DRIP DROPS of HIP-HOP from CHATTANOOGA
By Ben Banks
The artist CMIC and I go way back. We went to college together and have stayed in touch throughout the years. I helped him get on a couple stages when he lived in the area, and I’m still a huge fan of his music. We talked about some of his struggles and how he’s moved past them to become a better artist. Read about it below.
Where are you from? What area do you feel like you best represent?
CMIC: My professional music career really actually started in Chattanooga. That’s when I started doing shows, but I started writing back in seventh grade and I’ve been in Knoxville for the past couple of years.
What/who got you first interested in music/art?
CMIC: I lived in a pretty strict home, so I wasn’t allowed to listen to rap, but one day I heard a random record from Eminem on the radio, and started to sneak listen to full albums. The way he shared his story and expressed his emotions really hit me as a kid.
Who are some of your current inspirations for making music?
CMIC: NF is definitely my biggest inspiration currently. Again, the ability to share story and emotion really gets me, regardless of genre or artist. I really love the sound that Post Malone has going for him, and the new up and comer Token is changing the lyrical game.
What role does your faith play into your music?
CMIC: Faith plays the main role in my life, so it clearly comes out in my music. I want to reach the world with my story, but I have no profanity or vulgarity in my music. It just doesn’t seem like me. I always wanted to be a different kind of artist, not talking about drugs, women, and the like. I make music for everyone, but I won’t change for anyone. It’s difficult because there is still a stigma against calling yourself a “Christian rapper” but it can also feel as if you are abandoning your faith when don’t call yourself that. Basically I’m a Christian who also happens to rap.
What are some of your goals that you hope to accomplish within the music/art industry?
CMIC: Definitely want to get signed to NF’s label. And definitely always wanted to have an album go number one on billboard. You gotta set high goals or else you’ll only reach low ones. I always wanted to reach everyone, so knowing myself, until I am the most played artist out there, and until Drake is begging me to collab to get him some more streams, I won’t be satisfied. A billion plays would probably settle me down.
From your perspective, where's the music scene headed this year?
CMIC: The music scene is a creature of habit. Sound is always developing. I think the mumble rap scene is developing into a more emo rap emotional scene. And the lyrical rap scene is trying to get harder to stay relevant. So it’s either all the way emotional, or it’s all the way bangers. I think this will cause some very interesting collabs this year.
What are some themes that you really focus on in your music?
CMIC: The desire to erase the past. The struggle with hating yourself. The desire to be heard. Finding the balance between dreams and reality. Forgiveness.
Who’s your main audience that you’re trying to reach?
CMIC: “For the broken homes and suicidal thoughts, I’m right there with you. Pain never stops.” That’s from my song “Teardrops.” I definitely want to reach people like me, who have come from a broken or painful background, but desire to overcome and keep fighting. I really want to reach the world with this message, but it’s the down and out that I think need it the most.
What message are you trying to send to that audience?
CMIC: That you don’t have to stay in depression and brokenness, but that you can rise up and do something with your life. You don’t have to stay in your emotional mind state. You can move on. You can make a difference. You can find hope in God.
Who's someone that you'd love to collaborate with?
CMIC: I would obviously love an NF collab. It’s sounds weird but I think a feature with Justin Bieber would be the coolest thing. And you know I gotta grab one with Ariana Grande. I think her high voice would work well with my lower one.
Have there been any obstacles that you’ve overcome to pursue your music/art?
CMIC: Earlier in my career, I was booed off stage in front of like 300 plus people. It was at a rap competition, so after being booed, I had to stand there while 3 judges told me why I sucked. I remember I drove home crying. I took the CD’s that I had planned to hand out at the show and started throwing them against a brick wall to shatter them (like I felt my dreams were that night). I remember I almost quit, but a friend told me that it wasn’t time yet. He told me you have to do the competition one more time. So fast forward a few months, the competition came back in town. I got second place. That I think was the biggest obstacle/failure that I had to overcome.
What are some victories that you had with your music/art?
CMIC: Coming back and winning that competition was huge. I also did a random show in which I knew none of the 100 or so people in this room. No one was paying any attention at this place. But when I got up there, I shared a little of my story, and then started performing. I’m telling you, the whole room started to get close and pay attention, and then got hype with me! Those kind of small victories are huge for me. Also, and it may seem small, but I had my first song hit over a thousand plays without any paid promotion or anything. It’s a small start, but it was still big for me.
Describe your brand/style.
CMIC: A mix of hipster and trap. I’m influenced by a lot of the Drip I see Lil Baby wear, but I also think that dark Eminem/NF look still hits. I think my style is in between emo and a pop singer, haha.
What are some other forms of media that inspire you? (Movies, art, TV, etc)
CMIC: Oh man, movies for sure. I’m known to tear up at more than one flick. Anything that tries to make you think different about how we see the world or ourself is huge for me. From “Get Out” to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” I love it all man.
What would be a major success for you in your art/music?
CMIC: Placing on billboard or being signed would definitely mean the world to me. It’s hard for me to think I am a success unless I hear myself overplayed on the radio haha. The only major success I really want is to be able to support myself and my family with music. That’s the end goal.
What’s something that you’re most proud of?
CMIC: I had a kid I work with tell me that I was like a father figure to him and he didn’t want to hang with his old friends who were drinking and partying all the time anymore. I think that is what really put things into perspective for me. Whether I make music for my livelihood or not, I can still make a difference in the lives of the people I am around.
Do you have any other hobbies that you want to build in 2019?
CMIC: I’m trying to get that Zac Efron Baywatch Body this year (just like last year). I really love to read fiction stories. I would love to get back into that this year.
Anything that you want to promote? Shows or projects?
CMIC: I just released a new album called “Erase” on all music platforms. I will coming out with a smaller project before summer that I think people will like. I’m setting up some shows in Knoxville over the next couple of months. Any sharing and supporting on my recent album and any of the up and coming projects is always super appreciated.
Connect with CMIC
Tha Milk Drop is a site focused on highlighting the hip-hop culture in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but also taps into hip-hop worldwide. Each week we drop exclusive and new content from artists. Also catch the profiles and interviews of hip-hop artists and creatives.
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