A lot of people associated with Hip-Hop may not want to agree, but the words “Hip-Hop” and “crime” are just as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly.
More than a decent share of rappers have traded in their designer duds for county blues, while keeping the negative stigma about the genre alive and well. But aiming to turn a gloomy situation into more of a positive one is Bronx Bomber Mysonne Linen.
Two and a half years removed from a seven-year prison sentence where he was convicted of armed robbery, (and still proclaims his innocents to this day) the former Def Jam artist and Violator affiliate from the late 90’s has a whole new set of priorities.
Coming from occupying a vocal booth with the likes of Ma$e, Beanie Sigel, 8Ball, and the Ruff Ryders crew to being confined to an 8×12 prison cell can have that affect on a person.
In Mysonne’s case, there was plenty of light at the end of the tunnel because when he entered society again, one of the members from his imprint Wanna Blow Entertainment back then happened to be Jae Millz [Click to read Jae Millz interview] of today who managed to keep everything afloat while rubbing elbows with Lil Wayne.
Not one to look for handouts and wait for his young gunner to throw him a bone, he’s already established the Bang Bang Boogie movement with Bronx MC’s Cuban Link, S-One, and Lord Tariq. Now with over a decade of life experience under his belt, he’s ready to show the world what they missed out on ten years ago.
iHipHop.com: So what have you been up to lately, what do you have coming up?
Mysonne: Right now I’m working on my album, and I’m trying to get a distribution deal, and I’m currently in negotiations for that.
I also have a new mixtape that’s scheduled to drop in February called Mysonne Reloaded, and I’ve been doing the Bang Bang Boogie project with Lord Tariq, Cuban Link, S-One, and myself.
We’re trying to put together that new Bronx movement… Right now I’m just dabbling in a whole lot of different things.
iHipHop.com: So did you still write the whole time of your incarceration?
Mysonne: When I was incarcerated, that’s probably the main thing I did. All you have is time to think, and all kinds of thoughts run through your head. So I put all of that into my writing, and transferred it into music.
iHipHop.com: How was your mindset during that period? Did you ever feel as if your window of opportunity closed due to the situation you were in?
Mysonne: At that time, I did feel like the situation was a negative one, but I always had faith in myself and in my music. I really felt like I was missing out on a lot, just from how the state of Hip-Hop was at that point, but I always knew that my creativity level was so high that eventually people would be able to hear my music. So I never gave up hope…
iHipHop.com: Speaking of the music industry, what’s one of the biggest changes you witnessed about it when you first came home?
Mysonne: Right now there is a lack of substance… There’s no more substance in music, and it’s promoted that way. [They] encourage you to eliminate substance… It’s like whoever can come up with the most simplest single. Before it was about whoever could come up with the most complex and most creative style, and anybody couldn’t just do Hip-Hop before. Now all it takes is one song, a catchy hook, and beat.
Right now it’s like people with no talent can get involved. Before there weren’t a lot of rappers, but everybody is a rapper now. Everybody has ProTools in their house, and everybody’s on the Internet. Before it was like you PRAISED the wordsmiths, and you looked forward to hearing what they were going to come up with. Now when you tell someone that you’re a rapper, they’re like, “Oh, who’s not a rapper?”
iHipHop.com: So with everything being as simple as you just said, do you think about your material going over people’s heads?
Mysonne: Oh, well aware that’s going to happen! That’s been the thing that I’ve been dealing with since I came back home. I’m trying to figure out how not to lose substance, and still be heard. I’m trying to learn on how to walk that fine line between creativity and simplicity. It’s hard when you have a creative mind, but you have to taint it. I realize now what Jay-Z was saying about his first album [Reasonable Doubt] was his best album to him; but it went over so many people’s heads, that he had to dumb-down so people could understand what he was saying.
I’m not going to lose my substance though; I just have to do my material like I was writing it for a kid. Right now the attention span of the youth is a lot shorter, and you can’t even get a song on the radio that’s 3:30 anymore. We used to have five-minute songs on the radio, and people knew every line, but now you have all these three-minute songs, and people just wait for one part to come on. I’m aware of that, and you have to change with the times…
iHipHop.com: With Jae Millz still being affiliated with Wanna Blow [Entertainment], how was your reaction to his success during all that time you were gone? Did you always know he was bound to make a name for himself?
Mysonne: I always knew… When he first came to the camp, he was young, he was hungry, and he was talented. So when he came in, I’d mentor him and talk to him, because he was definitely talented. He was 14-15 when he first came in, and he had the work ethic, skill, the passion, and the love for the art. A lot of guys, like the new rappers don’t really have a love for the art, they just rap because they feel as if they can make a couple of dollars.
But [Jae] Millz has the love and the passion for the music. He would make music all day everyday for no money; it just so happens that Hip-Hop pays. I make music for the love of it; and the finances come later. That’s why [Lil] Wayne is winning, and that he’s not a one-hit wonder. You can just tell that he loves music, and he loves saying something that somebody else won’t say.
iHipHop.com: Do you think it will be difficult to re-capture the fan base you had established before you went in?
Mysonne: I don’t think it will be difficult to re-capture the fan base that I had; I think my challenge is to re-capture the youth. You can’t preach to kids, they’re not going to talk to their parents about what’s going on with them in the streets; they’re going to talk to their best friend. They might talk to an older dude that might give them some insight, because they think that’s cool. You have to teach people within their ignorance…
You can’t tell someone to stop selling drugs, because he’s going to think that you can’t even identify with his reality. He’s going to look at you like some old dude that doesn’t know anything. I just watched the Biggie movie, [Click to read review] and you have to be able to identify with people, and people have to see themselves in you in order for you to get their ear.
iHipHop.com: With that said, do you feel as if you’re competing with younger generation of MC’s?
Mysonne: There’s no competition because the problem with music right now is the fact that these kids haven’t been through anything. That’s why you only hear one song from them, and then they disappear. Whereas Pac and Biggie had a story to tell… You have other MC’s like T.I. who have been through life, and you’ll be able to hear that. Kanye [West] had a life where he was explaining his lifestyle of a college dropout, and he was telling you about what he went through.
These kids don’t have that, and that’s why the sales are reflecting that right now. Nobody is going to go out and spend their last $15.00 on somebody that’s rich, and all they do is have money, and throw it around. The people can’t identify with that. I can’t… Can you?
iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… Can’t say that I can… So what’s one thing that keeps you motivated to continue on doing what you do after all that you been through?
Mysonne: What keeps me motivated are the few artists that I see who have that passion, and the success that it brings them. Just knowing the formula to success and knowing that I present that. I don’t let the state of the industry get me down, because the real will always outshine the fabricated.
iHipHop.com: What does “Mysonne” of the 2000’s know about life that “Mysonne” of the 90’s didn’t?
Mysonne: Well as a youth, I was more concerned about the general perception of what people thought about me. I was more worried about what they perceived me to be, rather than what I really was. At this point in my life when you go to prison—you’re only hurting yourself. When you follow someone else’s perception of what you should be, it doesn’t work. The only person who loses is you…