Artist Of The Year: M-Dot (2011)
M-Dot!!!! The name rings clearly enough on any track this Bostonian finds himself on. The trademark ‘shout-out’ announces his verse is up next, and yes folks, the man is up next. M-Dot has found himself on countless projects this year and every time he spits, it’s a win. He has put out a remixed album with DJ Jean Maron this year and a mixtape entitled, M.ore D.oubters O.ver T.hinking. He also was a part of one of the dopest videos this year with DJ Brans and Armageddon (Terror Squad) entitled World Wide.
With all the being said, M-Dot is constantly on his grind, building on his budding reputation as one of the pre-eminent independent hip hop artists today. Today, Hip Hop Dependency wants to recognize, M-Dot for all of his accomplishments in 2011 as our Artist Of The Year. His consistency behind the mic and his work ethic is well deserving.
M-Dot agreed to answer a few questions for me and I am proud to deliver this interview of one of my favorite artists. Do yourself a favor, check this interview out but be sure to check out the projects he has out and support!
HHD: In the last couple of years, your name has been generating a lot of buzz. The name M-Dot is starting to standout more and more in an industry that is flooded with others competing to be heard. Aside from the talent you possess, what else do you attribute to the rise in stature?
M-Dot: Hard work & having a great support team are increasingly the factors in growing as an artist. To have family (EMS, my girl, my kids, parents), friends & listeners tuning in, continually backing me when the “light” seems so out of reach, is something that can never be over-appreciated enough. With anything in life, it takes more than one person for large success, while humility should be the first step towards realizing that.
HHD: Take people back to the beginning. What made you decide you were going to make the push to be a hip hop artist? And from there how did EMS get its roots? How has EMS evolved up until today?
M-Dot: I started rapping freshman year in HS. Was in my basement recording off tape recorders (2-tracking with an instrumental/vinyl in the background). Didn’t take it as a full time job till after college (when I was making money at shows). In college met Rev & started EMS (Experimental Mind State). The acronym stands for just what it says, “trying anything musically” (no walls).
HHD: This year you have worked with a few producers from Europe. You have done a track with Soulslicers (Switzerland), another with DJ Brans (France), and a whole album with DJ Jean Maron (France). What are they bringing to the table? Are they offering talents and a sound, in your opinion, that you just don’t hear in the US right now?
M-Dot: THERE HUNGRY!! Thats the easiest way to sum I up. I get folders all the time from these guys overseas. And there trying to bring back a sound of MUSIC/SOUL in hip hop. I can’t stand when people are stuck in 1993, I don’t want that, I am saying they really strive to make good music, that resonates for old fans & can still be fresh for a newer crowd. There all dope. And I am proud to have toured & worked with them so much.
HHD: Speaking of DJ Brans, you and Armageddon (Terror Squad) did a song produced by him entitled to Worldwide. The song is incredibly dope and made HHD’s Top Ten this year, but that video looked incredibly fun to do. I liked the whole concept. What was it like to work with those other artists in making that video?
M-Dot: Armageddon (formerly of Terror Squad) came up with the whole concept for the video. I did my verse first, he followed, and chose to make it a battle record for the video’s direction.
HHD: At this point, though early in your career, how do you feel about where you are at, musically and professionally? At the end of the day, how is M-Dot going to define success?
M-Dot: I’ve been flown to tour Europe over 3 times, been in Vinyls top 5 sales for Hip Hop, been featured on legends songs (big difference from just paying for a verse), won to many awards to count, been featured in over 100 mags/papers, and at the end of the day, know I got my families love & respect. You know why? Cuz they know how hard I grinded to get here. With no connections or financial assistance.
HHD: We talked a little bit about it before, but we are both family men. You also put in a great deal of work per year. How do you balance time being M-Dot the musician, and then M-Dot the father? Does it create a strain on you or are you able to find balance in that?
M-Dot: It ain’t easy. Especially when I go outta town or leave the country. My girl & I have a great relationship though which makes it go smoother. She knows I am out there trying to benefit us as a whole working. Being away from my son, and new daughter is rough so thats why I try to mainly tour when its a great situation (which i keep being Blessed enough to have had).
HHD: Search the memory banks for a second, and I want you to think about the livest show you ever performed at and then give our readers a perspective of what you are feeling when you are rocking the mic and when you see the crowd get so hype for your music.
M-Dot: Love it. Best feeling in the world. Sex, drugs, alcohol, ecstasy, ALL IN ONE!! Being in front of people & knowing you got em, is something you can’t explain, you just have to be there on that stage. I did the XGAMES in France last year, and that was unreal. there was 500 people outside who couldn’t get in (place was capacity). At first crowd was kinda scary to come out to (cuz they wanted party/dance hall music), after 2 songs I had them. Got an encore. Grateful to have had them react like that.
HHD: Boston is a hotbed for up and coming and established hip hop artists. What is it like being a hip hop artist in Boston? Pros? Cons?
M-Dot: Pros: NOBDOY HAS EVER HIT A 800K Records sold (in “Hip Hop”). Cons: Crabs in a barrel. I enjoy the struggle though. And know my role and embrace it, thats what separates me. Everyone is trying to fit in. I don’t sit at the cool table, I work with everyone, but don’t get drowned in the bullshit, I just keep it moving. Best advice I could give, focus on what your doing, don’t waist a second being distracted by anyone else.
HHD: Industry Question: You have put out music on Itunes and you have also put out your fair share of free music. What is the place of ‘free’ music now as we are rolling in 2012? What makes you say “I am going to put out this mixtape for free.” vs. “Lets get this album on Itunes.”?
M-Dot: Ain’t nobody buying music nowadays (never-mind anything digital). So you gotta rail em in with free mixtapes. Hopefully they pay u back with buying your cd after it drops because of that down the road.
HHD: What’s next for M-Dot the solo artist and what’s up next for EMS as a whole?
M-Dot: TOO MUCH TO NAME. Just trust theres alot cooking. Before I go back to Europe I got a tape dropping in the meantime.
HHD: Anything else you want to tell our readers?
M-Dot: Thank you for the support, real talk. Come listen to the music & see the difference. I don’t try to jump on the new fad, or drown you out in the 1993 boombap, gun/drugs, spaceship/moons content, I just make music thats relatable for me (and hopefully you). Everyday music with feel. My goal is to always be able to work in any genre, while never being pigeon holed into just one. Thats why I constantly work with everyone (of each style), in order to challenge myself to be able to excel no matter the concept/tempo. To work on such contrasting tracks with various artists is a risk most MC’s don’t like taking. But that and striving to keep improving are vital to longevity . Pause, and cut out the “cool” for 2 minutes & separate the mediocre from the stand-out music & your life will be multi-formed.
Shout out to my brother Kris & the whole EMS crew.
I don’t personally got facebook. But got a twitter (finally)