Mark chats to the incredible Chicago rapper about growing up in a big family, poetry, working with Moleman and mix tapes.
For those who don't, can you tell us a little bit more about your past.
I'm the oldest born of six children…Spent my first six years on the south side bouncin' around…moved around the country until age eight…became state property at eight and been in the system ever since.
What was it like having so many siblings?
It's cool having a lot of siblings but it's strange also because we didn't grow up together. We try and keep in touch now.
How did you get around to publishing your book of poetry 'Scream of the butterfly'?
'Scream' was a collection of poems I wrote over a two year period when I was away at college. I played football at Drake University but was hurt for both the years I was there so I wrote these painfully therapeutic poems. Published them in 1999 with the help of some cats I worked for. My first real project…I got another one coming…Fuck you who say musicians can't be good poets.
Why did you make the transition over to an MC?
There was no transition, because I'm still a poet. But being an emcee I got a lot to say so that's why I rap.
How did you get involved with EV productions to release your debut album 'Open Mouths Fed'?
EV is my second home and they hold me down no matter what. I owe my start in this biz to them directly. They just believe in me and wanted to help me out. Good looking on that one Joe!
You are currently getting your second album "The Sacrifice" ready with the Molemen. How did you hook up?
First of all, 'Sacrifice' is gonna ruffle these niggas' chicken ass feathers for real and wake a lot of slumber up in Chicago. But God put us together and I thank him for that and now it's our turn. We working and getting stronger and sharper and smarter. What you think? We aren't waiting for shit. Lets go!
Here in the UK we recently received the 'World Don't Cry' 7" available only at www.headnod.co.uk What was the idea behind this track?
When I heard of girls pain moan on the chorus I knew what I had to do. The verses speak for themselves and I'm a' make it so you proud of me.
Let us know a little more about the 'Civil war' mixtape.
'Civil War' is an idea I came up with to counter this ill notion about my city that we don't work together enough and it's called 'Haterville' by cats. Stop that shit! 'Can't Neva call it hate/When ya ass ain't got skills'. Come on man, for real! But I wanted to bring together as many rappers and producers and DJ's as I could on one project and kill the 'civil war' in the city. Vol. 2 coming at you. Believe that!
Why do you think artists are releasing so many more mixtapes these days?
Reasons in my opinion 1) Inability to get signed 2) Inability to make a real album 3) Exposure.
Who would you most like to work with on a track (anyone, dead or alive)?
Chicago has always been a breeding ground of raw (talented) emcees. Why do you think this is?
Why do I think Chicago is a breeding ground? Because we right in the middle of all this shit pretty much. We got all walks of flavour and styles. It's ill.
Who (in your opinion) are the most likely artists/crew to next make it big out of Chi town?
Only because I know what I'm on, and I'm calling it with my work ethic and talent, I got next mufuka! I'm the next MVP and the team I'm with, Molemen, inc. Is going to win the championship. We the best team and getting better. The rest is being written…
Do you have any shout outs/Promotional messages?