TV and radio are the barometer of what’s hot in hip hop. The music deemed good enough to “make it” becomes heavy in rotation and a staple in your favorite nightclub’s playlist. But cities rich in music culture like Atlanta are full of underground legends as well as up and coming creatives that are busy building buzz and fabricating the next new wave. MICXSIC (pronounced Mike Sick) is the gatekeeper to the local underground talent arenaWho is MICXSIC?
I'm an emcee first and foremost. Born in the Philippians. I wasn't even one when I came to the States. I've lived in New York, California. But most of my life I lived in Virginia Beach.
A lot of dope musicians out of VA. Has the culture there influenced you any?
It's melting pot.. A military town. Just a lot of people that want to share their talent. A lot of game changing people happen to be from Virginia. I don't know what it is maybe it’s the cream of the crop that rise to top that say hey we gotta be different. In Atlanta you have a lot of local DJs, these DJ Cools, that are out here dropping tapes and there are smaller stations. Where I was growing up it wasn’t like that. Closest thing you had was college radio.
What was your inspiration for creating The Bar Exam and Beat Royale?
People say I'm a promoter. I say I'm a provider. It's not just about promoting its about filling in the gaps. With The Bar Exam I felt, especially after coming to Atlanta, people have a lot of Yes men around them, a lot of hype men around them, Telling their boys what they wanted to hear not what they need to hear. I want to do something to shift that culture. So its you know if you don't pass the bar, pass the mic. If you're dope more power to you, if not you're gonna know.
How is the show set up?
A set of two cyphers, and everyone performs an original song. You can rap over lyrics you have to have a performance track. They cypher, kick they bars get used to the crowd. Then kick their original. The judges narrow down the top 5 then we turn voting over to the crowd. You gotta be about that craft you gotta have bars on deck.
Who is curating Beat Royale, and how do producers get on?
Dynamic Producer curates that. They just have to go to BeatRoyal.com
Is the signup the same for The Bar Exam?
Yea the bar exam is thebarexamopenmic.com. I'm actually bringing it to Dallas for the first time this Thursday. That’s gonna be exciting!
How many years have you been involved in A3C? What is your favorite A3C memory?
Last year, I think it was on the last day. I was a vendor and we had an activation. I was trying to break everything down and I see my girl.. I go out there and try to holla at her and right next to her I see Jay Electronica…What was cool about it was I had a selfie stick. Cats wasn't really rockin the selfie stick last year. I took a selfie with a bunch of us and Jay Electronica and he wanted to buy it from me! I told him I can’t sell it to you bruh but if you need somebody with a selfie stick with you onstage… (laughs) you know trying to work my way onstage.
How did your panel (Doin' it Live- Sonicbids) come about?
I worked with SonicBids on my Freestyle Experiment at Apache Café. Another thing I'm trying to do for (independent) music culture. The show has grown over the past two years and I'm at a point where I can give back to independent artists and I can actually pay them at for my show. I partner with them on that to provide the opportunity with the artist and interview the artist and provide content for their blog on these indie artists that are coming to Atlanta to perform.
What does a promoter or a talent buyer look for when they are choosing artists to perform?
You always have to protect your bottom line so number one you look at if they have a draw, that’s the first one so you make sure you check their social media and make sure you got your ears to the streets that helps.
What are some things talent buys like or don’t like to see when checking out an artist's press kit or social media?
The first thing is quality photos. At least have the whole thing flushed out. If you step foot in the fire of sonicbids or if you jump in that arena your competing with a lot of other people for that same opportunity. Have your SoundCloud link. Have a video. Have something there. Have quality photos.
Can you give us the inside of what the lineup for what your showcase at A3C will be like?
Savagefam.com is curating two stages. The first is The Bar Exam A3C showcase. It's in its third year in a row. The first year we a cat named Nemo who brought out Buggs the Rocka and Buggs brought out Talib Kweli. Second year we had J-Live, local cats… This is year we have Crooked I I'm very excited one because he's one of the best rappers in the galaxy. It's gonna be Crook, Phene, he's a partner of our Respect is King tour, we just did Sway in the Morning, a cat named Dano. The winner of the Sept. 25th Bar Exam here in Atlanta will open up the show. That's gonna be at Ten ATL 7-9 Friday Oct. 9th. The other stage on Oct. 10th we are bringing the Don't Flop Rap Battle to A3C.
What other A3C shows are you looking forward to?
I want to see Ryan Leslie show. I've never seen him live. It'd be cool to see the Music Matters Stage. But their showcase is the same time as mine. I might try to make it over there after.