Hey Mic, thanks for taking the time to do this exclusive for our readers. First off, what was your introduction to hip hop? You recently tweeted your top hip hop influences and they were decidedly more old school than I would've expected from someone your age. You seem to know your history of this art form pretty well. All artists begin as fans, so I'm curious what made an early impression on you?
The first introduction that I can remember was The Geto Boys video “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”. As a child I remember that video coming on and me stopping anything I was doing, running to the t.v. and sitting criss cross applesauce in front of it completely captivated by what I was hearing and seeing. It was MIND BLOWING to me, I still love that song man. As far as the first artist(s) that really pulled me in to wanting to rap was first and foremost Tupac Shakur without a doubt!!! He was almost like an older brother in times where my life was the hardest and needed the most guidance when none was around. What I loved about Pac was the fact that he could connect with more than your ears, you felt it in your heart when he rapped and you knew he meant what he said without a shout of a doubt. He was a true artist, world icon and revolutionary that passed too soon man, R.I.P. Pac. More Artists that directly influenced me were DMX, Jadakiss, Method Man, Lauryn Hill, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Scarface, 50 Cent, T.I., Rakim, Kanye West, Biggie, and Jay-Z. Artists I listen to nowadays are definitely Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Big KRIT, Nipsey Hussle, Dizzy Wright, Glenn Waco, Rasheed Jamal, Vinnie Dewayne, Schoolboy Q, AbSoul, and a host of other artists.
Can you give me a little insight on the recording process for Rise & Grind? You've got a lot of different talented producers on the record, so maybe you could enlighten our readers on how you work. How did you connect with these people and what is your writing and recording process like?
The recording process was a long two year process that was well worth it in the end man, it was definitely tedious but rewarding. I never complained because I knew this was something I had to do in order to be taken serious, I needed to knock this first project out and do damage on every level I possibly could. I honestly put my heart into this project man, it’s based off my life over the last two years and what I’ve lived, seen, learned, and thought. Some good, some bad, and some indifferent. It’s a linear journey that I feel most will be able to relate to, and if not, they will definitely be able to understand what they had questions about before or at least feel where I’m coming from. It’s a smooth, entertaining, thought provoking, honest, content heavy project that I hope will leave a permanent mark and resonate with people. I connected with most of the producers through personally knowing them already and networking with them, a few were references given to me. It was really just a whole lot of networking man, I can’t stress that any more. As far as my recording process it was all over the place with this. I wrote four of the songs on the last day of recording yo, it was fucking nuts! In general I usually write the songs first and THEN go knock them out in the booth, it's way less time consuming. Shout out to my boy Mat Randol who recorded and mixed all but one track. “#TheResistance” was mixed by my potna Rasheed Jamal.
What are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop, both nationally and here in Portland? As a hip hop fan myself, I see a lot of lip service being paid to supporting one another, but not a lot of evidence of that actually being done. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing, just curious what your personal thoughts are.
My personal thought on the state of hip hop right now is that it has come a long way from where it was a few years ago. There’s starting to become a little more balance in the game as far as there being shit more conscious cats can listen to and at the same time still being ratchet shit you can party to, we might be in the midst of another Golden Age. Big words, but that’s how I honestly feel. Another thing that is refreshing is that a lot of artists have decided to take their careers into their own hands and go indie such as Kendrick Lamar or Tech N9ne due to the internet closing the gap between majors in how we can promote and how we can do it. A major is more of an option rather than something you have to depend on to succeed. As far as Portland I feel first and foremost we have to lose this crabs in a bucket mentality and work together. Not necessarily artistic wise, but as far as supporting one another’s efforts if need be. I feel too many are too concerned with being the first to put on for the city when in the long run it doesn’t matter, if one artist gets on - it will open the door for us all. Too many people have that "I’m too cool to support” attitude, it’s ridiculous. On another hand we have these fucked up club owners who are stereotyping hip hop and closing the doors to us every other week, it's bullshit, but I believe we can manage. Hip hop didn’t start in the club, we have more power than we think yo. Luckily I haven’t really experienced much of these problems yet but I’m not naive enough to believe I won’t tho.
In listening to this album over and over, I can tell a lot of thought went into the order of the tracks. Despite all the different producers, the album really is strengthened as a cohesive body of work by your sequencing choices. Did you structure that ahead of time or did you piece it all together at the end? How did you make those decisions?
The question I’ve been waiting for!!!!! Well it was definitely a conscious decision to put the tracks in the order they are because I’m a firm believer of the way in which you compose an album can take it to a whole nother level, the sounds HAVE to flow together in my opinion and so does the content and story line. Everything from skits to subject matter. It MUST make sense! It has to all make sense in the mind and sonically. I tried to make sure each track made sense going into the next. This is how you lessen the chances of somebody skipping tracks I believe. It was a ongoing process to get the track order down, it changed so many times man. There were a lot of tracks that I liked but got scrapped due to them not fitting the overall structure of the album.
Piggybacking on my last question, it's telling that you ended the album with the Rasheed Jamal & Glenn Waco collab. What do you have planned for the future? Both with The Resistance and your solo work?
Yes man, that was also a strategic choice to end it with “#TheResistance” track. Even more strategic to let Glenn Waco (North Portland) be the last voice heard on the tape. The reason for that is he will be the next one to drop a project, somewhat of a relay team strategy. It will be called NorthBound, so look out for that, he is a fucking problem yo!!! He doesn’t have an exact release date yet but look out for it early next year. After that will be my boy Rasheed Jamal who is easily one of the dopest artist I’ve ever encountered and worked with hands down! He represents Hot Springs, Arkansas and will remind you a little bit of a mix between Andre 3000, T.I., and Rakim - but certainly has his own identity. I don’t know the exact title of his project(s) or release dates yet but trust me, it won’t matter. As far as a team effort from The Resistance we are planning on dropping an EP in either late spring or early summer of 2013, but songs will drop be dropping periodically. As far as another solo project from me, I'm hoping to drop an EP around mid spring if things pan out how I hope they will, but for the moment it’s all about Rise & Grind and promoting it every way possible!
Lastly, anything else you want to let the world know that I haven't covered here? Anything you've always wanted to be asked and never have been or any shoutouts or just any info people out there might want to know?
First and foremost I’d like to thank everybody that had something to do with the current success of Rise & Grind from engineers, producers, features, family, friends, believers to doubters yo, I greatly appreciate it and will NEVER forget it. Y’all know who y’all are. Especially you Ryan, you’ve been one of the biggest advocates for not only me, but The Resistance as a whole unit, it's greatly appreciated and won’t be forgotten fam, real shit. If anybody is looking to book me or any other business inquires hit me at Micheal.Caples@gmail.com. You can find the tape on Datpiff.com or mediafire.com, it’s a free download so you can’t pass that up!!! If you’re interested in keeping up with my day to day life follow me on twitter, my handle is @MicCapes_Music or you can friend me on Facebook. You can just search my name (Mic Capes) and I should pop up. My Instagram is @Mic_Capes if you like pictures and shit and are interested in checking mines out. Oh, and videos coming soon!!! I can’t tell you which ones yet but you’ll soon find out, just stay tuned. Once again I’d like to thank you for such a dope interview and taking the time out Ryan, it’s much appreciated. Until next time, peace and I'm out!
Thanks homie! Appreciate your thoughtful responses. Blessed to have this opportunity to get a glimpse inside your artistic process. Love the record and looking forward to your future projects. Mad Props!