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Music has been his savior since back in 2003, when Washington Heights, New York native Mims set out at the task of starting a rap career. He was 23, then, and the possibilities were endless. Unfortunately, he had some toiling experiences behind him, as he suffered an agonizing loss with the death of both parents before the age of 13. Reluctantly, these series of unfortunate events were his ammunition of empowerment. That is how his story begins.
It is unlikely that when he linked with digital promotion company DigiWaxx or Push Plan Management earlier this decade, that he any idea he was four years away from reaching considerable notoriety. How could he? As he is predicted to have the largest ringtone sold to date, he now harnesses the power of six million listeners on MySpace, and is Top 10 on Billboard, Rhythmic and iTunes. He now pours his energies into his own label, American King, whilst promoting his debut album, which is out now.
Mims, an acronym for Music Is My Savior (also his album’s title), is a declaration of how we are intended to receive a little piece of heaven when we listen to minimalistic, but infectious reasons “why [he's] hot.” The lyrical content of this song, poses the question; will he sell a mil’ sayin’ somethin’ on the track? It’s definitely possible. BallerStatus asked ourselves this question, as we caught up to him one winter’s afternoon.
Ballerstatus.com: How many ringtones have you sold so far?
Mims: Man, I don’t know the exact number. I know that umm… we’re breaking a lot of records with the ringtone. I know that a couple of companies have already quoted that this will be one of the hottest selling ringtones of all-time for them and I know that the last time I checked, we definitely sold a lot more than half — probably — it’s the number one ringtone in the country. I think we are right in four weeks straight with that and umm… I don’t want to be misquoted, but I know that we sold a lot of ringtones.
Mims: So I’m pretty sure it’s commin’ up close to a million within the next couple of weeks. If it’s not already there.
Ballerstatus.com: What’s the title of your new album?
Mims: The title of my album is called Music Is My Savior, and it’s basically an acronym for my name — for my real name, which is Mims, my last name which is Mims and my stage name is Mims so…
Ballerstatus.com: Tell me about some of your upcoming music and how it separates you from other New York artists.
Mims: Well, “This Is Why I’m Hot” in itself is a different record from what New Yorkers are doing. I love New York artists. Man, I got a good relationship with a lot of the artists out here, and I respect and I love ‘em all. I got respect for them all, but the one thing that I do that is different is that I’m just having fun with what I’m doing and I’m introducing the fun side. I’m not just [making] my music to cater to New York, I’m [making] my music to cater towards the country and I think New York respects me for that. The second single off my album is called “Like This” and ummm… it’s gonna be another club record. It’s gonna be a real competitive record for a guy versus a girl, so I think it’s gonna be a huge record and a huge follow-up single for me too.
Ballerstatus.com: I heard “I Did You Wrong.” It had about 600 spins on BDS back in ’03, you were with Push Plan back then, and soon after you beat Puffy on San Francisco’s KMEL at the battle of the beats. What have you been working on the past three years?
Mims: Ummm… you know, really and truly when people look at music sometimes, sometimes they just look at the songs and they don’t see the behind-the-scenes part of life. And uh, you know, when I put out the “I Did You Wrong” record, I expected it to be the record that got me out there, but it didn’t. That was a record that, you know, it got some exposure for me and it helped me out tremendously in getting relationships, building relationships in this business, but it didn’t allow me — it wasn’t my breakout record. So I had to figure out why that was and from that year of putting that record out all the way up to putting out “This Is Why I’m Hot,” I spent more time focused on trying figure out a full proof plan to being successful, as opposed to just continuously putting records out and I think that I hooked up with some good partners who knew the radio business real well and ummm… and the rest is history. We went out there with a well put together plan and you know, a hit record, and proved the whole, world/industry wrong by putting out “This Is Why I’m Hot.”
Ballerstatus.com: Tell me about the marketing and promotion you did with DigiWaxx. How has that helped get you started?
Mims: I think DigiWaxx, in my opinion — people always ask me, you know, you haven’t, you didn’t circulate on the mixtape level as much as a lot of the other artists do or did and you didn’t ummm… you weren’t out there at the rap battles etcetera, you know? I think that DigiWaxx, in my opinion, serves as the wave of the future when it comes to the urban market because if you think about where music is shifting, you know, everything is becoming digital and everything is moving into the digital world, and honestly speaking, you got MySpace, you got Microsoft Zune players available, you got iPod’s available, uh, you know, and a whole lot of different things cater to the digital world that it’s only natural to deal with a digital promotional company, so DigiWaxx, being the number one digital promotional company record pool out there that there is, it’s like a no brainer. You have to go with a company like that now-a-days in order to get the sort of exposure you want.
Ballerstatus.com: Why didn’t that cause you to sign to a major label sooner? Did you have any offers? Were you holding out? Were you trying to go independent with American King?
Mims: Plain and simply, you know, I don’t hide and I only speak the truth. The labels knew about me, they understood who I was, but they didn’t believe in me at the time, and honestly I don’t knock them for it because this game is a hustle like any other business in this world. But, at that point in time I didn’t sit back and say, “You know what… I gotta keep pursuing’ a deal,” I just started American King music for the fact that I knew that if I got with the right people, we’d be able to do what the labels could do, if not even better, because we have ambition, we have the blood sweat and tears that we were willing to put into it. And a lot of times, when you deal with labels, you know that they don’t put out — they might put out a single, and if it doesn’t get on radio within a month, they give up on the record. We worked this record on an underground level for about four months, five months before I got picked up at any company, and proved to them, that you, you know, you have to put the necessary time and attention into the project to make it successful. That’s why I held back from signing to any type of deal until a label understood that. That same knowledge allowed me to be a priority at Capitol Music Group, and I’m happy about that.
Ballerstatus.com: How did the “This Is Why I’m Hot” single transition from American King/UBO to Capital Records? How did the whole deal come about?
Mims: Well honestly, UBO, the company that I had a joint venture deal with was actually a subsidiary of the EMI system. It was a reggaeton based label and at the end of the day, they knew that they really couldn’t cater to carrying a rap artist, especially a rap artist such as myself. They tried and they were willing to give the money to really work the project the right way, but I knew that I needed another company that was willing to promote and back me the right way on a urban side and obviously looking into the EMI system, there is obviously two companies that you can deal with — there’s Virgin and there was Capitol. Looking on to Capitol’s roster being that they really didn’t have too much going on around the time that I was getting’ signed, and around the time that my record was out, it was a no brainer. It was perfect because at the end of the day I was getting the best of both worlds. I was getting to become priority at a label and I would still be apart of that system, that EMI system that I was already a part of while I was at UBO and it was the perfect marriage.
Ballerstatus.com: When “This is Why I’m Hot” became really crazy over the course of the past month, we couldn’t find it on iTunes, and then I saw about two weeks ago, I went on iTunes to find it, and the Jae Millz version was like number five on the top songs. What took so long for it to be available to the public and how did you feel about that?
Mims: You know, I think that was a big misunderstanding, and I spoke to Jae Millz about it. I think he put out a mixtape, and whoever in his company, or whatever, went onto iTunes — when you put a title on iTunes and people are searching for that name and they want it real bad, when they search for “This Is Why I’m Hot,” they gonna think it’s my record and they gonna go out and purchase it. You know, it was a misunderstanding. On a personal level, me and Jae Millz talked it over, and I have a lot of respect for that brother and you know, a situation like that, that coulda been blown out of proportion. I just said “Look man, I’ma give you the benefit of the doubt, I know that things happen,” and you know, uh… we got past it. But that’s just exactly what it is, there’s no more to it than that. You know, eventually, hopefully you’ll see a record with me and Jae Millz, a real record this time with me and Jae Millz and get number one download on iTunes.
Mims: That’s what I hope.
Ballerstatus.com: What can we expect from you in the next five years?
Mims: Ummm… the one thing I’ll say is — and I don’t wanna sit here and say that — you know, even having a company like American King Music that I’m developing, I never want to sit in front of people and wanna say, I wanna be the CEO of this and I wanna own this clothing company or I wanna do this liquor sponsorship. With me, it’s all about being successful, it’s all about doing what I like to do. If I get involved with something, I wanna put my heart in that thing, whether it’s clothing, whether it’s movies, or whether it’s putting a bunch of frank stands in New York City. Whatever you see from me at that point in time, I’m just looking to be successful. So five years from now, you gon’ know that, whatever I’m doing, I’m gon’ have a smile on my face.
Ballerstatus.com: And is there any message you want to leave us for your fans?
Mims: Honestly man, I just say, to all the aspiring artists out there, you know, I always hear people are so quick to judge other artists and say, “Man I don’t like this dude’s song, I don’t like they album,” and then everybody’s entitled to they opinion, or “I think I’m better than him”… But I say this, with this business, and to all the inspired artists, follow your heart and you’ll see how far you can get. I’m a prime example of that. I work hard to get where I’m at and I follow my heart 100% of the way and I’m doing what I love to do. For those guys out there, it doesn’t take an ignorant person to be successful in this world. You can actually be an intelligent smart brother and come across like an intelligent smart brother to be successful and that’s the message I want to get out to the people out there — that, you know, be yourself, be somebody who’s willing to go out there, and learn a thing or two about what they want to invest their lives in.
Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck, Sha Money XL, DJ Whoo Kid, Mobb Deep, Spider Loc, M.O.P., Young Hot Rod, Nyce, Mazaradi FOX and Trick-Trick are the last men standing: a menacing, hand-selected group of the famous, and infamous, rappers alive, deviously pirating raps wayward vessel. Captain 50 pioneers the group – I mean unit, through a stormy sea of music. He and the gang set sail on a quest to find hidden treasure.
Now of course, in their travels, they have acquired a handful of enemies. It’s no wonder Fiddy’s got a quick draw, and with that, Captain Cent keeps all the gun totin’ hooligans at bay.
Once a crew member on S.S. G-Unit, Game supersedes as 50′s arch nemesis. By far, he exerts more energy than any other on what may not be such a profitable cause. Nevertheless, 50, rather effortlessly, keeps even that monster at bay. He clarifies, “I actually make more money off it then he does… so I don’t mind him. He sold 5 million records when I wrote it, and eight-hundred-ninety somethin’ thousand when he wrote it…” He continues, “you notice I haven’t wrote any records like to disrespect him, ‘cuz If I destroy him I destroy my own money, you know, I have accomplished what’s impossible to accomplish. I’ve become my own competition.”
Since wildly publicized beefs, with rappers who have signed their lives, street cred and publishing away quickly become old news, other suitors sail by and fire cannons towards the ship as it heads back East.
Gaining most resistance from those hailing from his hometown, New York, Curtisssss’ newest rivals emerge wearing skulls, bones and pink – or is it purple this season? Dipset ring leader Cam´ron makes headlines, at his television interview on 60 Minutes, with his controversial thoughts on the act of snitching. None of which haven managed to overshadow the gossip or intrigue of his impending disdain for Commander Cent. Quite confidently, 50 indifferently remarks, “You can’t beef with someone who isn’t intelligent enough to know when they lost.”
This cleverness, which is apparently Captain Cent’s sixth sense, doubles as a locked grip on his growing fan base, and lays a thick line of separation between him and his competitors. How does Killa Cam or Hurricane Game plan to gear up for battle at sea this year? Maybe we can expect a comical array of YouTube beef response videos to swamp our inboxes and instant messages before the summer let’s out. Speaking of YouTube, 50 announced that he will be releasing four videos with his upcoming album. Most importantly, whether or not they are added to rotation on major video networks he will have each one available for viewing on YouTube. Take that you filthy scoundrels!
With that in mind, September 4th is quickly approaching, and it is then that “Curtis” will be available for purchase at iTunes, Zune and record shops (who aren’t going out of business) across the nation. Just today the presale of the album held the number ten spot on iTunes. Odd isn’t it, how iTunes is gaining momentum as a grand indication of billboard sales. Mr. Cent explains, “To make this album I used a whole different process. I left no stones unturned… the album kinda feels like ‘Batman Begins.’”
For some this beginning is a means to an end. Most recently Olivia walked the plank. 50 Cent confirms that the split, which occurred before Olivia even released her first album on G-Unit, was due to “miscommunication” and had no bearing on her talent. After allegedly spending nearly $2 million on Olivia’s project with recording, videos and marketing, it would be interesting to find out the hidden secrets behind the untimely split. That interview by Wendy Williams as Olivia promotes that book release would be rather entertaining.
Alright, that is enough speculation. Let’s look at this year in review (so far). 50 buys into the “Ban 50, Save The Kids” t-shirt promotion that was originally introduced in support of the rally against Tony Yayo’s alleged pimp smack on Jimmy Henchmen’s son. Our beloved Fif has been spotted wearing the shirts. All publicity is good publicity, right? Whoo Kid launched Pow! Magazine and continues heating up Hot 97 with Pow! Radio and has around 1 million DVD’s sold under Pow! Films. Prodigy released a solo mixtape produced entirely by The Alchemist, “Return Of The Mac” on Koch which seems to lead into his release of H.N.I.C. 2 due out this year. Young Buck adds to the roster of his new label “Cashville Records” and is currently touring with two of his signee’s C-Bo and Tha Outlawz. Lloyd Banks has managed to keep a low profile but made headlines last week when his show in Derby, England was cancelled due to a gang violence scare. It’s a sick sad world.
In conclusion, rumors continue to swarm that G-Unit is one step away from disbanding. Although nothing has been confirmed, my spider senses are tingling and I have my bets on 50 pulling a rabbit out of a hat. More importantly, with the high forecast of sales on Fif’s upcoming album, the revenue may build moral enough moral to revive the public’s view of the crew and give fans hope again in their eminent perseverance through the perfect storm.
- By Joi Rogers
|Published: Saturday – February 3, 2007 | Comments (0)|
| It isn’t often that the big leaguers like Hi Tek, JR Rotem, and Cool and Dre sign-on board to contribute their impeccable works to a 16-year old. Historically there has always been a struggle for young rappers to sustain a fan base due to the believability of adult subject matter or, quite frankly, to maintain interest with the teenyboppers. Sean Kingston has neither problem. This Miami native has not stopped rapping since the age of 8 and JR Rotem, super-producer/founder of Beluga Heights Production Company, has taken note. He signed the Reggae/Rap talent Sean just this summer, has completed a mixtape and has a major release date on Sony Records in just over four months.Impressive.I went blog hunting, forum surfing and aimed a few of my hush hush industry insider contacts, to get the scoop on who this kid really was, and to discover how the hell he pulled this off without me hearing about it. As the bitterness faded I’d come to realize that Sean King had harnessed this major feat rather flawlessly, and with the help of his resolute determination. This will, that tends to dissipate as adolescents parade through their wonder years, was fueling a notable movement towards what is for some, impossible. He beat the odds.His music is a heavy mixture of melodically infused choruses with rather explicitly gangsta lyrics like „Eyes over water gotta’ stay sea level / Haters knockin’ my style / Fittin ta stop me never / Get smacked up if that ass act up / Hollow tips rush, my definition of back-up.“ About 10 seconds into his One Blood Remix (which has already appeared on „Big Mike – This Is Why I’m Hot Part 4“), I’d forgotten his age.
Where are you now? Are you in Miami?
Nah, I’m currently in Los Angeles.
Are you going to school there, or are you traveling back and forth?
I’m home schooling right now.
Wow – how is that working out?
It’s working out pretty cool, you know I’m doing it for the first time.
Is it harder or easier than being in regular school?
Yeah, because you do your work, you know, you don’t have other kids in the classroom distracting you – it’s pretty easy.
So you’re from Miami right…and how long have you been away from home now?
I have been away from home now 4 months.
All summer basically.
Yeah…I came in the middle of the summer.
So where are you from? Are you originally from Jamaica, or is your family from Jamaica?
My family is from Jamaica. I’m originally from Miami.
Have you been there?
Yeah, I’ve been there a couple times.
How do you like it?
I love it, I love Jamaica…
Are they aware of everything that you’re doing? What’s the feedback?
They love it, I mean you know they just wanted because I was doing rap at first, and I switched up my whole style, I started doing reggae and rap records, bringing something whole new to the industry, and they love that cause I’m bringin’ more – I’m expressing my roots.
How long have you been rapping? For like 5 years?
Nah, I have been rapping like since I was eight.
Wow. What made you decide to take on music as your defining career?
I just felt like, you know, I just liked the music. I was growing up, started listening to a whole bunch of reggae, listening to Ice Cube, listening to a lot of people, I just, you know, I just liked to rap. And I started off singing at first, and I just gradually graduated to rapping…I just felt like rapping was me.
Which genre do you identify with most? With rap or with reggae?
It’s a mixture of both.
Yeah, I love both…
So when did your style really become evident? Would you say about a year ago?
I’d say about two years ago.
Do you consider yourself a lyricist?
Yeah, I consider myself a lyricist.
Because I feel like I say stuff in different format that other rappers won’t say though. I just break it down to where people could understand me, but you really have to like, rewind the whole track, or see something. I like using metaphors and punch-lines, so I call myself a lyricist.
Absolutely. Who are your favorite five rappers of all time?
Five rappers of all time? Jay-Z, Biggie, 2 Pac, Game and Nas…
Aye! Aye! That’s 5! That’s 5! That’s 5!
Is that in order of importance? Is Jay-Z your absolute favorite?
Yeah, he’s my first, my favorite…
Because I think he just is an entrepreneur and you can hear it in his music. He came from the bottom and made it to the top and. He’s the best lyricist ever too! I look up to him a lot. I like how he formulates his words ‘n stuff…
Now do you like the new Jay-Z more than the old Jay-Z?
All around the globe, every single aspect. But I like the old Jay-Z better sometimes.
Here, I’m a put you on the spot…What’s your favorite Jay-Z line of all time?
My favorite Jay-Z line? Damn. I’d say it’s this new one, I’ll tell you this new line, it’s off Kingdom Come, he says „You from the era where snitchin’ is the shit / I’m from the era where snitchin’ ain’t it.“
He said, „I’m a four letter future ‘cuz y’all respect who got shot / I respect the shooter“
Shooter. Yeah, you and the entire country like that line. No matter who hates Jay. Everyone loves that line to death.
So do you think he’s one of your biggest influences? Or is there a reggae artist that’s one of your biggest influences? Or are there a few of them?
Yea, Beanie Man for example. There’s a new one out named Vybez Kartel…
So it’s all new stuff. Are there any old school artists, from like the 70’s or 80’s…
Yeah I like Barry Hammond, I like Buju Bantan, I like, you know, some old stuff, Damien Marley, Bob Marley of course.
How’d you linked up with JR? How’d that happen?
I met his brother Tommy Rotem off MySpace and I just kept on hitting him up. He wasn’t replying, and I just kept on hitting him up, because I’m a determined young dude. I was hitting up, I was like ´yo man, hit me back yo, I got some fire and bla bla bla…’ and you know I heard that JR had, he was ‘about to get a label deal, and he was looking for artists and I was like ‘yo, just hit me back up, I want you to hear my music…’ So he finally hit me back up and he asked for like three tracks, and I sent him some tracks, but when I sent him some tracks, he heard the tracks and he was like ‘man, you in Miami, you hot, you hot for 16, but damn, you in Miami.’ I was like, ‘man, it’s nothing´, I just really wanted to work with JR. The rest is history.
That’s really dope. What are you guys working on now?
We are working on my album, as we speak right now….
Are you releasing any mixtapes?
The mixtape is done, it should be coming out soon…
What’s it called?
It´s called „City Of God“…
Did you like that movie, or what!
It’s definitely in my collection.
That’s what inspires me. I’m based off that. I’m a ghetto cat myself and I love that movie. It reminds me of me because I’m a young dude and I been through a lot.
That puts a lot of things in perspective. So you guys are gonna release it in a month, and who’s gonna be hosting it? Is JR gonna host it?
It’s four DJ’s hosting one mixtape…
I wanna be like you when I grow up.
Can you reveal who they are?
Yeah of course. It’s gonna be DJ Khaled, Felli Feli. DJ Drama and Tony Matterhorn, he’s a big DJ in Jamaica.
Have you been doing any shows?
Doing any shows? I did shows before I signed with JR. I’d been doing a lot of shows, talent shows, a lot of shows out of Miami but now I’m just really like working on my album now, meeting with a lot of producers…
What does your music stand for?
My music stands for a lot of things man. When I do music I want it to touch people like I want you to hear my music and hear where I’m coming from and hear my music. I want at the end of my songs, I want somebody to feel inspired, or I want somebody to be like, ‘damn I could do what he doing.’ I want somebody, prolly a rich kid to be like ‘damn this kid been through a lot.’ Like damn, ‘imagine if I was in his predicament.’
What are your other goals aside from music? Are there any other entrepreneurial endeavors you want to get into?
Oh sure, I want to start my own record label.
Yeah, I got the name and everything.
Oh that’s hot. That’s really really hot. What’s the name of it?
Time Is Money Entertainment.
Time is Money Entertainment; I heard that on a few of your songs…And my last question is; did you have any crazy obstacles blocking you from accomplishing what you wanted to accomplish? Because I know you’ve been doing this for eight years.
Nah, not really. My mom supports me a lot. She kept on pushing me, she did what she did what she could to make my career grow.
Is there anything else you wanna leave off with?
Let everybody know that the album is coming out in no time. It´s coming out in the 2nd Quarter 2007, next year.
- By Joi Rogers