Mugzy speaks on Australian hip-hop scene, Iggy Azalea, and a wake-up call from Def Jam

Mugzy
Mugzy (Facebook)

While hip-hop was born in the Bronx, its reach has now surpassed the borders of nations and even continents. In Australia, there are some die-hard fans who truly appreciate both the art form and the culture. Mugzy is one of these individuals– inspired by Tupac, Biggie, DMX, Public Enemy, and other legends, and pouring his heart and soul into each of his songs. No road worth traveling is without obstacles, however, and he eventually found himself reevaluating his expectations for his career. Now the 26-year-old is stronger than ever,  and is prepping new music for his fans across the globe. Look for new music from Mugzy in 2018, and learn more about him in “The Questionnaire”!!

 

BROWNIEMARIE.COM: Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

MUGZY: Live in a place called The Central Coast which is about an hour and a half north of Sydney’s central business district.


What is the Australian hip-hop scene like?

In all honesty, this is what I’ve experienced on my journey… I’ve realized that U.S. artists are very humble. They always want to network and connect with each other or whoever has a dream of being a rapper, whether it’s in the United States, or here in Australia, or wherever it may be. They always want to find ways of making this dream happen for them. That’s what I love [and] that’s why I have been given so many opportunities over there.

Here in Australia, we have so much love for the hip-hop culture it’s crazy. Whether it’s Rapping, DJing, Graffiti, Beatboxing, Breakdancing, or just general hip-hop knowledge, we want to eat it up. But in saying that, there is too much criticism here– especially with accents. Hip-hop heads here say, “Rap in your normal talking voice… don’t do this fake USA accent.” Most call it a “wacksent.”

I can understand we want to put our Australian input on the map as natural as possible, but I’m going to be 100 percent real about this: Rapping in your normal voice [with an Australian accent] has no flow.  It’s bleh, plain. It doesn’t sell. To make your music strike the ears of the listeners, it has to be catchy and flow well,  so putting some USA slang on it doesn’t hurt.

Now, I’m not saying go turn into an Iggy Azalea because she is as fake as her plastic surgery. I’m just saying, whatever gets put on the table, use it. This is why we aren’t making a living off our dreams and have to go out to our 9-5’s– because we don’t come together and make something great. Thats what I see in our scene… I don’t turn a blind eye to it. Thats why I made the track “Aussie With An American Attitude.”


How did you come up with your name?

When I was starting off, I used to do gangsta rap. I would write down lyrics about shooting guns, drugs, gangs, all that type of stuff– even though it wasn’t my life. I think it was because of the early 2000s; it was such a cool image. We had G-Unit who just came out, and everyone wanted to be like 50 [Cent]: Rockin the du-rag, baseball cap, basketball jersey the whole lot. My first rap name was Ryder-Reyne. My real name is Reyne Brady, as in “rain,” but spelled differently. Sounds corny as f***.

One night, I was watching the comedy movie “Soul Plane” with Snoop Dogg, Kevin Hart, and Method Man. Method Man’s character was a laid back, funny, quirky sort of guy called Muggsy. As I was watching the movie, I thought, “Wow. His character is a lot like me.” When the credits rolled up, I checked out the name, and it just clicked. Hopefully, later on down the road of my career, I meet Method Man so I can tell him that story [laughs].


What was your first gig?

The first time I ever picked up the mic to perform my material in front of a crowd was back in 2009, on my last day of finishing high school. We had [a school-wide event] celebrating that we’re finally leaving, so i decided to put my name down [to perform]. The performers (including myself) were behind the curtain of the stage ready to be called up at our times. I remember peeking through the curtain and seeing hundreds of students waiting for the show to start. I stood back against the wall with my heart racing thinking, “I cant do this. I’m not prepared to perform in front of that many people.” Just freaking out [laughs].

It was time for me to do my set… I walked out on stage, picked up the mic and just my luck the audio f***ed up [laughs]. Typical school quality. While staring at all those faces and hearing nothing but silence/awkwardness, I then thought to myself: “If i want to be a rapper and want this dream to come true, nothing will bring me down. No embarrassment, nothing.”

So I picked up the mic and performed my track “Keep On Rapping,” which is the third track on my first album, Ride Or Die. The crowd was loving every minute of it… getting into every lyric and chorus, waving their hands, singing along; it was incredible. After I finished my set, the crowd kept screaming, “Encore! Encore!” From that moment on, I knew this is what I wanted to dedicate my life to.


Who are your biggest musical influences?

Top five: 50 Cent, Tupac, Eminem, DMX, and Nas. [50’s] Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ is insane. Still to this day, every joint on that album is pure fire. G-Unit forever.

What more can i say beyond his name… there will never be another Tupac. The guy is iconic and a legend in the hip hop game. I reckon if he was still alive, he probably could of ran for president.

I know it probably sounds cliché to say because I’m white myself, but I reckon [Eminem] was the main one who broke that barrier of hip-hop which was [almost exclusively] a black domain of music. I know we had white artists before Em, like 3rd Bass, Beastie Boys, House Of Pain, even Vanilla Ice, but I don’t think they had a big enough impact on the scene like Em did. He’s the hip-hop Elvis.

 I love DMX because [he combined] his raw, aggressive attitude with powerful, catchy lyrics you will never forget through his message. I feel like in my career, my flows/vibes are a lot like X.

[Nas’] Illmatic is a hip-hop classic and number one album to go to. If Illmatic isn’t in your recommendations, then I’m sorry but you ain’t hip-hop [laughs]. Go bump some Lil Yachty s**** .


What has been your biggest professional challenge?

Back in 2012, I was doing a ton of gigs. I came across a street flyer for a talent competition called UrbanStar which was catered only towards hip-hop and R&B. One of the judges was Marcus Pernell, who was a producer at Def Jam/Universal. On the night [of the competition], there were about 30 contestants and all of them did cover songs. I was the only one who did original material (I performed my track, “Keep On Rapping”).  Two of the judges scored me with a zero but Marcus scored me with a 10 out of 10. It completely blew my mind just knowing someone who is that high in the industry, who has probably worked with artists I inspire to be like, enjoyed my performance

After the event we had a bit of a chat about my career. Probably a few months after that, he asked me out for lunch to talk more about my career and Def Jam. From hearing those words (“lunch,” “career,” “Def Jam”), in my mind I thought, “OMG, he has the contract for me to sign. My life is going to be changed forever. Everything I’ve been working so hard for year after year has finally paid off.”

While having lunch together, he breaks down the music industry to me and the Australian hip-hop scene, and how Def Jam probably won’t be able to sign me because hip-hop wasn’t that big here in Australia (this is before Iggy). [He also told] me if I was in the States, it would be a better shot, etc.

I remember walking out of that lunch feeling so gutted, like my world was flipped upside-down. [I was] thinking, “Should I continue doing music? Is the dream ever going to happen?” Before that event happened, I was always in the mindset of this positive high thought that you make your first release, you do a few gigs, and it will happen just like that. It’s simple.

Not realizing the long hard road, and not realizing this industry can cheat you in so many different ways that it’s not funny. So when I walked out of our lunch, it brought me back to reality… even though it was a depressing time.

What I say to artists who want to get into the hip-hop game or music in general: Don’t think it’s going to happen overnight. Watch your every move, be aware of things, and hustle ya a** off daily. I suppose my biggest challenge was overcoming that disappointment. 

What are you currently working on?

[I’m actually getting] back into the studio ASAP. My second album, Understand Me, released in 2013, so its been four years since I’ve released anything new. I’ve been getting into a lot of acting but i miss music so much… especially the high/adrenaline of crafting new work. So I’ve got a ton of work to do.

For my third album, I want to do a two-disc and pile as much music/craft out as possible. That’s all I can say at this point… nothing more. Can’t wait; it’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster. In 2018, fans will def hear something once again from Mugzy.

 

Follow Mugzy on Facebook and check out his music on SoundCloud.

 

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Cleveland strong

A long time ago, back when I was modeling, I had an audition in group interview format. A company was looking for promotional models in the Cleveland Metro area, and asked us what qualities that the city embodies. Almost in unison, we answered “resilience.” From the weather, to the economy, to our sports teams, we’ve been through a lot. It’s a collective Midwest experience, where the factories close, jobs evaporate, and there’s an exodus of people (feels like most of the people in Atlanta are actually from Cleveland).

However, Cleveland has been the butt of jokes for years– the Cuyahoga River fire, the “Mistake on the Lake” nickname, close playoff and championship losses, the LeBron James saga, the “Hot in Cleveland” television show, two viral “tourism” video parodies (“We’re not Detroit!”), and more have been fodder for comedians and haters nationwide. When I tell people I’m from Cleveland, some will respond with, “I’m sorry to hear that.” Most will ask how I feel about LeBron. It’s annoying every time. But, after years of collective disappointments and snide remarks, we’ve developed a thick skin. We also get up again and again, every time we get knocked down.

The last time I visited my hometown, I was proud to see a revitalized waterfront, vibrant downtown, and joyous people. With new businesses, attractions, and luxury housing, Cleveland is on the upswing. But, there is still a lot more work to be done. Job growth in Ohio still lags behind nationwide rates, and the number of unemployed increased by 5,000 persons from June to July, according to Cleveland.com.  Hopefully, positive changes will be implemented and sustained by the politicians elected (or re-elected) in November. There are Clevelanders around the world rooting for the city to win!

Chalk Point Kitchen’s delicious spring menu

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I love you too, Chalk Point Kitchen!

Spring has sprung in NYC, and that means a new, delectable menu from Matt Levine’s Chalk Point Kitchen (527 Broome St. New York, NY). The West Village restaurant specializes in seasonal ingredients delivered farm-to-table, but it is the creativity of its chefs that truly sets Chalk Point apart. A glance at their brunch, lunch, dinner, or dessert menus and it’s clear that this is not ordinary dining. Baked Sourdough French Toast is exalted to include toasted hazelnuts and crispy rosemary, and the Devils Food Cake is crafted with raw cacao and topped with cream cheese icing. The rustic charm of Chalk Point Kitchen’s decor complements the restaurant’s honest ingredients and well-constructed dishes, and heightens an already intimate dining experience. Last week, I was invited to an exclusive tasting of their spring menu, and it is exceptional even by Chalk Point’s standards.

 

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The whipped, herbed feta was amazing!

Up first was whipped, herbed feta with toasted baguettes. The flavor combination was remarkable! The sweetness of the feta cheese, tangy spice of red pepper flakes, and savory and satisfying crunch of the baguette were heavenly together.

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Blood Orange Vitamin C Salad

While it was difficult to move on from this appetizer, it was time for the second course: a crisp and refreshing Blood Orange Vitamin C Salad. This item is also on the dinner menu, and features arugula and goji berries for a meal that was surprisingly hearty.

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Chicken Liver Mousse Toast

A surprising treat was Chalk Point’s Chicken Liver Mousse Toast. Even liver-averse diners such as myself can appreciate the goji berries and balsamic vinegar reduction that add a tart yet sweet contrast to the dish.

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Scallops

Though I was pretty stuffed at this point, I had to make room for the scallops. Served with purple yams and green goddess dressing, this entrée was succulent. The scallops were cooked perfectly– tender, juicy, and delicious.

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Matcha and pistachio panna cotta

Dessert was a matcha panna cotta with pistachios, cookie crumbles, raspberries, blueberries, and powdered sugar. The recipe was just sweet enough, and a refreshing cleanser after four delightful courses.

View all of Chalk Point Kitchen’s menus on their website, and follow the restaurant on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @ChalkPointNYC!

#WethePeaple #HappyatCPK

Loving this Italian alt rock band

There is something about alternative rock that has always spoken to me. The angst, passion, and indie roots of the genre are just as compelling to me now as they were when I was a teen. I felt that same magnetism while listening to Stolen Apple’s album, Trenches. The 12-track project was released in September, and is a wonderful demonstration of the art that has stemmed from 70s punk rock. Listening to Trenches all the way through is emotional, riveting, and necessary. “The only thing that matters is the free movement of ideas,” the album’s EPK reads. “Each song is an expression of the independent spirit of the band.”

Former Nest members Riccardo Dugini (vocals, guitar) and Luca Petrarchi (vocals, guitar, organ, synth) founded Stolen Apple in 2008, adding musicians Massimiliano Zatini (vocals, bass, harmonica) and Alessandro Patagani (drums, piano, percussion). Based in Florence, Italy, the Rock Bottom Records artists frequently perform throughout the region and connect with fans across the world through their music and social media. Trenches is available for streaming or for CD purchase on Bandcamp. Connect with Stolen Apple on Facebook, and watch the music video for their single, “Falling Grace,” on YouTube.

Shouts out to Alessandro for introducing me to his band via Facebook. Grazie!

Tiësto drops new album, ‘AFTR:HRS’

Just in time for those Christmas and New Year’s Eve turn ups, Tiësto just dropped a compilation album: AFTR:HRS – Mixed By Tiësto. The deep house project has 14 tracks, and features CamelPhat, Autograf, One Day Hero, and more. The album premiered on SiriusXM on Dec. 22, and is now available in digital stores and streaming platforms. AFTR:HRS is also the name of Tiësto’s record label, and the album epitomizes his vision for the company. The Grammy Award-winning phenomenon does not disappoint on this passion project. Stream AFTR:HRS – Mixed By Tiësto here.

AFTR:HRS – Mixed By Tiësto Track List:

1. Nuits D’Etoiles – Un Autre Monde ft. Noémie

2. Niklas Ibach – The Blues ft. Dan Reeder

3. Florian Paetzold – Easy

4. Autograf – Heartbeat (Alex Schulz Remix)

5. Sultan + Shepard – Walls ft. Quilla (Deeper Shades Mix)

6. Benny Camaro – Las Dos Lunas

7. Ferreck Dawn – Mad Love

8. Loud Luxury & Ryan Shepherd – Something To Say

9. One Day Hero – Momentuum (MOGUAI Remix)

10. Florian Paetzold – Love Will Never Do

11. BLR – Nungwi

12. Baggi – Time Painter ft. Sylvia Tosun (Dub Mix)

13. CamelPhat – Raabta

14. Tiësto – Back In The Days

 

For more information on Tiësto, please visit:

https://www.tiesto.com
https://www.facebook.com/tiesto
https://www.instagram.com/tiesto
https://www.youtube.com/tiesto
https://www.twitter.com/tiesto
https://www.soundcloud.com/tiesto

For more information on AFTR:HRS, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/AFTRHRSrecords
https://www.instagram.com/AFTRHRSrecords
https://www.youtube.com/AFTRHRSrecords
https://twitter.com/AFTRHRSrecords
https://soundcloud.com/AFTRHRSrecords

 

Do you have an app idea?

Expert web and mobile app developer, instructor, and entrepreneur Mike Westbrooks wants to help you turn your dream into a reality. There are over 1,000 apps and games submitted to Apple each day, and Google Play has almost 300,000 more apps than the iOS App Store. The possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination and work ethic, as there are professionals like Westbrooks to consult with on the technical aspects of app design. For a finite time, this relationship can be elevated to a partnership with like-minded individuals with vision.

Westbrook’s love for coding and dedication to helping others inspired him to create “The Cohort”–  a group of up to 10 people or teams that will utilize his expertise to bring their app idea to life. Simply provide contact information and a brief description of the concept (and what reference materials are already in place) in the Google form linked below to begin. Hundreds of applications have been submitted, but there is still time to seize this opportunity! Click the link to apply, and follow Mike Westbrooks on Instagram: @mikewestbrooksjr.


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScPp6N2QbKV7ROWDNJ3exP6lBmz2Y4n-PloRy94QeYM-Fgoow/viewform?c=0&w=1

POF Adventures

Online dating was a second to last resort for me (last resort would be trying to find “love” on a reality show, lol). Dating prospects were few and far between, and the chances of actually finding someone worth my time seemed slimmer and slimmer. A couple of my friends had success online, and I figured I had nothing to lose.

I tried Plenty of Fish in September 2015 and almost immediately my inbox was full of men in New York, New Jersey, and beyond expressing interest in me. While hopeful, sifting through their profiles was exhausting. There is no way (that I know of) to check and respond to emails without appearing “online” to the rest of the users, so you never really dig yourself out of the backlog of messages. Also, the mobile app resulted in me appearing “online” all the time, so I quickly uninstalled it. Most men on the site, like men in real life, weren’t looking for a relationship. They wanted to date, hook up, or have a friend, but many were not seeking a commitment.

I was on for about a month before meeting a guy that I really liked. I didn’t deactivate my profile, but I stopped logging in while he and I were dating. When the relationship ended in February 2016, I hopped back on the site. This time around I met more guys interested in a relationship… but I really wasn’t attracted to them. Some were physically unattractive but had great personalities, and others were sexy but acted like jerks (again, just like real life).

I decided to try another site, but still refused to pay a membership fee. OKCupid was a site my coworkers had success on, so I created a profile and gave it a shot. It was more of the same regarding the number of messages I received, except if was 99 percent white men in my inbox. While I don’t mind dating outside my race, that certainly is not my preference. I gave my number to one guy on OKC, and we texted for a bit with no follow-through after planning a first date. I didn’t have interest in anyone else on the website, so I stopped logging in and went back to POF.

After a while, I started dating another guy exclusively enough to stop logging into POF again, and it took a while for me to get back in the game after he and I stopped talking. Online dating takes so much effort, and it doesn’t seem worth it sometimes. Whenever I was ready to throw in the towel, I asked myself, “Well, what are you doing to do now?” Meeting men organically wasn’t working, and time waits for no man. Besides, I had been on POF for less than a year, and with all the breaks I took, it was probably only five months of actual online dating. I needed to hang on a little bit longer. So I tried again. This time around, there were more quality men messaging me, and my hopes were lifted. I gave my number out to a couple of guys, and one seemed particularly interested. We began dating, and quickly decided to be exclusive. Yay!

I was hesitant to delete my POF account, but it was time. When I finally completed the exit survey and bid the site adieu, it was bittersweet. I was happy to be in a relationship, but also dreading starting from scratch if it doesn’t work out. Of course, starting from scratch would mean a lot more than just creating a new profile. But deleting the account was symbolic. My POF adventure has come to an end (for now, at least), and a new chapter has begun! Wish me luck 😉