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Mikkey Halsted: The Dark Room Interview With HHRAPiNFO
On the eve that Mikkey Halsted was doing a special album release event at the iconic Leaders store we received an email from his PR to schedule an interview with Mikkey to discuss the release of the highly anticipated album, The Dark Room. We were excited and flattered to finally get a chance to get an exclusive interview with Mikkey on Christmas Eve, we couldn’t ask for a better gift.
Mikkey who’s born and raised in the Wild 100′s of the South Side of Chicago has earned his respect in the industry with his inspiring song lyrics, incredible wordplay and of course always representing Chicago to the fullest. His resume includes his start with Kanye West, a deal with Cash Money, a deal with Jermaine Dupri and now being able to work with the legendary producer NO ID on The Dark Room album.
We’ve heard a few a things about how you got started in the game, how Kanye West was involve in the start of your career. Can you explain to us how things started for you and your experience with Kanye?
I was in school at that time, I was into playing basketball. That was my passion and that’s how I felt I was going to escape the ghetto. My sister had met Kanye at the mall of all places, she started rapping and she had a deal when she was 14 with a local company where Kanye was the main producer. I used go to support her, I was around Kanye and she used to tell him that I could rap. One day were kicking it, freestyling and he heard me rap he was like, “yo you really dope”. He gave a beat tape and told me write some songs. From that point, it was all she wrote. We were able to make some of the most classic Chicago records like Foolish Games, that was my first professional song. From then, I was blessed to do a demo with Kanye and things just took off from that point. The demo I did with Kanye got in the hands with Cash Money, got signed, that situation didn’t’ go right but, it was my introduction into the game, a learning experience but here I am today.
Glad you learned from that experience, let’s talk about The Dark Room. What was the concept behind The Dark Room?
We started with the first concept called The Photo Album, the photo album is all about the artistry of mixing pictures with words and songs. Instead of being wrapped in like miscellaneous raps, we really wanted to take the time to craft songs that take pictures and capture images. Thats what started the whole Dark Room concept. Back in the day, the Dark Room, before photoshop and all of that came, it was the place where you would go and develop your pictures for the photo album. So it was only right that The Dark Room would come before The Photo Album, so that’s how it happen.
So The Photo Album is on the way?
Yea, The Dark Room is like the preview to The Photo Album and should be coming soon. It’s about 90 percent done, me and NO ID are working on it as we speak. So it’s just about progressing and giving people what they want to hear.
I know NO ID is the executive producer, how was it working with Prolyfic on First Class?
Prolyfic is a dope producer to work with, he’s under the NO ID umbrella. NO ID played me the first Prolyfic joint, the First Class beat and told me I should rap on it. Right on the spot I rapped on it and we made First Class in Atlanta.
How did you come up with the rest of the production team for The Dark Room?
All the producers were great, SC is a super dope Chicago producer that has a dope discography. David D.A. Domain he’s out of Chicago, Odd Couple I discovered them in a beat battle I threw, they out of Chicago. Basically all Chicago production. The Legendary Traxster did the N****z Just Complain, I mean his track records speaks for itself. Everybody that produced on it, Emmaculate did Soul of a Gangsta. It’s just a beautiful thing all the way around, I mean Chicago really came together from the beat, just like the Cool Kids, my sister. It’s a real Chicago album and it feels like Chicago.
What’s your take on the generation of Chicago artists?
I love those guys, I love Rockie, I love YP, I Love Vic Mensa, I love all of the guys. Mic Terror, it’s so many in Chicago, but they are really dope artists and great talent. From LEP to Hollywood Holt, their like my family.
Any upcoming shows here in Chicago?
Not in Chicago any time soon, we putting together a tour and Chicago would probably be our last date on it. We putting a countrywide tour together and we’ll try to get it popping. So as the tour finalizes well be able to see the dates on mikkeyhalsted.com and well definitely be posting where well be performing at.
Tell us about the video for FNB featuring Freddie Gibbs & B.J. The Chicago Kid?
We tried to do something fresh, something ill, something different. Tired of seeing the same video shot over and over again. We shot the video here in Chicago, right down on Rush Street, this album is really Chicago man.
Any other videos in the works for The Dark Room?
You gonna get video for Exorcist, a video for Camera’s Ready that I already shot. We also working on maybe a video for Frozen, that’s produced by Prolyfic. We working, we trying to bring as many visuals as possible.
Any remixes in the plans for any track off The Dark Room?
Man, we looking on doing a remix for Running My City, so we’ve been talking to a couple people. We’ve been talking to Fabolous, cause New York wasn’t on it, I was waiting on a verse from a real dope New York artist, but nothing came so I had to move on. But were gonna do a remix for Running My City, we gonna put some more people on it and it’s gonna be dope. We have the new single ready off The Photo Album and it features Twista, should be coming out by next summer. Next album were just taking it higher and higher, raising the level, raising the bar. It’s a beautiful thing.
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