MC BYGONE whose musical influences vary widely and include artists like Eminem, Nas, Jay Z, Tupac and A Tribe Called Quest, gives the impression of being a clear-cut, brutally honest individual. The Orlando FL-based, 25-year-old has been creating music for over 15 years and has recently dropped his single, “Goodie Bag” featuring R&B artist Dixi, from his upcoming album “No Borders, No Boundaries”. In an exclusive interview MC BYGONE’s describes the confidence in himself and his will to move to the next level
- How long have you been in the music game and how did you get started in the first place?
MC BYGONE: 9 to 12 years in the game, depending on how you look at it. I started writing poems around 13yrs old as a way to deal with my personal problems and let my mind escape reality. By the time I was 15, I was recording my own tracks and working on my first solo album.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
MC BYGONE: I was actually into country music pretty hard until the age of 9 or 10. Around then I was in the middle of some crazy times in my life and one of my school friends happened to give me an Eminem CD – his first or second, I can’t remember. That really got me heavy into hip hop music so Eminem was a really big influence starting out. After that I was moved by any type of lyrical rap, would love studying 2Pac, Nas, Ludacris, JayZ, and others. I was also influenced greatly by my friends and original DBP members Bobby Bankroll and D (formally known as Beast).
- Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
MC BYGONE: I still listen to all the greats for the most part. I love anything lyrical, not into a lot of the new stuff that’s out. At the top of my list to collab with would probably be Slaughterhouse or Em.
- Have you suffered any ‘resistance’ or skepticism from within the industry, and if so how have you handled that?
MC BYGONE: Skepticism within the music industry almost always stems from what some would see as a “lack of commercial appeal”. As the hip hop genre is attempting to dumb itself down, I have become one of the few attempting to keep the meaning within it alive. So, because I’m not releasing twerking songs, some industry professionals think I can’t make it.
Meanwhile, I just keep making good music…I’ll leave it up to the fans.
- Do you consider video an important part in promoting and marketing your music?
MC BYGONE: YouTube is where it’s at. For a lot of people it is their go-to platform when they want to hear a song, especially when they want to show someone else a song and they don’t have it. Also, a video can MAKE a song popular. It happens all the time.
- Studio work or performing live in front of an audience, which of these do you prefer most and why?
MC BYGONE: I’m an ‘instant gratification’ type of person, so I’d have to say performing live. The rush is unreal and feels amazing.
- Tell us something about the beats and music production on your releases. Do you create them or do you work with other Producers?
MC BYGONE: Although I have made a few beats on my albums, I wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of all the amazing producers that I work with. Carl Manalac Jr, Myles William, and Pope Troy are responsible for most of my beat production on my current material…they does it!
- On which of your songs do you think you delivered your personal best performance so far, from an emotional and technical point of view?
MC BYGONE: I try to out-due my last song with every new one I write. If I had to pick one, it would probably be my track “Murda”. Only a few select ears have heard it, it hasn’t been released yet but it will be on my newest album (No Borders No Boundaries).
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a genre overflowing with new faces and ideas?
MC BYGONE: I’m trying out an old school technique called “being yourself”. It’s certainly unique with today’s overflow of industry-built robots!
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
MC BYGONE: I would have to go with passion. I eat, sleep, and breathe my music. I could never stay long at any regular job, all I can ever concentrate on is my career as a Hip Hop artist. I have no plans of quitting and my drive to succeed overshadows everything.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
MC BYGONE: I love the freedom and creative control that comes with being an indie artist, but it is frustrating trying to basically do an entire company’s job by yourself. And there are some things that you can’t do because you don’t know how…so now you have to hire people for video shooting and editing and a lot of other things – with no budget. It can be a pain in the ass for sure. I’ve been lucky enough to have the incredible Sam Nevens (director & editor) do a lot of my video work…along with producer Carl Manalac, contributing tremendously with dope beats.
- Tell us something about your songwriting process. What usually comes first the lyrics or the beats?
MC BYGONE: Even though I’m constantly writing down lines, or sometimes even verses that pop into my head, I usually start my songs by vibing out and listening to the beat. From there, whatever direction the instrumental takes me, I go.
- How involved are you in any or all of the recording, producing, mastering, and marketing processes of your music. Do you outsource any of these processes?
MC BYGONE: As I mentioned earlier, I work with a network of producers for my beats. I used to do all of the recording, mastering, and marketing on my own. But I just started outsourcing recording and mastering for my current project. I went to Steven DaCosta of Let it Drop Music to make sure my new material would sound A-1. I’ve also been working with Scott Stilwell, he’s been helping me manage and market my music for about a year.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
MC BYGONE: I should have listened when my boys told me to sell music and not weed! That mishap has set me back with two years of probation. The piece of advice that has stuck with me and allowed me to get this far is from Jason Nesmith playing Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart, I think he said, “Never give up, never surrender.”
- At this point, as an independent artist, which is the one factor you desire most, and feel will undeniably benefit your future?
MC BYGONE: I think that more live gigs will undoubtedly push me to the next level. I’ve been on probation, as I said, and not being able to travel has been an obstacle. When I am performing live, the crowd loves it and I know if I were to get out there more it would benefit my career a lot.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
MC BYGONE: A little bit of both, it’s kind of a ‘taking the good with the bad’ type of situation. Social media and Internet have gotten me to where I’m at today and helped many talented people get recognized. But it also helps produce a load of mediocre music and a ton of crap. Soulja Boi is a prime example of the Internet working in a bad way. You’ve got so much bad quality stuff out there that it’s more likely for THAT to get noticed before the small amount of good quality material. That’s why most of the rappers who do get famous online are people like Soulja Boi and that Lil B guy.
- Could you tell us something about your latest single, album or mixtape release and where fans can find it?
MC BYGONE: My latest single “Goodie Bag” was meant to be like a self-motivational track, if for no one else, for myself. It’s meant to mark a turning point in my career where full on progress will be made from here on out…I’m not “playing around anymore” as the song states. It is also the first single released off my newest upcoming album “No borders No boundaries”. You can purchase it at my website: www.BYGONEsBASEMENT.com, or on any major digital retailer site like iTunes and Amazon.
- Which song (or songs) in your mixtape best describes the sound and style you ultimately prefer and why?
MC BYGONE: If I could refer you to a song on my newest Album I would…but as far as music that has been released, I would have to tell you to listen to my single “So Close”. It’s fast paced with quick, sharp, rhymes. The song paints images of a rapper so close to reaching his goals in life that he can feel it, it also keeps true to my ‘never give up’ stand point that I have on life.
- What do you think is the biggest barrier you have to face and overcome as an indie artist in your quest to achieve your goals and wider spread success?
MC BYGONE: Money. I know a lot of indie artist can relate, and I’ll say it again: money. There are plenty of rappers that have gotten big JUST off of money, with very little talent. And there’s artists (including myself) who have tons of talent, but lack the funds needed to properly promote themselves in an already saturated marked. Maybe there’s an investor reading this…?
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
MC BYGONE: I could NEVER sell out. You won’t catch me rapping someone else’s lyrics to a twerk beat featuring Justin Bieber…not ever!