New York’s MIMS has taken steady steps toward a legacy; the staccato seismic “This Is Why I’m Hot” marked a big leap, topping Billboard’s Top 100 from #32 the previous week, third-biggest jump in the chart’s history. The single strode well past platinum, selling 1.6 million digital copies. Additionally, figure in the 2.8 million cell phones ringing to the familiar beat. Note also the gold digital sales of follow up single “Like This,” likewise off 2007 debut album Music Is My Savior. With all the earmarks of superstardom and staying power, MIMS now offers his bubbling new single, the droning, driving “Move if You Wanna,” produced by Chicago’s Da Internz and appearing on sophomore album Guilt, due April 7th. The numbers are deafening. But what do you really know of the man? The monosyllabic swagger perfected on “This Is Why I’m Hot” doesn’t nearly convey the depth and introspection of the artist and the acronym that is MIMS. In fact, he tells his own story with such aplomb that MIMS renders a traditional biography moot. What follows is, in essence, the autobiography of MIMS.
MIMS on how he’s perceived:
I’ll never regret doing “This Is Why I’m Hot,” because without it I’d never have the voice I have now. I’ve achieved a point of success in hip-hop that not many of my peers can say they matched. That said, people listened to that single and automatically decided and defined who MIMS is and what he brings. Had they not used that song to define me, you’d never have heard any gripes that MIMS isn’t lyrical, or that MIMS is a one-hit wonder. I wouldn’t have to defend my musical ability. I did make a mistake on the first album, which was not giving enough insight into who I am. People don’t know all the things I’ve studied in my life: DJing, engineering, production, mixing and mastering. I took jazz classes, piano lessons, and acting lessons. All of that helps my creative process. I will never limit myself. And a lot of people think that’s corny. But I fail to see how any information or knowledge is corny. You have to learn other things to take yourself to a higher position. I’ve seen the block, I’ve experienced it, I know what it’s like. It’s not how I want to spend my time. I never got on the mic talking mass murder because once you do that, you can’t be comical anymore. People won’t take you seriously, and you lose your image. My image represents the majority, it doesn’t cater to a certain perspective. I never want to be looked at in just one way. I want people to speculate about what I’m gonna do next: ‘He might do a pop record; he might do a country record; he might do an alterative record.’ I never close the door on things.
On naming his new album Guilt:
Guilt was my honest emotion going into recording this project, and I wanted to capture it in one word. For me, it comes from my success over the past two years. I became financially stable in a time where the economy was in a downward spiral. I know people out there are wondering what that has to do with me. The truth is it has everything to do with me. Friends and family were without jobs, going through foreclosures on their houses, while I’m buying big houses and multiple cars. I had to live with it on my conscience, knowing that while I deserve what I get, I’d still wonder ‘Am I going overboard and should I be helping more people instead?’ I also feel the disconnect between hip-hop artists and fans; I feel like the music got so bling-oriented and braggadocious that fans started taking offense. As if rappers were just waving money in the fans’ faces, money those same fans don’t have. There’s nothing wrong with swag rap, don’t get me wrong, and I have some on this album. I just need to moderate it, to reintroduce topics that people can relate to. Records on relationship issues [“Love Rollercoaster” featuring LeToya]; records on my success but the absence of love in my life; records for people who have friends and family fighting overseas; records for people to cope with the loss of a loved one [“One Last Kiss”]; records that satisfy peoples’ club urges [“On & On”].
On looking ahead:
I think I’m here for a good reason—to teach a good message—and you’re gonna get music from me that focuses on that. You’ll also get music from me that contradicts that, too. You know why? Because I keep it all the way real. Even the Bible has contradictions. As a musician, I’m teaching myself to go in the studio and document my feelings. Every day I have battles with myself to find the difference between right and wrong, and sometimes I gravitate toward the negative because that’s how I feel. But I try to make sure that at least 90% of the things I do are positive. Two or three years later in looking back, I may have changed my mind, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t mean what I said the day I recorded it. I can give you “Move,” then I can turn around and give you “One Day” with Ky-Mani Marley. Those are two different worlds but they both define me as a man and an artist.