Friday, August 14, 2009

Interviewer Interview x Larry Mizell, Jr.

Last week sometime I got to sit down and pick the brain of one of Seattle's finest music contributors. Larry recently just took over KEXP Street Sounds, he also has a column in The Stranger, and he is a rapper turned hipster in the up and coming legendary They Live! He is also in Cancer Rising, Nite Owls, and probably 4 other rap groups we don't even know about. Gatsby is doing his thing right now, and it involves doing the running man at 4am dance parties.

I join Larry at The Redwood for drinks, and before even getting into the place there's music happening down the street in an alley and he says "Let's check this out, could be cool." I'm telling you this guy always has his ear to the street and it was fun to chop it up with him.

TR: So who are the infamous Mizell Brothers?
LM: The Mizells are my father Larry, Sr. and my uncle Fonce Mizell. They are legendary jazz/funk/disco producers with their major claims to fame coming in the 70s. They are orginally from New Jersey (stand up!) and produced hits like "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and "I Want You Back". They worked with Blue Note, Donald Byrd and Motown. They are legends and the family itself extends to Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay), and Ronnie Spektor and The Ronnettes. The Mizells go hard!
TR: Did they play a part in your success?
LM: Yes and no. I've been very mindful of not using that to get ahead almost to a fault. But at the same time, being around it and meeting heavy music people gave me a perspective, love, and groundedness for the music. I have been blessed to be able to be around it my whole life.
TR: What is your most exciting project right now?
LM: Man, I love everything that I'm doing right now but I'd say KEXP is most exciting because its the newest. I've been at The Stranger for 5 years and working on music for 8 years, and now I am able to play music for the people. It's a new challenge
for myself. I just have to work on my radio voice and swagger..

TR: Do you think that Street Sounds was falling off in the past year?
LM: I wouldn't say it was falling off, I'd say the interest of promoting shows, doing interviews, and talking in the town precluded the music. It was dope that that iss what it was, but I am a music guy. I like music to do the talking. I always wanted to hear more and I am going to play more. Its a big deal and big shoes to fill, and its an honor to be included in the legacy. I want to stamp my own legacy on it. It's my turn.
TR: So with all your projects, does one hinder the other?
LM: Definitely does. I cant just write myself up every week, and I cannot use it for my own interest. It's not credible to others, and it's not credible to myself. Favoritism seems to be something stranger writers and weekly worry about. I am self concious and dont want to abuse the power that I have. I wanna big up the town more than myself.
TR: So you don't feel yourself?
LM: I do feel myself don't get me wrong. I am humble. My humble game is impregnated. I am the king of humility. I have the same birthday as Harrison Ford, Bill Cosby, Cheech Marin. I am the combo of all 3.
TR: What does Out For Stardom mean to you?
LM: Glory. Ambition. Grimey. It's not like on the road to the stardom, its OUT FOR. It's do anything for. Whatever it takes type shit. I like that.
TR: Who are your top 3 Seattle musicians right now?
LM: Shabazz Palaces - Would love to see it live, its great to see him home and repping Seattle.
Velella Velella - not much new shit, but i bang their older EPs pretty frequently. It's funky but not corny. they are all about the Mizell Brothers.
Fresh Espresso - It made me pull out Cigar Rockstar, the joint with Smoov he did on that was crazy. I remember hearing that and knowing it was the start of something great.

TR: Remember when Mad Rad dropped and you were hating..
(He cuts me off, I didn't even get to ask a question and then he rants.)
LM: I was not a supporter, cats didn't know what to make out of it. Where did it come from and is it for real? I'm not going to front that I love "White Gold" but theres stuff I like a lot on it. After seeing how hard you work, watching the energy you brought to the scene was great and I'm glad you are in this city. Opinions can change. I am excited to hear the next shit thats for sure, from what I've heard I'm stoked.
TR: Do you feel a come up with They Live!?
LM: The main thing that I value to all these groups is that I'm feeling a real connection. It's like a fraternity, a family. It's not giving a fuck musicly. It's unbridled energy. It's fun. It's a non traditional period. It wasn't cool to be excited about rap. Everyone is over it, "We are cool. We are doing it. Blah blah." There's a new excitement in the town and I don't know what it is. Obama? Mad Rad? Mindstates? Don't matter, I'm having the time of my life right now.
TR: Who don't you feel that is doing it out here?
LM: Team Gina. The raps ain't there and it feels like mockery. I don't know them, but I'm guessing they dont have "Dare Iz A Darkside." It's the equivalent of a grandma rapping in a furniture commercial, and I don't have any time for it.
TR: How do you feel about Thee Sat?
LM: I love them! Once Thee Sat came along they were getting love from everyone, not just the gay community. They bridge the gap between all the people because they make dope music. It's not about being lesbian. It's about being dope.
TR: Are you down to join me in the campaign to keep them here? Maybe a fund raiser show of sorts?
LM: Absolutely.. I'm waving the white flag. I think they can go anywhere and kill it, but people are nomadic and want game from different places. Personally i would say give it another six and bang out music with Taysean. Go crazy! Make music with everyone. We are on the cusp of a new vision in this town and they need to be apart of it. I'm selfish. They are going to go to another town and get filthier? I'm not feeling that.
TR: Is Joanathan Cunningham stealing your thunder?
LM: Cunningham is someone I have waited for to come on the scene out here. There's been a scarecity of knowledgeable hip hop writers. It's not a hip hop town, they don't know it and they don't care. JC dives right in and we are in this together. The fact that the Weekly gave a black cat the music editor job with a hip hop background is huuuuge for the city.
TR: Better segal, Beanie Sigel or Dave Segal?
LM: Beanie. Sorry, Dave. Mack Mittens all day. Broad Street Bully lights up the room. Dave Segal is in the cut. He's a writer, he looks like hes been in a cavern listening to obscure records. He's a music guy, I got respect.
TR: Is BlesOne the best DJ in Seattle?
LM: I don't know if he's the best, but my favorite? Yes, hands down. He is the most underrated cat I know and thats going to change. It already is changing.
TR: How do you feel about beat battles? You know my boy got robbed over politics.
LM: Big Tunes is awesome and what Jake, Vita, and J Moore are doing is great. The battle format? Meh. It gets away from making songs. If youre making music and you are dope, fuck that shit! Stay out of it! I'd much rather have someone make an enduring piece of music.
TR: Favorite album all time?
LM: Marvin Gaye "I Want You" or "Death Certificate". I think I could get away with the sample in "Steady Mobbin'" which is an "I Want You" sample. ice cube is the greatest rapper of all time and "Death Certificate" is his best work.
TR: Who's ass to you want to kick?
LM: Darryl Gates. Moved to spokane. He's the old police chief in LA. I've thought about popping through the window and getting him in his rocking chair. And everybody that Rides The Duck.
TR: But, would you whip that?
LM: Yes.
TR: Would you do a show on it?
LM: Yes!
TR: Can we make that happen?
LM: Let's get it!

Let's get it! Words to live by. Larry then proceeded to interview me and he wanted me to put that up on here as well.. But you know what, Larry? You are on the radio! You are in the newspaper! You want my interview use your avenues cause I want those!!!
They Live! plays Tacoma tonight and rumor has it they are on the radio tomorrow!


lar said...

i aint a hipster trick. im just hip

Locke said...


Jeff said...

well said on all fronts.