been dropping singles through the year, how has releasing music during Covid been?
Honestly man, it’s been good. The pressure is at an all time low. Nobody is expecting you to have a gigantic moment to keep excitement up. I just do my thing at my own pace, if you like it you like it. If you don’t then hopefully you’ll like the next one. It’s hard not being able to perform and have a finish line for your releases but I’m just taking advantage of this time to stockpile music and grow my craft.
Who have you currently worked with, on these tracks?
Unhappy Hank, OHDEE, Wade Brown, OG Savvy. Making music with my friends man, it’s a good vibe
How does a track like DTP or Mind State come together?
Mind State is basically that process I explained earlier. But DTP....that was different. Because it’s really 3 songs in one. And this year I’ve had one of my hardest years on a personal level. You know covid is obvious, I actually had covid and was sick for a full 30 days. But I’m good now and I wasn’t hospitalized. But on top of that I went through breakup, like most indie artists I took some hits financially, and I’ve felt a lot of heartbreak from seeing countless black people murdered by the police. So DTP was all that confusion, and pain, and emotion bottled up into one song. I think it may be my favorite work of art I’ve ever made. Produced by Unhappy Hank and OHDEE
What’s your all-time fav project or event you’ve worked on/been a part of?
My favorite project is really more on the organizing side. We have a initiative in Nashville called the Black Nashville Assembly. We’re practicing participatory democracy and organizing black people in the city to build true power and have control over our own lives. So I became involved with that this year and adding some of the arts to it and it’s really beautiful and radical work. We literally can change our world in our time.
What instruments do you play?
Trumpet and piano.....neither of which I’ve practiced in a while lol but I’m glad you asked. I’m gonna get back on it
What's planned for the rest of this year? What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
Rest of the year I’m just cooking up. I got a few tricks up my sleeve to start 2021 so I’m tying up the loose ends on a few projects. I’m also starting my brabd
2021 I’m done being humble. It might sound crazy to say but I’m one of the best rappers in the world. I really believe that so instead of me asking people to agree I’m telling them what it is and proving it.
What inspires you to create music?
Man literally any and everything. I can see Nike Basketball sneaker from the 90s and get a spark of creativity. Or I’ll binge watch a bunch of Christopher Nolan movies and create something. Colors, conversation, women, outfits, I see everything as an opportunity to be inspired.
Top 3 tracks of all time, any artist or genre
Blue in Green - Miles Davis
Throw Some Ds - Rich Boy
Tha Mobb - Lil Wayne
2am in the morning and starving – what's your go-to food and where?
Aw man if it’s open I’m going to Little Bangkok in Detroit, MI. I’m getting pad thai with chicken and 4 spring rolls