Published: Monday – April 9, 2007
Words by Joi Rogers
As Featured on Ballerstatus.com
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.