Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Beat Q & A: Mic Quin

Michael Quintenilla, aka Mic Quin, is your prototypical hustler/rapper. Working a day job at an insurance agency and pursuing a career on the microphone, he brings a steady business approach to both professions.

But Mic Quin knows that in order to get ahead, you have to be on your grind 24/7. Whether it's arriving to an interview stacked with promo material, or paying extra money to have big name Bay Area artists featured on his album, it's all a part of the game.

Mic Quin will perform April 14 at the Krazy Koyote in Gilroy, opening up for old-school rapper Candyman (of "Knockin' Boots" fame). He will embark on the Street Low Magazine car show tour beginning May 6 in Costa Mesa.

The Salinas rapper took some time to talk to The Beat about his album, "Got Some For Me... The Beginning." Released last year, it features artists like Mista FAB, J-Diggs, and X-Raided. Production was also provided by local heatmaker Yun-Gun. The following is an excerpt from the interview.

What album are you promoting right now?
The album is one I dropped 4/20 of last year. It's called “Got Some For Me... The Beginning.” I feature heads like Mista FAB, Numskull of The know, Dubee, J-Diggs, I got an underground track, X-Raided. He's an indepeneent loc, being locked up and all... We network with Sacramento, Vallejo, EPA, everywhere, San Jose. I'm from salinas, born and raised. I've lived in Concord, and I have family out in the Bay Area, so I'm always out there.

How did you network with Mista FAB?
That was kind of like, beginning hype. When you're first starting, you're hungry, you know. I knew since before FAB even came out that he had potential to shine, that he was the one to be the one. (When I met him) his album was soon to take off, his sophomore album. I met him thorugh my boy Smuggla, he said “Check out my man, he's gonna take off.” This was before the Thizz hype.

I took advantage of the opportunity and networked with him. This was 2002 or 2003. I did a song with him, hooked up with him a while after. I hooked up with him a little after. He charged a little more, but it's all networking. I understand that's what you earn to be in your position, being that rapping is your career for some. Some people don't neet to work the 8 to 5, that's all they do is rap. I'll break off people that I feel they deserve it, and of course I know when I'm getting hustled.

I've worked with (Mista FAB) two times. I see him every so often at shows. He's doing his thing, but I'm focusing on Mic Quin. I got my own camp out here.

Talk about the importance of getting a high profile artist and paying money to have them appear on a song with you, especially for a young artst such as yourself.
As far as that, all I can say is it takes money to make money. Then again, you have to know the point where someone is ripping you off. I'm a hustler. I've been a hustler since I was young. Whether it's riding dirty or doing the clean, 8 to 5 thing, you know what I mean? The streets and the game ain't nothing new to me, especially the rap game. Networking with these heads I thought really beneifted me, as logn as I'm working with my people here. Like the famous saying, You are who you know...

How many copies of the album were you able to sell?
At this point, I'm an independent artist. Whoever wants to work with me, whether its' a (chain) store or mom and pop store...I'm working on getting it in the Warehouse. I'm in all the mom and pop stores, from Rasputin's in the Bay to Street Beats in Salinas - that's our Central Coast urban music supplier.
I was recently in touch with Street Low Magazine, putting adds in their magazines. I'm doing shows that they set up, doing super shows.

How did you make that connection with Street Low and what's the deal with the Super Shows?
I've been in touch with them for a couple of years now. When I first started messing with them... I started off with vendor booths. Me and like four or five other artists, depending on who wanted to get in... we'd get booths, sell our CDs. We'd be kicking it out there all day, whether we were performing or sitting at our booths...

It's kind of hit and miss, depending on who's out there and people don't want to spend. I do a lot of giveaways. It's good promotion. I can give out CDs and it's nothing.

When do you go on tour?
The first show coming up is in Costa Mesa, May 6. That's down south. It's pretty big. I've done vendor booths with them, and I've seen how the shows turn out, they're real good. I've done other shows with (radio station) La Calle, out in the Fresno area - it's like the Hip-Hop y Mas station out there. I hooked up with them through my homegirl Monie The One and Only over here. She set me up with a few shows out there in Fresno. We did a big ol' festival, thousands of people. We sold a couple hundred CDs off top.
Whether it's at a bar here locally in Salinas, the Crazy Coyote in Gilroy, Club Caution in Santa Cruz, or house parties. We used to rock the house parties with hundreds of people there. Until the cops break it up, you know how it goes

One thing I always think is lacking in hip-hop is the performance. How do you approach the shows?
Like with anything, whether it's putting together my album, you have to put in 100 percent. If you dont' think something is right, you have to re-record. You do a certain amount of recordings to get it right. You set up your show disc to perform. When I'm out there with hundreds of people, I get nervous. But I get out there and do my thing because this is what I'm hungry for. I've been doing it for a while and I really want to take off with this.
Getting back on the networking part, as well as these people, I'm also doing stuff in my area. Whether it's Yun Gun, AK,
Big Spanky, Fury, my boy Sup-1, Alcatraz, Dre Nitty, my boy Smuggla's from here, my boy Gemini. Salinas, Monterey, Soledad, people out in Greenfield, people out in Castroville. Everyone is networking. I'm a Central Coast representative. The Bay Area's got their Hyphy movement, and the stuff that they are doing is taking off, you know what I mean. We are incluced in that because we are next to the Bay. But we're Central Cali and I'm trying to get Central Cali taking off. Being Latino too, I'm trying to bring Latino's some shine as well.

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