Bay Area hustler and MC Mistah Fab came through the office a few weeks ago and we were able to get him to sit down for a video blast and interview. Check it out as the “Let’s Go” guest feature explains what Tech N9ne means to him, why he admires the Strange Music label, and why a grind is a terrible thing to waste.
SM: What’s your connection with Strange Music?
Mistah F.A.B.: My connection with Strange is, not only am I a fan of the label, but Tech N9ne has done stuff for me that he didn’t have to do. He showed me a lot of love, showed me a lot of respect. And the mutual respect is there. I respect that dude a lot. I study those guys. I’m a student of the game. I feel like there’s always a lesson to be taught. It’s always a beautiful thing from Travis [O’Guin], the professor, is what I like to call him. To pick his brain, and see what’s on his mind, there’s always stuff you can walk away feeling motivated about.
SM: How did you and Tech meet?
Mistah F.A.B.: On the grind, man. I pride myself in showing up everywhere. I try to be wherever the music scene is thriving. I try to bring what it is I bring to the table. I met him at a few shows here and there. The connection between the Bay area and Kansas City is real heavy. Of course I had heard of Tech N9ne. I was shocked he had heard of me. It was crazy to me. I was humble. We established a big bro, little bro relationship. One of my first shows coming to Kansas City, he called me and said he knew what happened with Mac Dre and he refused to let that happen on his watch. He came and got me from the airport, and I spent my whole time with him. It was crazy. That friendship just clicked that instant. It was a beautiful thing.
SM: You guys collaborated, I believe?
Mistah F.A.B.: I was on the Killer album, on the song “Let’s Go”. They played that on a few things. A lot of fans liked that record.
SM: That’s a good one. Yeah, that was on an episode of The Hills too.
Mistah F.A.B.: Yeah, it was dope. I was shocked.
SM: How do you like coming here? What’s your impression of the city?
Mistah F.A.B.: I don’t feel any different in Kansas City. Kansas City to me is just like the Bay area. The city is beautiful, and the people love us just like at home. It’s not different. I rock with it. I’m very comfortable here. The compound in the office is amazing. It’s something that every independent artist should aspire to have. I try to socialize with the staff a lot. You want to see, is it just cover. People are genuinely happy, they love what they do. That’s always a beautiful thing. That lets you know that the heads of the infratstructure treat people right. This is a business, and it will continue to keep rolling, and that’s one thing that I like. Every time that I come here, you always see consistency.
SM: Tech told me that the Bay has had a huge influence on Kansas City. Has it started to swing the other way?
Mistah F.A.B.: I wouldn’t say that, because the Bay area is so headstrong. They don’t do nothing nobody else does. They’re the inventors. They’ll tell you they invented anything. People are showing love. The Kansas City people got a lot of love. They’re getting love there.
SM: How do you see that manifested over here? What’s the evidence of that?
Mistah F.A.B.: The evidence of it is that the culture is very familiar. Certain things you know, that you identify with the Bay area, you know they got that from there. They’re not taking it, like they’re stealing it–we’re influence. There is nothing wrong with influence. Mac Dre had a heavey influence on a lot of people here–he sold a lot of records here. The culture, the dreadlocks, the cars, some of the conversation. It’s very influential. It lives on to this day, even in his passing. I’m an artist from Oakland, and I get love in Kansas City. The reason why I get love is from Mac Dre. His influence on my career, and the vouching for me let people in Kansas City open up to me and receive me with open arms. Influence is a powerful thing. If someone is under the influence, there is not telling what they may do.
SM: The influence Tech has had on you, you said he has been a mentor, could you expand on that a little bit?
Mistah F.A.B.: What I mean by that is Tech N9ne has had a career that extends longer than people give him credit for. I was always told that a man that relaxes in the shade today, planted his seeds many years ago. I can relax and hide from the sun and sun rays through my hard work. You do that by grinding. Rejection is a hard thing to swallow, but to be able to swallow that and to continue to keep going, that shows power beyond the power you see in everyday people. I have witnessed something special in that. That’s what he has been able to achieve. Being able to watch that, witness that, and continue to watch it grow, to where you’re looking at the lineup change. Everyone who is someone is finally coming around. At his age, at where he is in his career, it’s unbelievable. It’s very motivating. It’s something for someone to watch and want to do that too.
SM: You said a grind is a terrible thing to waste. Tell me about that.
Mistah F.A.B.: It’s music for the grinders. It’s motivation music. It’s for people who sit up and wonder what they gonna do today when they wake up. My main thing is to get off your ass and make something possible. Control and manifest your own destiny. In music, I implement that philosophy and ideology. I spread that to many of my listeners, and to many people who may not even be familiar with me. Motivation can come from someone who you have no idea of their existence. But there is something that you recognize that can be helpful to you. I can read motivation from a plant, and my perception of that, of realizing that this plant had to be planted. I’m motivated by seeing that rose in the concrete grow. Because I realize through the cracks, no one helped it, no one watered it, but his will to grow was more powerful than his will to die. Failure is inevitable. You’re going to fail. But, to look failure in the face and say you won’t completely quit. That’s a beautiful thing, knowing that you’re not going to quit even when the odds are stacked against you. Even when all expectations of you are not to succeed and you still keep going. Some people may call it blissful ignorance. Some people may call it the will to win. In that music, it’s just the will to win the obstacles we go through as artists on a daily basis. To realize that over this past year I’ve lost my brother, my mother died of cancer, my grandmother died, my best friend died, and still be smiling and pushing forward. I’m still going through what I gotta do to make this career possible, so I can come home and provide a meal for my daughter. That’s what it’s about, man. That’s what the music is. I’ve reached out and connected with grinders [across] the country who I believe their grind resembles what I’m representing with this music. That’s what I’m about.
SM: Do you hope to inspire people the same way you are inspired?
Mistah F.A.B.: That’s what I try to do. Every day of my life I try to inspire someone. I see a homeless man who may be down on his luck and I give him a few jewels to make him look forward to a better day. I don’t look down on people in bad situations. A homeless man just may have a bad streak of luck. It doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, just may have bad judgment. It doesn’t mean that they can’t spend a dollar and go hit the lottery and go laugh at everyone else. Possibilities are vast. There is a plethora of things that you can do as long as you’re alive. It’s when you’re dead that it’s a problem.
SM: Where can people find this?
Mistah F.A.B.: I’m just really blasting it out, you know. I’m doing an iTunes release. But it’s on LiveMixtapes.com, and DatPiff.com. I’m pretty sure all these other websites, nah right to 2dope, they gonna take it and do free downloads. I know my fans, the people that support me, are gonna go to iTunes and buy it. But I wanna get it out there and raise the awareness to just keep grinding.
SM: Anything else you want to say?
Mistah F.A.B.: Continue to support good music, and let’s keep this thing we call hip-hop on everybody’s earlobes. As long as we keep talking about it, there’s no way that we can die. We’re the youngest art form. Let’s make it for many years to come. The only way to do that is to collectively support each other. One thing I don’t like about fans is that if I’m a fan of your music, I can’t be a fan of your music. That’s not fair. I get different motivation from different artists. Who are you to say that I can’t be fans of all this music? Open up the things that you listen to, and collectively we can keep music alive. It doesn’t have to be just hip-hop music. It can just be music.