MG! The Visionary dropped
his debut ďTransparemceeĒ on Uprok Records in 2000 and altered the scene of
hip hop with an inimitable lyrical style and ear pleasing instrumentals. MG1
later released ďSinners PrayerĒ in the same here where traditional hymns
were remixed into a fusion of hymnal hip-hop; in present time it seems as if
MG! has left hip-hop forever. MG! The Visionary now known as simply The
Visionary is returning with his upcoming album entitled Bobís Place. The
Visionary took the time to let Aphire in on an exclusive three-part
interview of past, present, and future.
How did you begin rapping
and who was your inspiration?
Iíve always loved music. Music has been a huge part of my life since the
beginning. I feel like God has placed me here to create music and reach
people with His love through music. Iíve always been around incredible
musicians and vocalists alike. I feel rhythm in every aspect of my life
from driving a car to watching people walk or talk to everyday sounds while
walking down the street. When I came to Christ -Feb 12th 1990 -starting to
create and perform original music was natural. Music was even involved in
my conversion. I had some friends that were believers, Christians, and they
were real and down to earth as opposed
to being Ďreligiousí. It affected me in such
a way that I too wanted what they had, the Light so-to-speak. After
accepting the Gospel me and my friend Dave (aka MO, the Mental Oriental)
decided that we should make our own music since the stuff we were hearing or
listening to at the time was lacking in content. Thus, we started writing
rhymes and thatís how I began, though I didnít get serious until 2 years
later when I graduated from high school.
Iíve always loved soul music and hip-hop but Iíve also grown up around rock
and alternative as well, so Iíve derived inspiration from any and
everything. Specific artists that have influenced and inspired me include
Charlie Peacock, KRS 1, the Roots, U2, Busta Rhymes, DJ Premier, Queen, Old
School Jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Coltrane, Joao & Astrud Gilberto
(did I spell that right?), Allies, SFCÖthere are too many to name. Life
influences me. I love the ďunderdogĒ stories where the unlikely contender
has to overcome insurmountable odds to reach his goalÖand does it! Thatís
me, that gives me inspiration. Being alive in itself is inspiration.
Your debut solo album,
Transparemcee was released in 2000, what have you been working on in
ShootÖsince TransparEmcee my life has taken quite a turn. I went through a
horrible divorce and also split from Uprok Records, stopped touring for a
bit but Iíve been writing and recording ever since. I put out Sinnerís
Prayer: Declaring War after TransparEmcee also, but I have not had any major
releases since. This new album, Bobís Place:lifemusic, has been the focus.
As a result thereís so much music that I have been recording even besides
my new album, which I will release independently this fall while shopping
for a bigger deal and looking for distribution. Essentially, I poured my
life into Bobís Place. Itís an extension of TransparEmcee in that itís even
more honest and transparent then the former. Itís an incredibly intimate
and candid look at the experiences of my life over the past 3 years.
How did you hook up with
Uprok for the album?
Itís not a well known fact but I was instrumental in creating Uprok, it was
my brainchild. From the logo to the name and image it was all from me and
my camp. Even the roster was dope. Honestly, in the beginning Uprok had
the potential to make some major moves in both the general and Christian
markets. Itís so unfortunate that Tooth & Nail wasnít willing to
stick to the original ideas of really keeping UPROK legit, Iím talking
street cred as well as just being freaking ill. I mean címon, forget the
corporate slickness of spending UBER DOLLARS on making something look
appealing but watering down the material. Even when you saw the roster and
people we were working with back in the day you got excited. In addition,
though I felt closely tied to the whole thing, since we created it, Iím glad
to be where Iím at now. Iím also glad that they decided to shut it down
altogether as it was beginning to pollute the art and dilute the essence as
things got worse and worse. Donít get me wrong, Iím not a hater and I know
Tooth & Nail will continue to rock the niche they have cut for themselves
for years to come but I do believe in excellence and if youíre not going to
do things to your best potential then you need to just close up shop and do
something differentÖespecially if my name is on it.
Any guest appearances
currently in the works?
always collabing with folks on different levels. Eventually the Bufphoon
Cyrkel (including 3NP!, Lightheaded, Lojique, Soul Plasma and others) will
record a collective album. My man Smoke (3NP!, Olddominion) and I
will probably do some new stuff soon. Iíve also got a whole crew of heads
in Bangtown where Iím from and weíll eventually drop some joint efforts.
Iíve got a live band that freaking rocks like none-other and Iím just
waiting for the opportunity to hit the studio with them, not to mention hit
the road with a band. However, in the meantime Iím moving to HI, the great
808 state. Iím excited about that! Iím recording a whole new album called
Island Time and it will be released maybe not even 3 months after Bobís
Place!! Iím completely ecstatic about that!! Me new stuff isÖwell, Iíll
let it speak for itself when it drops. On Island Time Iíll be collabing
with some the heads out here in the HI as well. Iím amped for everything,
really. Lots of opportunities and possibilities.
Are you still apart of 3np?
3NP! Ďtil I DIE!!!!! The world has not even begun to see the full potential
or back catalog of 3NP!. Thatís real. Iíll tell you this, once this
stuff blows youíre going to be hearing stuff from the 3NP! collection for
days. Iíve got enough material to fill a small IPOD no doubtÖhahahaha!
There are about 6 albums to be heard, and Iím talking 6 solid albums not
including TansparEmcee or Sinnerís Prayer. Iím thinking about making a
collectorsí CDrom containing the majority of my material as MP3ís. I think
that would be dope. Also, this stuff will soon be available on my web-site
www.mgthevisionary.com as soon as I have the time and resources to get
the web-site fully updated and functional. Iíd like to tell the fans out
there not to worry, the site WILL be in full force shortly so stay tuned.
What influenced the name
change to drop the MG!, from MG! The Visionary?
name change. Itís fairly simple. MG! the Visionary is what Iíve been since
I begun. I never changed my name. Yet, there have been many life
experiences and changes. Now, when I hear ĎMG! the Visionaryí it sounds,
umÖletís just say it sounds more playful then the artist that I have grown
into, not as strong or as powerful as ĎThe Visionaryí sounds to me. The
Visionary is quick and to the point, it has a ring to it that is not
achieved when you add the MG!. MG! the Visionary sounds so long that you
could possibly change your mind or fall asleep in the middle of saying it.
Yes, Iím still a Man of God and always will be, people even still call me
MG! and thatís okay. But itís a new day and weíre in a different time and
place, me especially. The name change marks a new era for me.
Tell me about your upcoming
release Bobís Place:lifemusic, what will listeners hear on this release?
Bobís PlaceÖlifemusic. First off Iíll explain the name. I began the most
horrific and painful time in my life in July 2001. I had no place to go,
really. I was sleeping in my tour van at a truckstop!! I have a friend in
Medina and his name is Bob. Put it this way, Medina is Bill Gateís
neighborhood. He, Bob, allowed me to stay there for 10 months while I
recorded and recuperated mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Well, Iím
still recuperating but the album did eventually get completed. As far as
completed bodies of work this is by far my best work, in my humble opinion.
It takes you with me through the emotional ride of life experience. In
honor and tribute to Bob I called it ďBobís PlaceĒ. Shoot, my vocal booth
was setup in his wine cellar! Ďlifemusicí is added for one because Iím a
nut about names and love to be very specific and descriptive. Also, the
music really is the soundtrack to my life and it only seems natural to add
it to the title. However, it will be predominately known and referred to as
ďBobís PlaceĒ most likely.
Iíve always pushed the limits with my music but thatís because Iím trying to
push the limits of me. My music is essentially me. Iím inspired to write
with a thought provoking honest lyrical writing style. I speak from
my own perspective and do not claim to know everything: just that life is
way bigger then us and though we do not understand it all we can have hope
in Christ thatÖwell, that there IS hope and we need not give up. This album
feels like a letter to myself reminding me of where Iíve come from and what
destruction Iíve risen from, by the Grace of God. I rock out and sing a lot
more on this album also. I used to toy around with the idea of singing more
and intertwining both rapping and singing but now I think Iíve begun to
really hone and apply both skills to accommodate each other in a good mesh.
Yes, I am hip-hop but Iím so much bigger then just one box of limitations or
labeling. Everything I do, well most everything I do has hip-hop, that
rhythm, that beat as a base but Iím much more confident now to venture off
into different ideas and sounds. I believe my fans will be happy to know
that Iím still the same MG! they heard years ago but now itís even better.
Iíve got crazy vocal arrangements, the mixes themselves make this a great
headphones album to blast but you can also just turn these joints up in your
ride and let it bang for sure!
What do you feel is your
favorite track off the album?
Man, thatís one of those questions like asking a father which of his
children he loves best. Songs are in a way like my children. For one, I
always write from the heart both lyrically and production-wise. You will
not hear me on some type of ish that Iíve never experienced before. What I
can tell you is one of the songs encompasses and best describes my purpose
for writing this music, or doing anything for that matter. Itís called All I
Have. It was also released on my 12Ē vinyl single of That Cru from
TransparEmcee (for the few out there who have it). However, I cannot
necessarily say that itís my most favorite track. Thereís such a variety on
Bobís Place it all grows and grows on you. Though it will be new and fresh
to you most of the material is over 2.5 years old or more. You know itís
good stuff if you can listen to it 3 years later and still have it sound and
feel like the freaking joint! I canít wait to get it to the public. Thank
you all so much for your support and patience. Thereís also this new joint
that I ended the album with called 50mill. For the most part itís a rock
song and itís a very late addition to the body of work known as Bobís
Place. However it was the first song I wrote to begin with. I lost the
lyrics write after I wrote them but would remember the tune and melody for
the next 3 years kicking myself for losing the words, which I felt were so
powerful and real to me I did want to attempt to rewrite. Finally, several
months ago I found the song!!! Where else but in an e-mail I had sent to my
boy Pauly Paul waaaaaaaaaay back in the day. Thank God Iím such a neat
freak/packrat with computer infoÖI donít throw away a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g!
How did you become such a
successful model with your image from anywhere from Raisin Brain Crunch to
UPS web advertising banners?
far as how those pictures got started and my "modeling" career, I did a
photo shoot in 1999 with Tooth & Nail for one of their CD's right after I
signed with them. The photographer liked my pics and asked if he could keep
them on file for future opportunities. The first opportunity was pretty
cool, I got
jacked once again but not as bad. I was one the main face for Raisin Bran
Crunch when it first came out. I've been every magazine it seems like from
Sports Illustrated to Vibe to Maxim. But then I did another photo shoot
with this company called Getty Images. Little did I know how big this
royalty-free stock photography company was. They are the GIANT. I got paid
$115 for my 30 min shoot, thinking I made out good for half an hour.
IDIOT!!! hahahah! But who would have known that my face would become THE
picture on that disc that hundreds of different graphic designers and
companies would use - repeatedly - to sell their products? You must
remember, there are literally hundreds of photos to choose from on the disc
that I'm on. I've been used for everything from printers to churches to
Planned Parenthood to Microsoft to Universities and everything in between.
What would the ultimate
reward for you be?
ultimate reward for me would be to impart this blessing, this gift of
creativity and music to my sons with the foundation of faith and love so
they could carry it on in their own waysÖwhich means it doesnít have to
music. In addition I desrie to continue writing, performing, reaching and
inspiring people all over the world through music and other creative gifts I
have. Success to me is building a family both blood and beyond that knows,
loves, and supports each other while doing and helping others to do what
they love to do. What else could you ask for? Well okay, I would like
another Specialized Stumpjumper because I had to pawn mine at one pointÖand
who wouldnít want a National Team futbol jersey from as many countries as
possible? Thatís my game brah!!!!