February 18th, 2014 Last Updated on: February 18th, 2014
Interview by Dr. Dawn Karima, Music Editor
Q)Will you please introduce yourself to us? What do you want us to know about you?
A) Hello! First off, I would like to thank you for this opportunity, and many blessings. I am An Independent Native Hip Hop Artist, and go by Mista Massive. From a Group known as Shadow Warriorz, I am an original member, and one of the last to be added. Venturing off as a solo artist, I created my own label and group, Tribal Renegade ENT. We make music for our people, and run our own clothing line with original designs created by our own artists.
Q) Tell us about your journey in music as a Native artist?
A) Well, I am from the Navajo (Dine’) and Lummi bloodline. All my teachings are from elders on both sides. Coming from a broken home and unstable childhood, I seen and been a part of many misfortunes. Embracing poverty, and being somewhat homeless most of my younger years, I developed hate towards life. As I got older, I realized that I needed an escape from reality, which was poetry. People would call it Twisted Poetry or Wicked Poetry, Due to the fact that my writing was heartless and dark. Eventually that turned into music and my way of telling people my story and letting others know, that their not the only ones who are going through these trials and tribulations of life.
In 2000, I linked back up with a childhood friend who I hadn’t seen in years. We quickly found out that we both had this passion for music and had access to a studio. It was a studio for a band, but we made it work to our advantage. We did a quick 8 track mixtape, and released them on actual Cassette Tapes. So I guess you can call that a real Mix Tape. After we released that, I ventured off and did my own 8 track mixtape, and we would actually sell these tapes anywhere we went. We would do freestyle battles, anywhere that was hosting. Since I was quick with free styling, I was pretty dope as battling rapping. I would actually be winning too, it was crazy. I had fell off the grid, while I was in the military, but I was still freestyle rapping with other people from all over the states in the Military, Till I got out in 2007, and in 2009 I linked back up with Shadow Warriorz, and we dropped some tracks, and they released my Solo album.I've been persistent with it ever since.
Q) How did you start rapping? What are some of your favorite accomplishments? Please give us the highlight reel!
A) I started rapping back in 1998, and in 1999 made my first mixtape along, side my childhood friend known as DJ Bizz. I eventually recorded my own mixtape in 2001, which was pretty good, but when you get to another level, you always look back and laugh at yourself. That shows your progress.
In 2009 I started on my Mixtape “Renegade Of The Tribe” and joined Shadow Warriorz, 2010 we started the Shadow Warriorz clothing line, and released a few albums. We were hitting every Pow Wow, Fair, Swap Meets and Flea Markets all over the South West. We were all over the place, usually in two different places at one time. The first time I made $800.00 in one day, I realized how serious this hustle was, so I pursued it full time. We landed shows all over the South West and made fans along the way and spreading our music.
Q) How does your Tribal heritage appear in your life as a way of life? How does culture impact the way that you live and the way that you make your music?
A) My tradition is my life; my kids are taught the traditional ways. I also take part in as many traditional ceremonies as possible. Navajo language is frequently spoken in my family, my children are learning, and catching on quick. I keep all sorts of traditional and tribal items in my home. I pray to the East and use Corn Pollen, praising our elders and our Creator with every prayer. So I keep my heritage in my everyday life, and cooperate that with my music. It’s sad, but a lot of the youth don’t have knowledge of our heritage. It’s like walking around with a blind fold on and having no guidance. I teach the younger generation more about us as a people. Also the history of other tribes and why we are the way we are.
Q) How does practicing our Native life ways help those who are struggling to come to understanding and freedom? What do you hope your music does in the lives of your listeners?
A) Well, in the teachers I received, I was taught to put all your faith into your beliefs. Prayer and good medicine can turn any situation around, even if it’s just in your mind. Having a positive attitude is the first step toward overcoming all down falls and bad intentions. Give yourself a higher power to believe in and guidance in the teachings it priceless. We are unique, because we were born as Native Americans. Our roots run deep into these lands and our teachings were here long before the first settlers arrived. The teachings we receive will take your mind on a soul searching type of adventure, and in the end you will find true meaning.
My music shows people that many have gone through the struggle and the pain of everyday life. The biggest component in life is life itself, and it’s very unforgiving. I have also faced obstacles that seemed to be too difficult and even impossible to overcome and conquer, until you go face to face with it. I have lost many loved ones and I have failed many of life’s tests, but I have made it through and I weathered many of life’s devastating storms. If I can do it, I know you can also. Plus, love the youth, they are our future, and we need a positive future, please raise them right and show them love and that you really care. That’s our future right there, let’s make our future better. It all starts at home, with our youth.
Q) You're a dedicated Dad! How do you encourage the next generation to pursue their good goals and work hard?
A) I push the idea of bettering ourselves, and our family. With a healthy family and way of life, our kids will be promising in embracing the atmosphere presented and surrounding them. But, it has its downfalls, as some say that I was young and wild and I did many or more chaos than they have done. True, but I tell them that I’m trying to save them. Because I made it out, but many, I mean many, of my peers didn’t.
Life is unforgiving like I said, and life will happen. Knowledge is a very dangerous weapon if it’s used correctly. I tell them to learn as much as they can, ask our elders questions. Many elders are always open to tell stories or teachings. Life doesn’t just stop and wait for you, chase your dreams, and that can only be done by being whole within yourself.
Q) How have you had to persist in order to achieve your dreams?
A) Well, I came from a broken home, my father left us at a young age. My mother was struggling with alcoholism and we didn’t have a home at all. I lived with various families members, until I ended at my grandfather’s home. He is old school, disciplinary in every sense of the word. We were broke, no other word for it. We had no money and we just had a rough life, I mean, we came from Rock Bottom. Hard work brought me a long way, and I am the type of person who doesn’t take failure as an option.
Starting off in music, I faced doubters, and people who hated the idea of a Native doing something for ourselves. I felt pure hatred toward my every move, even in my own family. It’s a long hard road, and if you are not strong hearted, this industry will break you down. Since I made it past all the obstacles, I can now enjoy my success and live my life and give my kids and my wife the life we want, and not a life that we are stuck in.
8) Amen! Along the way, what have you learned about presenting yourself in a good way on the music scene?
A) Originality, be yourself, put a positive message out there. Whenever you are holding a microphone, you have responsibilities. Make yourself unique, and make a statement in a positive way. The way your music is composed, is a big step in either direction. I keep my crew in a state of sobriety and make sure we always show a positive attitude where ever we go.
Presentation of one’s self is vital when in the presence of people who are looking up to you. A person’s ego is the biggest destructive tool. Also, having friends in your ear, telling you that you’re the best and can’t no-body touch your skills. Hyping you up and setting you up for failure. They will convince you that you’re the next best thing and no other artist is in your league. Make your music, and let a complete stranger judge your skills and talent. That’s when you will see your true potential and flaws.
I have had many people give me advice and I took it and ran with it. Take constructive criticism in a positive manor. I may tell you something small, and you might blow it up, and lose your cool, when all you had to do was step back and look from the outside.
Q) That's very mature and well-reasoned! Who are some of the musicians you admire?
A) My own group and the group I came up with are number one. Shadow Warriorz, and Tribal Renegades. Because we feed off of each others energy, when we’re in the studio, we challenge each other; we get competitive in our creativity. You can hear it in our music. We will make each other rewrite our rhymes, because it wasn’t good enough and we have that “Come on brotha, your gonna make me rewrite my rhymes, because of how dope your verse was” and that great, keeps us on that edge.
SUPAMAN, that guy is dope, and he’s versatile with his skills. That’s my boy right there, love rocking the same stage with him. Joey Styles, he came along way and his ambitions, is what I’m aiming for. Along, side him are Team Rezofficials, They bring their game in a viscous way. Much love to the Stress Street family. Gotta put my boy Def I out there, Blest One, Litefoot, there is just too many to name. I know most of these artists personally. They have the drive and the hustle that I admire.
Q) It's fantastic to hear about the folks that you admire! Please take a minute to encourage the folks that admire you?
A) Follow your heart, we have enough gangster rappers out there, be original. Place your goals higher that the sky. Because stars are out of this world and we need to aim for them. Leave the people who never been in the game, guide you. They will run you straight into the gutter, and they will guide you into the wrong direction. Take constructive criticism in a positive attitude. Hustle Hustle Hustle… Put in the foot work and get out there. Make yourself known, make your music your identity, and keep your passion close to heart. Don’t give up, stay chasing your dream.
Q) What's the biggest surprise newcomers to the music industry might encounter?
A) It would have to be, this game is tough. This industry will eat you alive, if you don’t stand your grounds. Keep your goals in sight, and you will go through all kind of obstacles. Just to reach the door of the industry.
Q) We can tell you are passionate about music! What else do you deeply love?
A) I am happily married, been with my beautiful wife for 13 years and married for 10 of those years. We have four beautiful children. I am a pretty good artist, so I also got into tattooing. I’m actually a carpenter; I was raised and taught the trade since I was a kid. I ride horses a lot, and I’m a person who loves hard work.
I have an associate’s degree in Medical Specialties, and I served in the Military. I should be a barber, because I am always cutting people’s hair, and I can also cut woman’s hair. It’s crazy; I pick up the weirdest things. I have to have everything clean, I’m an excellent cook and I am actually 30 years old, but look like I’m in my early 20’s. I also record and produce my own music, and my artists!
Q) Thanks for sharing with us today! Where can we enjoy your music and find out more about your talent?
A) Thank you! Visit www.youtube.com/user/mistamassive10
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