Emcee Millz: Worth the Wait

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Photo courtesy of Travis Henry

Houston artist Emcee Millz came on the scene in 2019 with an EP called “Growing Pains.” During that time, she’s remained busy dropping occasional verses and a mixtape, but no official product to purchase. 2023 ended Millz’ hiatus with an EP appropriately titled, “Worth the Wait.”

Worth the Wait is a 7-track EP produced entirely by Pennsylvania producer Skip the Kid. The release has one lone feature, an unadvertised appearance from Millz’ brother, Lamar.

Emcee Millz spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about her musical background, how her idea of success has changed, and her new EP, Worth the Wait.

TRHH: Why did you title the new project Worth the Wait?

Emcee Millz: So, the project is called Worth the Wait because it had actually been a very long period of time since my last release, which was Growing Pains. Growing Pains was my debut EP that I released in 2019 and then Worth the Wait was actually not released until 2023 [laughs]. It was quite a wait, but I was letting people know it’s worth it. I have been working on my craft in the meantime. I haven’t been just silent. Things are happening and things are moving forward.

TRHH: How did you hook up with Skip the Kid and decide to do a whole EP?

Emcee Millz: Skip is a great producer. I found him through Twitter, actually through Knowitall. I had heard him on Music Saved Me, which was Knowitall’s EP and me and Skip have done like isolated works since then. I was on Music Saved Me 2 with Knowitall and Skip. I was also on a couple of Skip’s projects; like I did “Been A Star” on his F Ur Beats the first one, and then I also did “Outta Time” on F Ur Beats the second one. So, while we were doing the isolated joints people were really like rocking with it and connecting with it, so I was like, “Yo, Skip we should do a full project,” and he was down. He was open to the idea, so we ended up linking up and creating Worth the Wait.

TRHH: You Know the Name” might be my favorite song on the EP. What did you think when you first heard the beat and who came up with the hook?

Emcee Millz: I heard the beat and it was fire! But I also had like a very good vision of where I wanted to take it. I’m the one who came up with the hook for You Know the Name. I don’t know if people recognize it but the inspiration for the hook on You Know the Name is from the Rah Digga joint where she’s spelling out her name. I had kind of rocked with that idea and I was like, “Oh yeah, I could definitely make some fire out of that as well.” When I heard the beat I already knew I was gonna spaz.

I already knew it was gonna be a fire piece of work. But the chopping up the beat and making the pausing effect, that one was me. That one was my creative genius that did that. Just hearing how it goes from like, “I used to do acapellas” and then literally spitting acapella, and then bringing the beat back, it was just such a fire idea. I sent it over to Skip and I was like, “Yo, this is what I want to do with it,”and he was like, “Yeah, sure, go ahead. It’s dope. Go ahead do your thing.” I really like that track, too. It’s definitely fire.

TRHH: So, you guys were in touch throughout the process?

Emcee Millz: Yeah, for sure. Skip was sending me beats consistently and then I would be like picking out which ones I feel like worked best with each other as a whole, but also while sounding different from each other so it doesn’t sound like one repetitive song. Also, at the same time Skip had been passing me beats from way before and so I had chosen some of the ones he sent me from way before to kind of like put together with other beats he was sending me now. Like on the intro and the outro both of those are new beats I ended up fusing them together and kind of like making that beat switch type of instrumental. I’m just so grateful that Skip has sent me more than enough material to work with because we really made something that was amazing, and I’m super grateful for it.

TRHH: What came first for you, emceeing or poetry?

Emcee Millz: The first thing that came was poetry. Actually, I started with poetry in my high school class and it was my AP lit teacher who was kind of like, “Yo, you know you’re actually very gifted with the way you use words. I think you should take your poetry more seriously.” I was like, “Oh, okay, cool.” I was just writing poetic works and then I used to put them onto rap instrumentals. I was just kind of putting out those on my Instagram. I would do like little freestyle blurbs here and there and then it was really taking off.

People were really like, “Yo, you’re so talented! I was like, “Oh, for real? Okay, let me actually lock in.” So, from there is when I started actually making music verbally, but I’ve always been a musician. I started off originally playing piano. I’ve been playing piano since I was two years old, so I’ve always been on the musicianship side. But actually releasing music vocally is more recent — like from high school forward.

TRHH: Do you ever incorporate piano playing into your music?

Emcee Millz: Yes, so in my debut EP Growing Pains the outro, which is “Rebirth” that incorporates some piano and it’s a really poetic ending, too, which I find to be like the Holy Grail of what my artistry entails. It incorporates my musicianship with the piano, it incorporates the poetry at the end, and then also a very solid verse at the beginning as well. I also have some piano joints coming up on an upcoming project I’m working on, too. I’m really excited for that as well.

TRHH: What’s your writing process like?

Emcee Millz: Sporadic [laughs]. It’s crazy, really. I feel like my writing process depends on the mood and also what the beat is telling me. But also, at the same time, it comes when I have a concept or an idea I want to bring to life. I don’t really sit down and write. A lot of my lyrics come to me while I’m doing other things, like when I’m driving, or when I’m in the shower, or just like when I’m listening to other people’s music online and I’ll be like, “Oh, it’s cool that they said that, but I would have said it like this.” And then that might spark a new verse for me or something like that. My writing process is kind of all over the place, but I mean, such is the life of a creative, for real [laughs]. It is what it is.

TRHH: Were you born in Houston?

Emcee Millz: Yep! Born and raised, baby. Houston, best city in the world.

TRHH: I’ve never been to Houston. What makes Houston the best city in the world?

Emcee Millz: Houston is the best city in the world hands down because I’m born here. Nah, it’s the best city because I think it has such a strong culture and just a strong diversity, but it doesn’t ever get changed from the people that come in. A lot of the other cities have culture, but when other people enter, it ends up changing and adapting to something totally different than its original source. I feel like Houston has always been strong and holding on to its culture of being southern, and just being hospitable, and being just real slow, drawn out. With music we did the whole chopped and screwed thing and we let that go crazy all over. I feel like Houston has really been the epitome of staying true to itself, basically.

TRHH: Who inspired you to want to be an emcee?

Emcee Millz: I feel like I’m inspired by other emcees that I listen to. Lauryn Hill is one of them, Noname is another one I look up to heavy. I feel like in my personal life who inspired me are like my musical family. My dad used to do music, my uncle does music, so music has always been a part of me. As far as like actually rapping, I look up to other artists who I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is a lot of good work. I can definitely see myself doing this.”

TRHH: How did Millz Mondayz come about?

Emcee Millz: It was an idea that I came up with that was basically supposed to preview what it was gonna be like when my drop appears. So, anytime I had a project coming up I would come up with Millz Mondayz and I would drop a freestyle so that people are anticipating the project. It first started when I dropped Growing Pains and then I did five episodes of different freestyles in my backyard, in in the park, wherever, just trying to get people ready for the EP. And then it came around when I was anticipating Worth the Wait.

The funny part about Worth the Wait though is I had only really planned for about 7 to 10 Millz Mondays because I thought the EP was coming way earlier than it did, and then I ended up having to keep going, going, going. But it was because people were really rocking with the series and they were like, “Oh, are we getting a Millz Mondayz today?” or “I’m looking forward to Monday because I know Millz is gonna drop.” It helped keep me consistent and help keep me accountable, and it was just great to see people were rocking with me and the message, and just looking forward to what I have to bring. That was a great thing to see, honestly.

TRHH: On the song “Hiatus is Over” you say “quickest way to fall off is not to heed the lessons of the legends.” What lessons have the legends given you about the game?

Emcee Millz: So, I actually say, “the quickest way to fall off is not to heed the lessons of the ledges.” Like, being on the edge.

TRHH: Ah, the ledges!

Emcee Millz:  Yeah, if you don’t heed the lessons of being at the top and about to fall off then you’re going to fall off, basically. I also feel like the people who come before me have kind of created a path for me to see like, okay, if I go this route it’s gonna look like this in the end, or if I go this way it might look like this in the end. I try very hard to pay attention to their pitfalls and making sure that I don’t fall to the same things, but not paying too much attention to their successes, because I also know that their success might not be my success. So, I have to forge my own path in that sense. But I at least know that the things that made them fall might make me fall, so I’m cautious about those types of things.

TRHH: The new single “Ain’t I Social?” has a bit of a different sound for you. How did that song come about?

Emcee Millz: Ain’t I Social is fun. It’s a fun vibe, party vibe. It is different than some of the other works that I’ve come up with, but I think its purpose is going to be realized when y’all hear it in the project that is coming up. As far as how it came about, I really just heard the beat and I knew that this is kind of a fun, upbeat type of thing, and I wanna make something different.

I had linked up with my boy Lil Derik and I was like, “Hey, this is the idea for the song. Is that something that you’re rocking with? I think your voice would sound nice on it,” and then he was like, “Oh yeah, I could definitely work with that.” So, we we’re working together, he sent me his verse, it all worked out. And then Jules Clay mixed it and made it sound exactly how I intended. It’s just really a good song all around. It was something I was very proud of at the end.

TRHH: On the song “In the Meantime” you speak on your struggles with making it in music. What does success look like to you?

Emcee Millz: It’s an interesting question. At one-point success was making sure I could sell out shows and all that, but also at the same time I tweaked my version of what success looked like because I’m honestly living out prayers and dreams that I’ve had since I was little. To make music and people listen to it and they enjoy it, it’s like something that I couldn’t fathom a couple years prior. I don’t want to overlook that by trying to reach something that is something else.

I feel like success for me now looks like doing what I love, getting paid to do what I love would be great [laughs]. I would love to travel the world and share my music and share my message, so that’s what success looks like. But also, I feel successful every time I finish a song, I feel successful every time that I complete a verse and I enjoy it and I choose to release it to the public, that’s also success to me as well.

TRHH: Who is the Worth the Wait EP made for?

Emcee Millz: I feel like it’s made for people that feel like they’ve expended their time already. People who feel like they’re already past the time limit or already past something towards chasing their dreams. I don’t want time to be a factor that prohibits people from doing something they love to do. But also, at the same time it’s an EP for everyone because it’s about self-reflection and looking at how I’ve been successful in the time that I’ve used. Am I causing a wait in my own life towards my own goals and things like that?

Depending on how you view the EP it could be for anybody. For me it was about proving to myself that just because I chose not to release music in a certain time period doesn’t mean that I’ve fallen off or doesn’t mean that I’ve been lackluster in my skills, or talents, or abilities. So, for me it was more an EP about self-affirmation like, “Yo, you are really like that! You can do this! You are a great emcee who makes great work.” For others it might be something different. So, I’m hoping to hear what everybody thinks about it and how they interpret it in their own lives, too.

Purchase: Emcee Millz – Worth the Wait

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About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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