UDHH: How long y’all been in this game?
Miestro: I’ve been messing around with beats/sampling since about 18 years old. Got my first MPC at 19 and never looked back.
UDHH: Who are your mentors/ influences in this?
Miestro: My main man Brother Wayne, who does a soul and funk show on WMBR here in Boston first showed me the ins & outs to production and beatmaking. He was the first dude I knew of who had a studio with a sampler and an old macintosh laptop. I would go over to his crib and just listen to records he’d pull out, most had drum breaks, and watch him sample, chop, and sequence. I think he was using Mastertracks Pro back then. That would have been around 95′ or 96. In terms of influences, it was probably the same people of my age group. The Pete Rock’s, Primos, RZA, whatever I was really feeling at that time.
UDHH: How did you get started?
Miestro: I got started by buying a MPC 2000 in about 96/97′ for $1600 new. I had to get some money from Moms to help out, and paid her back because I worked a summer job. I just started with the basic floppy discs they gave with the MPC, to learn about the timing/ sequencing/ and editing, and a few weeks/months later figured out what my budding studio needed and began sampling records I had at the time.
UDHH: How does one make money in the rap game? What do you do?
Miestro: I’m not so sure about making money in the rap game, but I think you have to have a long focused career, that can afford you the connections with other artists. Some people may be able to make music and make money immediately, but I think for most it’s more of a marathon, in tens of learning about publishing and song placements. It takes a ling time to get your name out there, get the trust of artists you work with, and of course, it’s gotta be something people are willing to spend hard earned money on. I work for a living in radio, and never saw the records I made, as my primary source of income. I’m just now starting to get moving on the publishing side, so we’ll see.
UDHH: Do you represent a clan/clique/group? If so, who?
Miestro: First and for most I represent myself, but since me and Al-Jabra ( H. Burton) have been working, we always dubbed our stuff House of Lordz Productions. That still carries on now, it just includes the stuff I do for Blak Madeen, or some of the songs I’ve done for Leedz.
UDHH: What do you represent as an artist?
Miestro: I just try to make stuff that is far-wide from what is going on now, I guess. I’ve never really had to change what I do, except for maybe vary the tempos a little more, to break out of the 85-95 BPM range that 90% of rap is at. I just try to keep some aspects of the old style of beatmaking and sampling from original vinyl that I’ve acquired. Just try to be true to the form, as I see it, and I don’t sacrifice the old techniques I’ve learned for ease of getting a song done. Sampling in to a sampler and cutting it with them little buttons is a pain in the ass, but for me if feels right
UDHH: Who are you listening to these days?
Miestro: Right now I’m really listening more to Boston artists, from the bigger acts to the guys who hand me demos at clubs. Of course my man Al-Jabra and Black Madeen, Slaine, Dutch ReBelle, Moe Pope, the list goes on. Boston has got a lively and diverse hip-hop scene, so I try to support anyone who’s doing it, is true to themselves, and upholds the standards of dope shit. A lot of times I end up bugging out over a demo that some kid made on his computer, because it represents seeing the start of someones career, instead of seeing them already established. Just supporting the people around you seems to be the best way to see where you fit in as an artist. As for the more mainstream acts, I hear stuff that’s dope, but It’s tough to support everybody you like. I can’t buy all the albums made and go to all the shows that roll trough, but like I said, I respect people doing what they love.
UDHH: This site is about all 4 elements in Hip Hop (MC, DJ, Graffiti and Bboy/Girl).What element(s) have you been involved with?
Miestro: I think the Dj would be the closest, although I haven’t spun in years now. I have an immense respect for music and in particular vinyl, so playing music and hearing other people do their thing never gets old. As for the dj’ing, I’ll leave that to the younger ones coming up mastering Serato and all that other stuff. But I do also like to go out and have fun, dancing every now and then, so I guess you could call me a b boy too!
UDHH: Who are the artists you look forward to working with, if any?
Miestro: I look forward to working with anyone who can put up with my intensity, haha. Anybody really. I think sometimes I make music and it’s looked at like I just do stuff for Al-J or Black Madeen, but really I have way too much material for even them, so there’s always room for more people to build with.
UDHH: What influences/inspires your music?
I need a photo for the blog
UDHH: Where can we find you/ your music?
UDHH: Where did you get that name?
Miestro: I got the name from Shiz, who was working with Dagah and The Massdas uv da Universe. He took Michael and changed it to Miestro, the Semi-Conductor had something to do with me telling him early on I wasn’t a real musician.
UDHH: What’s the music scene like out in Massachusetts?
Miestro: The scene here in Mass is full of talent. Boston is a tough city because there are only so many venues for a ton of artists, so seeing someones career take off takes a lot longer, because you really have to compete to get on shows. The Middle East in Cambridge, Church, and a few places in Providence seem to be the mainstays of Boston Hip-Hop, but any given day you can go to a bar an see a band with a rapper, so It’s interesting. I think I you have excellent material and your show set is tight, people will notice, it just takes time. But the more you support others, that will always help you out. Building alliances and collaborations help with that.
UDHH: Any shout outs?
Miestro: Like to give a shout out to my family, my brothers Al-J and Yusuf, everybody following their passion for music whether it’s a doing a radio show, dj’ing, open mics. Thanks to UndaDog Hip Hop for the chance to shine. Believe in yourself and never give up.