Menacin JohnsonÂ answers a few questions for SpitFireHipHop.
Los Angeles emcee Menacin Johnson presents â€œWhat It Meansâ€, the first single from _Stargate Aquarius_, his forthcoming collaboration album with L.A. producer Duke Westlake. The song also features singer Rain Bisou. Menacinâ€™s most recent albumÂ Brand New Headsets 2Â (Soundcloud) featured A-Plus of Souls Of Mischief as well as Menacinâ€™s fellow Project Blowed representer Abstract Rude. Constantly touring, he has performed alongside Aceyalone of Freestyle Fellowship, Tre Hardson formerly of The Pharcyde, X-Clan and many more. Formerly known as Maestroe the Madmonk, Duke has several self-released projects available (Bandcamp), Mello Music Group released his 2013 albumÂ Re.Turn, and he has produced for Rapper Big Pooh (â€œJukâ€ on Bandcamp) and Georgia Anne Muldrow (â€œLost Childrenâ€ on Bandcamp).
SFHH: How do you feel about the state of West Coast hiphop today?
MJ:Â I feel like the West Coast as a coast on the hiphop side of things. We are starting to discover a lot of really dope organic artists emerge in these last few years on the independent tip! And the nostalgic vibe of the golden era with the OGs from that time is making a comeback with dope music. So for me I see it as good music breeding more good music. i think we are in a good place right now.
SFHH:How did you and Duke Westlake connect and decide to do the album?
MJ:Â I have basically been working with Duke for years, and he has been a part of all my albums to date in some way or another. After releasing my first solo LPStill Here back in 2007 we would talk here and there about doing a whole project together, but the results would always be the same in the end with him only producing a few songs, due to conflicting schedules. Fast-forward to winter 2012: fresh off the release of Brand New Headsets Vol. 2 we were finally able to start going in on this projectStargate Aquarius as a collaborative album.Â
SFHH:Â Would you ever sign a deal with a label? What would be required from you?
MJ:Â I am currently signed to a indie label “Just-us” the cool thing about these guys is that they are really supportive in my creative process allowing me the freedom to let my concepts breathe, so im grateful for that. At the same time Im always open to bigger opportunities when they present themselves to spread my music to a broader audience. all the above would be my requirements creativley & of course ALOT OF MONEY to go with that burger & fries.
SFHH:Â Whatâ€™s your advice to upcoming rappers trying to run their careers independently?
MJ:Â Work hard, cut out the haters, eat humble pie every day, know your value realistically, stay true to you, surround yourself with people who you can learn from, and most importantly learn that this is a business – in that order, then repeat.
SFHH:Â Whatâ€™s your plans for the rest of 2015?
MJ: New LP, international touring, more visuals, more pub, more music, branding my name with a positive message, and reaching a bigger audience with my sound.