Whether you’re gonna see Myz rock the main stage in a few days, or just want to check in with what he’s up to lately, peep the interview below:
Myzery Interview 2018
Alright, so with less than a week before he’s set to return to the Main Stage for the first time in over 17 years, Myzery took some time out to speak on all the happenings going on in his world right now! Aside from the excitement surrounding what is sure to be a highlight performance for both new and old school fans alike, the buzz is amplified by the news of his new double album, being released exclusively on Psychopathic Records at this years GOTJ. In this interview Myzery covers a range of topics, from his return to the Main Stage, the content of the double album, tracks that ended up on the cutting room floor, his stage entourage, impressions of working in the studio with Str8 Jaket, and his age-old brotherhood with ICP.
Hodge– It’s been 17 years since you last performed on the Main Stage at the Gathering. Although, you have rocked every other type of stage and hosted every type of crazy event imaginable in the years in between. In fact, in 2012 you were booked for 4 events (concert, DJ Clay party performance, Emcee Battle Judge, and a surprise set following Raekwon). How did the announcement of getting the Main Stage back affect your preparation this year?
MYZERY– Honestly though, it felt like everything has started to come full circle for me lately Hodge. Year after year I would hear rumblings of a return to the Main Stage, but it just never unfolded like that. When I got the word this year, along with all the other big news, it just seemed like all the pieces finally came together for me. As for my prep work, I’m coming at this opportunity aggressive as fuck. It’s a privilege to get this spot back, so I’m gonna give the most dominant impression of my career for sure.
Hodge– Also, being the 20th anniversary of your signature album, Para La Isla, can we expect a lot of homage to that era during your set?
MYZERY– I mean, I always try to construct my set to move the audience, and a lot of this audience never strayed too far from my music. Even after 20 years. So yeah, you can expect to hear samples from all era’s of my music. It’s live music though, so of course I can’t include all the deeper, more gut wrenching tracks. Sometimes those tracks don’t translate as well to a live crowd. These are the most spirited fans in the world, so I’m bringing my more high octane cuts.
Hodge– I know Psychopathic Records really hyped up your double album release on that special gotj podcast last week, as well as the infomercial, but I was a bit nervous when I heard that your Para La Isla album had been tampered with. And by tampered with, well, to me, any adjustments to that classic seems like a gamble. I know I’m very partial to that album, but it really was/is something I could always appreciate, from intro to outro, and with no skips. Can you ease those minds that might be tentative that edits of any kind might damage this stroke of throwback brilliance?
MYZERY– Nah, no worries at all. I always been very protective of that EP. When Violent J and me discussed the 20th Anniversary idea, I was very stubborn in my stance that only the prime cuts would be re-mastered to fill out the LP. Yeah, it’s more than doubled in tracks, but that’s not cause I packed it with everything we recorded back then. A lot of those cutting room floor tracks, are still right there on the floor. This is only the most worthy stuff. Everything that might’ve been good for other albums from back then, got a hard pass for Para La Isla, unless it measured up properly to the original. If the old EP was your jam, this will be the new measuring stick no doubt.
Hodge– Aside from the obvious staple track “Witching Hour”, were there any other unreleased tracks with ICP that found its way to onto the Para La Isla LP?
MYZERY– Actually yeah, well, another track with with Shaggy is on there. The production on that one is just crazy. It’s called “The Way that We Live”. In fact, when we were at work arranging the tracks, this is one of those tracks that reminded me how much I miss those vintage, those real, hip hop beats. Everything in hip hop today sounds like the beat is built around garden sprinkler noises. And I’m not from that generation butt hurt or anything, but I’m not a fan of the current shit. Production wise at least, still a lot of spittaz out there.
Hodge– You used to really capture an audience with your occasional practice of going Spanglish on listeners, and without warning. Like you did on “Meat Cleaver”. Kinda like how OG’s like The Terror Squad used to do it in the 90’s. Any chance we’ll hear more of that on the Para La Isla LP?
MYZERY– That’s just in my blood, my upbringing. So when a moment comes to make it hot with some Spanglish bars, I’m all over it. I got a track on there that I recorded a few years after the EP dropped. Everything about that track screams Puerto Rico. Of course, I know my audience, and I know my instincts, so most of my bars are still Bronx born and raised.
Hodge– Even though The Demon Angel will be officially packaged with the Para La Isla LP, I know you well, and I know that the album has gone through many incarnations, at least 4, in about as many years. What makes this one, finally, the Official release of The Demon Angel?
MYZERY– Yeah, this album has taken on a lot of changes to the tracklist. It’s really my best work ever, and that’s even including Para La Isla. I just had a few patches of time in my career, where my luck just couldn’t get any worse. So when i started working on Demon Angel, I didn’t know when/if I’d be making another album again. So, with that goin on in my headspace, I made it necessary, that this be my defining album. So the end result is only about half of the polished tracks I had to choose from. Some of those shelved songs are still worthy as hell, and featured heavy hittaz like Slaine, Rah Digga of Flipmode, Opio of Souls of Mischief, Mastamind and others. Those songs would have made it on any other project, but this one required that it not only be a certified banger, but also fit the whole flow of the record. What you end up hearing, is exactly how I always pictured it sounding in my mind from day one. The final cut definitely got my nod, but some really solid tracks, some even stacked with guest features, got set aside this time.
Hodge– You’ve always had a raucous crew as part of your stage presentation. That crew has gone through a handful of lineup changes through the years. Since this year marks your 20th year as a performer, will you be bringing any of your old cohorts/accomplices with you?
MYZERY– Yeah, I got a mix of both my old and newer hypemen along for the celebration set. You know the rest of Spanish Side and PME will be in the house as well. We ain’t holding nothing back this year.
Hodge– It was mentioned on that GOTJ podcast that Psychopathic’s In-House Producer Str8-Jaket was responsible for mixing down the double album. I’ve heard new cuts of “Passion”, “Let Me Go”, and the “If I Ever Die” remix, and even though I dug each of those tracks before, Str8 totally exceeded my expectations with his unique spin on them. How would you describe Str8 Jaket’s involvement with the albums?
MYZERY– I’ve worked with nearly all the In-House Producers since the boss Mike Clark. I’ve had my own circle of Producers down with me for years. From the Salt Mine Studios in AZ, to my longtime Producers DJ Pee and 21, to Ponch’s boy at Extraordinary Gentlemen, every one of them put in work for your boy. Even Kuma, that man knows how to work the boards right there. DJ Clay, that’s my boy straight up. I gotta give Str8-Jaket all the props in the world though. I came to him with a ton of music to mix down, and not a lot of time for the turnaround. What he came up with, even the touches he put on my old EP, dude was spot-on every time. He was all focus, but still chill as fuck. We gonna definitely work together again.
Hodge– Not to state the obvious, but it seemed as if Violent J and Shaggy reserved as much hype and anticipation for your GOTJ happenings, than nearly everything else going on combined this year. And that observation didn’t appear as any slight to any of the other artists/festivities this year, just as mad love for you going into the Gathering. Is it safe to say that your decades old brotherhood with ICP is stronger now, than it’s been in years?
MYZERY– Me and Joe are always close, even when we’re outta the picture for a bit. Always been that way. Usually unspoken, but it’s an always present kinship with him. He knows I always got his back, Joey too. Same for Rudy. KG always shows love and we send it right back. I might not rap like it, but I am the type to internalize everything. That’s caused a lot of confusion to those closest to me throughout my life. But somehow, and even without a ton of words said between us, a better understanding was formed and things really got rolling. Put it to you like this, you ever introduce a coworker to others as your work friend. Nah, not them, that’s my friends for real, no qualifier, period. That’s why at times, when the coworkers thing was a distant thing at best, my crew appeared outta nowhere to help set things right or lend support. It’s the realist type of kinship you’re gonna find in this game. It just also helps that when these homies link up on a track, the result is an instant classic. Look at “Knockin on Heavens Door”. When have you heard J spit deep bars like that? What about him rocking the stage wit me for “Witching Hour” at last years Gathering. We just always raise each others game like that. That’s my Fam for real.
Hodge– So, I couldn’t help but recognize Violent J’s podcast reaction when Str8-Jaket announced that Bizarre was on a guest feature. He didn’t seem displeased or concerned or anything, maybe even a bit psyched, but definitely caught off guard. Now I know the history of this collab, and when it all came about, but fans out there might have been puzzled by this. Can you explain a little bit about his seemingly odd placement on your album?
MYZERY– So that was years ago. Like maybe recorded in 2013 or 14. We already had Insane Poetry on the track. It’s a like a sicko type track, so of course Bizarre was on our short-list. Plus, I been a fan of D12 for a while. This was all way before the civil war stuff happened with all the Camps. It’s not like this is a new track claiming allegiances or whatever. Nothing related to stuff over the last few years. Nobody disses nobody. Just a dark track that’s got some effed up storytelling on it. No politics or whatever at all. Same goes for my verse on the Madchild joint. I name drop a ton of underground people, but that’s just wordplay. When I wanna diss somebody, there’s no guesswork about it. Nothing on the album is a diss at nobody. I can and I have, but fuck drama, my mind is in a good place.
Hodge– Alright, so it’s Gathering season, and I know you got a lot of stuff going on. Before we wrap this up, is it safe to assume that we will seeing more from the Myzery/Spanish Side/Psychopathic connection down the road soon?
MYZERY– I mean, that’s the intention. Things are going great right now, I don’t wanna jynx it ya know. I’m kinda cursed like that. But yeah, I aim to be that guy, that hip hop guy to give fans a NY option. That throwback-through-now option. My range is all over the place…you’ll see what I’m saying on Demon Angel. I can be that rapper in the discussion that they stack up against their friends favorite rapper. But that’s down the road I hope. Right now, homie I’m just counting these blessings and laser focused on the Main Stage and new album.
Hodge- Thanks for all the inside news Myz. Congrats on the new album, and go kill that shit on the Main Stage my friend!