Orlando, Florida emcee MidaZ The BEAST and Uruguay producer Delle Digga teamed up to create an album called “The Devil’s Playground.” Digga’s soulful sample-based production combined with punchline driven rhymes from MidaZ make for a beautiful musical marriage. The songs are short and sweet, yet hard hitting.
The Devil’s Playground is produced entirely by Delle Digga. The 15-track album comes to us courtesy of Midnight Society Music.
MidaZ The BEAST spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about working with producer Delle Digga, overcoming serious health issues, and his new album, The Devil’s Playground.
TRHH: Why’d you title the new album The Devil’s Playground?
MidaZ The BEAST: Mainly because an idle mind is the devil’s playground and I wrote the album with an idle mind. I wasn’t really in a space of doing a whole lot, so I was in this space of having one of the illest things you could have when you’re working on music, which is I had time to think. That’s where the idea for calling it The Devil’s Playground came from.
TRHH: Why was this time to think unusual for you? Was it because of the pandemic?
MidaZ The BEAST: I got sick before the pandemic. I had lymphoma. So, the pandemic really got going late February-March. I was in the hospital the entire January from pretty much like January 5th or so to like early February. I was in there and I had nothing to do, so it was one of those situations where it gave me a lot of opportunity to think. My man Delle Digga was sending joints through and while I was in there I was in script mode — I was scripting.
TRHH: I have to go back to lymphoma, man. How did you get your diagnosis and how are you doing now?
MidaZ The BEAST: Doing phenomenal now! I’m three years in remission. I had wild back pain. I kept going to the doctor trying to find out what the fuck was going on and then finally it was like, “Has anybody ever given you an MRI?” “Nah, not for what I’ve been coming in for.” They was able to figure out finally what was going. They had me in the room for 30 something days.
TRHH: What kind of treatment?
MidaZ The BEAST: Chemo. The next six months was chemo. So, during the pandemic I was doing chemo.
TRHH: That’s rough, man.
MidaZ The BEAST: You know what, the way I look at things is it’s fodder for good stories. Was it fun? Certainly not. But in hindsight I got a lot of new cautionary tales, I got a really ill album that came out of it, I got a couple ill albums out of it, honestly, because the entire stretch I was getting busy. I always tell people shit happens to everybody. It may not be the same shit that happens to everybody, but who’s to say whose shit is more lit than somebody else’s shit? So, you know, we go to work.
TRHH: That’s a phenomenal attitude.
MidaZ The BEAST: Yeah, man.
TRHH: Okay, you mentioned Delle Digga; what is it about Delle Digga’s production that suits you so well?
MidaZ The BEAST: Yeah, he’s like if I could produce, or if I could make beats, because I consider myself a producer I just don’t press buttons, but if I could make beats those would be the kind of beats that I would make. He makes beats for my sensibilities. He makes beats with my ear and with my voice in mind. Right before I went to Puerto Rico he sent me a joint and as soon as I heard it I’m like, “This is the fucking single to the next album!” Immediately it’s like, “Alright, boom!”
We got that synergy because it’s soulful, but it’s not cheesy soulful. It’s Hip-Hop, but it’s not overly Hip-Hop and it don’t get in the way. I’ve been telling folks his beats don’t get in my way. There’s a lot of production that the production will get in your way. I’m trying to do my thing and it’s too much happening. He gives me space and room to operate, so that’s why I really give Delle his flowers — he’s amazing.
TRHH: On the single “Nowhere” I feel like your wordplay stood out. What is your writing process like?
MidaZ The BEAST: I rarely write on the move. This room that I’m sitting in right here in my lab and I do most of my writing in here. Listen to the beat and once I kind of have the beat in my head a lot of times I’ll turn the beat off and I’ll write it just kind of thinking about the beat a little bit. I think sometimes the beat when I’m trying to write will be interfering with my thoughts. Once I get the tempo and just have the spirit of it I’ll turn the beat either really low or turn it off completely and just kind of write like that.
For “Nowhere” in particular, the song was one verse for like six months and that’s because I didn’t consider putting a second verse. It was just going to be a one verse song. I did the verse, I did the hook, and then we was out. As it got nearer to album completion time I just felt that song in particular, you know the whole album is full of short songs, but I felt like that song in particular was a little too short. So, I wrote the second verse probably not long before the album was gonna be completed. So, that song was one verse like a year ago and then another verse at the end.
TRHH: The song “El Cantante” has some crazy horns on it. Why’d you decide to rhyme all the way through that joint with no hook?
MidaZ The BEAST: Yeah! The decision to write with a hook or write without a hook, honestly, man, my whole thing is I write on feel anyway. It just be feel and I’ll start writing. A lot of my joints I write until I’m tired of writing and then that’s the song [laughs]. So, it be feel. I might be listening to the beat to El Cantante and feeling it out and reciting it back and just being like, “Yeah, I need a little bit more, that’s not enough.” Now one thing with Delle in particular is the length of the beats that he sends I primarily will write the whole length of the beat.
Because the way you guys hear it on the album he basically sends it like that. It basically comes with all the transitions, all the drops, all that. In most cases when I get beats from different producers it’ll just be a loop. I do my thing and maybe they’ll add stuff in post after, but he sends it that way. So, I write around what he sends a lot a lot of times. It’s kind of like the opposite way of doing it. He might have a little sample in the beginning of some shit then I write after that, and then he got one in the middle, I just kind of structure around what he already got going on.
TRHH: I noticed you have wrestling references in some of your rhymes – how big of a wrestling fan are you?
MidaZ The BEAST: Ha! Before we jumped on I was re-watching Elimination Chamber. I was in Puerto Rico and couldn’t watch it properly. I’m a big wrestling fan. I grew up a big wrestling fan. Like a lot of us that was born in 80s I was a big wrestling fan as a kid and then when I got to my teenage years wrestling is kind of not that cool no more. I’m hollering at girls and whatever, so you fall out of love with wrestling a little bit. I would say really in the last like maybe five years I’ve kind of fell back in love with wrestling in that way, and it’s really just because what they do and what I do I don’t think are totally different, man.
We’re storytellers — they tell stories and I tell stories. So, as a storyteller I’m always fascinated by good stories. I’m always into good stories, I’m into nuance, I’m into character and wrestling has a lot of that. Yo, if Westside Gunn didn’t come through with the wrestling, like, I already had that thought. Like, “I’m going to start doing wrestling samples like Wu-Tang do karate samples.” And this nigga just did it first. I was like, “Welp, I gotta find some whole other shit now.” So, what I do is I’ll just have the wrestling references in the bars real crazy and that’ll have to be what it be.
TRHH: When you think of Hip-Hop you never think of Orlando. What’s the Hip-Hop scene like in Orlando, Florida?
MidaZ The BEAST: I mean, it’s a lot different now than it was when I was coming up. there’s a lot of ill niggas out here, bro. Shout out my man Shinobi Stalin, my man JBiz, my man Juni Ali, my man T Millatron, my man Phel(o). There’s a lot of rhymers and producers out here. Everybody that came up out of this little area is nasty. And part of what created that thing is that there was a lot of migration from New York to Florida — that’s like a thing. There was a lot of us whose parents moved down to Orlando when we was between middle school and high school. We brought a lot of up there down here. So, we out here and the music that we was into wasn’t really the music of the city. So, we all gravitated to each other and gravitated to the same kind of spots.
We was battling and all that. That was kind of the thing and it was definitely like a dog eat dog like murderville out here battling and competing and that type of thing. My energy was always trying to be the illest. I was always on that. I think people who know me personally they’ll say it’s not fake. When I say that, I mean that shit. I take it serious. I rhyme serious. It’s been 20 years rhyming out here and I’m still out here trying to kill everybody. I still feel disrespected when somebody calls me and says, “Yo, MidaZ I want to get you on this song.” I’m like, “You want to get me on a song? I’m gonna kill you, bro. Why would you ever want that?’ That’s the energy I live on. Orlando is a breeding ground for crazy rhymers.
TRHH: Who is The Devil’s Playground album made for?
MidaZ The BEAST: Ooh, that’s a good one! I think The Devil’s Playground album is made for people who enjoy, I think really, my last two albums, and then I’ll say what differentiates them. Where the Sidewalk Ends and then The Devil’s Playground is really just collections of short stories. That’s kind of how I look at it — collections of short stories. So, if you were one of those kids like me who I was into nursery rhymes, and I was into fairy tales, and I was into any kind of historic fables like Zeus, and Poseidon, and all that shit! I was into all those stories, so I feel like a modern-day Aesop where I could tell my little short stories and everything.
If you’re somebody who’s into short stories, if you’re somebody who’s into mood music, because it’s definitely mood music. I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest piece of work for somebody who’s just a Hip-Hop guy. I mean, it’s ill Hip-Hop, but that’s not the main focus to be ill Hip-Hop. The main focus is to create a mood, and to create an energy, to create a vibe, and tell short stories in really ill ways. So, if you’re into that type of shit, I think it’s the album for you.
Purchase: MidaZ The BEAST – The Devil’s Playground