ON GROWING UP WITH HIP HOP
Cage: I reference music a lot—‘hip-hop should be on the table with a rape kit’, you know. It was like as soon as we learned how, we just started raping it. ‘Give me this fucking culture!’ I grew up listening to KRS-One essentially say that I was the enemy, and I was like ‘yeah, KRS, I am!’ The whole idea of the white rapper—I wanted to do what I wanted to do without hurting the truth of what I’d learned. I have so much respect for the art form that I wouldn’t want to disrespect the art form, which is why I kind of changed.
Mighty Mi: I can still hear in these songs that Cage writes some of these instances where one phrase will remind me of, like, an old Slick Rick line or an old Mobb Deep line, and I’ll say to him ‘yo, the way you said that, did you do that on purpose?’ But it’s probably in our subconscious. Here we are making this very far-removed kind of hip-hop, yet it’s still what we both are. We’re still trying to fit into what we know, and we’ll never leave that. There are still elements of what we came up on.
Cage: We didn’t grow up committing suicide because of bullies. When we grew up, bullies weren’t on the internet—they were in your face or they weren’t. It’s a spineless, tattletale society. Having the right to assemble is about as having the right to practice magic. You can’t assemble a fucking birthday party. It’s ridiculous—people are lost, man. Everyone’s separated. From the Youtube comment section to a conversation in public, it’s not much different. It’s a sad time. And with that said, we made this record. We made this record in the end of days. [Laughter] It’s always the end of days.
ON TRYING TO GET SIGNED
Cage: Again, it’s getting so much easier. You’re not making a demo and sending it off into the abyss, hoping to hear something back from someone who’s never going to listen to it. I remember hanging out at record labels that would never sign me, befriended by A&Rs that would wish they could sign you but just couldn’t. [I’d get offered] tapes to record tracks on, and they’d open up a big box of demos they never listened to. They’re giving you demo tapes and you’re like ‘my dream was in there, probably’. And we would listen to them. But now that’s not the case, you know. ‘Hey, I just got this new software and I’ve never made music before, but I just made a new album and I’m uploading it in an hour.’ Artists are just spamming people. It just seems like there’s not much respect in it for originality anymore. It used to be ‘hey, everybody likes it, it’s got to suck’. Now it’s the other way around. ‘Well if everybody doesn’t like it, this isn’t fucking hot.’
ON BEING PROLIFIC
Mighty Mi: I’ve always said that’s the most valuable thing you can have in the music industry: a catalog. Make more music. It might generate 200 dollars a month or it might generate 200,000 dollars a month. But just to have music out in the universe that can get placed in movies or a TV show, it’s a nice thing to have.
ON BEING GRATEFUL
Cage: I was surprised with any of the reaction. I’ve always felt shitty about myself and I still do, but I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I don’t care about the zits on it. And that’s the best place you could ever want to be in your life.
There’s so much more you could be doing with your time than even listening to my dumb record. And I’m happy that people do, but that’s how I feel. I know that I’m not going to make a ton of money off this, and that was never the plan. So it’s great to go into this and go ‘money is not even the issue here’.
I’m not in competition with anyone, and I could care less who rips me off. I’m fortunate enough to still be alive. I think about the mountains of drugs that I’ve done and I can’t even believe it. Then somewhere down the line I think ‘holy shit I make rap records, that’s crazy’.
ON THE KIDS
Cage: Fuck the kids. [Laughter] Sometimes I feel like that, fuck ‘em. I don’t know these little fuckers. I’m just making fucking music.