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Thursday, January 20, 2011

WBM Features: Kane Mayfield

Follow your passion, and success will follow you.
-Terri Guillemets

Are you really happy with where are right now? How 'bout with the direction you're currently heading in? And if you're unsure with the answer to either of the two posited questions, I recommend really taking the time to get a grasp on what's taking place in and around your life.

Often time, we get caught up in what's seemingly right simply because in the rightness of what norms suggests therein lies comfort. However, over time, if not cognizant what may be too comfortable we get confined to such comforts and complacent, causes us to lead exceptionally normal lives.

On the other hand, to really go out and make moves toward true happiness we have to proactively pursue the things that we are most passionate about. In most cases, it's far from the normalcy of society, outside of conventional comfort and in the end very reward.

Take our next WBM Feature for example, Kane Mayfield, with whom you will soon get acquainted with travels to where his passions lead him. Interestingly enough, nothing but success has come his way. So with some time get up close and personal with the talent that is Kane Mayfield, here's a look at some of the passion that fuels his fire as we have a meeting of the minds.

[As Told To Why Blue Matters]

Who is Kane Mayfield?

KM: I'm a Rapper slash Poet, but really just an all around entertainer. Nothing makes me happier than keeping people singing along, or laughing, or just provoking some stimulating thought. The way I see it, there is enough going on in the world to where if your art can give folks an escape from theirs for 3 1/2 min, or just smile in a recession, then you’re doing your job.

Is this also your real name?

KM: Naaw lol. And that’s the one of the funnier things. My real name is Christopher Reid.... yeah I know... I heard every Superman and Kid N Play joke EVER. Kane was my nickname since I was a kid, and the Mayfield part came from when I had the only car so all my friends rode with me. This one summer in particular I played the Curtis Mayfield Superfly soundtrack EVERY day, so they would be in the car on the phone like "yeah I'm in the car with Kane effing Mayfield over here" and it just stuck. So when they said "what’s your rap name" my honest answer was "I don’t have one... but my friends call me Kane Mayfield". I just thought renaming myself Lil Young Murder Guap Piff was kind out of line lol.

Where are you from?

KM: Well I am about as Long Island as you can get. I was born in Elmont, raised in Amityville, and I grew up in Mastic (further and further east). My cousins all think I’m going to retire and move into the damn lighthouse. But I live in Baltimore and have for the last 5yrs. Have been coming here for summers since a kid so it’s like my second home. But I also lived just outside of DC and in Florida for a bit. Additionally where I grew up was ALL West Indian, and I am a first generation American, so if you pour a couple drinks in me a really authentic accent comes out.


KM: Really...... anything that is interesting. I know that’s kind of a 1+1=2 answer but yeah. I’m a weirdo so I love Sci-Fi, have seen every episode of Stargate, and am a strait up cartoon addict. But I worked for 10yrs as a financier so I still love economics, boring political CSPAN (can do that for hours) and just the stock market in general. But since I was selling it, if you get me talking about it I sound like a 52yr old white man.

What does music mean to you?

KM: Music is supposed to make you feel..... SOMETHING. Personally I think it is and always has been like the grease on the wheels of a well adjusted society. How some folks live without it are beyond me. When I am down, I run to Sade, and Gregory Isaacs. When I'm happy my old school Nice N Smooth, or Big Daddy Kane songs come out. When I'm angry, I have (well let’s face it) TONS of street niggery jingles to make myself mentally shoot my problems with a MAC-11 so I don’t do it in real life. With a girl getting intimate you got some romantic shit like some Ralph Tresvant or some Nate Dogg lol....... you get the picture. Hell the day I passed my Series 7 I was speeding down the Long Island Expressway blasting “Warm It Up Kane”. I just hope to be able to make something someone can run to, one of these days.

How long have you been involved?

KM: I have only really been a rapper for the last 3yrs. Before that I worked in Finance as a stockbroker, and was selling any financial instrument I could get my greedy lightskinnedid hands on. Yeah so like... I was a part of the problem lol. But I had been writing rhymes with my cousins since I was in High School. I thought they were way nicer than me, but their focus was... well just to be honest... crack. So my train of thought was "If those guys aint chasing it and they are that good, I had better get a job" so I did.

When did you know that music was something that you wanted to pursue?

KM: Well writing rhymes was my therapy. I had to watch pretty much all of my friends either die or go to jail. Meanwhile I'm living this whole other world of grown up stuff and business deals with expensive suits and good scotch. I felt like I betrayed my friends by not dying and going to jail with them, which when you think about it is kind of silly. But writing was like my last connection to that world, so it was really passionate. A producer (Dwayne "Headphones" Lawson got a hold of my music, and said we should do an EP and he would help me. I still did not think I was good enough, but with his help I started getting better...... FAST. At that point he and Brandon Lackey formed Mania Music Group and they signed me as a solo artist. As I began making noise and really pushing myself, I started to see my name in the paper and on different blogs. So I just said to myself "man... I can really do it", quit my job and been doing music full time for about a year.

Describe your style of music?

KM: Wow... that’s tough. I make a lot of everything. Running the risk of being a big geek schmoe, it’s the rap version of Quantum Leap. Either way you slice it, you’re going to get me Dr Sam Beckett (and my production Al lol). But nothing is more fun than giving people something they never saw, or expected. As a 90's kid the Wu-Tang, Boot Camp, big book bag, bubble coat, boxcutter music comes natural. But I can also make a song like Reganomics where I am telling stories and taking you through the lives of different people. So I would say my style is entertainment. I wasn't one of those kids (and frankly I used to envy them) that just KNEW they were going to be musicians since they were a fetus. So I don’t have a box or boundaries like "naaaw dog, Kane Mayfield don’t do that" musically I will try anything. And this approach has led to the creation of my better records.

Why should people listen to you?

KM: Because I'm nuts. Think about it, if you were on a bus with Barack Obama, and he's all "let me tell you about America" but there was a guy dressed like disco duck and he is just pumping it, like clack clack clack all in peoples face right? As much as you want to talk to the president you’re going to just HAVE to look at the crazy guy. That’s what we are here for. The world of urban entertainment is boring if you haven’t noticed. At this point it’s like "yeah I get it... your a rich cocaine lord who has many nice items that you bought retail due to massive wealth. Yes my girlfriend finds you attractive and would engage in lewd sex acts in a luxury sedan with you.... yeah yeah.. WHAT ELSE." How many ghetto stories are enough? We are 16yrs deep in crack music, so it’s probably time for something a bit less depressing.

What's your motivation?

KM: Well, I have been pretty much hiding my emotions in rhymes for so long that it’s really just life. My label helped me to channel a range of emotions through my pen (not just sadness and regret) so at this point whatever I am feeling can materialize into a song. Good relationship, bad relationship. Happy day, sad day. So my muse is life. But the burning torch in the back of my mind is that I can’t let the blood go thin on my watch. I am from the same place as De La Soul, EPMD, Rakim, Keith Murray, Chuck D, Prodigy, and a slew of others. Those are the jerseys on the wall in my gym. So every time I take a jumper, it has to be just as clean... if not cleaner than the guys that came before me.

What goes into the creation of your songs?

KM: Well my mom was a writer so landscape and image are really important to me. So the first thing I do is say “what is this record saying to me” or if there isn’t one "what is this song going to say" and then I build the skeleton. There is a constant need to not be on anyone else’s wave (word to Max B) so the key for me is to "put some stank where it aint" (word to Headphones). Oh and lyrics are pretty much my obsession. No matter how catchy the melody or the cadence, I will pour over the lyrics for as long as it takes for me to get comfortable with them. My biggest fear is the whole "yeah he aight but he don’t be saying shit".

Who are some of your influences?

KM: As far as rap goes, my wheelhouse is late 80's and early to mid 90's. You’re not going to see me yelling out Furious 5 and Bambata and them because that’s like stereotype rapper answer for 500 Alex lol. Much respect to those guys because they inspired the guys who inspired me, but that’s not the hip hop I fell in love with. My heroes start around Kane and G Rap. I rode my bike to summer school bumping Group Home in my oversized headphones so it’s like that’s rap to me. I grew up listening to Mighty Sparrow and Bob so there is a certain level of social commentary that I feel ALWAYS has to be maintained. Between that and the old school stuff like Blood Sweat & Tears, The Drifters, Patsy Kline, Marvin, Marty Robbins, and (what my gf calls my) barbeque reggae.

Working on any new projects?

KM: Well to date I have been involved in the release of a Sampler, an EP (Prelude to the Blade Runner, two mix tapes, a label EP (Welcome to the Soundcheck), and a full length label LP (Welcome to the Audience). So at this point I am almost finished with my first solo LP called "Follow My Flow" which should be available second quarter 2011. I have been doing a bi weekly breakdown called "Follow My Flow Fridays" since last summer. Where I take a verse from one of the songs I released and break down the lyrics. So between that, the occasional poetry slam, and my "in-and-abouts" around the area I am having fun spreading my message of "truth peace and everybody gets laid". Oh and I am recording an unplugged Live album in the next few weeks so that should be pretty damn interesting.

Tell the world a little about your upcoming reality show (mystery

KM: Well... I don’t have one, but now that you mention it I probably should. I am an endless cavalcade of fun and enjoyment for the whole family. Probably be better suited for FX or HBO though lol.

What are your thoughts on success?

KM: It’s all relative. I don’t have to be big huge baller shot caller with a McDuck like money bin. Honestly I am happy to just be making my music, and getting to be me for a living. All and all it is going to take a lot of work either way but with my support team, a lot of practice, some faith, and a little bit of luck I'm not too worried about it. As long as your doing what you love and you can take care of your family, your living the dream.

Biggest Accomplishment?

KM: Well the first time we won Best of Baltimore and my name and picture was in the newspaper I brought it to my mom. She is like my number one supporter and although at first when I quit my job she thought her "son gone mad" she has been really happy for me. So it’s kind of tied between that and the time I was pulled up on stage by my homeboys Flex Mathews and Kosha Dillz at the Duck Down Tour. My big brother and I were there and he had never seen me rock a crowd before. It was like every punch line had the crowd go "AAAH" and when I got down he told me he was proud of me. Those two things are still tied for the best, even though there has been a lot to smile about.

Any anyone you like to work with in the future?

KM: Well the rap jerseys that adorn the walls in my gym are like one of those bucket list type of deals. But I'm a big fan of a lot of people from like Homeboy Sandman, to groups like Tribe that I grew up listening to. I want to make the best music possible so there really isn't a long list of folks I don’t want to work with.

What's next for Kane Mayfield?

KM: Every day is an adventure so who knows. In a short 2 1/2 years we made a lot of progress. The biggest thing is keeping an open mind and being as flexible as possible as to not block my blessings. Like I said, I have an unshakable confidence in my team and our sound... long as we are making honest music the sky's the limit.

Any advice for those looking to pursue their aspirations in music?

KM: Don’t ever ever ever ever quit. There are a thousand reasons to stay in bed every morning but you got to drag your butt out of it. I have always been a "if I can make it to the shower person" so the first trick is to know your weakness'. If you procrastinate, be proactive. If you’re an introvert, try to be more open and forthcoming. And understand that you get out what you put in. Headphones has this saying that if you go to a soda machine and put a quarter in, you get your quarter back. If you put 75 cents in you get your money back. But you have to put that $1 in if you want to get a soda. Recently I have been putting my dollar in, and the feeling is great. But the most important lesson I have learned was spread love and positivity. Sounds kind of corny, but if you do anything with malicious intention it’s not going to work...... TRUST ME.

What are some of the ways people can keep up with what you're doing?

KM: The Mania Music Group Website as well as the Bandcamp has all of our projects on it. As far as my day to day the best way I can say is FB & Twitter. I use both of those things as tools to keep my friends, family, and fans entertained in between shows and releases. It’s also where I do the Follow My Flow series.

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