DXnext alum Mikkey Halsted recently released his solo debut, The Dark Room. The Chicago, Illinois emcee, a former Cash Money Records artist, received high-profile features on the album from the likes of Bun B, Crooked I and No I.D. One artist not involved was Kanye West, who Mikkey worked with in the early ’00s.
In a new interview with BrooklynBodega.com, Halsted spoke about the status of his and ‘Ye’s relationship, especially after the G.O.O.D. Music superstar name-checked Mikkey on College Dropout‘s “Last Call.” “Firstly, Kanye [West] is my man; we used to record at his mom’s crib in Hazel Crest, just outside Chicago.” The pair did work that led to Mikkey’s signing with Ronald “Slim” Williams and brother, Birdman. “The situation came about when Cash Money got my demo and went crazy over it. At that time, [B.G.’s] ‘Bling Bling’ was everywhere and all though I wasn’t really feeling their music then, all I knew was that everything they did went platinum. By protocol, they flew Kanye down to New Orleans to meet with Baby and discuss a deal.”
The early ’00s however, found several Chicago emcees getting major label attention. “‘Ye was also being courted by Roc-A-Fella but the deal was only for Kanye. Cash Money wanted to buy Kanye’s music, sign me as an artist and put the whole team on; my sister, GLC, Rhymefest, and the Go-Getters and all. Kanye wasn’t feeling the deal, so I neither was I. Then Cash Money called and offered to sign my sister, Miss Criss and me. I felt pressure because of that and my family’s finances got real tight at that time so the family was looking at me like ‘Be the savior.’ So I signed with Cash Money.”
Although the collaborators were no longer working together, things were believed to be in tact. “I didn’t think that my relationship with Kanye suffered because of that but I guess he felt a certain way about it after I heard ‘Last Call.'” On the album’s parting shot, Kanye said, “One of my homies, that was one of my artists, he got signed but it was supposed to really go through my production company, but he ended up going straight with the company. So like I’m straight holding the phone getting the bad news that dude was trying to leave my company and I got evicted at the same time.”
Despite the fact that the two opted for different paths, Halstead maintains, “I love Kanye to this day though, because without him, I wouldn’t be grinding nearly as hard — I wouldn’t be the Mikkey Halsted I am today. [Kanye] put faith in me in the beginning, so I’ll always pay homage to him.”
The Darkroom is available now.