The general of the #FlyFamily @G4Jag pulls up on the #JasonBourneExperience set to talk new music, building an empire, and his partnership with the #XzecutivBrand. Check out the exclusive interview below.
Dumi Right’s Tell All Interview & “Stay Focused” Official Video
Dumi Right unites Outspoken, Sykotek, and KHz Pro (production) for his new single/video “Stay Focused.” The vetted emcee/songwriter/performing artist/cultural ambassador is famed for mastering timeless music and “Stay Focused” is no exception. On the scene strong since the golden age, Dumi proves just why he’s a staple in Hip Hop culture and music. Before watching the video, tap into the full interview with Dumi below where he discusses the creation of the video, current and upcoming endeavors, his role in Hip Hop, and more.
“With so much going on in the world in the grip of a global pandemic, it is easy to be overwhelmed and lose focus. This head-nodding track serves as a call to action and a reminder that we should always rise to the challenge, even if the odds seem insurmountable. It also speaks to bridging the gap between generations to help propel us to a brighter Afro Futuristic plane. As the chorus implores, “Focus on the challenges we’re facin’, Music that’ll spark elevation, Trying to change the current situation, Building with the next generation…”
MJ: For those who might be unfamiliar with Dumi Right, let’s begin by introducing you. Your history in Hip Hop dates to Zimbabwe Legit, one of the first Hip Hop groups in Africa to receive global recognition. How did that experience pave the way for you as an emcee, songwriter, and performing artist?
Dumi: When I first came out, all I wanted was for the world to hear the story of a young dude from Africa, a “brother from the Mother” that had been drawn to the power and magnetism of Hip Hop. Back in 1992, my group Zimbabwe Legit dropped a groundbreaking EP that included production from Black Sheep’s Mr. Lawnge and DJ Shadow. Since then, I’ve remained deeply immersed in the art and culture performing domestically and internationally and recording critically acclaimed albums and unique projects. I like to live by the phrase, “Don’t let your past be brighter than your future” so I was never one to rest on my laurels. Even though back then we were written up in Billboard magazine, The Source, and yeah even “Word Up! Magazine” that I read from cover to cover admiring my favorite rap stars like the Biggie lyric says, I knew that if I didn’t keep pushing and keep moving, I could easily fall off. When we first got started, international Hip Hop was by no means at the scale that it is today. There wasn’t a well-defined blueprint on how to make the connection between Hip Hop in other parts of the world and what was going on in the US at the time, and so I had to navigate and learn by trial-and-error style. I loved the fact that we could give voice to a whole segment of the culture that many people may not have been familiar with and bring a unique perspective and view of the world through the music. Also coming out at that time meant that I was a de facto ambassador of sorts, representing a bunch of people like myself. That meant I had to come correct and make a mark because a lot of eyes were watching, and I felt the weight of people who were counting on me to be successful. Having that pressure from the get-go gave me the drive and perseverance to realize that failure wasn’t an option and that I always needed to put my best foot forward. You don’t realize at the time the impact what you do might have, but hearing from people how that initial splash was an inspiration is definitely humbling and very deeply appreciated.
MJ: You are not only respected as an emcee but also as a cultural ambassador. How did that role come into fruition? How does it tie into your music?
Dumi: Coming out of the international scene, I have always had a desire to connect with artists from all over the globe. Knowing how Hip Hop culture influenced and inspired me growing up and so I understood how important it was to build bridges and community globally. As a result, for many years I worked on collaborations, projects, and initiatives that involved artists from countries around the world. I later heard about a formal opportunity to practice many of the things I had been doing already, by teaching Hip Hop overseas through a program called Next Level. A DJ friend of mine had participated in the first edition of that program and he told me that it was amazing and that I needed to apply. I did and was selected to teach emceeing in Thailand a few years ago. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my music career and even my life in general. It was an extension of the work that I had been doing but it also allowed me to build with up-and-coming emcees and teach the principles of Hip Hop and performing as well as learn more about Thai culture and the people. It was an affirmation that I was doing meaningful work and strengthened my resolve to continue to be a global connector and bring artists together through music.
MJ: Your latest video “Stay Focused” features Outspoken and Sykotek with production by KHz Pro. Before we dive into the content of the video, tell us how everyone linked up with each other. The filming aspect alone of the video is incredible.
Dumi: Outspoken is one of my favorite emcees from Zimbabwe. He has insightful rhymes that address the times, and he is a very versatile artist. I have performed with him when his group visited the US and we collaborated on a previous song and video. My homie Khz cooked up this head-banging track and as I was formulating an idea of what I wanted to do with it, I realized he’d be the perfect artist to collaborate with on it. He also works quickly, and the finished product is always dope. I was introduced to Sykotek by a mutual friend and really liked the way he rhymed and the way he seamlessly transitioned between languages. He raps in English but can stop on a dime and start spitting in Ndebele and he’s got crazy skills doing both. Also having previously done a song called “Doin’ Damage in My Native Language” it seemed appropriate to have him carry the torch and represent that here. In addition, the three of us had collaborated last year on a Covid-19 awareness song for a project that a counterpart was putting together. That song “In These Days and Times” turned out well and our styles complimented each other so I felt we needed to do it again for this. We are all in different countries, Outspoken in Harare, Zimbabwe; Sykotek was in Johannesburg, South Africa at the time and I am based in Washington, DC but we were able to get on the same page and record music first and then later the video to bring the “Stay Focused” concept together.
MJ: What was the inspiration behind “Stay Focused”? Did the video meet/exceed your expectations?
Dumi: The song basically talks about following through on what your goals are despite distractions, setbacks, or roadblocks. It also speaks to connecting with the next generation to build a stronger community and change sub-optimal situations or circumstances that we might find ourselves in. The beat slapped so hard that I knew I needed something high energy to match it. I did a couple of different things for the chorus but then I thought it would be dope to switch it up and have someone else rock the hook and summarize the whole concept. I loved what Outspoken did with it and that set the stage for everything else. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to pull off a video given our different geographic locations, but the guys were all keen to try it out and made plans to record their footage and send it to me for editing. Another longtime friend and collaborator by the name of Magee offered to edit it all together and he did it seamlessly like the pro that he is. The footage was shot in 3 different countries, and he took the challenge of weaving the story together and he did an amazing job. It exceeded all expectations for me even though I know he’s a wizard with video. He’s directed and edited a lot of African Hip Hop music videos but also works in the field so has edited numerous films and documentaries, so it was certainly within his realm of capability, and it shows.
MJ: It seems at times music that offers empowerment and motivation that wake up and stimulate our core and minds, has fallen by the wayside. As an emcee and cultural ambassador, what is your blueprint to ensure “Stay Focused” doesn’t take a back seat to the monotony that is being saturated on the airwaves and in communities?
Dumi: The first thing for me is not being influenced by the flavor of the month trends prevailing in the industry. Understanding who I am and what my authentic and unique voice is means I can exercise the freedom to not go along with whatever is trendy now and stay focused on my grind and the work that I’m trying to do. I also know that saying something in music might mean it might not be highlighted in those mainstream circles so finding alternative outlets and audiences to amplify the messages that we’re dropping and spread the word about what we’re doing. I focus on non-typical music outlets but also leverage the global Hip Hop community to find the eyes and ears that appreciate that raw and true Hip Hop sound and lyrics. Like-minded people are out there, you just have to find them. I do work in Hip Hop education and so this type of music also finds receptive audiences in those types of forums as well. And a wise man once said, “Market and promote, and you gotta hope, that the product is dope” (word to Q-Tip), so to begin with I always make sure that I put forth dope music with beats and rhymes that people are going to want to listen to. If you have a great product, when the audience hears it, they can’t help but appreciate it. I also lean on my network of international collaborators to help carry the messages to fans in their areas that would dig it but I otherwise might not be able to reach on my own. So essentially building an ecosystem of progressive Hip Hop on our own, knowing that we can’t count on support from the mainstream. Doing things beyond just music like workshops and panels also helps to build that community and work to “try to change the current situation” besides just dropping records. Hopefully, through all these combined efforts a major impact will be felt.
MJ: Can you share with audiences and fans what they can expect from Dumi Right in 2022? New music, more collaborations, and/or other endeavors on the radar?
Dumi: While finishing up my next solo album, I ended up inking a deal with a label in the UK to re-issue one of my prior albums on limited-edition vinyl. That will drop later this year via Chopped Herring Records. I feel like folks that cop vinyls are some of the biggest supporters and truest fans and of course, that includes many DJs, so I am thrilled that we’re going to be able to make that happen. The biggest news though is the impending launch of my new website dumiright.com very soon and a brand-new solo album, Dumi Right – Foreword to the Future. I’m real amped about this as it has been a long time coming but it has some pure heat on it. Guest artists include Chubb Rock, Speech from Arrested Development, YZ, El Da Sensei, Breez Evahflowin’, Kev Brown (on production), Emskee, and more. I had an artist in South Africa draw some ill Afro-Futuristic artwork. It will drop also on limited vinyl first and then go on all the streaming platforms thereafter. We’re putting the finishing touches on it and working on the marketing and distribution plan.
MJ: Take this time to share anything else with the world of Hip Hop…
Dumi: I just served as an executive producer and artist on a compilation series, Stop Shooting Vol 1 and 2 that features emcees and producers from all over the world speaking out about gun violence and police brutality. Lots of exciting music on those two volumes including a new single called “Global Love Warming” that includes a chorus sung by Aloe Blacc. There are so many great artists on it and they all bring very unique perspectives and styles to the table so it’s refreshing to hear…Please subscribe to my YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/dumirightmusic and follow me on Instagram, FB, and Twitter for all the latest scoop.
Connect with Dumi Right
(Mixtape & Interview) DJ Bad Tha Problem ‘Turn Up Music [EDM Edition] V.13’
Kick-off the new year with DJ Bad Tha Problem and Certified Hitz Music Group for their newest mixtape ‘Turn Up Music’ [EDM Edition] Volume 13′ out now on streaming platforms. DJ Bad Tha Problem hits hard with invigorating blends of EDM and Hip Hop, sure to have listeners pressing repeat with the volume all the way up. Connect with DJ Bad Tha Problem and check out the full interview below.
MJ: Before we jump into your new mixtape “Turn Up Music [EDM Edition] Vol. 13”, tell us what it’s like being a DJ in one of the hottest cities in the country? I know there’s nothing like home base, but do you have other favorite hot spots you DJ at?
DJ Bad Tha Problem: Being a DJ in Florida is a lot of fun compared to being a DJ in my home state NJ. I have had offers to DJ at a few clubs around my city but turned those down to focus on making mixtapes, working with my two artists, building brands and networking, etc.
MJ: “Turn Up Music [EDM Edition] Vol. 13”, what can listeners and fans expect from this mixtape? This is volume 13, shed some light on how you keep fans coming back for more.
DJ Bad Tha Problem: Fans and listeners can expect a lot of certified hitz from “Turn Up Music [EDM Edition] Vol. 13”. It is not just your typical EDM tape. If you’re a fan of EDM and Hip Hop, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds, not just on this volume but in the whole “Turn Up Music [EDM Edition]” mixtape series. This mixtape series has by far been the most successful series I’ve ever put together. I have been overwhelmed by the numbers and the support behind this mixtape series. Shout out to all the people who have listened and downloaded any of the previous volumes and shout out to the bootleggers too. I am currently working on the next volume which I should be releasing sometime in 2022 probably in late January or early February.
MJ: Your next show is on January 8th at Karma Sutra Lounge in NYC, please share all that 411!
DJ Bad Tha Problem: January 8th is going to be a spectacular certified event. Me and my artist City The Great will be holding a mixtape/album release party not just for our project “Respectfully Yours”, but for my artist debut album “The Wordsmith” under the legendary Special Ed’s label SEMedia. The event will be held at the Karma Sutra Lounge in NYC, from 7 pm to 2 am. Expect live performances from City The Great and the artists under Certified Nation Ent, great food and drinks, and nothing but good music. DJ Buena Vida and I will be on the 1’s and 2’s. We will be having some surprise celebrity guests at the event. I cannot disclose who will be in attendance, however, If you want to find out you will have to be there for yourself…free entry! I mean who doesn’t like free stuff, am I right? Plus, we will be celebrating my artist’s birthday.
MJ: You don’t only wear the hat as DJ and CEO, but you’re also a producer and A&R. It’s not uncommon for us to play various roles in the music industry, do you favor one role more than the other? Does one present more challenges than the others?
DJ Bad Tha Problem: I personally don’t favor one role over the other. I enjoy all the roles I play equally. The only role that presents more of a challenge for me is being a producer. The challenge that I have is sitting down and taking time to make my own music from scratch. I have dabbled with making beats for a while now, even gotten my first placement with an indie artist I was working with at the time but haven’t really taken it seriously. I plan on changing that next year. I’ve helped produce other artist’s projects in the past even helped produce some of the tracks on City The Great’s upcoming mixtape “Respectfully Yours”. And no, I’m not talking about strictly just making beats. There is a big difference between being a beatmaker and a producer. However, I am not just a DJ, CEO, Producer, and A&R. I do pretty much everything by myself and have been for a very long time. From videos, audio engineering, promoting, building websites, etc., I used to do graphics too but not anymore. I have a main graphic designer now. Shout out to MefDesigns. Doing everything by myself can be challenging, tiring, and sometimes stressful but I love music. I don’t have the time to wait on anyone.
MJ: Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
DJ Bad Tha Problem: Expect a lot more mixtape projects from me next year and be on the lookout for City The Great’s mixtape titled “Respectfully Yours” hosted by yours truly, dropping January 8th on all streaming platforms…Turn Up Music [EDM Edition] Vol. 14 is coming real soon as well as Love & R&B Vol. 27. I have a new mixtape series in the works, I am still working out all the details, and I will be bringing back the mixtape series “Definition Of A Hustler” featuring a lot of dope independent artists, so stay tuned and be on the lookout for that!
Connect with DJ Bad Tha Problem
Official Website: https://www.officialdjbadthaproblem.com/
Tell All Interview With Artist/CEO City The Great
Seasoned BK-based artist/CEO City The Great Talks with MJ about his new single “Day One”, upcoming album ‘The Wordsmith’, making history with Hip Hop legend Special Ed, and more. Listen to “Day One” and check out the full interview below.
MJ: Before we jump into “Day One” let everyone know who you are and where you’re from.
City the Great: Thanks for having me. I am City the Great from East NY, Brooklyn.
MJ: You’re an artist under Hip Hop legend Special Ed. How did that come to fruition? Are there any challenges regarding age and mindset? Or is this a step towards bridging the generational gap in Hip Hop?
City the Great: Actually, my homeboy is Ed’s 1st cousin and he told me for the longest that he would connect us. Of course, at the time I didn’t believe he was Ed’s cousin. One day he came to the studio with me and took the song I wrote and recorded that day and said he was going to play it for Ed while at Funkmaster Flex’s birthday bash at BB Kings in Manhattan. Long story short he did and gave me Ed’s number…he wanted to speak with me, and the rest is history. There are really no challenges in age and mindset in working with Ed. He’s been a great mentor and I have learned a lot about the game from him. He stays up to date on the business and the culture. He also has great faith in my grind and creations. I would say without a doubt, we are in the works of bridging the generational gap in Hip Hop.
MJ: Let’s get to “Day One” which is taken from your upcoming album ‘The Wordsmith.’ The track has a cinematic anthem vibe with a hook catchy enough for the clubs and streets. It’s evident you have a knack for drawing audiences in. Talk about “Day One” from the motivation behind it to your expectation of the track.
City The Great: The story about the creation of this one is an interesting one…I was sitting on this beat for a while by Molly The Kid. I was conversating with my Certified Nation Entertainment comrade Itsonlywrite just talking about all the people that we worked with and knew throughout this journey that were kind of in and out. We laughed about how funny it is that when things weren’t going upward, they split or didn’t support, and now that we are moving, they all want to claim they’re day ones. That sparked my mind on expressing that on wax. I think what really made the song pop was my engineer King Bash jumping in and harmonizing on the hook. My expectation for Day One is to appeal to all audiences giving them that commercial feel yet true to the cultural vibe.
MJ: What can you tell us about your upcoming album and what can listeners anticipate from it?
City The Great: People are going to get a rollercoaster ride. I have been working on this project for the past 2 years piece by piece to ensure I capture the best feel in my testimony of being a wordsmith. This project will be very balanced with the right number of features and it’s going to display something for everyone that will be nostalgic.
MJ: Besides having the backing, support, and genius of Special Ed, what is your signature move, if you will, that differentiates you from other artists in the industry?
City The Great: I think what differentiates me and other artists in the industry is the soul that I pour into my craft which identifies my true being…A person being themself is the perfect form of originality. There’s a certain energy I give listeners and audiences and I have my own sound where you know it’s me and that element is never lost no matter what type of song it is that I am on. Not only that but I keep that element alive with versatility, you just never know which angle I am going to come on a track but you will always know it’s me.
MJ: Aside from the new album release prep, what other endeavors are you working on?
City The Great: I am currently working on growing my company Certified Nation Entertainment, educating, and assisting artists with their careers. I’m also working on multiple collaborative projects including a mixtape coming soon with my DJ, DJ Bad Tha Problem (proceeding the album release). I am working on a Certified Nation Entertainment collab project with the team of artists Jae Law aka Hindrix, Pengame Classic, Chambs Taylor, Jacqui Grace, and of course Itsonlywrite. There’s also a collaborative project with Chambs Taylor titled ‘CD’ (Collateral Damage). You can catch freestyle videos I will be releasing weekly as well as working with my management team Samantha Leavell of Certified Nation and legendary Kool Rock Ski on an event, For The Culture By The Culture. I can’t leave out 2022’s Annual Hip Hop & R&B Cookout in East BK…The list goes on and on.
MJ: Wrapping up, let everyone know how they can connect with you.
City The Great: Thank you I can be found on any platform as City the Great but one of the easiest ways to link with me all in one place is on my website CertifiedNationEntertainment.com.
Connect with City The Great
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