Interview: Ice Water Mike
Mon, 14 Oct 2013 11:41:39
"We're definitely trying to bring that gangster shit back," declares Ice Water Mike.
He's not kidding either. The Detroit MC spits like a shotgun blast on every single joint he drops. He hits everything in sight from club-ready hooks to raw, real, and rugged street passion. There's nobody doing it like Ice Water Mike. He's about to freeze the entire game and take it over too...
ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino sat down for this exclusive interview with Ice Water Mike where he shares his mind-blowing story and so much more.
So, how did "Locked Up and Spittin Fire" come together?
I'm going to give you the real. My brother Ray is one of my managers. I had just ridden into a new facility. I rapped for my brother and a few of my friends over the phone on three-way. That was the first time my brother got to hear me rap for real. I rapped to him when I first went to jail behind the glass. He looked at me like, "Bro, you absolutely suck! You need to focus on going to school and getting a job when you come home" [Laughs]. Those words stuck with me and motivated me. My sixth year into my nine-year bid, my brother was sending me pictures. He was shoulder-to-shoulder with some high class people. I thought, "Man, I don't know how to do anything in this world but rap". I had an opportunity with my brother to focus on my craft. For my last four years, I spent every day writing in my cell. I got really good. One day, I talked to Ray on the phone, and he had a friend on three-way. He said, "Let me hear something". I just blew them away. Long story short, I got into a new joint. Ray told me he had a buddy out of New York named Sandy who was looking for some up-and-coming gangsta rap and he wanted me to rap for him over the phone. I was like, "Man, I can't do it". The prison I was in, the phones were so close together, and I didn't want to get my name popping like that on the yard. It was out of fear because I didn't want to fail. I hollered at my bunkies and said, "I think I just fucked up. I told my brother I couldn't rap for this guy over the phone in New York". They told me, "You had better do that shit". We came up with a plan that we would go to the yard. There were like ten phones in the prison yard. I decided to get twenty of my fucking homeboys and surround the phones so no one could get on the phone. I had all of my homies surrounding me and locking the phones down so no one could get on me. That's how "Locked Up and Spittin Fire" came about [Laughs]. It was fifteen minutes straight. You only get fifteen minutes and then you get disconnected. I called back, and I think I went for another six minutes straight. Everybody around me was blown away. Ray and Sandy were blown away. I think you were blown away too eventually [Laughs].
I was! It feels like you're telling a story in there. Was there anything written down or did you just go for it?
I just went for it. I don't know where it came from to be honest with you. I just praise God. I don't really freestyle like that. I'm not a freestyler. I'm not a battle rapper. When the call was approaching in the evening, I was getting so nervous because I didn't want to fuck up. I was like, "What am I going to say?" The call happened, and I just let go. The Holy Ghost just possessed me and I went off [Laughs].
What was your first experience in the studio like?
I definitely learned fast, but it was challenging. The studio is different from just rapping with your homeboys and freestyling live. I didn't know what a "punch in" was. I'd go to the studio, and I didn't know I could punch in. I would try to rap the whole thing in one take [Laughs]. Honestly, that's why I think I got the "One Take" series on Vibe because I would go into the studio and literally try to rap the whole fucking in one take. I wasn't aware I could punch in! When I went to New York and got to work with the family Titanium Music Group, I really learned what it was about. You find your tone, melody, and where you come in at it. You learn about the adlibs. I just learned how to rap when I went to prison. I never used to write songs. We had tape players at first. I'd order people's tapes, and then I'd drown out what the other rapper was saying, listen to the beat, and write to it. Then, they gave us mp3 players. It was the same thing. I got hear all of these beats. I drowned out what the rapper was saying and just write. I was never a songwriter though. I'd write 100 or 200 bars straight and try to get my wordplay together. Once I got home and I could hear beats with nobody rapping in the background, it made it so much easier. My team taught me how to be a songwriter.
What dictates a rap for you?
I hear the beat, and it's all up to the beat. Big shout out to all of the producers out there. When I write, I don't sit down and say, "I'm going to write this or that". I just play with it. I go where the beat goes. I'm not a rapper that can go into the lab and write a rap in fifteen minutes. I'm a perfectionist. I might write three raps before I figure out where I'm going with it.
What's the story behind "That's How I'm Gettin' Down"?
Obviously, I'm a white rapper. I just wanted to put my feet down on a track with this one. It's like, "This is how I'm getting down". I'm here. I'm playing with you all. I'm in here to win. That's all I heard when I heard it. I'm getting down with it.
What was New York like for you?
I've been in Detroit my whole life. I've never really been anywhere. The first night I was in New York, I was in the studio from 6 pm until 7 in the morning. I wasn't used to it. By the third day, I fell in love with it. I couldn't wait to get to the studio. It was so inspirational and exciting. I love Detroit, but it's not the same. It made me, but I don't want to be here forever. I came back, and I got stabbed five times. There's a black cloud over Detroit now. We're land of the player haters too. I'm getting love out here, but I'm also getting a lot of hate. I'm getting more love out of town. When I do a show, I've got to go with two vans full of motherfuckers. It's that serious out here. Every great rapper who came out of Detroit besides Eminem has been killed. I'm in these streets. It's just like that. People are so full of hate. There's all of this negative energy in the air. I feed off that though. That's the good thing. I embraced New York, and I loved it. I wanted to stay there. Everyone was so motivated and ready to work.
You turn it into a positive.
Definitely…when I get off tour, I think more doors are going to open. Right now, I'm stranded and I'm fucked until I'm off parole.
When did you first get into rap?
I've been listening to it since the age of eleven. I came up on Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and The Chronic. The first rap tape I ever had was Ice Cube and George Clinton. I always felt like I could be a rapper. All my bunkies were into rap music. We'd go to one cell and all battle. I got good.
What rappers shaped you?
Automatically, I'd say The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Beanie Sigel, Jadakiss, Capone-N-Noreaga, and for the era we're in now I'd say Young Jeezy and Yo Gotti. I fuck with Rick Ross. I fuck with 50 Cent on Get Rich or Die Tryin'. I can't isolate one of my favorite rappers. Right now, what's in my CD player is either me, Jeezy, or Gotti.
What are your shows like right now?
The scene I'm in is really ratchet and hood. I guess it's underground. I just go in and do my thing.
What's next for you?
I've got a single called "Court in the Streets". It's so real to me. When I hear the song, it brings back angry feelings. Motherfuckers in the streets are going to feel it. I don't know if the suburbs will. "What Up Doe" is more of a club song. I'm in my car in hundred degree weather writing raps all night. Half of these raps you don't even get to hear! I can't even work a fucking iPad! I know I'm late in the game so I've got to pop off fast. I've got to work extra hard. While the other rappers are sleeping, I have to be up making it right.
Have you heard Ice Water Mike?