Thursday, March 6, 2008

Talib Kweli & Mick Boogie: Magazine Magnates :: Attack of the MCEO and DJournalist

So not only are Mick Boogie and Talib Kweli putting out this new mixtape, MCEO, on their own on Monday (check, and, but they decided to do everything else, too. Talib is the MC and the CEO (hence "MCEO") and Mick is the DJournalist. Mick's first work is below. He asked the tough questions and sometimes, he even answered them. Still, is the OG source, so remember where you heard aobut this new project first, as well as the promise of a reunion we've all been waiting for (but not the big reunion we've all been waiting for).

What is the MCEO project?
Mick: It’s Kweli working as not only an artist and emcee, but as the CEO of Blacksmith as well. This project is about not just the music business, but the business of music.
Kweli: I had to master the language of business in the same way I have mastered lyricism in order to keep bringing it the way I want it brought. Being MCEO is just a continuation of who I am as an MC.

So who is all on this project?
Mick: Obviously, Talib. Jean Grae. Strong Arm Steady. Kweli and a vocalist most people will remember, Res, have a new group called Idle Warship. And some guests are on the project as well…Joell Ortiz, Planet Asia and a new group I’m working with called Fly Union.
Kweli: I know that held up against this other stuff in the market, my crew will shine bright…the entire Blacksmith movement!

So Blacksmith is developing quite well?
Kweli: These guys aren’t my artists in the typical sense. We look at them as partners. We are all learning, growing and developing together, and this mixtape will be proof of that.

How important are mixtapes to hip-hop culture?
Mick: They are the foundation. Every artist wants to be heard, and MTV and radio spins aren’t cutting it anymore. Digital mixtapes, blogs, and new media is the way artists are developing fans and a musical catalog. And if, and only if, they play their cards right, the end result will be successful album sales.
Kweil: They are especially important to me because they allow me to flex a muscle I don't normally use on the albums. Mixtapes are the proving ground of our culture.

How is it bringing Res back out into the public eye?
Mick: Res is one of the dopest female vocalists out. Kweli forming the “Idle Warship” group with her was genius. People are still talking about her slept on debut album.
Kweli: She has an incredible cult following!

Do you feel Warner is doing a good job supporting Blacksmith?
Kweli: Warner Brothers helped me with the release of my album Eardrum. It was not a perfect situation, but I am happy they are allowing us to grow. Right now is not about WB, it is about what me and my crew put in. I can't expect a label to do more than I would. Being the MCEO is about creating such a strong buzz that they have to support.

How did you guys link up to do this project?
Kweli: Mick is one of the most prolific DJs working and I respect his hustle. His musical knowledge is vast, and he has been down with me since day one. His support of real hip hop has helped to put Cleveland on the map as a city to check for, musically. I'm a fan and the respect is mutual.
Mick: Same here. I was in college playing “The Manifesto” on college radio and was a big Blackstar fan. I remember driving to Pittsburgh to catch a show in the late 90s. As my deejay career has really began to take off, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of the artists I grew up listening to. And Kweli and I have been been running into each other for a few years now and finally the timing is right. He is about his business just like I am about mine… so the phrase “MCEO” was appropriate for our debut collabo.

What about rumors of a reunited Reflection Eternal album? Are they true?
Kweli: Look out for the Reflection Eternal album with Hi Tek on Blacksmith this year!
Mick: I hope I get to do that mixtape…lol.

What’s next for you guys as solo artists?
Mick: Lots of stuff. I’ve been traveling like crazy. In the last month, I’ve been in Phoenix, NYC, Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, and will be in Vegas and of course Winter Music Conference in the next coming weeks. If I haven’t been to your city, holla at me because I want to be there. On the mixtape side, me and Lil Wayne have been cooking up something crazy honoring some Brooklyn classics. Dillagence 2 with Busta. And I’m working with Cool Kids, Fly Union, Big Pooh from Little Brother and others on some new projects. You might even be hearing a Mick Boogie/Slum Village project before the summer.
Kweli: 2008 will be an exciting year for Blacksmith. In addition to new music from all the artists on the mixtape, look out for Blacksmith TV, an internet based series featuring myself, Strong Arm Steady and Jean Grae. Go to for a preview.

Mick, I really appreciate you taking the time for this interview.
Mick: No doubt. Thanks for your time.


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