In this third and final part of my interview with New York microphone veteran Mikey D, the Queens resident recalls replacing Large Professor in Main Source back in the 90s and also talks about his two forthcoming projects scheduled for release in 2013 – make sure you check Part One and Part Two before reading further.
When you joined Main Source in the 90s was that a tough decision to make knowing you were filling the shoes of Large Professor or was it a case of you using that as an opportunity to get back in the game?
“Yeah, it was a matter of me just wanting to get back into the music and them being the stepping stone for that return. I didn’t know what had happened with the group as far as why Large Professor broke out. At that point I still didn’t know him like that. I thought Large Pro was nice but I didn’t know him and still didn’t recognise him from when he used to be in our studio sessions with everyone else at 1212. At that time, I didn’t know he produced, I didn’t know his history with Paul C., I didn’t know the reasons he left Main Source, I didn’t know none of that when I got together with Sir Scratch and K-Cut. I met them through Jeff Redd who told me to go to this particular address and spit a rhyme for these guys who were looking for a rapper. I remember going to the address and I had crazy toothache on that day (laughs). I spit a rhyme for them and they were saying they wanted to sign me and also wanted me to go to Canada with them to do this, that and the other. So they had me all the way down in Canada and we started working. But I didn’t like Sir Scratch for some reason. I thought he was too much of a momma’s boy and he didn’t want me to go out and explore Canada. He just wanted me to stay in the crib writing rhymes and I didn’t like that. You really can’t pressure me to write rhymes because you can’t rush perfection (laughs). So that was pi**ing me off and I really couldn’t get my vibe right to be able to write. But we did a whole album, presented it to Wild Pitch and they didn’t like it because it wasn’t really me.”
So was it just your contribution to the album Wild Pitch didn’t like or was it the production as well?
“It was a combination of both. I mean, listening to that album was like trying on a shoe that’s too small for you. It just didn’t fit. They’d had me like a hostage out there in Canada trying to write rhymes and the album just didn’t fit together. So then the label told us to come back to New York and record there and that’s when all the old feelings started coming back to me. I’m back in New York, I’m home, I’m feeling right, I can tell my peoples to come up to the studio, I’ve got my vibe back and that’s when I started writing songs that were big and bangin’ them out the same day. Wild Pitch liked that album we did but they just didn’t push it enough. They put us with damn MC Serch as our road manager who was also supposed to be the Vice-President of the label and was also Nas’s manager at the same time. We got all the way to California and the guy’s taking care of Nas’s business on our time. So it was just another disaster. You know God always has plans for you so maybe back then I just wasn’t ready because there was always something going wrong for me (laughs).”
That must have been an extremely frustrating time for you considering the album was so close to being released with the single and video to “What You Need” out, full page ads in The Source etc…
“That was basically it. I wound up leaving Main Source for the same reasons Large Professor did. There were publishing issues, they wanted to tap in on my writers royalties when they didn’t write anything. The group’s manager was K-Cut and Sir Scratch’s mother and she was crooked. Me and K-Cut got along but then I couldn’t really trust him because that’s his brother and mother who were involved as well and family always comes first if you’re loyal. I couldn’t trust any of them so I just had to leave.”
Which was a real shame because “F**k What You Think” was a quality album that would have sat nicely alongside many of the other great albums that dropped in 1994…
“Exactly. They just didn’t push it right. There was just too much going on between Main Source and the label. After Large Professor left I don’t think Stu Fine and the staff at Wild Pitch really liked dealing with Main Source and their management. I walked into the situation blind and walked into a bad position at the wrong time. That’s basically what it was. And see, their mother Ms. McKenzie, I believe her intentions were to get that album recorded, have Wild Pitch pay for the studio time, and then once the album was completed to shop it to another label. I honestly believe that’s what happened, but all of that backfired in her face. But I really didn’t do my research first before getting involved in that situation and I should have known something was wrong when they asked me to make a diss record about Large Professor and I wouldn’t do it. That man did nothing to me, so why would I disrespect him?”
There was a story about a final meeting at the label involving yourself, Ms. McKenzie and a knife…
“Yeah, yeah (laughs). We were at a press conference with all the different magazines like The Source, Right On!, Word Up!, all sat at one table. Ms. McKenzie came in wielding a knife talking about ‘Where’s Stu Fine?!’ So all of that’s going down and then steam starts coming out of my ears and I’m like, ‘Yeah we should get Serch!’ Serch locked himself in the office and I had my two boys with me called the Twin Towers, two three-hundred pound young boys, and they’re trying to get into his office with Serch out on the window ledge. I don’t think we would have hurt Serch, but I’d always had a problem with him since day one and I didn’t really trust him. When I first got with Main Source and went up to the label by myself for a meeting, Serch gave me a lawyer’s card and said, ‘This is the same lawyer that I gave Large Professor. If you tell anybody I gave you this I’m gonna say you’re lying and remember Mike, I know people.’ I didn’t like the threat. It rubbed me the wrong way. The only time I’d met this gentleman before was back at the New Music Seminar in 1988 because he was one of the first people I battled there. But you’re sitting in an office throwing street threats at me? I didn’t like that. Evidently he didn’t know my background (laughs). So when that whole situation at the press conference happened all of that came back to me, the trip to California, everything.”
Have you spoken to Serch since then?
“I spoke to him maybe about two years after that but he still looked a little nervous. That was the last time I spoke to him.”
So after the Main Source situation you stepped away from the industry again…
“Yeah, I chilled out for a minute but I didn’t stop writing or none of that. But I was spending time raising my daughter. I did some features here and there but I really just wanted to let my name die down a little bit and then time myself and get it right. I worked a regular job at the airport for almost eleven years and at times it was frustrating when sometimes people would recognise me. But as time went on and I got out of that space I was in it became like a whole new start for me. I stopped drinking and really got my focus back. Lyrically, I think I’m more dangerous now than I was before. So now when I come out, these young artists just look at me as another artist. They don’t look at me as being an old-school artist because when I spit I don’t sound like that. But the whole time I’ve always stayed in my own lane and nobody will ever push me out of that lane. That’s the whole reason I’m still relevant today because I still do me and haven’t let anything change my lane.”
So bringing things up-to-date explain how the forthcoming Elements Of Hip-Hop project with DJ Mercury came about?
“Well, I met DJ Mercury a couple of weeks before my birthday last year. I’d heard of Mercury through Professor X and I knew he had a radio show but I’d never met him. Johnny Quest still lives down the block in Laurelton and he was selling records, so Mercury came to the block. I said I was having a birthday party about a month later and he said he’d do the party for me. So he brought his equipment out, did the party, I had Ralph McDaniels there from Video Music Box, Tito from the Fearless Four was there, Large Professor showed up, and Mercury was nice on those turntables. I really liked the way he carried himself. I called him afterwards to thank him for doing the party, went to sleep that night, and for some reason I woke up the next day and this Elements Of Hip-Hop thing came to mind and I thought it would be a great name for a group. Now, there are various elements of Hip-Hop, but me and Mercury represent two of them, the emcee and the deejay. Mercury rocks as a deejay the same way I rock as an emcee, none of this digital stuff, just bringing it back to the essence. So I really felt we should do something together. Now, the project is mature Hip-Hop and I feel there’s a market for that right now. The young cats that are out will be able to appreciate what I’m coming with and their parents will be able to appreciate it even more. I’m not killing nobody on this project, I’m not driving three cars at the same time, I’m not doing none of that (laughs). I’m just trying to take it back and show people what Hip-Hop meant to us. I have Grand Daddy I.U. on the project and also my younger brother MC Lotto who was on the “Set It Off” track on the Main Source album. So, the project that’s coming out in a few weeks is called “Calm Before The Storm” and then in the summertime I have another album coming called “Day Of Destruction”. Everybody knows my name is Mikey Destruction and that album is going to be so crazy and I’m just decapitating all emcees on there. I’m bringing back the young Mikey D on that album who used to go around picking and choosing battles (laughs).”
So “Calm Before The Storm” is about you bridging the gap between the different generations of Hip-Hop and “Day Of Destruction” is more about you going back to your original blueprint as an emcee?
“Absolutely. Legalize from Russia is doing the production on “Day Of Destruction” except for one song that I left open for my boy Large Professor. But aside from that, the whole album is produced by Legalize. I’m also looking to do something with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap on “Day Of Destruction” as well so lookout for that one.”
Are you also still planning to officially release your documentary “The Making Of A Legend”?
“We’re adding some new footage to what we already have and then once it’s done it’ll be out. Aside from everyone who’s in the current footage like Daddy-O and LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane is in it, Melle Mel is gonna be in it and also some new-school artists who’re relevant to what’s going on in Hip-Hop today. It’s going to be very interesting.”
So it definitely sounds like you’re planning to have a busy 2013?
“Definitely. My mission right now is to save Hip-Hop”.
The Elements Of Hip-Hop album “Calm Before The Storm” will be released on April 2nd.