Hiphop artist Mr.Cap, descendent of the late great blues legend Johnny Guitar Watson has acquired over 20 years’ experience working in the background, accommodating an array of Hiphop legends like; Lil’Wayne, Z-Ro, Scarface, Bun-B, Lil Flip, K-Rino, Mike Jones and a host of others. Mr.CAP now hits the scene with his debut “2 Tha Grave,” featuring his cousin O.N.E. in several tracks under the production of Capital Underground Smash Hits Productions, and O.N.E. 4 Da Money Entertainment. Recently Mr.CAP shared his views in an exclusive interview with Rick Jamm.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
Mr.CAP: I have been involved in the music business for 31years, since I was 8 years old. My entire family is made up of musicians, so music is in my blood, so to speak. My musical career started with my brother, cousin and I being the opening act for the musical group, the Greer Brothers; this group consisted of my uncles.
2. Who were the first influences on your music and style?
Mr.CAP: There are a few musicians who have really influenced me when it comes to the art of music; these artists include The Greer Brothers, Rakim, Michael Jackson, Chaka Kahn, Prince, George Clinton and Parliament.
3. In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Mr.CAP: I would have to say Jay Z, because he took the rap game to a whole new level. Jay Z is not only a rap artist, but he is also an entrepreneur, record producer, and actor. He did not just limit himself to just one avenue in his life; he opened himself up to a number of other pursuits.
4. How are you related to the late great blues artist “Johnny Guitar Watson,” and has his music influenced you in anyway?
Mr.CAP: My grandfather is first cousins with Johnny Guitar Watson and they were extremely close, they were like brothers. His music has influenced me because first of all he is in my immediate family and secondly he was able to beat many odds to achieve influence and success in the music industry.
5. Do you think music today is enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?
Mr.CAP: I don’t think either of these options are the reasons people enjoy music today; I believe music today is more of a popularity contest. So quite honestly, I don’t believe it is based on beats, lyrical flow, or content. In the 80s music was more about content/ lyrics, in the 90s the public was really interested in the beats, and in 2000 to the present it seems to be more of a popularity contest.
6. Tell us something about your twenty year experience, working in the ‘background’ with artists like Lil’Wayne, Z.Rho and Scarface, to name a few?
Mr.CAP: Basically my experiences with these artists consisted of either being on tour with them, performing for them or being an opening act for them.
7. If you could choose to work with some of today’s established artists or producers, with whom would you like to collaborate?
Mr.CAP: I would like to collaborate with Jay z and Kanye West.
8. Which of your original compositions is currently your personal favorite, and why?
Mr.CAP: The song “Live My Life” from the album 2 tha Grave; this song is my favorite because; the authentic version of myself was involved in the making of that particular song.
9. Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making your music the way it is?
Mr.CAP: I would have to say the inception or the idea is the most essential ingredient in making my music the way it is. My songs have to relate to reality in some form or fashion; then being able to take that idea, putting in the necessary time to write lyrics and ultimately record the best possible song.
10. Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc., and why?
Mr.CAP: Passion, because the music business is a part of me, I love the art of music so much. Music is in my heart and all of my songs mean something to me.
11. What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Mr.CAP: What excites me the most is the entire process, (creating- all the way to the finished product) and of course performing. Honestly, nothing discourages me, regardless of criticism or other people’s opinion. Music is my love, period point blank.
12. How involved are you in the recording, producing, mastering and other processes needed to produce and market your music, and do you outsource any part of this process?
Mr.CAP: I am involved in every aspect of the music making process. I outsource the production of the beats, but I am still heavily involved in the creation of the beat.
13. Do you think the advent of internet and all the new technology, has helped your music and independent musicians in general, or do you think it just creates a mass of mediocre “bedroom artists” who flood the web, making it difficult to distinguish yourself?
Mr.CAP: I think both: On one hand the internet is a tool to reach more people but at the same time there are so many rappers who are just mediocre artist and to them it is just a game; so quite frankly they can be distraction to the public from the real artists such as me.
14. In your long experience, what is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far? And one you didn’t follow, but now know you should have?
Mr.CAP: The one piece of advice that I followed was to never give up and to keep on pushing. I was also given the advice to never sign with a large production company, and when the opportunity came for me to sign with a large company, I passed on the deal. Today, when I look back on that opportunity, I think I would have done things differently and would have taken a chance and pursued that avenue.
15. Being an independent artist, which is the one factor you currently desire most (increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, club performances etc…)?
Mr.CAP: Club performances and terrestrial radio play
16. Where do you distribute and promote your music (Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Your own Website, YouTube etc…) and why?
Mr.CAP: All of the above, because it makes it easier to have my music more accessible and available to the general public.
17. How do you handle criticism? Who has been your worst critic, if any?
Mr.CAP: I don’t take criticism to heart; I use criticism as a tool to make me a better artist and quite honestly a better person. As far as my worst critic is concerned, I am my worst critic, my work has to mean something, I am a perfectionist and I care deeply about my product.
18. Is going platinum or winning a Grammy still important to you? Where would you like to see your career within 5 years?
Mr.CAP: They are both very important to me, I have always wanted to have a platinum selling album and get a Grammy award. Within the next 5 years, I would like to have at least a 5 million songs sold.
19. What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself has to face and overcome, to gain any commercial success?
Mr.CAP: Money, it is very important to have the monetary resources as an artist to be able to put yourself in a position to gain commercial success.
20. If you were not a music artist, what would you be doing today?
Mr.CAP: I have a degree in computer network engineering and a bachelor’s degree in computer science; I would be working as a computer network engineer.