On da Come Up with Music Mystro
Music Mystro is one of the illest DJ/producers on the underground scene in New York. But don’t be fooled Mystro is no new jack to the game. At 20 he met with Uptown rapper Sacario and ultimately produced “Live Big” (Car Keys), which provided the emcee with instant hit.
Although Sacario later fizzled, Mystro has gone on to worked with the likes of Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, The Clipse, and many other mainstream artists. Even with those names on his résumé the Harlem native feels like an underdog on the come up. And although he always has his foot in the doors with the majors, today he is more focused on breaking his own artists Naza da Great and Gage while always keeping his hands on the ones-and-twos.
Mystro and Hip Hop Ruckus recently caught up to talk about his love of music and Hip-Hop as well as his second come up. YaBoy also asked him to compare and contrast his two musical trades, DJing and producing – Mystro definitely gave more than the cliché answers.
YaBoy: Mystro what’s going on, what’s new?
Mystro: Nothing much, the only thing that’s new is the year – the grind continues!
YaBoy: Indubitably! Let’s get into this. You began learning the craft of DJing at 11. Tell us the story behind you becoming a DJ.
Mystro: Pretty much at 11 my next door neighbor’s son had turntables and I used to go into the room and play records when he wasn’t home. I made a couple of mixtapes just for my ears then I kind of fell back until I was like 17. My boy Day-son aka Daytona 500 got me back into DJing because that was his thing and I was interning at Untertainment Records at the time bringing him records. I ended up building his record collection and I was also getting better at DJing; helping him spin at parties. After that the rest was history. I started spinning in clubs and going on the road as well.
YaBoy: Now you also began producing at the young age of 20. Since then you’ve produced for Dipset, The Clipse, Sirius Jones and a list of other emcees. What inspired you to go from being a DJ to a music producer?
Mystro: After a falling out with the dude that was producing the music for me and my group, when I was rapping, I said what the hell. I’m always around it and I’m always playing with the equipment so I gave it a shot and I stuck with it. Me and my group needed beats so I stepped up to that challenge and ran with it. Honestly, I’m surprised that I ran with it the way I did because I was trying to do everything, but doing beats just stuck with me. I like making music. I like to see people’s reaction when they hear it and like my music. It’s a good feeling when people say “Yo, son got the heat! He Got that Crack!”
YaBoy: I bet. If you could make a beat for any artists right now who would that artists be and what would the beat sound like in words?
Mystro: My favorite artist of all time is Busta Rhymes so I would say him. But I know I’m going to have to take it to another level because he takes it to another level so I would have to say the beat would probably be something that’s going to be between 95 and 100 BPM (Beats Per Minute) and it’s going to have a lot of energy. Probably a lot of drops in the beat – who knows! Busta is unpredictable. That’s a good thing!
On the R&B side I want to work with Donell Jones. I have been a fan of his music forever. That would be something very sonic and melodic at the same time; something mid-tempo with light keys that will catch the ladies’ attention.
YaBoy: Nice, I like them answers [laughs]. Do you believe that your ability to feel a crowd out as a DJ makes you a better producer?
Mystro: Hell yeah! I think DJ/producer’s have a little edge. Me DJing out in the clubs, I hear everything that’s coming out whether I like it or not, I can see what the people like and take that back to the studio with me and incorporate that into my production. It’s all about making people move and making things that people can relate to.
YaBoy: What is a better feeling? Making people at a party go crazy as a DJ or creating a hit as a producer?
Mystro: Wow, that’s a tough question. It’s equal, I love making people dance and go crazy but I also like when people find out that I produced a joint that they liked for a good while and when they found out that I did the record they get excited and say “Oohhh Word! That’s my joint man!”
YaBoy: Must be a rush either way huh. Music has had a big impact on your life. It’s probably safe to say you live for it. Who are some artists that you grew up listening to that have influenced you?
Mystro: Well off the back I grew up a Michael Jackson, Prince, and New Edition fan from when I was very young. Thriller, Purple Rain, and N.E Heartbreak are three of my favorite albums of all time. I play the Thriller album in the clubs all that time – I get it in where I can [laughs]. I also grew up listening to Slick Rick – I Got an ass beating for reciting Indian Girl at 8-years-old [laughs] – Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane’s first two albums, Biz Markie, Kris Kross – don’t front like ya’ll wasn’t bumping “Jump.” It was hot back then. Wu Tang, Boot Camp, Mobb Deep and more.
Now growing up with my grandparents there have been a lot of songs that I didn’t like back then because I had no knowledge of the music but now that I study music and a lot of that stuff my grandparents used to play I’m sampling them. Artists like The O’Jays, The Manhattans, The Dells, Delphonics, Curtis Mayfield, Diana Ross, Pattie Labell and a lot more names.
YaBoy: That’s what’s up, and yeah I know I was listening to “Jump.” I never wore my clothes in reverse though, my folks weren’t having that [laughs]. Did you ever think you would have as much success early on as you did?
Mystro: No, it caught me off guard and I don’t even see it as success because from the first time I sold my first beat. It took me almost five years before I sold another one on the major level. I been crushing the independent side and that kept me alive as well. I done work for so many projects in between and the songs didn’t make the finished project or the albums never came out. The business is very different now from back in 1998 when I started.
YaBoy: What does Mystro have in store for Hip-Hop heads? Any new projects?
Mystro: I’m going to keep it 100 because Mystro doesn’t know what’s in-store for Mystro at the moment. One thing I do know is that I have my artists that I’m working with and I’m getting ready to let the world see them. First, I have my cousin Naza da Great (www.myspace.com/NazaDaGreat) getting ready for the release of his album 3, 2, 1 Blast Off and I have my homie Gage (www.myspace.com/Gagedtf), who has made a lot of noise and he’s coming back strong. Those are personal projects I’m working on. Now as far as the majors, it’s a new year and its time to start shopping projects again. There’s things lined up but I’m a wait till I start working on those projects before I say I’m working on them.
YaBoy: Any last words?
Mystro: Any last words, yeah! Check me out on myspace.com/DjMusicMystro and for you artist looking for another promotional outlet check out my site Indie2Industry.com. We post a lot of opportunities for producers, writers and artist on the rise and also check out DtfRadioPlaypen.com. Another online promotional outlet other than that is Mystro on the Beat!