Mic Logik: Overdue

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Photo courtesy of Mike Bailey

Mic Logik is a Chicago native who came onto the scene in 2007 as part of the group Division One alongside rapper/producer Ro. Knew. The group released their first and only album “The Drawing Board” and went their separate ways while remaining friends.

Ro. Knew, now known as Ronesh, moved to California while Mic Logik remained in the Windy City performing and releasing songs sporadically. A decade after their debut album the two men reunited to work on Mic Logik’s official solo debut album appropriately titled, “Overdue.”

Overdue is produced by Ronesh, with one song crafted by Sqreeb and additional production provided by Tati. The album features appearances by Matlock, Wes Restless, I.Deal, ThrowEmC, and Ronesh.

The Real Hip-Hop spoke to Mic Logik about his over ten-year break between albums, reuniting with Ronesh, and his new album, Overdue.

TRHH: Why’d you call the new album “Overdue”?

Mic Logik: ‘Cause it’s been about 11 years now since I’ve released something. This is my debut solo album. I never even looked at myself as a solo artist. I did something back in 2007 with my man who produced tracks 1-through-11 on Overdue, Ronesh. It was called Division One – The Drawing Board. I reference him in the title track of Overdue, “Wrote my first rhyme in the fifth grade in Ro’s basement.” We’ve known each other a very long time. We dropped that in 2007 and I haven’t done anything since then. People kept asking me when I’m dropping something or what I’m working on. As an artist I’m told you’re supposed to make it look like you’re working on something to keep people’s interest engaged. I only had a couple of songs that I did from 2007 to 2016 when I started working on this project. Overdue was the only title that stuck with me. I wrote the title track very early on in this project so it was like, “Alright, I’ve got my title, I’ve got my direction, let’s go.”

TRHH: Why exactly haven’t you dropped anything in over ten years?

Mic Logik: Excuses. Somewhere along the way I lost the passion, I call it “the glow” that Hip-Hop gave me. I just wanted to work my job until 5-6 at night, eat some food, watch whatever game is on, and then go to sleep. I was unmotivated but it kind of felt like something was missing. Why am I not super-happy all the time? There was like a sadness to me. I eventually figured out that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be expressing myself creatively and artistically. I need Hip-Hop in my life or else there is a void.

TRHH: So what actually made you go from dropping an album to being unmotivated? What changed? Was it the business? Was it life?

Mic Logik: When you’re young you have somewhat of a pipe dream that, “I’m going to drop this album. It’s going to blow up. I’m going to be rich and not have to go to work anymore. I’m going to live out my dream.” And when stuff doesn’t always go your way you either pick yourself up by your bootstraps or you sulk and feel sorry for yourself. I was kind of more toward the feeling sorry for myself. On top of that my homie Ronesh moved to Cali because he definitely liked the weather better than living here. That was my road dog. That was my ace. That was the guy who I was always making music with and once he left I didn’t have that passion and that fire.

I don’t even know if it was because Ronesh left. I just wasn’t feeling music. I used to go to every show. It didn’t matter who was performing I just wanted to be around Hip-Hop. I needed Hip-Hop in my life when I was 15-16. Every Saturday I’d be at the Metro, the Abbey, wherever I could see a Hip-Hop show. Then I started getting on stage around 18 or 19. I just wanted to hit whatever stage I could – wherever someone would allow me. It didn’t matter how far I had to drive. Somewhere along the way “poof” it was gone. It must have boiled up for almost a decade and then finally I was able to let it loose. It’s really hard to pinpoint exactly why I lost that desire to rap.

TRHH: What was the conversation like with Ronesh to get back together and start doing this?

Mic Logik: He just started sending me beats out of nowhere and I’m very thankful for it. He started sending me random beats and eventually I started writing to them. Funny enough when he started doing that, Matlock, who I used to do shows with back in the day as his hype man, we had our little big brother/little brother tiff and went our separate ways for a long time. I admired the hell out of Matlock. I looked up to this guy and got to share a stage with him, life was really good. We started clicking again and he hit me up on a Friday and was like, “Hey, I’m working on this song for my album. You’ve got a day to get your verse done.” I remember looking at the text like, “Uh oh, I better start getting to work!” I was able to do the verse pretty quickly. It’ called “Trapped” and it’s on his album “The Book of Matthew.” A couple of days letter he sent me a text saying, “I want you to drop an EP.” I said, “Alright, I’ll try it.”

My girl and my brother-in-law, his name is I.Deal, they had been trying to motivate me for years to get back into the rap game. When I took that time off when I wasn’t focused on my music I.Deal was still doing shows and I would get on stage with him. I was doing the same song show after show for years. It wasn’t exactly fun for me to be up there. I was happy to hype him and help him out with his set, but as far as me I was kind of a prick sometimes. I didn’t even want to do it but he’s family so I did it. I always appreciated him trying to get me up and on stage and trying to keep me motivated, but for whatever reason I didn’t have that passion like we talked about. Mat hit me up, Ro had been sending me beats and the flood gates opened up. I started writing again, found that passion, and I was feeling like a kid again. I just had fun with the whole process and now I’m here and Overdue is finally out.

TRHH: What inspired the song ‘The Green Monster’?

Mic Logik: The verse kind of starts out as a stream of conscious rap. I was just trying to vibe to the beat and find something to rap about. I know it wasn’t going to be some BS hot 16. It had to be something conceptual. I just started writing to it and all of a sudden I got the imagery of green. I started seeing green and I was thinking of all the things that upset me about greed. I was able to tap into a vein and I just kept poking at the vein until I got everything I needed out of it. I don’t know if that song was easy to write. It took a little while to write. I definitely wrote the song and I didn’t have a hook for a whole year. The hook finally hit me when I was driving home from somewhere. I wrote the hook in like two minutes. I feel like that’s some of my best work when out of nowhere rhymes and melodies just come to me and they sound good to me. I feel like that’s how I create some of my best music. If I’m sitting there trying to plot and forcing it out of that doesn’t benefit me. The spontaneity with those kinds of raps and hooks turn out the best for me. I think the Green Monster all together took about a year and a half.

TRHH: “How it Goes” is a very personal song about mental illness. What was your aim in telling those stories?

Mic Logik: When I went out to California to visit Ro I went out there with the intention to finish up “Cali Buzz.” He was playing me some beats. He played me “Enjoy the Ride” and “How it Goes.” As soon as I heard those pianos and how much style was in that beat I started thinking about my mom. Like I said, I don’t think about my mom too much. Sometimes when you repress something like that and really start thinking about it, it really starts to tug at your heart strings and you get emotional a little bit. I just started letting it all out, pouring my heart into the song talking about my mom. I wish things could be different but life isn’t always fair. I knew the song was about mental illness and mental illness also affects my boy in the second verse. He’s someone real close to me that I grew up with. His emcee name is Actual. We were in a group in high school together.

The verse at the end of the song is from when he was 15 years old. He sounds like a monster. You would never believe that he was 15 unless I told you. I just wanted to talk about mental illness and how it affects both these people that I hold dear to me because I know other people are dealing with it. A lot of people have family members who have mental illness or they are affected by the disease themselves. I wanted something relatable. It’s definitely a hard topic to talk about for both my mom and Actual. It felt good once I got it out there. At least 7 or 8 people have texted me or called me telling me that song made them cry. That’s how music should hit you. It should make you feel a certain something, whether it’s happiness or sadness. Music should move you one way or the other. I’m really happy with the way that song came out.

TRHH: Another personal song on the album is about your son and it’s called “Carry On.” What was his reaction when he heard the song?

Mic Logik: He was like, “Yo, that’s dope, dad.” I’m like, “Alright, cool.” If I’ve got my kids’ stamp of approval I know it’s a good song.

TRHH: [Laughs] That’s a teenager reaction, right?

Mic Logik: He doesn’t listen to quote unquote “garbage” or stuff that I would consider not my cup of tea. He listens to some good music, but he does listen to some music where I kind of shake my head. Like someone said to me, “That music is not meant for you, it’s meant for the kids.” I get it, but I gotta hear it. The third verse in “Turn up Your Radio” where I’m like, “My son’s playing Timmy” is in reference to the Desiigner song Timmy Turner. He played it for me in the car and I kind of looked at him like, “Turn that off!” That’s a true story. I wish it was just a funny punch line. I’m glad he dug it because it’s about him. He liked it from the first time he heard it so I knew I was on the right path with that song.

TRHH: You seem removed, yet not fully removed from the Chicago Hip-Hop scene. What’s your opinion on the current Chicago Hip-Hop scene?

Mic Logik: I remember growing up and there was always this hater mentality. People who actually lived here labeled it “Haterville.” These were people I actually looked up to growing up in the scene. Nowadays I feel like people are okay with building with one another. If we can compare Jordan to LeBron for a second. Jordan wasn’t out there actively trying to recruit his competition. LeBron can stay friendly and amicable with people and try to recruit them to play on the same team as him. Jordan would not. He’s not playing on the same team with Clyde Drexler. I kind of look at it like now people are looking to build with one another. We didn’t have much of that when I was growing up.

To make it real simple I feel like there’s not so much hate that’s going on. People are building with one another, people are doing tracks with one another, and trying to do shows with one another. I feel like the community as a whole is still growing. I would like to see a little bit more youth step up. Who is the next generation? I don’t see it as much how I came up with doing open mics and shows. Maybe because the music isn’t the same and there’s a different vibe to the music? At shows that I would go to now I don’t see as many young cats coming up in that scene the same way.

TRHH: Who is the Overdue album made for?

Mic Logik: The Overdue album is made for fans of Hip-Hop, fans of good music, and fans who like to listen to music with a message. There was another interview I was doing where someone asked me if I liked Post Malone and I was like, “Yeah, I actually do like some of his music but when he was saying that ‘Hip-Hop can’t make you feel things and it’s not going to make you cry’ I always thought that was a bunch of crap and a foolish thing to say.” I was happy to troll Post Malone on Facebook for a while with my other Facebook friends.

I just want to make good music that people can enjoy and have replay quality to it. Not just something you’re going to pop in once, say “that was cool” and never listen to it again. I just want to make the best possible music that I can make. That’s who Overdue is for – the average fan of Hip-Hop, the fans of good music, and people that want to feel something when they listen to music. Also the dreamers, too. I didn’t give up on my dream. My dream was music and I’m still doing music. I’m not living in a mansion and Hip-Hop is not paying my bills, but I’m doing what I love to do. I’m getting a little bit of notoriety from it which is always cool. Don’t give up on yourself. That’s the underlying message to the album, I feel.

Purchase: Mic Logik – Overdue

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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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