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MJ Gets to Know Cuban Pete, England’s Famed Emcee of 30 Years @c75Designs

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MJ here, your favorite Hip Hop Blogger! Tonight we will get to know England’s well-known and established recording artist, Cuban Pete. First and foremost, thank you for connecting with me and taking time out of the studio for this interview.  Before we begin, I must share that in terms of travel I live through the artists that I interview.  With that being said, tell me what life is really like in England! I want to know similarities, and differences of course with lifestyles and the music scene. I’m also curious what it was like for you growing up in England.  Did you fascinate about the states, like most of us here fascinate about other countries?

CP: England’s different. It’s not as extreme as America. There’s always similarities though. I feel things are becoming more “in your face” as people and society changes. A lot of kids are crazy confident now because of this whole, everyone is a celebrity culture we’re in.  People aren’t scared to make money by being stupid. They think all press is good press.

I can only talk about myself.  I did always look up to America as the birthplace of Hip Hop, even though there is a great respect for the culture over here from most fans. When I started rhyming myself I was already involved long enough to know better than to try and copy the accent of it all. That’s been outlawed in the UK for years now! Although you still get the odd rapper, and more mainstream influenced who you would swear is from Atlanta but is actually from Sunderland.  The ones caught up in the “stuntin and frontin” lifestyle.

A word to the US though; don’t listen to Westwood riding the grime wave to stay “relevant”. UK Hip Hop has been strong and unique for years before grime hit. Shouts to Hijack, Blade, Katch 22, Silver Bullet, Gunshot, MC Mello, Icepick, London Posse, Mud Fam, Task Force, and many others for paving the way and carrying on tradition.

MJ:  It is refreshing to learn that you are part of the emcee crew, a true Master of Ceremony.  You take pride in creating music that gives purpose, and meaning.  Why is that key for you?  I mean there are endless rappers who simply create music to make a quick, catchy hit.  What separates you from that lane?

CP: When I was growing up it was about talent and skills and for most heads those are the real markers MCs are judged by. These “mumblesexuals” today can’t compare. When they decide they are fed up of being wack and try and step up their game lyrically their fans will feel like idiots for liking their wack stuff.

We all like having hits, and getting that recognition. To appeal to the mass public can mean a dilution. I think that’s changed somewhat. It’s not so much a dilution of the music these days, though obviously jumping on the latest trend helps, but it’s also a dilution of yourself. Doing anything and everything to stay “relevant”. It’s about finding a balance and being true to yourself.

MJ: Although you are “Old School” in a sense with your music, you do exude levels of uniqueness and originality so you are not boxed in or labeled as only creating one type of sound or style.  So besides capturing the essence of true Hip Hop, what else does your music offer to listeners? What can they expect from you as a recording artist?

CP: I say I’m Old School because I’ve been into this industry for around 30 years. I grew through the Golden Era and I have that inventiveness and originality inside of me. But I’m still fairly new as a serious recording artist. I’m working with several producers on different projects that I want to have different feels. I want to create music that people recognize through the saturation of the market.

MJ:  You mention that style is essential!  Elaborate on that.

CP: I’m an artist. That translates through the visual and the audio. As an artist, an original artist, you have to have style. Style that people recognize as you. It’s not about fitting in its about standing out.

MJ:  Talk about the fans and appreciation for music.  I know the Hip Hop scene and culture overseas is incredible and intense!

CP: Any artists from the US who has travelled overseas will tell you how the love for the culture is greater over here. The appreciation is great. The music really brings people together. Most of the backbiting is just between the artists. Obviously there’s people who’ll love a Lady Leshurr but not know who Craig G is but that’s par for the course. Not everyone who raps knows their history but a lot of fans do. Don’t piss off a UK rap fan though (or even a UK rapper) because you’ll be dead to them from that point on.

MJ: Can you tell us what’s hot right now with Cuban Pete?  Also what can we look forward to in the new year?

CP: I’m working on my promotion more, to get my work out there. I’ve just started a new website, www.nomadsstreetteam.com, with another talented artist on the FNBG Records roster called Just Write. Were trying to make it the next thisis50!  And I’ve still got my www.c75live.com site of course.

I’m going to keep the singles and videos coming as well as my “Renaissance Man” mixtape, followed by my “Capital C Capital P” album, and my collaboration album “When Warriors Come Out to Plaaaaayyy”.

I also have the “Live Test’ ep with OneMike (T.E.S.T Squad), an as yet untitled project with NY producer B.Dvine www.bdvinemusic.com. I have several Gorilla Army projects and a joint album with the head of the army D.Original Mr.Blue www.hoodiswatching.com. Also in the works is an album called “A War Goin On Outside” with DJ WIZ (Wu Coalition DJ). That should keep me busy…

I design clothing and merchandise for Krumbsnatcha’s label Mind Power Entertainment at www.mindpowerwear.bigcartel.com, and Gorilla Army at www.gorillagearshop.bigcartel.com. I’ll be putting together something with OneMike called Kings Ransom. Me and Mike have been working together for a while now. He’s part of my C75 Live Crew and I’m part of his T.E.S.T. Squad.

I also have my hands full with my design work doing art covers, flyers, etc.

MJ:  Lyrics or beats? As an artist do you have the opinion that one outweighs the other?

CP: You can use either to make a dope track but the best tracks use both. But I came in the game loving lyrics and wordplay, which is why I emcee instead of making beats I guess.  Although I’d love an MPC.

MJ:  Let’s talk collaborations.  Who is on your list to share the stage or studio time with?

CP: Tragedy Khadafi is a possibility right now. Redman and Method Man would be a dream. I don’t really think about it like that though. Most of my collaborations have come about through talking and vibing, or a trade of skills like artwork for a verse. It’s been a mutual organic thing, as opposed to me pursuing or outright paying someone.

MJ:  You have worked with many major artists, some of my top favorites such as Pacewon, Blaq Poet, and Krumbsnatcha!  Did they share any words of wisdom, or drop any jewels on becoming successful in the music industry?

CP: Those guys have done it all so yeah I pick up things, like I do from most people I work with. But the main thing I get from collaborations is that feeling of competition. Proving I can hang or be better than who I’m on the track with. My collaboration album will be crazy!

MJ:  Let’s play the 3 game so readers can get to know you a little better.  Who is in your top 3 personal playlist? What 3 places would you like to tour? Who are 3 influences, personally and musically?

CP:  3?   I had an 160GB IPod and filled it! My favorite album ever is “illmatic”. I have a best of M.O.P. I put together, and a best collaboration ever playlist. I can’t get it down to 3 artists, you’re crazy, lol!

Touring would be America, Brazil, and… I’ve heard Germany is live out there with the fans.

Personal influences come and go. Heroes are human and let you down.  Musically though I’d say Redman, Wu-Tang as a collective, and the third is probably a D.I.T.C. or B.C.C. type collective. Only three is hard after 30 years.

MJ: As we wrap up, is there anything else you would like the world to know about yourself?

CP:  I’m here to cut through the bullsh*t! You might not hear about me every day on these Hip Hop gossip sites but I will still be here in front or behind the scenes making moves. The race is not a sprint, the game is long.

MJ: Thank you again for taking time out for MJ! I wish you much continued success, salute!

Follow MJ @MJsHipHopConnex

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Albums

TySoul x Maine the Medicine – Medicine for the Soul LP Interview & Serenity Video

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TySoul and Maine the Medicine announce the release of their collaborative project titled ‘Medicine for the Soul.’ The 14-track album features Popko, Sweetness, Daniel Rosler, Suspect, Lambo Lo, Paulie, and GTS.  Check out our latest interview detailing the album along with visuals for the leading single “Serenity.”

MJ: You hit fans with something different and innovative with this new album “Medicine for the Soul”. You curated a captivating blend of R&B and Hip Hop. Talk about the album and the mindset behind creating it.

Stream/download “Medicine for the Soul” here on preferred platforms

TySoul: Both Maine and myself already collaborated on multiple records before this album, and everything we made together came out great. So, we thought, why not make a full project together, and we did just that. Myself being a Chris Brown fan, I wanted to add a new school R&B flare to the album, while having Maine add his old-school influences along with his amazing lyricism.

Maine: being from New York, Hip-Hop and R&B go hand and hand. Like Nas and Lauryn, Meth and Mary, Father MC with Jodeci, and the list goes on and on. We just wanted to bring that feeling back.

MJ: You enlisted an elite selection of producers for the album, with an incredible ability to orchestrate soundscapes that heighten the raw emotion and impeccable lyricism. Talk about that, as well as how you two linked up.

TySoul: We originally linked up nearly a decade ago from a mutual contact, we never collaborated at the time, but we did a few shows together. Years later Maine called me to come into JL Studios to do a hook for Mercy Gang and after that, it was a wrap…

Maine: We worked with a handful of producers including Know- it beats and Da Leadgeon who helped us blend that Hip Hop and R&B with today’s twist. Plus, we both get busy with the pen!

MJ:  Was the goal of the album to expand your fan base by stepping out of the box? Was it to display your versatility as artists and your agility to steer in different lanes?

TySoul: I think both of us somewhat stepped out of our comfort zones for the better. I was able to experiment with a more commercial sound rather than the old-school R&B type influences that were prevalent in my first album “Two-Sided.” I feel that we both displayed our versatility but also stayed true to our artistry.

Maine: I feel as an MC I should be able to adapt to any genre while still being me.

MJ:  What single off the album do you anticipate taking off both on charts and with listeners/fans?

TySoul: I think that “Addicted” or “Don’t You” are two of our more heartfelt records. Both talk about relationship-based content but also have an upbeat flow and awesome production.

Maine: “Serenity” is going to make a statement because it deals with some crucial issues going on in the world now. “Addicted”, “Old Thing Back”, and “Move Ya Body” are extraordinarily strong records as well.

MJ: Take a minute to reflect and share anything else about “The Medicine for the Soul”

TySoul: This project personally helped me to experiment with rapping more. Maine pushed and encouraged me to spit a few bars, and I was able to rap a few good verses on this album. Even through this pandemic, we stayed motivated and in touch, which enabled us to finish this project strong and in time when we were able to return to the studio.

Maine: We want people and our fans to get that great feeling listening to our music. We’re just trying to put authentic Hip Hop and R&B back on the map.

Special thanks to Dan Rosler, Amanda Rogan, Lambo Lo, Suspect, Gus, and Paulie…#RIPHefty

Watch “Serenity” featuring Sweetness and Daniel Rosler (off ‘Medicine for the Soul’ album). The empowering lyrics and serene images of unity and innocence in the video along with the soothing, soulful vibe and classic drums are sure to raise neck hairs and touch hearts worldwide.

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Artist

Mont’e Millions Is One To Watch

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Mont’e Millions has a unique gift for defying genres and blending his vocals with any beat. He’s truly in a lane of his own and “Sally” is a prime example of him crossing the boundaries of several genres.

Millions is an independent artist who began singing at the age of seven and writing music at the age of 12. He recorded his first album in 2007 and recorded his debut single “Sally,” this year. The single has amassed over half a million streams and counting. He also released two additional singles called “Really” and “Hundred Bands” during the late summer.

His musical roots come from his mother, iconic soul/R&B singer-songwriter Betty Wright, who served as his instructor and mentor throughout his musical journey. In addition to his mom, his family also comes from a musical background. From his grandfather, who was in a late ‘60s gospel quartet, to his aunt who is an international Blues artist.

When asked about the inspiration behind “Sally,” Millions says that the song is based on his lifestyle.

“I have a ranch with many horses, and Sally is my real horse,” Millions says. “This song/video gives the audience a chance to see the nature side of me. I love my horses. This song has done over 4 million streams in just 4 ½ months. I feel the success came from the passion that I possess for my ranch life.”

Watch the video for “Sally” below.

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