S: So what do you know about my project?
M: What do I know about your project? A lot! It’s about [black] people in the world who are carefree and transcend stereotypes.
S: Yeah so I’m doing this ‘transmedia collective’ based on my unpopular opinions and thoughts on American society. My views on racism, sexism, heartbreak—
M: All the ‘isms’ yeah! [laughter] I have a serious question though. Can I be in the short film?
M: I’d like to score it too!
S: Yes! Yes! Do you listen to classical music?
M: I do!
S: Cool! I’ll send you all of the info. Let’s get on with the interview though. [laughs] Yeah, so this would be apart of the ‘racism’ section of my book. I’m interviewing black men—
M: Strong black men. You’re interviewing strong black men.
S: Yes I am. Do you think you’re a strong black man?
M: Oh yeah!
S: I feel like you’re trying to tell me you think you are. [laughter]
M: I am!
S: [laughter] So tell me about yourself. What do you do?
M: Well... I’m Mitch. I make music for a living… I literally do nothing else. Like I make music and yeah that’s it. A music composer.
S: And what do you like?
M: [talking to self] What do I like? Like in life? Just period?
S: Yeah what do you like? What are your hobbies? What are you interested in? Who are you?
M: That’s such a broad— I don’t really know where to start for me. I like uh… Does it matter if I curse or whatever?
M: Okay I like being with my niggas and shit. I like playing video games. I like to eat sour candy. I like watching movies.
S: What kind of films do you like?
M: I like films for different reasons. I like really bad movies sometimes because they’re really funny. Like Tyler Perry movies. I like mafia films, Disney shit, a lot of animated shit. Yeah… I’m really a simple guy. I don’t like going out. I’d probably have more shit to tell you if I told you shit I didn’t like.
S: That’s good too! So what don’t you like?
M: I can tell you hella shit that I don’t like. I don’t like—I do no drugs. I’ve never been high or drunk before so I don’t like drugs. I don’t like going out a lot. I’m so uncomfortable around people that I don’t know. I don’t like V necks—
S: Are you uncomfortable right now?
M: No because I know you! I don’t know you that well but I know you and I know them. [Briana and Kiante] I don’t get intimidated easily.
S: Am I intimidating? [laughs]
M: Nope! [laughter]
S: What’s your understanding of the phrase “carefree black boy.”
M: A black boy who doesn’t care about what other people think. [laughter]
S: From that definition, do you think you fit?
M: Yeah! I don’t really care about—how can I say this? When it comes to me doing whatever in life, I don’t really listen to anyone. When I was in highschool I didn’t want to be there. I had good grades up until 9th grade because I really didn’t want to be in highschool no more. I broke my leg and stuff and I stopped doing work but when I actually did my work, I had good grades! I just knew I didn’t want to be there. I always knew I wanted to make music and I never wanted to do homework and shit. My uncle used to tell me I need to get a trade or something he’d always say “You’ll never be like Ludacris and them boys.”
S: Ludacris? [laughs] He compared you to Ludacris? What the fuck.
M: Yeah because I used to do a lot of stuff with this group called Two-9 and they recorded at this studio called DTP and Ludacris used to be there sometimes and one day I posted a picture with Ludacris. I knew what I wanted to do in life but it was never really concrete like getting a trade, or going to school, or actually getting some type of real background. When I got to high school I kind of just winged it. I was making beats and shit and making connections and shit on my own, but I know that’s not the typical way it should go. In life, it’s kind of like a format. You go to school, then you go to more school, then you get a job, and then you start a family. You know it’s kind of like that but I never wanted to do that because it’s just not me.
S: Yeah. I think that now everyone is kind of realizing there is no manual to life. There’s no certain way to be successful or unsuccessful.
M: See I was trying to tell my mom that! I was trying to tell her that! She didn’t want to listen to me. My mom hated what I was doing. I wouldn’t leave the house I would just be sitting in my basement making beats in the dark for hours. I wouldn’t go nowhere. I was just in the house everyday just making beats, writing raps, doing cover-art-graphic shit. Anything but working a job or getting out into society. It kind of ended up working out. Should I answer that question some more?
S: Go for it!
M: Another way [I embody the spirit of a carefree black boy] is not just what I do in life. It’s also the way I think about just… everything. It’s not like I try to be different, I just am!
S: I think that’s what it comes down to. Throughout all of these interviews I’ve learned that you guys are carefree black men, not because you’re trying, it’s because you’re human and you’re going through life how you should be. Once we stop associating certain behaviors to how black men should be, black men will stop reducing themselves to surface values in order to fit in. So what’s the most important message you want to put out into the world?
M: If it’s something that you want to do in life, you should just do it. Even when it seems like it’s not working out and it seems like everybody around you is telling you that it’s stupid; or even if they tell you that you suck at something that you’re doing, just keep doing it. Just do what you want. You can end up doing what they want and you can just be miserable or you can just do what you want, and have fun with it. Either you become successful, or you don’t but you had fun. So my most important message is just do what you want regardless of what anyone has to say.
S: Give me some stereotypes placed on black men.
M: That we like chicken and kool-aid. Nah i’m just playing. People have this thing made up in their heads that we can’t think outside the box too. We have to be reduced to just fucking making music and playing basketball and shit when it’s niggas out here really doing amazing shit. I’m not saying knowing how to dunk from the free throw line isn’t amazing, but it’s niggas out here that know hella shit about technology and art and everything. People think that we’re just so easy to figure out and I think it’s more to our race than meets the eye.
S: Yeah race and our culture is so complex.
M: That’s exactly what I mean because people always try to confine it and I don’t think that you can do that. I know niggas that are inventing shit. Will.i.am and the whole thing he’s got going is amazing.
S: I mean even the scene here now [Atlanta] all these underground photographers, painters, designers artists in general it’s really incredible. People of color are doing really cool shit and it’s not what you expect, so all of a sudden they become “different.”
M: It’s fucked up, man. You see a nigga 22 years old graduating from Harvard and it’s like it’s “amazing” but it should just be normal. I feel like black people do [great] shit and they make it seem like it’s so amazing. It is amazing but it’s just like...this is normal for us too. We can do it too.
S: Yeah I mean I think there’s a lot of fear involved with the fact that we’re catching up. Catching up to all the old money and resources that white people have had forever. So people see us doing well and they’re like “Wow! Look at this black person go.” We could’ve been just as successful—shit more successful, if we had the resources they’ve had for years and we are doing it now, still... without the resources.
M: But slavery happened so… [laughter] I feel like the answer to oppression is just to… go back to Africa. [laughter] I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. Don’t get that.
S: That’s what I’m putting next to your picture. That exact quote. [laughter] What’s the message you want to put out to little black boys and girls?
M: If you care about what everybody else thinks, you’re going to go crazy! My message to little black kids is... I’m trying to figure out how to word it because I don’t want to say what I said before.
S: You totally can say what you said before.
M: Nah, nah. I want to give a different message to the little kids. [laughter] Damn what would I want to hear if I was a little kid? You have to be patient. I think patience is very important because you’re gonna go through a lot of shit in life and it’s gonna fuck with you. At first you’re gonna want to react by giving up but you just have to be patient. If you’re doing something, you’ve got to stick to it. You just got to be patient. For me sometimes it just used to seem like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I felt like I was doing shit, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. It was [heavy sigh] frustrating. I was in a dark place in my life before all this shit happened. I used to wake up everyday, brush my teeth at like eight o’clock— I wouldn’t even leave my room. I’d just start making beats and I’d know nothing was about to happen so I’d go back to sleep. I’d wake up, maybe watch TV and make some more beats, write some more raps, go back to sleep. It’s like nothing was happening! I didn’t even know what to do, but I didn’t give up. Then my mom always telling me what she thought I should do just made me not want to do it anyway. So my answer is just to be patient. I’m not even going to say “you don’t know what’s going to happen” because you know what’s going to happen! If you work hard at it and you just keep doing it— that’s the thing like the internet got everything so fucked up. Niggas see shit on the internet and they don’t see the in between. They see niggas on there flexing jewelry or whatever. You see the outcome, but you don’t really get to see what that person did to do it. People don’t have patience no more. They just want it like right away. I’m not gonna put myself on Instagram in a basement in the dark. So I think patience is important because you have to understand that things take time. Sometimes it looks like it doesn’t, but it does. Everything takes time. Even if a nigga make it overnight or something like that, it takes time. Mentally, physically you just have to be patient. Not just like occupation wise. You have to be patient with people, you have to be patient with the law, society...just period. Patience is very important.
S: That’s really nice to hear. So why do you think I chose to interview you? That’s a really cool jacket by the way.
M: Thank you. It comes out next year.
S: [sarcastically] Ohhh, cool.
M: I’m just kidding, it’s already out. It’s dumb old, it’s like vintage Nautica.
S: [sarcastically] Ohhh, cool. [laughter]
M: Wait that’s a flex, vintage Nautica? I wasn’t even trying to flex. [laughs] I think you chose me because I think you see that...I’m the future. [laughter] I’m just kidding.
S: Well…you can be narcissistic. [laughs]
M: I honestly don’t know why you chose me because the first time we met I think we had a bad encounter. The first time we met I was being kind of rude to you but I wasn’t trying to.
S: Oh yeah! You were fucking rude! I do remember that. Shit. Why am I interviewing you? [laughter]
M: I know, I’m sorry. I’m always like that at first. It was a lot going on, one of those days. But that’s not me though! I’m...happy. Well I don’t know if that’s the word, I don’t know what the word is. It’s not angry. Somewhere in between.
S: What are you angry about?
M: I’m not angry. I’m just never satisfied. I don’t know, when I was in high school I was never happy. I remember one point when I was happy. When there was no more homework to do, I was happy. I could sleep. But I was never happy because I would never do my homework. It would stack up and shit and I’d be falling behind. So I thought when I graduated and I didn’t go to college I wouldn’t have those problems anymore. Homework really haunted me—deadass. I hate it, I hate homework. I don’t know why. So I thought I wouldn’t have those problems anymore but I still always want to do more.
S: Well that’s a good thing! I think as an artist, which is why I chose you by the way, we always want more out of our work, more out of our situation, our surroundings. That’s just life.
M: That’s exactly what it is. I hate it though—that’s why I never smoked weed though. Like my mom is in an apartment and there’s nothing wrong with an apartment but how can I just sit around like it’s a vacation? There’s no time for that. There’s so much to do, so much to get done. I’m [undisclosed age] I feel like I’m behind. Other niggas be content with just ten thousand dollars, and ten thousand Instagram followers, and ten thousand girls but that shit don’t do nothing for me. I just feel like I’m missing something.
S: Yeah, damn. That’s real. Thanks for being here, you were an amazing guest.