M.I.C – Canadians On The Grind

// January 30th, 2014
M.I.C
M.I.C – Canadians On The Grind

Hailing out of Mississauga Ontario Canada Mastas Inda Cypha/M.I.C offers a special brew of seven emcees geared toward creating a new standard in Hip-Hop. Mastas Inda Cypha is – Los, Casper Black, Shaddy Aristotle, Atrasol, D.O.V, Last Prophet & King Pin. They aim to bring back the essence of Hip-Hop which true listeners seek yet rarely find. 

M.I.C reflects passionate, genuine, intelligent, witty, creative and conscious rappers over a symphony of hard hitting beats. M.I.C currently released a self titled album in late 2013, the album features guest appearances from Killah Priest and Ruste Juxx. M.I.C at the moment is collaborating with North Virginia production duo, Outerlimit (Outerlimit.Bandcamp.com), on a new album for 2014 titled “The Sound Of Silence”, the album will also feature a repeat guest appearance from Ruste Juxx, as well as Planet Asia, and of course the entire M.I.C posse will be present.

HipHopLead- Lets start with the basics how did you guys all meet and form the group?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
Los – We were all friends who met in school. We didn’t have any intentions of forming M.I.C, we were just a couple of homies who would go to Lake Ontario with a radio and beats on a iPod. We would smoke blunts and freestyle for countless hours before we knew it it became our life style.

D.O.V – I met the majority of the crew in high school. I had shared classes with Los and Casper Black. Once we started working on music together the ball just kept rolling and the crew began to slowly take shape when we started to form cypher sessions between classes, during breaks or after school, just chillin. I had met Last Prophet through work, we immediately got along.

Shaddy Aristotle – We used to go down to the lake, smoke blunts and freestyle and shit. Los and D.O.V formed the group and KP was comin’ trough a lot, he was starting out just freestyling. Los and D.O.V was getting me involved as well, I was starting out the same way too, I was down to join. Niggas paths just crossed and shit.

Last Prophet – Before I became a part of M.I.C. I had been doing the solo thing for a few years making beats and writing tracks. By chance I met D.O.V. through work and quickly found out we were into the same kind of sounds. I was working on Elevation at the time and the group had just released Accompanied by the Mastas. I really liked what they did on the album, so we collaborated on a few tracks for Elevation then I was invited to join the group shortly after.

HipHopLead- How did you guys come up with your name?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

D.O.V – I drew inspiration from what we do best and that’s cyphering. As the crew began to take form the name just grew on us and we haven’t changed it since.

HipHopLead- What particular quality does each member bring to the table?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
D.O.V – We are all self taught with writing and rhyming on our own. On top of that Los, Last Prophet and Casper Black are also the main heads behind the beats.

Last Prophet – Every member of M.I.C. brings their own unique style to the group, and it’s the combination of these different sounds that really makes us stand out above other artists of today. When I send out a beat to the crew I know that everyone will bring an original approach to it, and I’m always excited to hear what the clique comes up with. It kind of puts pressure on you as well to always bring your best material, because on any beat there’s 6 other MC’s all trying to hit it the dopest – which keeps us striving to improve continuously.

Shaddy Aristotle – What I’m bringing to the table is exactly what M.I.C is about, just bringing back that classic 90s style, that real grimy sound.

HipHopLead- For starts do you think hip hop groups in 2014 is harder to market or do you think the game is missing that?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
Shaddy Aristotle – It just depends on what kind of industry niggas is out. If more people are doing it, then it will catch on. Truly though we the illest niggas doin’ it out here right now.

Last Prophet – I think there’s fewer groups out today because being in a
group is much harder than being a solo artist. Being in a group
requires finding other members who are as dedicated and committed to
music as you are, as well as requires discussion and compromise among
members constantly in terms of song structure, content, etc. Groups may
also be harder to market, as often times a group will have 1 or 2
individuals who really stand out, while the rest play supporting roles
and perhaps don’t have as much appeal. Luckily for M.I.C. every member
is a Masta of their style, so we don’t have that problem.

D.O.V – The game is definitely lacking when it comes to groups. It can be hard working with so many different personalities who have different opinions or preferences. A lot of label mates getting together to form supergroups, trying to bring that shit back but these groups never come off genuinely, they lack the same consistency. Not many groups in the spotlight have struggled and grown together since day one.

HipHopLead- Do you ever find obstacles in the way making it hard for the group to connect on a current basis?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

D.O.V – Right now as far as I can see, the people who get us, love us and the people who don’t just flat out hate us. I actually prefer that, no grey areas.

Shaddy Aritotle – Hell naw, nothings stopping us right now. People know what we are about. The only obstacle is time.

Last Prophet – There’s always going to be obstacles when you have 7 individuals all contributing to the tracks. It can be hard to get everyone together because we all have our own personal lives, jobs, families to focus on, but because we have a couple of home studios where we get our work done its never a problem to meet at a studio and work on tracks. The producers in the group regularly send out beats to the crew so members always know what we have going on currently, then whenever we can meet up we discuss our plans for world domination in more detail.

HipHopLead- What was it like teaming up with WuTang’s Killah Priest and Bootcamp’s Ruste Juxx in 2013?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

D.O.V – Working with Killah Priest and Ruste Juxx was a huge blessing. I’m a big fan and supporter of both of them. The energy was absolutely amazing.

Last Prophet – Working with Killah Priest was a really an inspiring experience for me personally, and I’m sure for the group as well. Priest has always been one of my favorite artists and biggest influences musically, so when we got the chance to open for him I was obviously excited. We got to talking after the show and turns out he was willing to come through our studio and record a verse, which at the time was me and D.O.V’s apartment in Mississauga.

HipHopLead- Did you guys get to record together or did they email the verses over?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
Last Prophet – It was very chill when Killah Priest came through, we talked shit and played Mortal Kombat for about 2 hours before showing him some of our beats. He chose the beat and wrote his verse right there, got in the booth and recorded it in only a few takes.

D.O.V – I was able to get a hold of Ruste Juxx pretty easily through social networks. I emailed him our shit. He got back to me a few days later and we exchanged phone numbers. He was feeling our stuff and he was down to put in some work. We passed him the beat and discussed the concept, the outcome couldn’t have been better!

HipHopLead- When we listen to your music we hear a lot of vintage Hip Hop sounds. That classic boom bap, a lot of raw spitting and bars. Is it safe to say you guys aren’t a fan of the new school and feel the game is missing that authenticity?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
Atrasol – I’m a fan of good music. Because it’s timeless. You know.

Los – I believe our music speaks for its self. We built our own sound and foundation, pretty much nothing was given to us, thats why we come with that authenticity. Its not that we aren’t fans of the new school but if anything we bring the two eras together and add our own flavour in the mix.

Last Prophet – I’m not a fan of most mainstream “new school” material these days, and I have what I believe to be good reasons for that. Most music I’m hearing on the radio is about popping molly and going clubbing, which in my opinion is lacking creativity and doesn’t inspire me at all.

Party music is party music but that’s all it is – to me it requires much more talent and originality to think differently. I personally think we are at an all time shameful low for hip hop, where party music and love songs somehow became the signatures of the genre.

Not that I’m against partying or love making (laughs), but as a group we’re always striving to challenge the minds of our listeners and make them see things from different perspectives.

D.O.V – We don’t agree with the direction that mainstream artists are going in. We are lyricists first, so we don’t like to dumb down our rhymes or our content. No matter what. We keep our material focused on true skills, weather when it comes to the beats or the rhymes we never water things down.

Shaddy Aristotle – M.I.C was put together because Hip-Hop has fallen so far. We are here to save it. We are the saviours of Hip-Hop.

HipHopLead- What made you guys pick up a mic and get busy?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

D.O.V – For me it started out as an outlet for a lot of things I was going through. Over time I became extremely passionate and just wanted to give back to the culture. There’s too many whack emcees out there who ain’t doing it right!

Last prophet – I was always into music from a very young age, as I started playing guitar when I was around 8 or 9. I started playing around on keyboards and making beats when I was around 16, and the progression just continued. Through rap I was able to find my voice as an artist, which in turn helped me become the person I am today.

I’ve always approached hip hop as a musician, not just as a producer or just as a rapper. To me it’s the opportunity to compose entire symphonies and say whatever the hell you want – all from the comfort of a home studio! We’re lucky to live in an age of all this technology where producing and recording can be done at home with a few pieces of equiptment.

HipHopLead- Are you doing anything else other then rapping? Producing? Mixing?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

Last Prophet – In addition to writing lyrics I produce beats for the crew and mix a lot of the tracks. Producing beats is one of my favorite ways to pass time – I just grab some beers and bud and lock myself in the lab for hours. I like to bang out a couple beats in one session, clean them up a little then send them around to the crew.

It’s always a surprise what the clique comes up with and that’s one of my favorite parts about it – just waiting to see who’s gonna do what on which beat. It’s always interesting to see who hits what tracks – sometimes I’ll send out a beat that I think is amazing, and only one person will hit it, or vice versa, I’ll send out a beat I think is rough and needs work, and 6 mans will jump on it! One example is the beat for “Let’s Go”. That was a loop I made using a few smaller chops, put some basic drums on it and sent it around. I honestly didn’t think anyone would like it. KP killed it and once I heard him on it that’s what really inspired me to want to write to it – and that ended up as one of my favorite tracks on the album.

D.O.V – I’ve always dedicated a lot of my life to art and drawing. I’ve recently began painting but I like to keep my collections private, art has always been a very personal thing to me.

HipHopLead- Who were your personal influences to get into music?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

Atrasol – I was influenced by the hip hop culture as a whole. Wanted nothing more than to be part of this movement. Today, I get my influence from that feeling, hoping others at least have the chance to feel the same. I owe that much back.

Los – My personal influences I’d have to say are Tupac and Eminem writing wise dead or alive will always be top dogs. For my beat inspiration I give it to DJ Premier and RZA, both those dudes blow my mind with the samples they flip. I stay up all night studying their craft examining and dissecting what they do to the wax.

D.O.V – At a very young age I was a fan of artists such as DMX and 2Pac, their strong messages motivated me heavily.

HipHopLead- Is it harder to be respected in hip hop as a group then a solo artist?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
D.O.V – I feel it’s easier as a group rather than a solo artist. People see a real family and movement behind a group. Everyone is always behind one another one hundred percent and people feed off that energy easily.

Last Prophet – I don’t think it’s harder to be respected in hip hop as a group than a solo artist, but the problem with being a 7 man squad with a somewhat old school sound is everyone thinks you’re trying to be Wu-Tang (laughs). I guess also groups of our size aren’t the most common thing, which is probably why everyone tries to make that comparison.

HipHopLead- Coming out of Canada can either help or hurt you geographically in this game. Do you think it helps you or hurts you to get heard by the masses?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
D.O.V – Right now at this point in the game because of social networks and the internet, being in Canada definitely doesn’t hold us back. In fact I feel people are starting to pay more attention to us cats representing the north and the scene has been getting stronger.

Last Prophet – I think being from Canada may hurt us initially, as the scene here is greatly underdeveloped, but not without good reason. I’ll be honest most Canadian Hip Hop artists I’ve come across sound like shit – and I’m not even talking about what’s well known in the mainstream – even underground artists have this cheesiness to them where they’re trying way too hard to be hard – instead of focusing on their sound and making good music.

It’s understandable that the world doesn’t take Canadian hip hop seriously given what our most well known artists sound like (laughs). I think that once people hear our music though it will only help us, as people may not expect a group from Canada to sound as serious as M.I.C. In time we’ll make the world take Canadian hip hop more seriously, just you wait!

HipHopLead- We know you are gearing up to release “The Sound Of Silence”. For starts what can the HHL viewers expect from that project?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

D.O.V – Well for starts M.I.C has taken a back seat from the beats completely. We still have our hands in all the mixing and recording aspects of the album but it’s solely consisting of beats that have been put out by our brothers OuterLimit. Thanks to OuterLimit the sound of this album is nothing like we have ever done before and we are going a lot deeper with our content but you can still expect us to bring our hardest bars to the table.

Last Prophet – You can expect our collaboration album with Outerlimit productions to sound unlike anything you’ve heard before. If you haven’t checked out their music before don’t waste anymore time http://outerlimit.bandcamp.com.
These guys are crazy talented and have been pumping out topnotch, original sounding instrumentals for years.
Their beats have always inspired me to write, which is how we ended up doing the 7 track EP (The Outerlimit EP) a couple years ago.
We’ve just released a new single from our upcoming collabo, called Oxygen, which is being featured as the main track for a compilation being released by the blogsite Undercream – check out the track here.

For more work from OuterLimit be sure to check out outerlimit.bandcamp.com

HipHopLead- Are you concerned that your raw subject matter will black ball you from a more mainstream presence?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
Los – I don’t think about that when crafting a sound, I guess because I do this for myself and my homies. If people enjoy what we create or feel a connection and can relate, that’s great but if people hate then hate. In the words of PAC “Dont have to bump this but please respect it.”

Last Prophet – I don’t think any of us are concerned about industry opinions
of our subject matter. I’ve always pursued music to express myself and
create something original, so conforming to mainstream expectations just
doesn’t make sense to me.

D.O.V – It’s definitely not a concern. We have hits in store, our Mastas Inda Cypha album was made completely for the streets and hungry fans out there who needed to hear real lyrics. It was only just the beginning. We wanted to demonstrate our abilities as emcees but we are constantly growing and as our sound progresses the mainstream will have to bend in our favor, it’s only a matter of time.

HipHopLead- Are you happy with the responses you have received with your appearance on Digital Dynasty?

Mastas Inda Cypha- D.O.V – Advo’s been putting together a classic series of mixtapes. Being a part of it has really helped shine light on some of our best work and has significantly added to our fan base. Shout out to Tha Advocate!

HipHopLead- If by some chance music doesn’t pan out for you what will you guys be doing 5 years from now?

Mastas Inda Cypha-

D.O.V – I really don’t know. Maybe something to do with art or some kind of trade work.

Last Prophet – Even if I can’t make a living off music, I’ll always be doing
it. I’ve been heavily involved in music since my youth, as it provides
me a creative outlet where I can blow off steam and challenge myself
intellectually. That being said watch the moves we make this year,
we’re about to get rich!

HipHopLead- Your music video for “Ever Clever” was so reminiscent of those videos we used to see on Rap City or MTV raps. Were you guys aiming to capture that type of visual to match the sound you created?

Mastas Inda Cypha- Los produced the song, directed and edited the video himself so we knew from day one that he had an inspired vision. There’s not too many artists around that do black and white videos anymore so we had to bring it back.

HipHopLead- In the video for “JUST KEEP IT REAL” one line that really resonated with us was, “Looking like a puppet show with those wack ass flows”. A lot of people, and Hip Hop historians, say that Hip Hop has sold it’s soul in a sense. Can you guys tell us what year in your opinion when the game turned for the worse and what artists, or artists actions, would you consider them being in a “puppet show”?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
D.O.V – The past decade or so a lot of artists that have been coming out have been straight up garbage. Cats focusing on materialistic lifestyles and making party music. We all want to earn and own nice things and we all like to party sometimes but there aren’t enough rappers talking about real issues or just making real art. Rick Ross is a perfect example of how sad the state of hip hop is right now.

Here at HipHopLead.com we like to ask our features some questions that really are out of the norm. We do this because it gives the fans a broader outlook on you. So lets get it cracking ….

HipHopLead- Top 5 Hip Hop groups of all time?

Mastas Inda Cypha-
No particular order

Wu tang
Killarmy
Sunz of Man
Boot Camp Clik
Mastas Inda Cypha (of course)

HipHopLead- Is the Illuminati in hip hop real?

Mastas Inda Cypha- D.O.V – It is but too an extent. There ain’t no rappers in illuminati. Rappers like to pretend and play around with the idea that they are involved in a secret society but in reality it’s just an image. They are all puppets. The Illuminati has no true power over people for it is the people who hold power over the Illuminati. The more people choose to give into the idea that the Illuminati is that powerful and dangerous then the more power it will have over society. So also like Pac said, “Killuminati”.

HipHopLead- Come on .. what’s the most embarrassing job you ever worked back in the day (laughs)?

Mastas Inda Cypha- D.O.V – It wasn’t really embarrassing but being a paper boy and getting chased by dogs was pretty awful. The pay was way less than minimum wage and when your a little kid the last thing you want to do after school is work.

Back To The Norm…….

HipHopLead- Name 1 song you’ve done that will have the HipHopLead.com viewers hooked!? (plug link to it)

Mastas Inda Cypha- D.O.V – One song that will get people hooked is definitely Mic Check off our latest self titled album. The way Casper Black came in on the horns with his signature style, the banging drums, everything! That song is definitely the best song to introduce new listeners who haven’t yet heard our work.

HipHopLead- Thanks for hollering at us and in closing give any shoutouts….links to your sites….F.U.’S or whatever’s clever.

Mastas Inda Cypha- Shout outs to Upfront Gigadi, Tha Advocate, Killah Priest, Ruste Juxx, Joeru & Danalog One of OuterLimit, Pulse Tone, The big homie PT, everyone at Undercream, Don Hayes of Truth Talk n Tunes, DISL Automatic and everyone whos supported us over the years! One Love.

F.U to all the non-believers and all them fake wannabe emcees, You know who you are. PEACE

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