I’ve decided to transition this site from a music blog to my own personal blog. Boring – i know.
I’m grateful for the opportunities being an indie music blogger has provided me and the people I’ve met as a result. I’d love to continue to write extensively about music but truth is there are a ton of blogs, twitter pages, insta profiles etc that already do it with more consistency.
Instead I’m going to spend my time focusing on my art. If you’ve supported me so far just know that I’m extremely thankful. I used to not be able to finish a project or even share a work in progress. I’m late to the party but I think this is the early stage of something good. I’m not miles down the road but I’m finishing tracks, collaborating, and getting positive feedback on my work which feels AMAZING. Bottom line is my work is for me and I think I have a great internal gauge of good vs bad music. Yes art is subjective but my goal is to make music I would listen to.
Stay tuned. Reach out to your loved ones. It’s never obvious without you doing something about it.
Mac was a serious source of inspiration. As an artist, his constant growth was displayed with ease thru his work. He learned to produce and play instruments – he was a hip hop head – he supported his peers.
Really sad to see him go but he’s still inspirational to me.
If you don’t know who Action Bronson is AND you like rap – you need to get educated.
If you don’t know who Action Bronson is AND you do not like rap – he might be your gateway drug.
C’mon. Just look at this loveable face.
Bronsolino has had quite the career from starting as a chef in NYC to (now) having 10 projects out. He’s toured with Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and Eminem. He hosted a traveling food show called Fuck, That’s Delicious not unlike an Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri crossover. Recently he got the greenlight to host a late night cooking show on Viceland premiering October 23rd.
As for his latest album, Blue Chips 7000, let’s get to it.
Always a family man, Action starts off with a clip of him asking his mother how high she is presumably after getting her really high. Then he goes into a great intro track – rapping about food and life events that seem plausible; classic Bronson.
The beat is minimalistic and jazzy. Smooooth. Good time to not that Party Supplies has a 2013 album called Tough Love that’s best described as ‘dance music for introverts’
La Luna – Prod. by The Alchemist
Probably my favorite track on the project due to the sheer creativity on it. He’s starts the track by asking his friend to call him a car and after his friend does so, they’re put on hold with the fictional ‘La Luna Luxury Car Services.’ Hold music starts to play and Bronson starts to rap over it.
The track transforms as the audio quality changes from that of a cell recording to that of a studio. Funky as fuck. The Alchemist is a mastermind producer.
The Chairman’s Intent – Prod. by Harry Fraud
The second single off the album. Bronson shows off his knowledge of sports, cars, and overall life experience. Harry Fraud is another amazing producer.
The video is just… ridiculous.
Hot Pepper – Prod. by Knxwledge
Apparently this track is the second collab between Bronsolino, Meyhem Lauren, and Jah Tiger. The idea of a spontaneous track just happening because the stars align and the vibe is right makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. In the age of the internet this is something more old school.
Bonzai – Prod. by Harry Fraud
This track takes a step back from all the action and energy. Very mellow. I love the idea of Bronson hanging off the side of a mountain trimming a bonsai.
Let It Rain – Prod. by Party Supplies
Party Supplies again! The energy is still going on a mellow vibe again. Rain starts playing through the track alongside a really dope sax solo.
The best part here is the outro into the intro of the next track. I’m a big fan of part 1’s and part 2’s…
My Right Lung– Prod. by Party Supplies
Only makes sense that Party Supplies keeps the vibe going. The storm is in full effect as Bronson gets introspective on this track. Bonus points for the Cruisin’ USA reference.
I’m not sure what I would give to dunk one time. Not my right lung tho.
TANK – Prod. The Alchemist
The Alchemist really just knows how to let Action shine on a track. The sample of Harri Stojka Express is damn near perfect.
Bronson’s pal Big Body Bes has a ‘verse’ if you can call it that. He mostly just shouts the lyrical equivalent of Action Bronson’s raps. Still entertaining.
Let Me Breathe – Prod. by Harry Fraud
HF again this time with the first single off the project. Bronson claims this was the first single because everyone else puts out singles that pull people all different types of ways. He also apparently needs an inhaler in between dabs. Let him breathe.
9-24-7000 – Prod. by Harry Fraud
HF keeps it smooth and almost nautical on this track. Reminds me of some underwater adventure in Mario or Zelda. Bronson bats and swings with an opener about Ryu (from streetfighter you uncultured fuck)
Lil surprise from Ricky Rosay only after Bronson jumps into the water.
The Choreographer – Prod. by Daringer
Damn this one is my 2nd favorite of the album. The opener makes me feel like I’m sitting at a concert venue with suede tabletops and smoking is still allowed. Everyone’s wearing bell bottoms. Big hair is in.
The production is tight. We see an outsider step into the arena.
One of the longest tracks on the album but it goes by fast cause you don’t want it to end!!
Chop Chop Chop – Prod. by Daringer
Looks like the outside won us over. He produces yet another track. This one reminds me of a cowboy coming home for a victory lap. We only get 1 verse here and there’s a general feeling of things winding down.
Durag vs Headband – Prod. by Knxwledge
This one seems like more of a brotastic jokey for fun collab between Bronsolino and Big Body. It was apparently released after an episode of Fuck That’s Delicious last October. Holy shit it’s been a year.
Really solid project from Action Bronson. The way he splits up bars is fascinating. His patchwork story telling is also extremely entertaining. Always glad to seem him on something. I love that he reps the cultural intersection of food, travel, and hip-hop.
If you haven’t heard Brockhampton yet, you should.
BROCKHAMPTON via Pigeons and Planes
Quickly gaining popularity, the 15 person collective had to add a late show in NYC and has already sold out in Boston. Funny enough the group grew in numbers when they recruited new members from KanyeToThe. They started out online, then they moved in together in Texas, and are now living together in South Central.
The collective stands for self expression and is a creative powerhouse as they have their own members producing, rapping, singing, directing, managing, and building their web platform.
Their upcoming project SATURATION II is a follow-up to June’s SATURATION.
I was sorting through press emails when something caught my eye; a rapper from NJ that signed to 300 Entertainment this past year. You might know 300 Entertainment as the label that artists like Coheed and Cambria, Migos, and Young Thug are signed to.
The email was promoting this video for Mir Fontane’s track Frank Ocean which boasts a cool 242k plays on SoundCloud and 38k views on YouTube.
I was able to secure an interview via phone right before Mir hit the road for a tour promoting his latest project, Camden.
Neel B: Hey Mir – how’re you?
Mir Fontane: I’m good, I can’t complain.
You in Jersey right now?
Yeah, I’m in Camden.
Cool – well thanks for making time for this, I appreciate it.
I heard all your music and it’s dope – I went back to Fontane, the Musical, I listened to Who’s Watching the Kids, I’ve been listening to Camden and put some friends on it. We all agree that you’re good. You’re different.
I appreciate that.
Let’s take it way back and talk about your roots. Are you an only child?
Nah, I was an only child for nine years then I had a little brother and a year after that a sister.
Are they involved musically as well?
Nah my little brother is into acting and my sisters into dance.
Oh wow very into the arts as a family, that’s pretty cool. What about your mom?
My mom wasn’t really into the arts per se.
My family was pretty much a track family because my grandpa was a track coach. All his daughters ran track – he coached them. Most of my life I ran track.. did the whole medal thing. They thought that’s what I was gonna pursue. By the time I got into high school I branched out into other things I wanted to do. Once I got a little independence I stopped running track but I kept doing XC to get conditioned for basketball. I just got tired of track cause I was doing that my entire life.
I had friends that ran XC and it seemed tiring. Having to wait after school for practice everyday. Finding a ride home. All that.
Our school didn’t even have sports teams or facilities. We had to go to New Camden High or Wilson to do sports. We had to catch a bus to go to another school middle of ninth period for a XC meet or to get ready for practice.
Would they read your name on the morning announcements and would everyone cheer when they heard you won something?
Yeah they used to do that. They read my name more for art cause I stopped track and field in high school. I was doing basketball. It was usually called for something I had won for drawing or something like that.
*It’s worth noting that Mir went to a school for the arts.*
Do you miss high school at all?
Uhhh sometimes. High school was kinda fun. I miss the 1:1 I got with some of my teachers and mentors. Like my art teacher – I miss that he would constantly press me to actually draw everyday or always make sure I had my sketchbook or how he would always show interest in what I was working on at that time. It was a small high school – We didn’t have a cafeteria. We didn’t have a gym. We didn’t have any of that. So you pretty much knew everybody. There entire was probably 200 people.
It was cool though. It was a school for the arts. Everyone was talented as fuck. You always got to brush shoulders with people with knowledge in different areas of art. Me being a charismatic person.. I was everywhere pretty much. I’ll be drawing one minute then I’m real cool with vocalists so I’ll be in their classroom during lunch or something. I used to go the band room sometimes to listen and have jam sessions during lunch too. That shit was cool as hell.
I was one of those band rats too. I’d just hang out all day and skip class.
That shit was fire man. Go in there and they would play some instrumentals from songs at the time. Kids would be on their trumpets and drums or pianos and just geek out sometimes. Just fun as shit.
Yeah I miss that, man.
I miss that energy we all had just doing dope shit.
I miss just having everyone on the same schedule. You know?
That too. Being able to see everybody.
Yeah. Now trying to get 10 people in the same room to actually have their minds in the same place…it’s..
TOGETHER : Almost impossible
So you graduated 2011.. When did you decide that you wanted to start really rapping and singing? You briefly touched upon it.
I was going through relationship stuff. Going through regular teenage shit. I was listening to Wayne. Dedication 3 I believe it was…and that’s when I really decided I wanted to make a mixtape.
I remember putting up a Facebook status just to see if people would even give a fuck if I made a mixtape.
NEEL LAUGHS –
Cause at the time.. people probably were, I’m probably lying… But at the time I didn’t notice anybody around me doing music other than the people I went to school with.
As far as rapping I was always around people who did jazz band but nobody was really trying to rap. So I’d go back to school and talk about rapping and I’d write in class.
Me, my entire life, I always wanted to include my friends so I spent a lot of time just trying to have people be in the same mindset that I was in. Have the same drive and determination and want to actually be the best rapper, musician or whatever the case may be. And it was just that they never were really working out. I was always left hanging or nobody wanted to follow the lead even though I wasn’t trying to be a leader at all I just wanted everybody to work together. I was always the type to say it like ‘I get mine. You get yours’ but egos would always clash and it never really panned out. I probably went through 4 groups and it never worked out so I just started writing for myself.
I started making music by myself and just focusing on me and not trying to make sure this person gets in the studio.. make sure this person has money for this track that they want to record or whatever..I started focusing on me for about a year and once that happened I started seeing progress on that. So I was just focusing on being a better me before I could help anybody else. Thats pretty much where it went and I was like ‘Im going try to master this craft.’
I understood that I was good enough because even in high-school, English was my favorite subject – I liked the picture prompts, I liked making up my own stories, I liked to tell stories in unconventional ways. I was always the kid that would try to surprise you.
It kinda went hand in hand when it was time to actually write to a beat. I grew up on jazz, I grew up on 90’s music. I grew up always around music so melody came easy for me. I was writing poetry since forever ago so it all fell hand in hand and it was all about professionalism at that point and making it sound good.
I have a question – I believe that everyone starts out very creatively but then society boxes us up and a lot people start to think ‘oh I’m probably not good enough.’ You lose people every stage of the process. One big stage where people start to lose themselves is entering the market as an artist – especially a rapper. Because you could write poetry and then make a book from your poems but for rap you need to get beats, you need equipment to record, you need a place to record, you need someone to help you in the beginning and tell you what’s cool and what’s whack.. Where did you find yourself on that road after you had been writing all this poetry and all these stories? Who connected you to a studio? Where did you get beats? Did you produce?
MIR LAUGHS – Alright – that was a lot. Lemme see if I can tackle it all. Alright. So it came from the type of person I was. You know? It all depends on your inner drive. I’ve always been the type of person where if I like something I really don’t care if you don’t like it. Cause I’m still gonna like it.
Yeah, that’s an important mindset.
Yeah. Your opinion only really affects me if I hold your opinion as valuable. If my idols tell me it’s trash I might throw something away but at the end of the day I always get more determined by people who doubt what I have to offer. If anything I’ll be angry because you don’t see how fire this shit is. You can’t deter my vision on this and I’ve always had that mindset. Like alright you don’t like it, cool, not everyone has faith and that’s fine but I think it’ll eventually become cool to you eventually when you understand. I always kept that mindset. I always knew that my super power is that no one else can be me, everybody can try but can’t nobody else be Mir Fontane. As long as I actually continue to be Mir Fontane nobody can fuck with me ever. So I just stuck with that.
But as far as the studios and shit like that came into play.. When I first started writing I didn’t even have a studio. I had this guy that I knew I could record with… one of my friends that was in the first group that I was in. He just had a microphone in this empty ass crib with no furniture. It was just a microphone inside the living room and this old ass computer, so old it still got the ass on the back. This fat ass computer kept glitching, it had mad viruses or whatever. It was trash. We would lose some of the vocals sometimes. I often had to rerecord shit. But it was all I knew about a studio and all I knew about recording. I wasted hella bread on him – probably about 6 months. He didn’t even know how to mix and my shit sounded terrible.
Oh wait, you were paying this guy??
Yeah we were paying him like 20$/hour.
So we just moved onto this studio in Cherry Hill that actually had a booth and it had an engineer set up. It had all that shit that you see in the movies like the knobs and all the little bright lights that made unexperienced motherfuckers walk in here like ‘you know what this is where I’m supposed to be at. So I walk in there and I’m making hella tracks. I’m like – he’s telling me to my face there’s these hood celebrity people that go to his studio. Like hood famous motherfuckers that record there. And he’s telling me that I’m the best rapper coming in this studio at 16 years old. I’m going in here and spending all this money – this studio’s 40$/hour. And I wanted to pay that just because of the action. I’m thinking this shit is supposed to be what it is. I knew nothing about audio. Nothing. I knew nothing about mixing. None of that shit. But I did know if I wanted that quality sound, the urban legend around is you got to go to the studios that cost 150$ an hour. So at 16 I was still wasting hella bread there too cause it all still sounded like trash. I recorded this fire tape there to this day its like a 5/10 just because the mix is terrible.
NEEL LAUGHS – do you still have it though?
I think I can find it – I can dig it up but..
Oh man you should!
The content on that tape is AMAZING..
…But the mix is so trash.
You gotta dig it up!!
I HATE listening to it
It’s like the tape right before I did He So Crazy. It’s trash. Traaaaaash. Hate that tape.
But we eventually like, as far as beats, I didn’t have a producer and I knew that was one of my biggest set backs because nobody out there could make the sound I was ready to bring into the game cause it hasn’t been covered before. It hasn’t been done yet. Plus I have so many ideas as far as what I want my shit to sound like. I can’t just go on youtube and shit and find whats in my head. But thats how I was getting beats at first.
Yeah cause this was almost 10 years ago right?
Yeah so I’m going on sound click, I’m going on YouTube and I’m just ripping it off YouTube. I was going for free downloads too. ’Purchase your track today!’ that type of shit. Whole bunch of them. Just garbage. Shit thats just demeaning to your artistry. I used to keep all of that inside of my trash folder. I just wanted to rap. I was doing that for a while until I ran across Kev Rodgers.
I got introduced to Kev Rodgers and Ish Williams and we just started vibing. Kev had been making shit. Ish went to school with me. We were just vibing off of ideas or I’d spit some acapellas that I was working on. And I’d tell Kev ‘Work on something like this hums melody’ or whatever. We’d do all that at Kev’s house. That’s kinda how the ideas came about. That’s how the He So Crazy tape came about. We’d just ride to Kev’s house, listen to everything, an album about nothing. The song Pam was already out and I’m just like ‘this is a dope ass concept but you know what would be way more fly? If the skits that he put in there actually related to each other and related to the entire project as a whole.’ And the fact that I didn’t watch Seinfeld was another X for me cause I was like ‘Damn, I can’t even relate to Meek fans’ He should’ve done like Martin. So Ish was like ‘Why don’t you just do that?’ I said ‘Damn, that sounds like a lot of work though!’ I already had Pam out though. So then as he said that I sat back and listened and pretty much the whole story painted in my head about how I could build around Pam. I figured I had to tell what happened before Pam, what happened after Pam and I would have a complete story.
The rest was just about cutting and pasting. Me and Kev are the biggest Martin fans ever. I could just spit a line and he would know exactly which episode it was. We would have to find where it was at, look it up on YouTube, rip the audio. and create our content. For example. The episode with Gina, she gets a boot on her car she ends up asking for a loan from her neighborhood or whatever for 600$. We just cut that whole scene up and put it after the song so taken out of context, it sounds like Gina is asking Jerome for 600$ to pay for an abortion that we were talking about in the previous track.
Mhm it sounds seamless like it makes the most sense. So we were doing that on most of the tracks. It was all putting it together like a puzzle.
Wow thats a hell of a journey. I feel like thats the biggest thing interviews and fans breeze over – the first few years of really grinding. Because those experiences really craft an artist and help them find their vision.
I gotta ask, on Kev’s beats.. what’s his tag saying?
His tag? Darnell turn that.. ok here, I’m gonna tell you the whole thing about this. So we’re at Kev’s house right? We used to record in Kev’s closet and Kev’s closet is like a little slide and mirror. I’m like ‘Yo Kev – you understand we’re about to be rich and famous? You need to have this FIRE tag like Metro Boomin has future saying ‘if young metro don’t trust you I’m gon shoot you’’ At the time his sound sound was kind of video games. And he…
Wait around what year would you say this was?
Uhhh probably like 2013 – 2014.
You heard Fontane, the Musical, right? You know that song The Game?
I’m like you should go with the whole little kid type feel. Cause the fact that we were still recording in his mom’s house and he had the beat that sounded like video games and his mom would always yell for us to turn the beat down. When Kev’s working on a beat and we start feeling it he starts cranking up the volume slowly as the beat gets built. Then his mom comes yelling, his middle name is Darnell, so she yells ‘DARNEL TURN THAT BEAT DOWN’
That’s hilarious. So it’s a really organic thing – not staged. Did you ask her to record that or did the mic pick that up?
It started out as a joke at first. But he got his mom to scream it from a distance and recorded it.
So how does your mom feel about all your work? Especially now that you’re popping off. You’ve built quite the resume.
Oh she’s very supportive. Since day 1. But you know, you’re always going to go through regular shit when you pretty much go off the path that parents thought you were going to go on. Like when I dropped out of school and I got the whole ‘ well why don’t you at least look for a part time job while you’re chasing this dream?’ Stuff like that. She always pretty much believed in what I was going to do since I was young. She always had trust and belief that whatever I was trying to do I was going to go 100%. She let me learn, she let me live life. She was always the type to say ‘I cannot tell you not to do something’ you know what I mean?
I got my first tattoo with my mom when I was 16 cause you can’t get one alone until 18 but you can get one at 16 with a parent. So I ended up getting my first tattoo after my freshman year of high school. She had 6 tattoos and I was with her when she got one of them so how you gonna tell me not to get one?
We’ve always had that type of relationship. That it was me and her since forever. That’s like my best friend. There’s a lot of trust there.
I’m really glad you have that, man.
Here’s a question about the music – I personally thought that you had a lot more storytelling on earlier project but with Camden, why is there less story telling? Cause that’s something you’re really good at. I your watched Sway interview and that’s something he even said. You are a storyteller.
I guess I can kind of understand because you want to appeal to a wider audience. As you, not you specifically but an artist in general, grow and build a fan base you diversify. You have some of your slow jams, you have your bangers, you have some ignant shit, you have your deep shit – you have a little bit of everything. So all in all, the direction that you took with Camden how was that different from your earlier projects? Were you influenced by the label signing to go a different route?
No not at all. The approach I took with Camden was.. Well, one, as far as story telling goes I’m great at storytelling. That’s what I do – I can do that in my sleep. So, one, I wanted to challenge myself on Camden. And, two, the storytelling tracks are not as fun to perform. You know?
I wouldn’t say it’s stale but it’s like the old hip-hop type of ‘I’m gonna walk around stage real slow and give you these bars’ haha. But when I’m bigger and I have a budget and I can get on my Kanye type shit and I can play along on stage while I’m performing and do what I’ve got in my heart.. Then maybe I can make more of that type of music but for now when it comes to my live performances, I just get lit with the song and its better than going up there and reciting the song word for word.
Yeah, it’s more of a performance then.
I did that a lot during my earlier stages. I realized that when I was doing those storytelling songs the energy of the room is different, everything slows down even though everybody is paying attention to you its not… how can i put it.. it’s not as fun, honestly. When I’m doing songs like Still In The Hood and WYD and then you throw in a Shorty Story what do you do after that? Like what do you do to follow up a Shorty Story? That’s a dark ass story! You try to pick it back up with Still in the Hood? Ehhhh that’s a rough transition. People are still in that last song.
It’s similar to how people talk about Kendrick with To Pimp A Butterfly because he didn’t tour a lot of that.
He couldn’t! It’s more of a sit down, thought invoking album. I didn’t want to do that with all of Camden. I wanted it to be fun. I wanted to experiment with my vocals. I still wanted to get that commercial bill but not commercial? I wanted to pretty much take the reality, the darkness, and the grittiness of this city and try to doll it up but still making it ugly as possible.
And I think you did that very well.
Thanks, I tried to keep it as heavy as possible while still hiding it behind beautiful melodies and current kicking beats and all that. At the end of the day you’ll still listen to the content. I pretty much my whole career was trying to find the medium between lyrics, I’m a 90’s baby so I love all that Biggie Smalls shit but boom bap shit is so boring to watch on stage. And I also love the new trap beats where people get all hyped and shit but they’re not talking about anything at all. So to mix both of them, meet that in the middle – I feel like thats the perfect wave of where the game is going right now.
If you’ve got story telling behind dope beats. Energetic but at the same time you’re saying something so dark or so deep and thought provoking.. You win!
Exactly. That’s why I think XO Tour Lyfe was popping so much at first. People were calling it ‘emo trap at first’
To be fair, I think that’s the same reason Travis Scott popped off with Rodeo. The beats were amazing and there was some decent storytelling. There was a lot of emotion too. He was able to rep Houston and talk about all that but people could still go stupid when the crazy beat drops.
Yeah, a lot of people will remember the song even more if lyrics are just as good as the beat because then the two coincide and create an emotion. It creates a moment. So every time you’ll hear Down By The River you always gonna remember the first time you heard it, where you were at, why you were feeling that way, why it touched you, how it changed you… you remember why you’re a Mir Fontane fan. You’re gonna remember why.
Let’s talk about Camden a little. I’m not gonna ask you to pick your favorite track because that’s like picking your favorite child
MIR LAUGHS – thanks.
Frank Ocean – That’s the first thing I heard from you and it caught my attention right away. I remember thinking it was really good. Not just good, but smart. You picked a title that’s gonna get you attention, Frank Ocean. Then you interpolated Nights which is genius. The beat is great. You added, like you said, the element of story telling to the great beat. Could you talk a little bit about the composition of the track? Where were you in the timeline of the project when it came about? Go for it.
Frank Ocean came about during the middle. I think Blonde just came out probably a week or two ago. I was kinda late on Blonde… But I was listening to Nights and I was like ‘this is fire’. It gave me that feeling that I had with Nostalgia/Ultra. At the same time I’m signed to 300, I’m still living in Camden. You would think that I’m pretty much on top of the world.
But it pretty much brought up a situation where I am unsure in myself but as far as my city. Am I really the golden child that my city will accept even though I’m pretty much doing everything that the city has been begging for for years. It was about putting all of that into a song. So I personify Camden as a woman. As opposed to me actually talking about me a girl I’m with and she’s playing everyone except me. I’m with my city and I’m like ‘why don’t you love me the way that you love Drake when he drops his new shit or the way that you love Cole when he drops his new shit? When you gave birth to me how you gonna love all these other niggas? That’s crazy! I fucks with them, but I wanna be the one that you hold favorite over everybody else thats not even from here or could give 2 fucks about you once they got their bread. They don’t even know who you are.
I pretty much made Camden into a woman. Not only in this song but the entire album. If you listen to it with that ear you’ll be mind blown. Real Niggas, is about Camden. It’s not a woman. It’s me and Camden having a conversation about how she’s gold digging and the fact that I’m really on now and she wants to act like she’s been supporting from the jump. The whole ‘I’m a lover in the winter but a savage in the summer’ Camden’s quiet as shit during the winter cause it’s too cold to do anything but when that summertime comes around thats when everyone starts dying, people get shot, everybody wants to fight, it’s nice outside but for whatever reason when it’s nice I’m in a bad mood. The entire album is called Camden because it’s an ode to this bitch named Camden that I’ve known my entire life and its a love hate relationship.
I love that. That’s awesome – are you a big Kanye fan?
I love Kanye.
Good – I didn’t have to end this early haha. You know his song Homecoming right? The first time I heard that and at the end when it finally clicked that he was talking to the Chi as this girl.. that just blew my mind. What you told me just made me feel that way again. Where’d you film that video?
We shot it in Paulsboro, that’s where we shot the house scene. We shot the other scenes in Camden. I wanted to shoot the whole thing in Camden but it doesn’t have the type of houses that I wanted to get that scene off. They don’t have front yards or anything so I wouldn’t be able to get to the side.
That’s cool. It’s a really cool video concept. Who are the guys standing around you in that scene?
You got John, my manager, Chris, my promoter and assistant – he helps a lot. Fletch, my stylist…
You got a stylist? Woo – boy you made it!
Yeah it was pretty much supposed to be like a symbolic representation that I’m trying to get this girl’s attention but I seem to be getting everybody else’s attention but hers. Everybody wants to follow behind me or take my lead when I’m just focused on her which is pretty much how I started rapping in the first place. It was a call back to that.. I was trying to stunt on this jawn who didn’t see the potential in me, I was like ‘you understand I’m really bout to be a big time rapper?’ At the time I was going by the name mir got bars, I said ‘you understand mir got bars bout to be worldwide? Get signed all that?’
But growing up where I grew up, that doesn’t happen and you don’t see that happen so she ain’t believe none of that. Like I said earlier – people who doubt me.. I take that and I use it… it makes me angry. I want to do, not only do it but I want to do it 10x after I did it just to shit on you that much more. I hate people who doubt me. So yeah, that was pretty much that. I just wanted to add that symbolic callback that I was giving shorty too much clout know what I mean?
I feel that. It’s about you and not about her.
So on This Life, talk about how that track came together cause that’s another stand out to me. I really like the production and I think it’s a very powerful track to lead the project with. I was playing Camden in my car and my gf was with me, the intro just finished and she turns to me and asks ‘did she just get shot?’ and I said yeah. That really got her attention, you know? Then This Life came on and she was engaged. How did that come together?
So imagine the woman in the beginning is a symbolic representation of what’s about to happen as far as Mir Fontane, what’s about to be shown to the world. Theres a lot of envy surrounding all of that, There’s hope, there’s joy, theres a lot of things behind it. After that it leads into This Life which talks about me being the first person from the city to be in the position that I’m in, to see the things that I’ve seen, shake the hands that I’ve shaken. I feel like I’m in a position to tell those who are still in the city about how things have changed for me as far as my life now and its a song about the transition from this kid that was unknown a year ago and now getting crazy buzz, appreciation, and recognition from some of the higher ups in the game. I talk about where I came from and where I’m headed. It’s a summary before the album even starts.
I like that a lot. Is it Travis Scott influenced at all?
I don’t think so at all.
The first time I heard it I heard it I was driving around and I misheard it as ‘this side’ and the ‘ooo’s’ in the beginning reminded me of him.
I get what you’re saying – so ‘this side’ means south side, south side of New Jersey. Me, Kev, and Ish Williams created that. We call it ‘this side’, ‘the ends’, because the logo of south side is two dollar signs. Money is also called the ends, making the ends meet. So if I learned everything from the ends I learned it all from the money. I usually point to the dollar signs tatted on my wrist when I perform that so if I’m from the ends, I learned it all in the end, all from the money.
The oo’s and the aa’s are just about me experimenting with my voice. Using it as an instrument and filling out tracks. Even earlier in my career I didn’t like ad-libs or doubling. I felt like once I get it down, I got it down. No extra shit. But I developed as an artist. I used to think singing was stupid as shit! I didn’t think I was that good of a singer anyway. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself out here. But now it’s about different things that I can do and try, different things that me and my engineer can accomplish.
And who was your engineer for the project?
Kenif Muse. He’s awesome. He’s featured on Ain’t Afraid.
He makes beats too right?
He and Kev, whew. Their production is very tight. Those are some really good beats.
Yeah, they did their thing on that.
Well what can we expect from you next? I know you announced a few dates for a tour.
Yeah we’re still on tour now – you can expect new music soon. Just working hard. You can expect Shorty Story, a mini movie. I don’t know how I’mma do it yet. Other visuals for the album. Got some features coming out soon. Just keep on pushing forward.
You gonna come up to Boston and play soon?
Yeah I’ve been to Boston maybe 3 times now.
You gotta come through again!
I gotta ask, now you’re on 300..Have you met Lyor?
Have I met Lyor? I haven’t. I got signed to 300 after he left to go work with YouTube. I met Kevin though, I haven’t met Lyor personally yet.
How about Thugger?
I haven’t met Thugger either – every time I’m up there he’s not up there.
Real quick – Who would you love to work with in the scene right now?
Quavo. Me and Post Malone would probably make some fire. I got something for Travis too whenever that comes around.
And what are the last few things that you’ve listened to?
NEEL LAUGHS –
I try not to listen to everything thats out, cause then you start subconsciously sounding like them.
That’s true – you end up mimicking them.
So I try to stick to on what I just dropped, what I’m about to drop, or what I’m working on now. I’m out of the loop kinda but if one of the homies sends me something I’ll listen to it.
I just watched the Kendrick ELEMENT video. That shit was amazing. That might be one of the best videos of all time.
What about outside of hiphop? Anything you listen to that people might not think you listen to?
I listen to Stevie Wonder. That’s one of my favorite artists of all time.
You like on the Frank album how he has Close to You and how he sampled Stevie Wonder playing that live? You know what I’m talking about? There’s this video of him with the talk box and Frank sampled that on the track.
Uhhhh I think i remember that… wait.. he put that on the album didn’t he?
Ahh I knew that sounded familiar – ‘Clooooooose to youuuu!
TOGETHER: bow bow bow! LAUGHTER
Yeah I seen that video a while ago but I didn’t even know, thats wild. I definitely listen to a lot of Stevie, some John Legend, Lauryn Hill.. but thats still hiphop.
Yeah, that’s all still pretty close to hiphop.
Uh Isley Brothers…
You said melody came to you from 90’s music – any pop songs?
Hmm…. I don’t know about pop. Well there’s a couple songs.. What’s that Justin Timberlake song… Gone?
Nah nah nah… It was with NSYNC. It was called Gone though. it went…. ‘gone! youuuure gone, baby giiiirl you’re..’ and Cry Me A River. I like those two.
Oh oh oh yeah – Justin Timberlake is fire.
I listen to a lot of 90’s RnB, a lot of smooth jazz, a lot of slow jams that type of stuff when I try to give my brain a break. If i try to force myself to write I get into a writer’s block. I try to find balance, when I’m listening to RnB and stuff like that – slower and more soulful songs… it eases my mind so I can go back into writing.
Yeah, I feel that. Well that’s all I had. Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
Congrats on all the success, congrats on the new project – people really like it. I saw you did XXL, HotNewHipHop, you have some tour dates coming up.
If people could take 2 or 3 things away from you as an artist, what would you want them to know?
I want them to know that anything is possible…
‘Im from Jerseyyy babyyy’?
Haha definitely, I am from New Jersey. But yeah, I’m from Jersey, anything is possible, gotta find art in any situation. No matter how bad things look it never rains forever.
Thank you. ‘Preciate you man.
I appreciate you too! I’m rooting for you, alright? Come play a show up here.
Definitely bro, thanks.
Catch Mir Fontane on Instagram @mirfontane and be sure to listen to Camden a few times. All photos via his Instagram.
A lot of people wrote him off due to being 47 in the rap game and allegedly having nothing to rap about…
…well he came back with some of the arguably most relevant/conscious work of his career. I wasn’t even a Jay-Z fan before this but this album along with a nifty Tidal free trial let me dig through his old works. Brooklyn’s Finest is one of my new old favorites now!
Just peep this video for the stand out track (and now single), The Story of O.J.
Grounds smelled like feet and hay. The crowds were the biggest they had been all weekend but everyone seemed tired and a tad bit sad as they knew things were coming to a close.
I started out with Mitski.
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The crowd was buzzing for Mitski – she piqued a lot of interest coming into the festival. In 2015 Rolling Stone named her one of their ‘10 Artists You Need to Know’. Her music reflects the duality of being both Japanese and American but feeling as if she doesn’t belong to either side.
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The indie rocker put on a stoic performance as the sole singer within her band. Needless to say I’ve become a fan and am curious to see where she goes with her next project.
I stood in wait for an hour and made my way to the front for Flatbush Zombies. The wait was completely worth it.
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The Zombies played their album 3001: A Laced Odyssey from the beginning and I was surprised by how many of the kids knew the entire album. As they got deeper into their set kids were moshing, crowd surfing, smoking, and screaming. I got lucky and ended up somewhere near the front rail. This performance was definitely the most energetic I’d been to all weekend – both on stage and in the audience.
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Meechy jumped into the crowd to rap a verse in front of fans and pose for pictures.
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They brought out a fan to rap with them and I was impressed by how he held it down. The Zombies were also impressed as they laughed in disbelief but still danced around stage with him.
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At the end of it all he asked to say something on the mic – he told everyone to follow him on soundcloud.
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I caught a bit of Run the Jewels from a distance.
Killer Mike and El-P, two hip hop heavy weights, have been making their rounds in hip-hop with their roll out of RTJ 1,2, and 3. Their stage was easily to spot from a distance with their signature ‘fist and gun’ hand gesture props adorning the red stage.
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They had the crowd’s attention but the energy levels had diminished since Flatbush Zombies performed and clouds started to roll in.
The bromance is undeniable, though.
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Cage the Elephant rocked the stage and brought energy levels up again.
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Lead singer Matt Shultz leapt past his own security and into the crowd to sing with fans.
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Up last for me were headliners Weezer and Major Lazer.
Weezer effortlessly played hits for the hour and fifteen minute long set. The crowd sang along with each and every song.
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They especially played to the crowd when they played Hey Ya and had a slide show of powerful, inspiring women (including Tina Fey and Michelle Obama) while they played Thank God for Girls.
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The last act I was able to catch part of was Major Lazer.
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The trio, composed of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Jillionaire, got everybody dancing on Sunday night. They even pulled their signature hamster balls out as they rolled over the crowd.
ALL IN ALL…
Boston Calling 2017 was a great experience. Artists had fun. Attendees had fun. Vendors had fun. The event went well despite the weather and most importantly those in charge took feedback via social media very seriously. They heard complaints about food lines and made sure vendors on day 2 and 3 had shorter lines.
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I’m thankful to have been a part of the experience. Special thanks to 44 Communications. Until next time.
Day 2 saw larger crowds than the day before – probably because all the moms and kids were here for the weekend. Weather held up even better than the day before and the grounds were mostly solid!
Russ put on a short performance because his bus apparently broke down. He started after the end of his set after fans chant for him and then against him. In the end fans were still happy to see the self made man lay down his hits.
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Up next on the Blue Stage was Cousin Stizz
Unfortunately also late in starting his set he gave a great performance and definitely made some new fans. Crowds ran deep for the Boston rapper. He seemed really happy and proud of himself to play to a hometown crowd at a festival.
Things got even more crowded for Danny Brown who gave a slightly toned back performance compared to his usual antics. I heard some people in the crowd speculate as to when he might do coke on stage…
He didn’t do coke on stage.
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Then I caught a little bit of pop gods Tegan & Sara
Their set was pretty much an hour of straight hits while they bopped around on stage.
2nd to last act of the night I caught was The xx
Watching the duo jam out was mesmerizing. Everyone was dancing and nodding their heads along to their infectious beats. Jamie xx is an AMAZING producer. He even has a track with Young Thug that’s pretty catchy. When they played Intro everyone felt some time of nostalgia as the track was used in pretty much everything from a Rihanna song to car commercials to hype videos for Tomorrowland.
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Closing Saturday night were headliners Mumford & Sons
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You could feel it in the crowd that they had been waiting for Mumford all day. It was something joyous to be around everyone as they danced and sang to each and every song.
They kept messing with the crowd as they paused before each chorus and slowed down the tempo. Fun for them maybe but horrible for us as we had to listen to a drunk crowd scream the lyrics not together at all. But hey, Mumford & Sons were so thankful to the crowd and showed Boston some real love as they dedicated Believe to us.
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Walked back with a headache from dehydration which was my own fault but the longer day 2 proved to be a really good time. Day 3 next.
Festivals should always start on Fridays. The grounds were not overly populated but you still felt like you were in a crowd while watching acts – you know? Anyway up first on day 1 was Francis.
Francis drew a surprisingly large crowd. I was glad to see so many young faces waiting for him. He came out after Seb Chew, his dj and manager, played some bangers back to back (magnolia and glow included). He started his set in typical Francis style by dancing as hard as possible and the crowd LOVED it.
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Mostly performing vocals and the occasional keyboard solo Francis was able to keep spirits high midst the unfortunate weather. A personal highlight was when he wagged a finger no to the camera recording him and instead motioned them to record his fingers as he ripped one handed solos.
He ended the set by playing May I Have This Dance and sang both his and chances verses. The crowd was generally disappointed and started to chant for Chance. At the end, however Chance ran out and Francis restarted the song as the two danced together.
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Another standout set was Mac Demarco.
Mac and company were a tight knit group as they played through their set very visibly having fun and taking breaks to chug Jameson. I was especially impressed when Mac broke a string in between songs and the band broke into a quasi cover of A Thousand Miles to buy him time. I say quasi cover because the only lyrics sang were ‘Making my way down town.’ They even invited a kid up to dance on stage who apparently skipped his prom to attend. Security grabbed the kid as he walked on stage but Mac ran over and defiantly shouted ‘NO!’ until the guard gave up and let the kid go free.
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We headed over to the other stage for Bon Iver…
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I didn’t expect anything less than greatness from Justin Vernon and friends – I got exactly that. The group of skilled musicians played an electronic album with 2 drummers, a sax section, guitars, basses, keyboards, and OP1s. Other people I spoke to before the show were curious to see how 22, A Million would be performed as it was such a sonically destructive album. The answer was beautifully and as a blend of raw talent and programmed samples.
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They played the entirety of the album and then moved onto older tracks. The on and off rain made its way back with impeccable timing during Holocene. At this point everyone was starting to realize the performance and overall experience would be something cathartic and spiritual.
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Justin moved on to a solo 12-string performance of Skinny Love that the crowd belted with him and then the band eventually closed out on Beth/Rest. As comically 80’s and cheesy I thought the production of the song was, seeing it live as a closer made me emotionally. I’m pretty sure there were some tears in the rain that night.
The crowd sloshed through the mud to get in position for Chance.
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Chance put on a great energetic show. He was dancing, singing, rapping, and taking/giving cues to and from his band mates Nico, Peter, and Stix. They would strip songs to their most intimate details and then build them up to the point where the very fields of mud we stood on shook. Needless to say he succeeded in his goal to ‘Shake this bitch’.
Chance ran through the (VIP) crowd with security to just behind the lighting tent to perform Same Drugs from a satellite stage. Again the crowd banded together as they sang the song and it was glorious.
All in all day 1 was great. Stay tuned for a day 2 recap soon.