Mysonne
Free

mysonne.jpgWith hip-hop’s rapid rate of change, a prison bid can span an entire generation gap. Just ask Slick Rick, who served a little over five years in the early ’90s. As it turned out, rap music in 1996 was so different from Rick’s late ’80s heyday that he was never able to truly get his footing again. So, for 29-year-old Bronx rapper Mysonne—who came home from a seven-year sentence on July 5—there’s a lot of work to be done. And when you’re required by law to be at home by 10 p.m., it pays to get an early start.

In the late ’90s, Mysonne’s street-wise, punchline-driven flow was a loud voice on New York mixtapes, landing him a highly contested spot with Violator Management. Then in 1999, just as he was set to release his debut album, Life Teaches and Reality Bites, on Def Jam, Mys was convicted of two armed robberies (for which he still maintains his innocence). While serving out his seven-to-14-year sentence at the Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion, NY, he watched the youngest member of his Wanna Blow crew, Jae Millz, transition from a hungry teen to landing a solo deal on Universal. After his first parole hearing in May secured his release, Mys is finally out and ready to enjoy Millz’s success while plotting his own return to the mic. XXLMAG.com caught up with Mysonne early in the morning before his first day back in the studio.

Listen to:
Ruff Ryders feat. Beanie Sigel, Infred, NuChild, Mysonne & Drag-On “The Hood” (1999)

Ma$e feat. Loon, Shyne, Meeno & Mysonne “From Scratch”(1999) ]
Mysonne, 8Ball & Ma$e “Do What Playas Do” (1999)

What was the first thing you did when you got out?
First thing I did, honestly? I went to a barbershop. In prison, you have the worst barbers in the world. I been cutting my hair for the last couple of years, so I just got tired and I let it grow for like two or three months. Right after the barbershop, I went home to see my little brother. He greeted me in the front of the building with a basketball. I ain’t even take my clothes off. He think he can beat me now because he’s my size. When I got incarcerated, he was only like eight years old. Now he’s taller than me. So I came to the park and we played one. He won by one point too.

You’ve always maintained your innocence. Are you doing anything to make sure you don’t end up back in the system like so many other people?
Yeah, you have to realize that it’s not necessarily whether you’re innocent or guilty. I’m not putting myself in a situation that can be misconstrued. I’ve changed my surroundings, changed my company, the people I hang with. If you’re just hanging out on the corner, negative things are going on on that corner. If you’re just standing there and you don’t have no purpose there, then the police will come and grab you. You could get [arrested] on mistaken identity. Somebody could say you did it. So my thing is, there’s no need for me to be on the corner. I’m with my family, I’m making music, I’m reading or I’m exercising. I utilize my time a lot better than I used to. Before, I would hang on the corner with the dudes and all that. While I was locked up for seven years, they still on that corner. They ain’t coming to see me, they weren’t sending me no money, they weren’t taking care of my family. I don’t need them. I got love for certain people who do that, but that’s just not my reality anymore.

When you see hip-hop magazines putting out special prison issues where they highlight MCs who are locked up, do you think that’s a positive thing or a negative thing?

A lot of that stuff is bogus. A lot of these dudes will be in jail and they talking about “Yo, I’m holding it down” or “I’m doing this, I got people who love me.” Come on, that’s not the reality of it. They not telling you that they wake up in the morning at six o’clock for count. They don’t tell you that when you go visit, they gotta strip search you and look inside your rectum and all that. They don’t tell you the negative parts. Them niggas seem like they tough ’cause they in jail. You ain’t tough. A bunch of dudes in jail ain’t tough. It’s not the reality of the situation. Everybody in jail ain’t real. If you’re able to come through that situation unscathed and with your mental capacity is in order, then you’re a strong individual. But for you to sit there and try to glorify what goes on in jail or what you’re doing in jail, that’s just stupidity. I think the editors need to take the time when they interview somebody to listen to what they talking about. Because if they’re sitting there talking about “Yeah, I got the C.O.s lookin’ out for me, I got such and such and I’m holding it down here, niggas know not to mess with me.” That shit is stupid. We don’t wanna hear that. I don’t wanna hear that, because I know different.

What about if it’s true? Should they still not talk like that?
It doesn’t make a difference whether it’s true or not because the reality of the situation is, you don’t want to be in there. Even if you have a C.O. in your pocket, it doesn’t amount to nothing. The most fame you can have in jail doesn’t amount to the smallest fame you can have out here. The smallest peace of mind, the smallest bit of freedom doesn’t amount to nothing. It’s like you trying to glorify controlling a closet. A man is locked in a closet and he’s trying to make you believe that he’s holding it down in that closet. He’s got that closet on smash. And since you’ve never been in the closet, you don’t understand that he’s in a fuckin’ closet. But there’s nothing going on in there. He got his clothes folded neatly in this closet. He got his drink over here. He make it seem like it’s a whole world, but it’s nothing. That’s my problem with it. I know people are interested in the prison system, but if we’re going to talk about it, let’s show the reality.

Who do you think it’s negatively affecting?
When I was young, they glorified it so much that it made us feel that if we didn’t go to prison, then we wasn’t tough, you wasn’t a real dude. If you ain’t go to prison, then you ain’t really did nothing. A lot of dudes that I know went to jail just to prove that they was down. And they came home afterwards and they was telling they stories, and how they was up North and did this and that. And you thought, Wow, okay, he’s a tough guy. But in reality, he’s not tough. He’s just stupid. And the people who told him about jail were being as stupid as he was. There’s nothing in jail. There’s nothing there. I had the support of family and friends, so I never needed anything. I just think that we needed to censor some of these dudes. You need somebody to interview the dudes in jail, I’ll interview them because I’ll definitely screen them out with that bullshit.

How much time did you spend writing music when you were inside?
I spent all my time writing music inside. My routine was: I get up in the morning, I go work out for about an hour, come back, read a book, after I read, I got a little beat tape, and I was gone from there. Mostly I just listened to beats, ’cause I don’t even listen to half these dudes who rap no more.

Were you in touch with a lot of industry folks while you were inside?

I wouldn’t say a lot of them. A couple of them. I was in contact with Busta Rhymes, DMX, the Ruff Ryders. Here and there I get a lot of messages from my friends from other rappers. For the most part, it wasn’t really that type of party, man. I realize that a lot of relationships are industry based. When you there, there’s a relationship, and when you’re not, there isn’t.

What happened to your situation with Violator and Def Jam after you started serving your sentence?
When I first went to jail, they were supporting me. But I realized it’s a business. If the artist is going to be locked up for seven years, they’re not gonna be able to do too much. They put up money for lawyers and appeals, and when those things didn’t go through, they had to move on. I didn’t feel any type of way. It’s no bad blood between me and Violator or Def Jam. They did what they could. It’s a better business move for me now to come home and be free. I’m not obligated to do nothing. I got a lot more potential offers and I can do my own thing. I don’t really need an A&R, all I need is someone who’s willing to push it. I got the product and they got the promotion.

So you’re still down with Jae Millz and Wanna Blow?
Yeah. That’s basically our own label, we created that from the ground up. Jae Millz was around when he was young. He was like 15, 16 when I went to jail. There were a lot more of us, but when I got locked up, a lot of things took place, and he was the one who stuck with it and came to the forefront. Me and Jae Millz are working on a couple things now. We working on a few remixes and things like that.

How do you feel about Millz’s progress in the last seven years?

I’m so proud of him because not only has he grown as an artist, he’s grown as a man. He has great loyalty to me. I didn’t even expect it because when I used to have him around me, he was a young nigga. We’d bring him here and there, but he didn’t get to go to the club. He wasn’t hanging with me, per se. But when I would go to the studio, he would be there. He took that and he was loyal afterwards. He always kept my name in the air, and I respect that. We did an interview on Shade 45 yesterday. Me and him were there and the first thing I said on the air was that I was proud of him. He says he’s eager to get into the studio with me. So you know, I got a lot of love for him.

Do you think there’s still a demand for your music or have people forgotten about you?
I never knew I had that many fans that were looking forward to my album. I got letters from people all over the world like, “Yo, we miss you,” and now since we put up the MySpace page, there’s been even more. At the radio station yesterday, I had people calling me from California, Phoenix, all over the place telling me they was waiting for me and happy that I was home and they can’t wait to hear the music. That just gives me extra drive. I know I got the product. It’s just about going in there and doing it. Tonight I’m supposed to go to the studio. After today, it’s on.

Since you’ve been away, Southern hip-hop has completely taken the spotlight from New York. What do you think happened?

You can’t bring New York back by trying to follow somebody else’s formula. Why you trying to do what the South is doing? They don’t need you to do what they doing, they got their own way. They need you to do what you do. I’m not trying to blend in, I want to stand out. These dudes just try to blend in. They going to get the same producers that did the last two songs from the South dudes, thinking they gonna get a different result. Nah. Get your own producers, man. That’s how the rest of them did it. DMX and them came in with their own producers. Biggie came in with his producer. Gangstarr came in with Premo. They created a new sound so people wanted to hear them. You can’t just run get the hottest producers and think that’s your album.

Have you given Millz any advice on the subject?

I told Millz, the key is you have to be bigger than your music. It’s not so much about the music no more. They following individuals. That’s why 50 Cent sold like that. It wasn’t so much that the music was hot—he makes good music—but they were so interested in him as a person. If they don’t want to hear what you’re talking about, they don’t care how hot the song is. So what New York dudes have to do, is make themselves bigger than their music. Like Lil’ Wayne and T.I., they have “it.” When you see them, you’re interested in what they doing. You wanna find out what they gonna say. It’s not so much the rapping, it’s just that they have the confidence that whatever they say or whatever they do is hot. And that’s what a lot of the New York rappers are lacking. They just trying to blend in. They just happy to be here. When you ask me a question, I’m gonna talk to you like I know I belong here. People need to feel that energy.

Do you have the rights to the album you did for Def Jam?
I have to sit down with them and find out, because there’s a lot of music on there that I still think the public might like. That’s one thing that I regret out of everything. The fans were not able to step-by-step grow with me, musically. Because the growth that I made from ’99 is just so dramatic. Like lyrically, flow-wise, it’s just so dramatic and most people are not going to be able to see how I grew. Like you listen to something Biggie did before he came out and then you listen to “Party and Bullshit” and you hear how he got more comfortable. Same with Jay-Z, from Reasonable Doubt, you hear the growth, not only lyrically, but how he got more comfortable with himself. I’m just mad that a lot of people didn’t get to walk with me through that.

  • pop a poppa

    Violator!!!
    welcome home mys
    i know you gotta have mad lyrics ready to go so get at it homie
    i loved those violator album’s
    mysonne’s tracks really made up for q-tip’s “vivrant thing” fiasco
    glad to hear son got his head on straight
    jail ain’t shit to fuck wit
    i hate how that shit’s glorified
    its crazy tho that shit gets you organized… you be comin’ home feelin’ like a soldier n shit… like you just came back from iraq
    iight i’m out…
    I RUN THIS CLOSET!!! bitchez lol

  • ronald

    can’t wait to hear that heat.

  • suckitmarshall

    Mysonne is dope, he gonna come with some thoughtful shit, but Jae Millz is GENERIC. And Wanna Blow is kinda homoerotic, as far as label names go.

  • ?????

    WANNA WHO!!!??? WANNA WHAT!!!??? WANNA BLOW MUA’FUCKAS!!! WELCOME HOME MYS! BEEN A FAN FROM JUMP, GLAD YOURE BACK!!

  • http://myspace/driftnj drift

    God bless Mysonne! I’m elated that the brother is home! Every record that dude was on he would steal the show! Continue to surround yourself with positive individuals and you’ll be 100 times more relevant than when you went in. one!

  • suckitmarshall

    Can one of you A-list producers step to Mysonne and make some cohesive, layered shit though? He’s got a window to be the next big thing from NYC (what Shyne coulda been if he’d gotten out before putting out that trash album). He’s a grown man that’s been through some things and has some perspective on life. He just needs some good ass beats…..

  • DOCTOR 69

    YO MYSONNE WELCOME HOME DAWGZ YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER ME BUT WE KNEW EACH OTHER FOR ABOUT 3 YEARS IN MLK I KNEW WHEN I READ ABOUT YOU GETTING LOCKED UP IT WASNT YOU AND YOU NEVER GET DOWN LIKE THAT JUST WANNA LET YOU KEEP YOU HEAD UP ANDI I’LL SHOUT YOU OUT AND COP YOU ALBUM WHEN YOU DROP WHEITHER IT BE MIX TAPE / MP3 WHATEVERR ONE LOVE TO LEAVE A CLUE ABOUT WHO I AM YOU STILL OWE ME A DOLLAR FROM LUNCH AND PITTYPAT IN LAW CLASS LOL

  • The Originator

    Mysonne Don’t start back rappin’ we suffered long enough!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mvance

    all i can say is bring it back your a sick dude god bless u and welcome home

  • Rob G

    i been to prison and that is REAL TALK! nuff said.

  • murxx

    maybe mys, shyne and mase can get together and re-record that “if you could start your life from scratch” joint

  • screw music nigga

    next jail issue xxl, please give mysonne a spread this nigga need 2 be heard by every one

  • jonjon–23

    Unlike a lot of niggas, this nigga is giving the straight dope about prison. I don’t know much about his music, but I plan on coppin’ all his shit now. Big up to Mysonne–message recieved: To all niggas-you got shit for brains if you think being locked in the can, told when to talk, eat, and shit is what it’s about.

  • Swayz

    The realest interview I read all year

  • Steve

    Welcome Back Mysonne

  • EnglandRepresent

    Mysonne sound like a real dude and not like half the ignorant muthafuckas in the rap game, humble, intelligent, I’ll cop his album just for the fact that he seems like a straight up dude.

  • -R-E-A-L-

    Welcome home Mys!…

    You been away for a minute but I know you still got it in you..

    Show us that New York still got what it takes to get they shine on..

  • Styles

    From what I heard on Mase Double Up cd Mysonne killed it. I want to hear those two do another song, hopefully when he do drop he doesn’t brick like most of the other New York rappers.

  • stonyisland

    Mysonne, gets my deepest props for speaking intelligently but most importantly for saying something positive. Some young cat out in the4m streets might see that all these fake ass rappers glorifing prison are some lying fake ass bitches. There is nothing good about prison, prison doent buy street creed. I am buying this brothers joint when it drops. A mature black man handling is business is the white mans biggest fear, america hates a positive brother more than bush hates the taliban.

  • myspace.com/mynameisplayboi

    MY NIGGA IS FREE, YO IF YOU COME DOWN TO BMORE I GOT CHU MY NIGGA…IM GLAD YOU OUT AND STAY OUT!!!

  • the ghost

    i never really hear some whack mysonee….looking forward to that trend continuing….

  • Trinidadian boy

    bring the heat to the street

  • Young G

    Im feelin Mysonees interview it was real talk and that what we need right now real talk. If that interview was good I know his album is about to be krakin

  • HUT

    Alot that shit Mysonne is saying is some real life shit. But talkling it and practicing it is 2 different things. good luck anyway.

    BISHIP BOSS IS THE FUTURE
    Tell A Friend A To Tell A Friend
    http://www.myspace.com/myspacecombishipboss

  • djmee11

    i laughed my ass off when he said its like you running your closet lol because its like no one can really tell the truth about all this wannabe tough guys and this guy just made them look like shit. I never heard of this guy but im mad interested to see what he has to say so hopefully he comes with it.

  • New York Nigga

    FUCK THIS NIGGA

  • ill will STL REP. 314

    I dont know a damn bout dis nigga but im glad 2 c another black person out of jail.

  • http://www.kottonmouthkings.com ReDiCuLouS

    Yo I heard this cat on like one track before and he iight…like to see what he got in store for the Rotten Apple…hopefully a bit more than Banks…that new single is wack.~

  • Belize

    Welcome back pymp

  • http://www.xxlmag.com L.A.’s Finest

    Welcome home G, the WestCoast know you. Stay up homie, and stay out the box!!!!

  • Face Phoenix

    I’m More Than Happy to Hear of Mysonne’s release. I Remember when he first was convicted and sentenced saying here’s another brother who will probably be forgotten since he never had the chance to drop his album. Then Only Days Ago I Hear of his release on this website and I have to say XXL has proven they stay on the forefront of Hip Hop News. Mysonne you still have peeps who have not forgotten you and are looking for to that heat.

  • YBG

    http://www.myspace.com/mysonne

    Love him or hate him, he’s an intelligent man with talent and drive. Can’t knock his hustle.

  • http://www.buildthedream.org DGthegreat

    Mysonne was a problem before prison. I was on the bandwagon. Its seems he has only grown as a person since. So I know the music will only follow. Get that mixtape out asap!

  • jonjon–23

    He da’ truth because he actually did time in the can and he aint try to gain credibility or respect from it like other shithead niggas. He said he’s not proud of it and exposed it for what it is–yes sir; no sir; closet time. Dumb ass niggas aint ready for a revolutionary nigga like him.

  • H-Man

    Az I walk through da hills of shadow and death, I shall fear no evil, cause Im da meanest mother fucker in da valley. Cause Im da meanest mother fucker in da valley.

  • maxamill

    IM FROM MIAMI AND I THOUGHT HOMIE WAS NICE WITH HIS BEFOR HE GOT LOCKED UP SO I HOPE HE SHOW HIS GROWTH ON HIS NEW PROJECTS THAT HES WORKING ON AND I ALSO MET J MILLS DURING DEMP WEEK AND ONE OF THE CONVERSATIONS WE HAD WAS ABOUT MYS HE WAS SURPRISED THAT A KID FROM MIAMI WOULD BE UP ON MYSONNE BACK IN THOSE DAYS,THEM SOME DOWN AS BROTHERS OVER THERE AT WANNA BLOW I WISH THEM ALL THE BEST ONE

  • http://www.myspace.com/wegetsbizzy Faison

    Welcome Home Mysonne!!!!

    “The Realest Shit I Ever Read!!!”

    Yo Mys, u hit it on da head about that jail shit. Thats why I dont even respect anybody who glorifies being locked up. Its almost like glorifying being a slave and saying you was holding it down in the cotton fields and the master never whipped u.

    Its good to see that your in good health and have a good head on your shoulders. This was a very intelligent interview and one of the realest interview I read.

    Now its time to put out that good music. Best of luck my dude.
    Shout out to Jae Mills…I respect your loyalty!!!!!

  • Neema

    I have known Myse since we were teenagers and it is good to see what a wonderful man he has turned into. Not many rappers can give intelligent answers during an interview. Every body trying to keep it “real” when really they just sound real ignorant.

  • HaHaHa

    I give him two weeks before he starts glorifying the pen. You’ll buy it, more will go to jail, and I wont have to see you on the streets. You guys are great. Keep it up Mysonne!

  • YBG

    HaHaHa Hater.

    Glorifying and talking about it are two different things. He lived it, so if he rhymes about it, it’s reality. Just like if you wrote a rhyme about sitting on the internet, if it’s your reality, you’re not necessarily glorifying it – you’re speakin on it.

    True story.

  • NoFace

    YBG you on the internet too…

  • http://xxl dabronx

    fuck ny music yall lame go hop a train corny ass niggas

  • TheLowEndTheory

    good to see fam back out. hopefully he can get the rights to his debut album on def jam. I would definitely like to hear what was on that album.

  • D-Mack

    welcome home myse. hope to see u in the hood soon, and i hope to catch u on the ball court. keep makin great music, the world is waiting!!!!!!!!

  • Icey G!

    welcome home Blackman! Keep it movin!

  • Pingback: » Locked up - XXL

  • YBG

    Yep, I sure am, and if I started rapping about it, no one could really be mad at me…It’s reality. :)

  • http://shady.com petey pablo

    yo son,mysonne is the truth re: what ever happened to sunkiss – son got to into beef with fat JOE and ain’t been the same…

  • http://myspace.com blublack

    welcome home nigger, i know being in that box, with all that time to think got your mind tighter,which is good, the bronx needs you,were the home of hiphop,i heard u in 99, from my man who ran with the LEGION.you was hot then ,so i know your gonna spit that real shit now,with all the shit you bin threw, you got too.you got to bring it back to where it all started from.it went down south,they did their shit to it,but they know where it came from, where you came from, so when your in the stew, behind that mic,remember! your in the mix,am not, but when i get there, they gonna know where it came from,hold it down for the bronx,i know you can,love is love BLUBLACK.

  • Lootch1998520

    Yo mysonne is ill i heard him on tha song called the turth and he killed it every song he was on in 1999 he killed he really dmx song problems so im happy to see hes home. And everybody that give bad talk about him on here dont know notthing about real hiphop. And finally we got a rapper not making like its cool to go to jail.

  • Knowledge Speaks

    Real talk, this shit should have been in the magazine, but great interview.

  • AKRYTE STILL STARVIN

    WELCOME HOME NIGGA…GLAD TO SEE NIGGAZ HOME FROM THE PENN THESE DAYZ AND EATIN.YOU GOTR LOVE IN THE MIDWEST…AND AYO FUCK YAWLL NIGGATIVE ASS FUCKAZ U MAKE A MAD RAPPER PISSED

  • LORD GREG

    My man is on point,ain’nt shit cool about being looked up.Welcome home black man

  • http://www.myspace.com/harlemhotrod HarlemHotRod

    Mysonne is the “TRUTH”! the streetz was missin a nigga this real, its a wrap! the General is bringing hip hop back to the NY, it B-CROSS!!!!!!

  • Jermaine (Marlon)

    Welcome home Nigga!! Just wanted to shout you out. Good luck with your music. Hit me up when you are ready to manage those Millions!! Get my number from my cousin.

  • RotterdamSoldier

    Man this is some real talk right here just to see em break down the real on prison is like a breath of fresh air cause a lot of rappers glamourizing that shit like it’s a Mastersdegree or something…and i do know this when he drops he is gonna be a problem yet again…Welcome home nigga!!

  • G-Man

    Mysonne, doubt you’ll be coming back to read this shit but I’ve been pumping your shit while you’ve been locked up all these years. Got most of the people around here in Ottawa, Canada still bumping The truth…I am the main supplier of new beats so what I pump gets exposure…just downloaded that new track with Jae Millz Get’ Em and will be pumping that shit now…Get the album out and fuck the haters, they are everywhere. You are The Truth, and they can’t handle it!

  • http://deadninjarecords.com bornyce

    peace. welcome home mysonne!!!!!!!!! its been a hot minute but we used to spit in front of John Jay. knowin ur style i never expected you to do that bid, but ur home now so god bless and will keep my ears open……….

  • Tiz

    Since that first day we met in sing sing yard and spit them bars, I ve been a loyal supporter and friend. I wish the best for you, and like I said last time we communicated via text. I wish the best for you… NEXT UP, CUBAN LINK. Pardon me industry, I miss real music!!!!!!!!! EarthQuakeCamp FOR LIFE!!!!

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  • Mabona Themba

    Just one tiny issue:
    Bring NY back? There’s Jay-Z, Nas, Fifty [who I personally don't like too much], Papoose, Immortal Tech, etc. Seems to me NY rap has always been in pretty fine overall shape ;)

    cheerios, t

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  • Gabe

    mysonne one of the few real dudes out there