interview Mims  (April 2009) | Interview By: Jonathan Hay

   His hit song oozed out of car stereos and violated club speakers everywhere, so much so that the hook is forever imprinted into our brains. Yes, there are obvious great benefits to having such a super successful song, but on the other hand, the pressure to supersede that mega-hit status would seem overwhelming at times Ė not to mention hearing the phrase ďThis is why Iím hotĒ reiterated over and over again by everyone you come in contact with for years to come would start to get annoying pretty fast.

Now MIMS is back to challenge the success of that dance-inducing phenomenon with another soon-to-be chart-topping single called ďMove If You WannaĒ from his self-proclaimed diverse album Guilt, hitting stores on April 7th.

Dubcnn sits down with MIMS to talk about music, greed, Ryan Seacrest, how to be hot in a hooptie, and the turntables that turned the tables in this Dubcnn Exclusive Ė and this is why weíre hot (you know we couldnít resist that one).

Special thanks to Digiwaxx for making this happenÖ

As ever, be sure to leave your feedback in our forums or email them to haywire@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in April 2009

Questions Asked By: Jonathan Hay And Sabrina

Dubcnn Exclusive Ė Mims
By: Jonathan Hay And Sabrina

Dubcnn: Your second album, Guilt, hits stores on April 7, 2009. What can people expect on this album?

They can expect everything. If you like rock ní roll. If you like reggae music. If you like hip-hop. If you like pop music. If you like R&B and soul. This album has a little bit of everything mainly because Iíve been so many places and I enjoy many different styles of music. So you can expect everything. Itís not a one-dimensional album. I feel like Iím pushing the envelope for my topics of discussion, my song titles. I think Iím pushing the envelope for other musicians to have to catch up to me when it comes to certain music. I know people are gonna criticize that line, but if you listen to my album then you know what Iím talking about. If you donít, then you just become another ignorant person who speaks without knowing.

Dubcnn: What is the reason behind the album name Guilt?

I named the album Guilt because, to me, the word ďguiltĒ is a misunderstood word. When I told people I was naming the album Guilt, they thought I was being negative, but guilt is a natural human emotion. Regardless of what people think of me, itís a fact that I was very successful with my last albumÖand when I go back to Washington Heights to check my peoples or to go see my family and people are still struggling, and I feel the guilt of that. You canít help everybody and this is a very difficult period in Americaís history; sometimes I have to reflect on what I have and give thanks without the guilt overriding me.

Dubcnn: Your mega hit song, ďThis is Why Iím HotĒ was a staggering, record-breaking single; in retrospect, how did that even happen, from creation to its international peak?

You know what? The one thing I could say about ďThis is Why Iím HotĒ was that when I made the record I was in a space where I was somewhat frustrated, but I was somewhat joking and having fun. Iím not sure if thatís the formula to make a hit record, but it proved itself and ďThis is Why Iím HotĒ. When I got in the studio it was really about whatever came to mind and what came off the top of my head, and thatís what I put on that record.

As far as the grind is concerned and pushing the record, thatís where the blood, sweat and tears actually came into. Thatís where the hard work was. Thatís where all the right business decisions were made that I could possibly make at the time. Thatís why it became the number one record in the country.

Dubcnn: As with anything that impacts pop-culture with the same magnitude as ďThis Is Why Iím HotĒ, there will be the haters. How does some of the negativity youíve received affect you personally?

It doesnít the way people want it to. I would be lying if I said that hearing or seeing some of the comments people make on the internet and on the blogs doesnít affect me, but sometimes it seems like people get off on trying to tear you down. So when I see this type of stuff, I acknowledge that it is there but I donít let it stick with me. If I absorb your negative energy, all that is going to happen is that I am going to expel that on the next person that I come in contact with. Why should I allow you to use me as a vessel of hate? So does it affect me, yes, but only as long as it takes for me to flip the page or go to the next website.

Dubcnn: From a strictly financial standpoint, with a song of that massive success, will you receive significant royalties and income for the rest of your life?

I hope so. I hope so. I think Iíve been blessed financially over the past couple years, but I think thatís just something that depends on the state of music and it depends on hip-hop if itís gonna be a big record. It hasnít died yet so weíll see how long it lasts.

Dubcnn: Youíve seen and experienced the very top of the music industry; so my question is, just how ugly, greedy and cut-throat is it really?

If you looked up the term ďmusic industryĒ in the dictionary, then the words ďgreedyĒ and ďcut-throatĒ should be right next to it. Itís no rumor that the music industry is one of the most ruthless businesses around Ė whether itís in the constant payola, if thatís the right word to use, whether itís in the violence on outside that people really donít get to see or whether itís just in peopleís false perception of what they really think artists make financially. I just think itís definitely all that and more, much more. I donít know how to describe it, but I know for a fact that it is the most ruthless, cut-throat business, in my opinion, next to politics.

Dubcnn: Other than dropping your highly-anticipated album, what else does this year hold for you?

Other than dropping my album -- hopefully that will pass anybodyís imagination -- I think what the year has entailed for me is really, God-willing, first and foremost, I go out there and start touring and just start reachiní out to my different fans around the world because you canít be everywhere at one time. Most times when youíre promoting an album, you do it solely from the United States. You may go overseas a little bit, but I think that Iíve learned enough to know that I have a very broad international fan base and I want to make sure that I nurture my career outside of the U.S. So hopefully, for me, itíll be in touring, going around the country making sure people see me performing everywhere.

Dubcnn: Do you think ďMove If You WannaĒ will repeat the same success as your break-out single?

I hope so, but to be honest, I donít compare the two records. I think that ďMove [If You Wanna]Ē is what it is and I think ďThis is Why Iím HotĒ was what it was. Thereís no way you can compare the two records. They donít sound the same. Theyíre not the same style. They werenít produced by the same producer and they didnít come out at the same time.

My main focus right now is the album Guilt coming in stores April 7th and my main focus is making sure people see me in a different light other than ďThis is Why Iím HotĒ, other than ďLike ThisĒ. This is a new album, new situation, new music.

Dubcnn: What was it like making the video for ďMove If You WannaĒ?

The ďMove [If You Wanna]Ē video was actually very fun because, if you watch the video, youíll notice thereís a lot of effects and trickery. Even when I read the treatment I didnít know how certain things were gonna be pulled off, like the constant motion and me just moving throughout the screen. So when I got there the day of video shoot, I stayed interested from beginning to end on how they were gonna make certain things happen and I think thatís what kept it fun for me.

Itís also, to me, one of the most interesting hip-hop videos in a long time because it excludes the typical flashiness. It excludes that whole gaudy atmosphere. It takes away from the Lamborghinis and the thick gold chains with diamonds and the half-naked women and it just adds a lot more Ė to me it adds a lot more interest from a consumer standpoint.

Dubcnn: How much pressure did you have, if any, while creating this new album to create another chart-topping single?

You know what? I would have a lot of pressure on me if indeed society wasnít the way it is right now. I think thereís so much more to focus on right now than whether or not I could come back and defeat ďThis is Why Iím HotĒ and itís chart topping ability.

I think my main focus, like I said, is just to get good music into the world. You gotta remember weíre dealing at a time where finances are limited. So my main focus is trying to sell an album at a time where people arenít spending money and thatís the hardest thing that Iím gonna have to do this time around.

Itís not about the number one position on the charts -- which would be nice, donít get me wrong, but itís not about that. Itís just really about being there for my fans during these hard times.

Dubcnn: You recently debuted ďBread N ButtaĒ, the second single from Guilt featuring Notorious B.I.G. (tell us more)Ö

Okay, well first and foremost, the second single from Guilt is not ďBread and ButterĒ. ďBread and ButterĒ was a record that leaked out and obviously gained some notoriety in the world of hip-hop, which Iím not mad at. So its place as far as Mims is concerned, Iím not too sure of right now, but I know it serves its purpose. Itís showing people a different side of me and thatís what ďBread and ButterĒ is there for. So I hope that answered the question.

Dubcnn: In this song, you rap ďI came at n-ggas calmly, now I'm on some n-gga s--t, try to touch my scrilla get you lit like a cigarette.Ē For someone who came in so calmly, what was it exactly that caused you to cross that line?

Because I donít think people expect that from me. I think that, in life, I was always told to be respectful and keep your head high as far as, like, your goals; be positive. But everybody has a cracking point. And when you got a million people saying certain things about you that arenít true and everybody thinks that youíre just this pushover person; these people donít know you. Most of the people who do know me know that I smile, Iím very friendly, but donít mistake my kindness for weakness. Iím not a weak individual. I was raised in the street. Thatís where I came from so I can get gully when needed, but I also know that that is not a way that you need to be on a daily basis. I know how to turn that off for the greater good of MIMs and maintain and think positive. So itís just a comment I put in the record for those who constantly try to throw jabs at me, who are thinking that Iím just the kindest, sweetest MC. Like I say, donít confuse that for weakness.

Dubcnn: In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, you said that life is about two choices: to either do your best in life and make your mom proud or get sucked into that other lifestyle Ė also adding, ďItís not about the money, the cars, the chains. You can be hot in a hooptie or with a dollar in your pocket with the right attitude.Ē Some may say that some of your latest lyrics are contradictory; do you still stand firm on that belief?

Well, one, somebody would have to point out my latest lyrics to show me where Iím contradicting myself. I wonítí deny it. Everybody contradicts themselves at some point in life Ďcause itís impossible not to. I think, for me, Iím very open about the things that I contradict myself on and Iím open with it in my music. My mind goes from, at some point being the most humble positive individual in the planet, to having a different outlook on life and saying to myself, ďman, Iím gonna hustle by any means, and Iím gonna get it.Ē

So for me, I think that everybody contradicts themselves. I donít wanna say it like that, but I donít think that that matters. I think that you can take certain songs for what they are. Iím only human. So one song Iím gonna say I like peanut butter. The other song Iím gonna say I like jelly. Thatís just what it is. Iím a human being and we all go through it. So when people scrutinize artists for making certain decisions or saying certain things in their song, recognize the fact that an artist is merely a human first and that means that, there will be many things that people could tear apart and say, ďMan, didnít he say that?Ē or ďDidnít he say this?Ē Well, who doesnít say that in life? Who doesnít act like that?

As far as the first comment is concerned and Ryan Seacrest is concerned, it is true. In life you have two decisions. Either youíre gonna do whatís right or youíre not, and thatís simply what it is. It doesnít get any more black and white for people. Either Iím gonna go out there and be as positive as I can and live the good life by being positive, or Iím gonna be the biggest murderer on the planet earth. Itís up to me to decide what I wanna do and suffer the consequences as opposed to that.

Dubcnn: On your first album, you mainly stayed loyal to those producers who were loyal to you during your upcoming, rather than going with big-named producers; so how does your second album [Guilt] differ from your first album in that aspect?

It doesnít. Iím still loyal to the same individuals that have pretty much jump-started my career, such as the Blackout Movement, and I respect what theyíve done for me. Thatís why theyíre actually featured on my second album on multiple records, but I also believe that music is about giving other people opportunities. So I also reached out to some brand new producers called The Intern and worked with them on this project, simply to give them the opportunity to get their name out there as well as to give me a different sound.

I credit Khalichat, whoís also a brand new producer. I also accredit Jim Johnson, who is the producer who did ďLollipopĒ for Lilí Wayne. I got a record with him called ďRock and RolliníĒ, which is, to me, one of the most demented records on my album, but also one of the most interesting records on my album.

Dubcnn: You never knew your father and, tragically, lost your mother at the age of thirteen. Has there been anyone in your life who has played the role of a second father or mother to you?

I think many people. A lot of people stepped up to the plate; my grandmother, for one. Nobody could ever replace what my mother was to me, but my grandmother did a great job of making sure that I knew that there was people out there that loved me Ė my grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, my brother. Thereís many people that have been around me that have been able to make sure that I feel loved in this world and I get good advice when I need it.

Dubcnn: Just before she passed away, your mom bought you the turntables that served as your inspiration to absorb yourself completely into music. Describe your relationship with music the next several months after she passed awayÖ

At that point, it just became an emotional outlet for me. I donít know what it was that gravitated me towards those turntables and kept me out of the street -- maybe I give the credit to God and maybe just His will. But I know whatever it was; it was the right decision for me. So with that being said, I donít know why I did that. Naturally, itís just something that Iíve always been able to do; take the positive out of certain situations. I take the negative out of certain things and turn it into a positive.

I learned that was the key to survival and, as long as I continue to do that, Iíve been okay on my own, too. So I donít think Iíll ever stop being positive or taking negative situations and turning them positive.

Dubcnn: You seem to be all about staying connected with the people Ė so who is the one person in your life who holds you down and keeps you humble?

My family. I canítí give one person that role, but I think my familyís done a great job because when Iím around them Iím not worried about being Mims. Iím always Shawn. Iím always the person that they raised.

Guilt is hitting stores on April 7th and check MIMs out online at http://www.myspace.com/mimsfanclub



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