San Diego veteran emcee Mitchy Slick has had an active 2010. In addition to his group, Strong Arm Steady releasing an acclaimed album with Stones Throw Records, In Search Of Stoney Jackson, the SMC/Fontana artist opened the year releasing his own compilation album with Wrongkind, Yellow Tape. Speaking recently with HipHopDX, Mitch broke down his latest venture. "Wrongkind represents a whole bunch of niggas - people that ain't just rappers. We got homies that do a lot of things for Tha Wrongkind; we got homies that just slap people for Tha Wrongkind. It ain't just San Diego homies either. It's just some fly cats from my community that don't fit the usual type of get-money, have-bitches [mentality]." Slick said that the group has affiliates in Oklahoma, San Francisco and New York. "We're like the outcasts of the industry, 'cause all my niggas is real and 100." He added, "It's just a movement of real niggas that want to make some real shit happen in the Rap game." Within his Lincoln Park neighborhood, Slick said the group's extensive roster particularly resonates, "In San Diego, it just so happens that a lot of the [members] happen to be real figures of the community before they even grab the mic."
Although Mitchy Slick was present on every Yellow Tape record, he only appeared on two cuts ("Pressure" and "Two Pistols" from his group's sophomore album, produced entirely by Madlib. Asked why that was the case, Mitchy responded with candor. "Nothing pulled me from that project. Usually, with the Strong Arm Steady projects, I let Phil [Da Agony] and [Krondon] coordinate them. If they felt like [I] was only needed to be featured on [In Search Of Stoney Jackson], then I give them the freedom to do that. The two songs I'm on is great songs."
The San Diego rapper understands that his content differs from that of the group's other two members at times. "A lot of that may have to do with some of the content of the songs that I recorded for the Stoney Jackson album. It was already enough for the fan-base of [Madlib] to do records with a guy who was gonna be on gang-bangin' and shit, crack-rappin' on his beats. Some of the songs I did for the Stoney Jackson [album] was pimp records and shit. I just felt like that was something that hadn't really been heard on Madlib slaps. A lot of my fans ain't even really familiar with Madlib. They need to get their bars up though, for those that don't know a Madlib or a J Dilla or something like that. Open your horizons."
With their Blacksmith debut Arms & Hammers still in the works, Mitchy Slick expressed pleasure from the fan and critical response to the January album. "Some of the best response we've ever gotten from a Strong Arm Steady project have come from [In Search Of Stoney Jackson]."
Further asked if the rapper who has worked with Messy Marv and Cashis feels marginalized with his peers, he confessed, "I know that I get a much better response when it's a Mitchy Slick show than I get when it's a S.A.S. show, out of state. That's maybe because of how we promote it." Like Kool G Rap, Kurupt or Xzibit, Mitchy Slick prides himself on existing in two worlds. "I like being able to do both things, and I don't try to mix 'em. So if you hear Mitchy Slick on Strong Arm Steady shit, sometimes it's a little more conscious and a little more lyrical. Not lyrical, but a lot of times there's a lot of ignorance on a Mitchy Slick record. We refer to ignorance as that ghetto shit: $5,000 paintjob on a $2,000 car shit."
One of the stronger cuts on Yellow Tape is the commentary courtesy of "What Happened To The Turf." Mitchy Slick explained the vision for the album-record. "When I heard the track, all I could think about was the transitions in my neighborhood from the time from when we first began to now. From the '80s era this text-messaging, Internet era. I just asked questions about a lot of issues that's going on in my neighborhood." Mitch said that many of the young street disciples might not even realize that they're surrounded by forgotten street scholars from yesteryear. Offering insight, he says, "I try to bridge that gap between the old homies and the new homies."
As the predominant voice for San Diego in the last decade, Mitchy Slick was asked about his relationship to '90s San Diego pioneer Jayo Felony, who comes from a rival gang. "No comment," began Slick, who then added, "This Rap shit is so real, and this gang shit is so real...shit. That's some other shit. Me and Jayo Felony, that's street shit, not Rap shit. That's why I don't make songs and rap about niggas and say shit. That's buster shit to me."
With the streets recognizing the barriers between 16 bars and bandanas, Mitchy Slick explained why the two maintain separation. "Two niggas that's from two neighborhoods, that's supposed to be from those neighborhoods, ain't got no business rappin' about each other because that shit can go to shooting fast...I'm cool on talking about that shit."
Still, the emcee in Mitchy Slick recognized the significance both men offered their city. "We did a lot for the town. A lot of people look up to Jayo Felony for what he did." Going back to the mid-'90s, Slick admits, "I had never seen Jayo Felony and I could never identify with him, really, 'cause it's so segregated in our town. It kinda showed us that we could do it."
Although their streets might be separate, Mitchy Slick said he knows that he's yet to reach the level of success that Jayo Felony say through hits like "Whatcha Gonna Do." He revealed, "I don't look at the shit that I've accomplished on the level of what he's accomplished, because I know the real game. I'm not sayin' about what he has now or where he is now, but I'm sayin' to be on that level, that playing-field to a west coast gangsta nigga doing songs with Redman and being on Def Jam and all that shit, that ain't no regular shit. I respect that."
With 15 years on the Hip Hop map, both Mitchy Slick and Jayo Felony have been hugely instrumental to the city's recognition. "It showed San Diego we could do it. But we ain't show it on the level to where they can trust and depend on this Rap shit. Not yet. 'Cause we ain't really brought the bacon home."
With two group releases already this 2010, Mitch Slick is certainly trying to further the Southern California city's impact.