M.M.E.
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M.M.E.

Saint Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF | AFM

Saint Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop Alternative

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
26
M.M.E. @ Cervantes' Masterpiece & The Other Side

Denver, Colorado, United States

Denver, Colorado, United States

Jun
04
M.M.E. @ The Luminary

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

May
14
M.M.E. @ The Music Room

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Music

Press


"Honor Adam Yauch on Third Annual MCA Day"

With a hip-hop festival, a playground, a state senate resolution, and, most recently, a possible street co-naming effort as tributes, New York has not shied away from honoring the late, great Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys. And, as the two-year anniversary of his death approaches, this remembrance continues with the Third Annual "MCA Day" in Brooklyn on May 3. The event features music, art, and surprise guest performances, all of which are dedicated to the rapper's career and social activism.

For sounds, old-school hip-hop sets will be provided by resident disc-jock Frank White, as well as DJ Eclipse, DJ DP One from the Heavy Hitters Crew, DJ K.O., and beloved rap A&R Dante Ross. While the list is sure to grow, a performance by St. Louis songwriter collective MME has also been confirmed. In terms of visuals, the photography of Glen Friedman, Sunny Bak, and Ricky Powell will be featured alongside a fan-created art show called "Keep It On and On." There's also an open mic session planned. - Spin


"How St. Louis' Hip-Hop Community Thrived in a Year of Social Unrest"

The lights are dimmed at the Luminary on Cherokee Street, where roughly 200 hip-hop fans have gathered for a special event showcasing the work of St. Louis' MME collective, a tight group of local artists who have been making big noise in the last year. Photos from a recent West Coast outing hang on a wall close to the front of the building, and a stash of merch sits in plain sight for anyone walking through the door. But no one is interested in any of that right now. It is the end of a long night, and the focus is on the stage.

The June 4 show kicked off this year's LAB series at the Luminary, a multimedia affair that pairs live performance with video projection. Each member of MME — Dante Wolfe, Mir, Lyrique, Con, Ciej and Mvstermind — has already performed individually before joining forces à la Voltron to close out the show with a group set.

See also: St. Louis Hip-Hop Trailblazers MME Get a Showcase at the Luminary

As they prepare to perform the final song of the night, the group's de facto leader, Mvstermind, looks sweaty but determined. "We gotta do this shit for this city, man," he says. "Keep cultivating."

The opening strains of "#OPFERGUSON WAVE2" rise over the sound system as someone grabs a mic, shouting a phrase that has become all too familiar for anyone living in the St. Louis area.

"Rest in peace Mike Brown!"

The crowd erupts into cheers.

In the ten months since Michael Brown was shot to death by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, St. Louis' hip-hop scene has been at the forefront of artistic dissent in the region. Sharp criticism of the state of policing has led to protest-style lyrics and musical rallying cries, bringing international attention to a community that hasn't seen a breakout commercial act in years.

Some artists, including Tef Poe and T-Dubb-O, have attracted new audiences by setting their music to the side and picking up protest signs and bullhorns instead. Their frequent interviews with international media organizations and appearances at the White House and the United Nations have revealed the folly in dismissing a hip-hop artist as "just a rapper." In fact, the genre's street-level view and relative agility serve as its greatest strengths, enabling artists to react quickly to issues of social injustice.

"#OPFERGUSON WAVE2," for example, was written and released in one day — a day that began when MME's members attempted to participate in a more traditional form of protest.

At a Clayton rally a few days after Brown's death, Mvstermind explains, "We got a chance to talk on the megaphone and everything. But I swear, people were just driving by, some people wasn't even looking, some people might honk the horn and yell some cuss words. And I was just like, 'What the hell? The purpose of this is not working — for me at least.' So I was like, 'Yo, let's go hit the lab, y'all; let's go and knock this track out.'"


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Photo by Brea Photography
Mvstermind, performing at The Luminary.
Back in the studio, he had one overriding impulse: "Whatever we do, we gotta release this track today."

Artistic expression wound up being a much better fit for the group.

"We ended up just writing that song on the spot and releasing it hours later," Mvstermind says.

See also: St. Louis Hip-Hop Artists Prince Ea and MME Release New Pieces Inspired by Michael Brown

The powerful track is rooted deeply in current events, with "don't shoot" repeated again and again as its closing lyrics. The group released a video for the song, shot by Mike Roth of Louis Quatorze video production, which features Mir, Con and Mvstermind. Each rapper delivers one verse, starting in the street and walking toward the camera before arriving at his home and posing with his family. The overall message: Behind every kid on the street is a life and a group of people who love him. These young men aren't an anonymous "other" — they are us.

The video was released on September 24. Two weeks later, on October 8, eighteen-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. died in a shootout with an off-duty police officer in south St. Louis. The incident brought the Ferguson protests to St. Louis proper, with already-high tensions and distrust of the police narrative fueling participants' anger.

Myers' death took place ten minutes after he purchased a sandwich at the Shaw Market, located at the corner of Shaw Avenue and Klemm Street. By coincidence, that corner also happens to be the same spot where the "#OPFERGUSON WAVE2" video opens, with Mir rapping in the street, the corner store visible behind him.



"I was trying to interpret it in so many different ways. Like, what did that mean?" Mvstermind says. "To me personally, I feel like the universe has its ways of just showing how everything is connected, you know what I mean? I'm not exactly sure what is the deeper meaning, but I know that that wasn't just no pure coincidence."

MME wasn't the only local hip-hop group to respond in the early days of the Ferguson unrest. Souls of Liberty released "Stay Alive (RIP Mike Brown)" just two days after Brown's death. Prince Ea filmed a spoken-word piece at the burned-out QuikTrip, "Michael Brown, Same Story," which has garnered nearly 100,000 views since it was uploaded on August 13. Mathias & the Pirates, Chris Grindz, Jah Orah & KD Assassin, Bo Dean, Domino Effect, Arshad Goods, TheBlackBruceWayne, members of the FarFetched collective, Doorway and seemingly countless others would each offer a take as the months wore on. For these artists, music served as an outlet, a way to work through the emotions of a very difficult time. - Riverfront Times


"MME is DIY Hip-Hop Fueled by St. Louis Pride"

In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.

MME's spazzed out hip-hop crew eschews big time promoters in lieu of strong, community-based roots. With this group, MME labels in two ways: Musical Mastermind Entertainment and Mastermind Einstein. The latter's been the subject of local praise, and for good reason. When this collective combines, they come off as some super-hero rap squad and straight up animate on stage. With DIY ethics in tow, MME has set out to book its first tour and is looking to crowd source funds through indiegogo.

MME bleeds distinct beats, unafraid to explore sounds outside the rhyme. Through working with the sharp Franco-Hill or Adult Fur, MME comes out equally fresh live and on-record. Muhammad Austin, who moonlights as Mvstermind, has a keen ear for quality and a good eye when it comes to his crew.

Not one head in MME is dead weight; they all splinter into solo and sub-groups. Their recent cut 80-D has Austin with AtM (Amir Wakil & Malcolm Chandler), Lyrique (Jermarco Britton), Ciej (Charles Jacobs) and Sixela Yoccm (Alexis McCoy). The song gives headroom for each major player and edges in enough screen-time for a proper introduction to MME as a whole.

Not that I'd advise the following, but: Satellite members of MME set up a kit and amps right across from our office on Delmar earlier this Summer. No doubt breaking some city ordinance, they got our attention (with the help of Jeffery Hill Jr. Of Franco-Hill). RFT Music happened to be meeting that day, and these heads kept interrupting. Before U-City's finest could hassle them, I ran down and dropped my card off.

To other bands: If you're brave enough to do the same, go ahead, but RFT Music offers no protection from the fuzz, and we certainly don't guarantee any press. Busk at your own risk.

So they survived what was likely a hissy fit from the cops. MME hopes to crowd-fund a fall tour, featuring dates in Chicago, Columbia, Kansas City and Springfield. The recent push with Mvstermind's latest A.D.D., the video for 80-D and this indiegogo campaign marks a full effort - growth through the fans, local art and community. - Riverfront Times


"St. Louis Hip-Hop Trailblazers MME Get a Showcase at the Luminary"

Of rapper ciej's event at the Luminary next week with hip-hop collective MME (Mediate. Meditate. Elevate.), he says, "I might perform on the ceiling." MME will descend on the space at 2701 Cherokee, an incubator for new ideas in the arts that presents visual art exhibitions, an artist residency program, concerts and LAB, a one-year old event series that pushes musicians beyond their music.

Formed last summer, LAB offers local musicians a venue to explore their ambitions and the different dimensions of their artistic practices. AstThe Luminary's Operations and Events Coordinator Liz Deichmann explains, "We are interested in pushing the conversation of music past traditional concert experiences." The Luminary's interior, now bare of furniture in anticipation of a floor refurbishing, provides artists a literal blank canvas to do with what they will.

MME will kick off this year's LAB series on June 4 just as the collective is coming off a successful ten-city tour with stops that included SXSW in Austin, a two-night performance in Denver and an unexpected trip to Los Angeles for a last-minute show. Not only did the group sell of out merch, but its trip was mostly financed by a fan-funded GoFundMe campaign. "The tour gave us the strength to continue to trust ourselves," relays Mvstermind, the troupe's de facto leader.

Though a collective, each of the six members operates individually, with his own style and hip-hop sensibility. The eldest of the bunch at 24, Mvstermind produces his own records, which bring a soulful electronic edge to his real-life perspective. Ciej is also his own producer, with a lyrical tone oozing vulnerability and depth. A talented lyricist himself, Con delivers a grittiness in his voice that mirrors his disillusionment with an imperfect world, while Dante Wolfe also dwells on society's woes, utilizing his intellectualism to smoothly convey his inner thoughts. Lastly, neo-soul singer Lyrique's deep and moody voice vibrates images of love and beauty, whereas Mir distorts sounds to create an unsettling atmosphere for his bold raps. .

Together, the bond they share in music has created a brotherhood that fosters each artist's growth, while also offering opportunities for collaboration.

For the past several years, the members of MME have been trailblazers for the younger generation of local hip-hop, experimenting with new sounds, fan engagement techniques and music promotion. Within the hip-hop scene, its members have been called "little bros," a reference to their age and lack of experience, but after several years of quality releases and artistic growth, they're proving themselves ready for the next step. Mvstermind admits as much, saying, "We are finding ourselves and close to being ourselves."

In tapping MME for LAB's June 4 installment, Deichmann notes their multidisciplinary hustle with streetwear designers, multimedia creators and other music producers. The LAB series offers a platform for MME's members to wholly represent themselves through sound and video; it will be a coming-out show of sorts for fans, family and fervent music lovers.

All six members will perform solo acts, a chance for each to shine in his own right before coming together with a final group set. The show will also serve as a release party for ciej's EP dbs heaven, as well as Con's partnership with producer Michael Franco that created their She EP. MME also expects to debut never-before-heard tracks and bring several surprise guests to share the stage.

Though the performances will be the highlight, the collective is committed to creating an experience beyond music for the audience. Working with visual artist Mike Bishop, a custom visual projection from an amalgamation of MME video footage will be visible throughout the Luminary. Additionally, MME has partnered with streetwear designer Civil Ape to create a summer clothing line of merchandise and apparel, from tie-dye baseball jerseys to custom screen-printed t-shirts, that will be debuted in a fashion show. Prints from MME tour photographer Cory Miller, hand-made pizza from sponsor and Cherokee Street resident Master Pieza and physical copies of multiple MME releases will also be for sale. - Riverfront Times


"St. Louis Musicians Mobilize To Draw Attention To Michael Brown’s Death"

The day after Michael Brown was shot, Muhammad Austin, known musically as Mvstermind, left a protest in Clayton, returned home, sat down in his room, and produced a song addressing the tensions and frustrations he felt regarding Brown’s death. Austin is one artist among many painters, graphic designers, actors, and musicians producing work to give voice to their thoughts on the shooting of Michael Brown.

“Art is universal to humanity itself,” said Austin. He acknowledged the complicated situation developing in the shooting’s wake. ;“There’s a lack of understanding that the arts can heal.”

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Willis Ryder Arnold speaks with "Cityscape" host Steve Potter about the St. Louis arts community's response to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Twenty-three-year-old Austin is part of the young entertainment collective MME. He is one of the St. Louis artists who have released music, primarily through audio sharing platform Soundcloud, related to recent events in Ferguson. Austin released the music, labeled “#OPFERGUSON II WAVE 1 & 2 (Westfall),” with one intention. “I wanted to touch base on all sides. There’s a lack of sympathy as human beings. “

The first half of the track relates to Austin’s experience with the initial response of the St. Louis African-American community. Although the music is abstract at times, it focuses on frustration, outrage and the urge toward action. The second half of the track focuses on Austin’s desire for a peaceful response to the tragedy in Ferguson. He acknowledges that the urge toward violence is a natural human reaction but says that same humanity should lead us past those reactions to peaceful endeavors.

Miistro Freeyo is another St. Louis musician who’s released music dedicated to Michael Brown. His song, “What You Gone Do ? #WYGD” is a more traditional memorial and includes lyrics like "Kill or be killed is all we know.”

The first song that appeared on SoundCloud was rapper VA Pete’s “#JUSTICEFORMIKEBROWN.” VA Pete is Virginia resident Lamont Woods.

“I got these feelings for his father and feelings for his mother, and I made this song for his city,” said Woods. He continued, “I didn’t want this to be a gimmick thing, it was just on my heart to actually speak about the situation, so that’s what I did.” Woods said it was difficult to channel his initial reaction into his music. “The hardest part is when you have to tap into your emotions. It’s an amazingly frustrating situation. When I got the news I shed a few tears.”

As the week continued, more local artists lent their voice to tribute and protest songs.

St. Louis rappers Prince Ea and Hitman Holla, real names Richard Williams and Gerald Fulton Junior have also posted tracks online, although they use the forum YouTube. Prince Ea released a spoken work piece filmed in front of the destroyed Quick Trip, site of many of this past week’s protests. Michael Brown, Same Story has received almost 5,000 views. A different Prince Ea video has received over 1 million views.
Hitman Holla’s video “#MikeBrown” has over 7,000 views. The track is characterized by the use of a recorded news clip and ominous introductory music, and relates parts of the narrative that has unfolded over the past week. The video touches on the issue of excessive force often raised by protestors in Ferguson, “If he ran, they could have chased him. Unarmed, they could have maced him.”

Although these songs express frustration and anger, most try to acknowledge there are multiple sides to the story. Many express an understanding of the violent response, but call into questions the social situations that elicit that response and point toward peaceful responses as an alternative way to manage community outrage. - St. Louis Public Radio


"Best Musical Act (Not a Band) St. Louis 2014 - Mvstermind Einstein"

This is Muhammad Austin's time. Working for years in St. Louis' hip-hop scene as the solo artist Mvstermind Einstein and as part of his collective MME (which we billed last December as one of the eight acts to watch in 2014), Austin has been on fire in 2014 and is finally earning recognition and opportunities from outside of the Gateway City. Opening for rappers like Ab-Soul and playing major festivals in New York and Atlanta, Austin has been showcasing his smooth grooves and poignant lyrics that demonstrate his promise as an inventive, commercially viable artist. But his heart will never leave St. Louis — the man puts out quality videos and songs by the dozen, and his lyrical commentary on Ferguson has been eye-opening for many. - Riverfront Times


"5 Moments From A3C Festival Friday"

A3C is one of the premiere festivals in Atlanta featuring over 500 performances from some of hip-hop’s most promising and respected artists from all over. XXL is on the ground to give day-to-day recaps of what’s going down during their 10-year celebration.

With the weekend approaching, A3C took the festival experience to an even higher level on Friday (Oct. 10) with a combination of old school meets new school hip-hop. From panels on emerging producers to film screenings, attendees were exposed to more than just the artist side of the music industry. With all that’s occurring on the festival grounds, XXL is still out here in Atlanta giving you the day-to-day recaps of the 10-year celebration of A3C.—Asia Burris

Missouri Holds Their Own Showcase

Not too many of today’s artists are branching out from the state of Missouri, but the ones who are making noise for the world to hear have continued to build a consistent name for themselves. The “Comin’ Outta Missouri” showcase featured emerging lyricist Gee Watts, who’s collaborated with Kendrick Lamar in the past, alongside The Bodega Brovas, Ciej, INDIANA ROME, and more. From watching the vibes throughout this event and with all of the new music hitting the air waves today, who’s to say that Kansas City, St. Louis, or Springfield won’t be the next city to put Missouri on the map? - XXL Mag


"A Rising Hip-Hop Star: Mvstermind"

Local rapper Muhammad Austin articulately spits out words with his melodious, arresting voice, wearing no shoes in the living room of his parents’ home in Blackjack, Missouri. “I go by the name of Mvstermind, born and raised here in St. Louis. I’ve been–I’m a producer. I’m an artist–visionary. Just all together, that is me as a person.” His latest album, which he wrote and produced entirely himself, is called A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming), a play on his childhood diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder. He’s also the ringleader of M.M.E., a collective of young local rappers and vocalists which also includes AtM, Lyrique, Klassik, Sixela Yoccm, and Ciej.
Together, they’re the most active players on the local performance circuit, and have already been featured on MTV, iTunes, The Source, and Pandora. Their single “80-D” was featured nationwide through Charter’s On-Demand service, and in 2013 M.M.E was nominated for Producer of the Year, Best Video, Best Group, and Artist of the Year at the St. Louis Underground Music Awards. At 23, he’s been at the art of music production for a while now. “As a kid I was like, ‘I’m going to be famous by now.’ Nonetheless, I’m ecstatic to see the way life is working out. Just trying to push.”
Rows upon rows of frilly, brightly colored dresses take up most of the foyer, hung up on gleaming silver pipe racks. “My mother’s a fashion designer and she’s still at it, still pushing. She’s gonna make that happen,” says Austin. He has a mass of dreadlocks tied together in a thick ponytail underneath a blue and red hat, which looks like it might suddenly pop off at any second, and his jawline is outlined by slight scruff. “It’s crazy. I have a whole family full of dreamers, and that is the biggest and only reason why I am here today. Without having that backing force, I know it is tough.” Austin has held a variety of day jobs while chasing the dream of making it big in the industry, from greeting customers at IHOP (which made him so miserable he wrote a whole song about it) to his current day job: working at Avis distributing rental cars. “If I was in Atlanta with the resume I have now, I wouldn’t have to work at Avis. I could work at someone’s record label,” he says.
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“My father–he’s been involved in music since he was young. He was 3 years old playing kungas at this Johnny Mathis show out in Vegas.” Austin’s father later began managing a local reggae band and would let his young son play music with them sometimes. “I was about like, 3 or 4, and I used to play percussion for them back in the day,” Austin remembers. One night when he was young, his father came home with a version of FL Studio, an audio production computer software, and showed him the ropes. “From there, night after night, night after night, I’d just be on it, be on it, be on it, be on it … I was young, and I would just make beats all the time. All the time. At the time I think my producer name was Mo’ Tracks–I laugh at it now, man,” he says. Austin plays a few sample beats today in the DIY studio he has in his room upstairs. It’s extremely loud, the sound waves ricocheting around the room and through the walls, surely echoing into every room of the house. “I’m in my parents’ house. They understand the mission, I understand the mission,” he says, with an undertow of rhythm and flow to the way he speaks.
Austin grew up in North St. Louis and was bussed into Clayton High School in the County through the desegregation program. There, he teamed up with two classmates, Rachel Nevels and Claude Keaton, with whom he prolifically wrote and produced songs. “That was like MySpace days, you know what I mean?” he says, laughing, nostalgic. “I would produce the music, we would write it, and head to the studio. That was back when I was still shy. I’d hit the mic and go, ‘Ah!’” he says, imitating a noise of fear and anxiety. “I don’t know what was wrong with me. I was shy … maybe because I was short? I don’t know. I was a little tiny kid,” he says. “I was 15 and underneath 5-foot. As I grew taller my confidence started to peak as a young man.”
Together, Austin and Nevels had around 150 songs written, catching the attention of EMI Music. At the age of 16, they almost had a publishing deal on the table. “They wanted more placement,” says Austin, who would tirelessly send over songs and ask whether they were closer to hitting the mark. “Things were going good.” But EMI later merged with Warner, and the deal was lost. “When life hits you, sometimes we let the negative things … they’re comforting. It’s very comforting to be negative. It helps you out, almost, but it doesn’t in the long run.” Austin was, and always has been, determined to find a way in, no matter the external circumstances. “My dream–it’s so broad. As a young child, I was always raised to fulfill my potential in life, my purpose. With that mindset, I always had huge dreams.” Shortly after the EMI deal fell through, Austin leapt on the bandwagon of burgeoning talent in St. Louis and started M.M.E.
He made a makeshift studio in his parents’ home, a collection of instruments, speakers, microphones, and recording equipment. He motions to some of his father’s old percussion instruments, which have taken up residence in Austin’s studio as well. The walls are covered in posters of M.M.E. events, press coverage in newspapers and magazines, and a white dry-erase board which has his structured to-do list for the day. “Since I’m not in college, I treat myself like I have a real job in music. This is my job. My brother-in-law first introduced it to me,” says Austin. He told him, “You are a musician. You treat yourself like that. You wake up, 9 o’clock, 8 o’clock, get out the house, dressed in business casual clothes.”
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Austin lists Lupe Fiasco, John Coltrane, and Kanye West among his leading musical inspirations. “He’s a genius,” Austin says of West. “And when you’re a genius and you state that you’re a genius, you’re going to sound arrogant … I give him a little leeway at times because, to be honest, he’s just as great as he thinks he is.” Austin would like to see hip-hop become the universally well-respected genre it deserves to be. “People are like, ‘You’re not a genius, you’re just a rapper. You’re just a rapper, you’re just a … ’ You know, so that’s where I think some of his arrogance comes from. Being a rapper, he still has a limit placed above his head, and he’s much more than that … that’s the reason why I feel like sometimes he’ll flip out and go crazy, because they’ll still put him on that lower pedestal.”
“Brave Soul” is the first song off of A.D.D., thematically full of nostalgia for childhood, pursuing dreams, and learning to accept oneself. “Don’t back up man/ Ain’t no back up plan/ See if I fail to reach my dreams/ Then I just crash land/ And I emerge out the flaming cockpit/ Aim it, lock it, cock it, shoot for the stars/ And we try it again.” Austin started out at school at Loyola University in New Orleans, but couldn’t come up with the funds to finish and get a degree. As an attempt to raise funds, Austin dropped his first album called F.A.I.L., or Forever Always In Last, as he calls it. “When I found out I wasn’t going to be able to pay for college–I don’t know. It was–I don’t know why. It was sad for me. It was a biggie. It was just like, ‘Damn. I’m really not going to make this happen,’” he says.
“That album was supposed to make the money for school–it didn’t make it. That was a big adversity for me. I had to go to Atlanta, and from there I was couch-hopping at my sister’s house. I was just trying to find me, you know? As a young kid, I had all these huge dreams. I had all these huge dreams,” he says again. “And so it was like, ‘Is it not supposed to come sooner?’” Austin has conflicting feelings about whether or not he’ll go back to school. “For some reason now, I feel like, why was I even sad? Grow up, man. There’s so many other things in this world–we get down on ourselves and there’s no need to do so. There’s no need.” When he gets asked about whether or not he’s upset today that he hasn’t graduated, he responds, ‘Not at all. That’s just the way my life panned out. I would love to graduate from college, one day in my life. It’s solely to just learn.” The experience makes it into another verse for “Brave Soul.” “Fillin’ out my FAFSA/ Fuck I’m gonna do after?/ Get a bachelor’s not to be haunted by your laughter?” “I want to go to college,” he says. “I want to go back so I can learn and just grow, and put it mentally out of mind.”
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He looks around with light-brown eyes and long, thick lashes, wearing not one, but three layers of shirts, one on top of the other, and beaded bracelets on both wrists, which he fidgets with from time to time. “Me in this industry, I–I don’t know why I’m having a hard time answering this question,” he says, in response to what his biggest dreams and goals are today. “It’s interesting. I want M.M.E. to be a large label. I would like to live beyond comfortably, and be able to take care of my family, my children, and make sure they are in a position to where they’re able to do the same: to grow and learn, and witness their potential. That, right there, is the ultimate goal.”
Austin also cites St. Louis-based rappers Chingy, Nelly, and the St. Lunatics as artists who paved the way. “Those guys? They did it. Millions of records. That’s a beautiful thing. I want to strive and do the same exact thing and keep pushing my city at the same time–help uplift everybody, so we can bring in the big businesses here. This is a music power house.” From his perspective, he’s seeing opportunities for artists begin to surface. “The only thing I would say about St. Louis is we’re missing the resources. We might be entering into a golden age here, because so many different resources are starting to come together,” he says. “Things have changed. We need different music to help represent St. Louis.”
Austin fires up the home studio, preparing to perform a song off of A.D.D. called “Mo-Ham Stegasaurus-Rex.” It’s a song he wrote as a letter to his 6-year-old self. Many of the songs on his album deal with inspiration, chasing dreams, and keeping child-like wonder alive. “If I can be that person to help inspire someone to be that person, I’m happy. We lose track of that as we grow up.” All of a sudden he stands up, a slight, but not entirely unnoticeable shift as he turns into a performer.
“I’m excited to lay down some beats!” he says, turning the backing track back on and getting his microphone ready, which is propped on a long stand. No one in the house rushes in to hear what is causing all the commotion–they’re used to this sort of thing by now. He warms up and gets going. Before the few minutes is up he’s swaying, looking everyone around in the eye. Any indication of the shy boy he says he once was has vanished.
“Dear six year old Mo (huh)
I hope you’re proud of me
I hope you see the inner child beaming out of me
Never ever be afraid to speak out loud to me …
… Six year old Mo (huh)
Reach into the stars
Stretch your fingertips, Rovers find your prints on Mars
You never know how far is far, until you go that far.” - STL Curator


"Mvstermind Einstein | 80-D (2013 Audio)"

Mvstermind Einstein | 80-D (2013 Audio) Written By: admin|May 28, 2013 |Posted In: Song Reviews
Mvstermind Einstein | 80-D (2013 Audio)

I drove across country for the first time, and somewhere in the middle of the drive, I went deep in thought about how much life I was passing, hiding behind the green trees and marsh of the south. When I finally got home, I came to find a submission in my inbox from Mvstermind Einstein for a song called 80-D off his A.D.D. album. The song had a very well put together video of him and the others featuring on the track walking through what seemed like the same trees and shrubbery I was driving past. I felt like I got a taste of what I was missing, driving by.
It’s one of those songs you could play on repeat almost endlessly. I have to say, Im intrigued by this artist (I stress the word artist). His play on words and view on life and his so-called “condition” (I’d rather say gift smartly utilized) is a model for so many others. I could have sworn by the professional quality of his album he must have spent some big bucks on studio rental (yes, he is his own producer, as well as record label, among other roles). I could have also gone as far to assume an extensive trained background in music and writing to make such eclectic and musically sound tracks. Although his training and education is underway, I can’t give his education credit for his raw talent. He is simply and complicatedly brilliant. And brilliance in Hip Hop should be celebrated.


This guy is a one of a kind, and needs to stay busy. He can carry a massive load of dropped weight in Hip Hop throughout the years. Spread his music. There is a lot more to come out of this artist. He is a powerhouse.
This is Hip Hop - Soul Anchor Collective


"#UnsignedThriller Mvstermind Ft. Dharma – “Sucka Punch”"

Sometimes you have to move on from the old to find what’s right for you. With fellow MME singer, Dharma Jean, as his voice of reason, Mvstermind wakes up to the discontent of his tedious IHOP job to pursue bigger and better things. The only thing he’s bringing from his past to his new start is his PS1 and Gameboy.

“Sucka Punch” was produced, recorded, and engineered by the lead artist himself, Mvstermind. The single highlights the broad range of the artists’ talents and attract listeners to take a visual step into the world of their creativity. The video was shot and directed by DIM Production’s Alex White and displays Mvstermind’s limitless imagination and eclectic musical background. - Jack Thriller


"#STL Music Video Spotlight: "Sucka Punch""

We're trying to keep this feature going, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to find locally produced music videos that are worth presenting… or maybe you wouldn't. This week we have local hip hop artist Mvstermind with an extremely catchy song called 'Sucka Punch'. Great lyrics, production and a conceptual video that looks better than most every other local hip-hop video that comes to mind.

Background on the video/song from Mvstermind himself:
Sometimes you have to move on from the old to find what's right for you. With fellow MME singer, Dharma Jean, as his voice of reason, Mvstermind wakes up to the discontent of his tedious IHOP job to pursue bigger and better things. The only thing he's bringing from his past to his new start is his PS1 and Gameboy. "Sucka Punch" was produced, recorded, and engineered by me myself, Mvstermind. The single highlights the broad range of my work and attract listeners to take a visual step into the world of our creativity. The video was shot and directed by DIM Production’s Alex White and displays limitless imagination and eclectic musical background. Sucka Punch is off of my debut album. - The St. Louis Egotist


"Souls of Liberty and MME Ink a Deal with Stereo Assault Creatives"

Some powerful movements in Saint Louis just got stronger by inking deals with Stereo Assault Creatives. Rapidly rising Souls of Liberty and innovative juggernaut MME have slid under the management umbrella of the STL-organic start-up. To read more hit the break.

The excitement for the new venture radiates through all of the entities involved and shown by Founder and President, Julian Keaton, by stating, “Many artists have great products on the market but struggle with effective marketing and promotions, but at Stereo Assault Creatives, our main goal is to practice basic principles to assist artists to reach the next level.”

From the other side of the deal, Ryan Escobar of the Souls stated “Julian has been trying to showcase Saint Louis talent for years It takes a special person to want to see another man win.”

While Mvstermind spoke for MME stating “We know Stereo Assault will be that force to help us over the edge with all of our business needs.” - NEO Clef


"Mvstermind Einstein | Emerging St. Louis Artist"

Meet MO, AKA Mvstermind Einstein, a St. Louis native and emerging Hip Hop Artist with a unique and original style. Fresh off of the release of his awesome album A.D.D, MO has quickly established himself as a contender breaking into the music industry.

Mvstermind is multi-talented musician and producer. MO produces his own beats and writes his own music. He is a leader of the MME group here in St. Louis and a very positive influence and role model in his community.

Keep a look out for this young man and catch one of his shows around town. - Gary W Martin


"Nimbus ft. AtM – Mvstermind Einstein"

Mvstermind Einstein dropped a new song and that should make you pay attention. Songs from Mvstermind are consistently thoughtful and unique. Here’s what Mvstermind has to say about the new single, “Nimbus”.

This song is from my forthcoming album A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming) or “80-D” which is set to be released on February 29th 2013. The video is shot by the famed directing team; Louis Quatorze. The concept video, goes in depth of the song lyrics showing man’s journey of self awareness and finding life purpose. Together the lyrics and the video sends the viewer into the atsral existence of A.D.D.(Artistically Day Dreaming).

Pro and Con from AtM join Mvstermind to pull this song together. Together they tell a story of determination overcoming obstacles the world throws at them, of having enough confidence not just to follow their dreams but to find the power in that comes with dreaming them at all. The sound-scape they create is dream-y and abstract. The drums are determined, which keep the airy synths and background vocals from sounding unfocused. This is the kind of sound one would expect to accompany a higher plane or dimension in a movie. Check it out!

Nimbus ft. AtM – Mvstermind Einstein

And here’s the video. Mvstermind challenged me to interpret the artistic vision of the video and was very impressed with what I came up with.

And here’s my interpretation:
At first look, it may seem like the video just shows three friends wandering around. But I think that the video symbolizes life as an exploration. It fits that people explore with their closest friends, looking for things to investigate/learn/do. Using the strobing montage, flickering between the face of the person the video focuses on and their back – this evokes ideas of identity, future and past, what changes, what stays the same. Looking down at a huge vista, from a hill or mountain can represent confronting the future, either optimistically, seeing the beauty, or pessimistically, overwhelmed by the scale of what is to come, could come, could come against, is possible. The focus on each person in the video highlights specific parts of them as they explore. These parts of them may be vices they have struggled with or worked through, or maybe they are part of their identity that they claim with pride, or some combination – found, experienced, moved through as they explore/experience life. One (Con) carries beer as they go, drinking, as well as smoking – representing some relationship, positive or not, to substances. Another (Pro) picks up a playboy magazine (perhaps representing some changing relationship to sex and women). The last man (Mvstermind) picks up a sword and playfully attacks a tree/sapling with it, but soon the sword is bent all out of shape and the tree seems unharmed. This one’s harder to interpret. Does the sword represent violence? That seems unlikely because the way he uses it is so humorously/mock-seriously. I could see the sword representing words – Mvstermind’s craft. Perhaps in his exploration of life he picked it up playfully, but soon found how hard it was to use on the stubborn problems of life (that tree). But if it represents words, I’m not sure why he drops it and keeps going. The monolith pretty clearly represents dramatic change, evolution, etc. They reach it and when Mvstermind touches it (some epiphany, truth, or something becomes clear to him about his life or life in general) they all drop, stunned by its influence. When they begin levitating, that suggests they all are elevated from their past, that they have transcended their lives to date. I’m not sure about the glowing eyes. One person’s blue, one person’s red, and one person’s split, one red, one blue. Maybe I’ve misread, and each person in this video is another aspect of Mvstermind. Tell me what you all think! - Paper Mash


"Watch Mvstermind's Visual for "Bravest Soul""

Mvstermind is one of the few artists you know that is remixing his own shit. Is that a good thing? You can find out for yourself below. It definitely takes breaths of creative thinking to even wish to do so. Executing such a thing is another feat. Is it narcissistic to remix your own music? Not really, mainly because it must be a whole lot of fun. Like imagine if you were a God and you created some humanoid-like species to populate some planet. Wouldn't you want to be able to remix the species to be able to breathe fire or, as well as do regular humanoid things? Definitely.

Using show copies (or instrumentals, certain vocals, and adlibs), Mvstermind basically stumbled into recreating the track off of his A.D.D (Artistically Day Dreaming) mixtape, titled "Brave Soul".

"When I was trying to make a show copy, I ended up chopping the track down. And I saw like damn this sounds uber Trappy now. So I added in some drums. Chopped certain areas I needed and composed a new song. And since it was my show copies I could also throw my own accaeplla on top."

Sometimes cool shit just happens. Watch the visuals for Mvstermind's "xX Bravest Soul Xx", and listen to the original here. - Cypher League


"Con - Period"

In my completely unbiased opinion, hip-hop is the f**kin’ best. Period. I could pick a 2Pac song or Kanye verse to prove my point, but why do that when Con makes a strong enough case on his own? The fact that this Booth newcomer can come out of nowhere (well, technically, he’s from St. Louis) and bring us something this dope is proof that hip-hop is indeed the best. There are no cons to Con’s flow; he blends a fluid, kushed-out approach with just a touch of grime to give this smoker friendly tune a little bit of a kick. The cool yet gritty approach is perfect for producer theBlackBruceWayne‘s hazy, jazz-splashed beat and gives this effort a no-nonsense, authentic vibe. For more dope cuts like Period. check out Con’s latest project, Solstice Pt. 1​ (​Advice From A Fortune Cookie), which you can grab via his Bandcamp. - DjBooth


"Mastermind Einstein's A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming): Read Our Homespun Review and Listen"

North-side native Muhammad Austin may have a hard time paying attention, but his work as Mvstermind has no trouble paying dues. You can probably guess from the title of A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming) that Austin looks at his childhood diagnosis of attention deficit disorder as more of a blessing than a curse. His open-eared style encompasses several hip-hop threads, with a bent toward an almost psychedelic strand of experimentation. His backing tracks can be syrupy and hazy, leading to some alternating soulful and outré grooves.

By collaborating with some top-notch female vocalists (Dharma Jean, Sixella Yoccum), Austin brings a touch of celestial harmonies to his catchall songs, especially as he takes such liberties in modulating his own voice. Kayla Steen's ethereal, set-closing "Reverie" (a collaboration with Adult Fur's Ryan McNeely) ends the overstuffed album on a high note.

In keeping with the album's title, the production can go from blissed-out minimalism (as on the Auto-Tuned opening song/mission statement "Brave Soul") to the maximalized pop of "Leaving the Movie Theaters." The song thrives on simple hooks and a kinetic pulse but still slips in odd, pitch-shifted vocals and some great synth squiggles in the coda; it sounds like a hit no matter how you come at it.

Such sonic schizophrenia makes it hard to draw a bead on Mvstermind. His time living and working in Atlanta and New Orleans comes through with the aggressive bounce of "Overdraft <$," though few No Limit soldiers would sing about negative bank account balances or filling out a FAFSA form. Such chameleonic behavior is probably part of the plan for a rapper whose verses are so rooted in reality and whose ego is not so large that he can't treat his voice like a piece of Silly Putty. - Riverfront Times


"St. Louis' Rising Rappers Tef Poe and Nick 'Whiteout Menn' Get Real"

Tell me a little about the hip-hop scene in St. Louis. What makes it unique?
When you get on the ground out here in St. Louis you figure out that there are a lot of people that don’t do cliché St. Louis music. There are some very talented acts and they run deep. People have spent years harnessing the talent and being dedicated to the city through art. That’s the thing I really respect about it. We have a lot of groups that have been here forever that I consider mainstays in St. Louis music: Legend Camp, Bits N Pieces, Family Affair, which is a group of twin brothers. There is a young group that is just getting started that I think is going to be huge named MME. And then there is this infamous group from across the river in east St. Louis by the name of Doorway. I do a lot of shows with them. - Noisey Music by VICE


"MME Presents: Ciej – Bicker Over Bread"

The latest release out of the Mvstermind‘s MME collective is Bicker Over Bread by Ciej. Ciej is an artist in every aspect of the word. From hosting St. Louis art events to creating music from scratch – now we’re showing love to his artistry. Check out Bicker Over Bread below!

Bicker Over Bread might only have 9 tracks, but most are written, produced, and engineered by Ciej himself. Most rappers don’t even write their own songs anymore. What I really like about Ciej’s latest project is the underground feel. There isn’t any instrumentals from bigger producers, no 5-figure features, it’s just Ciej and his raw interpretation of artistry. It’s from the soul, which is dope.

When speaking to Ciej I asked him what his favorite track was;

My favorite track on the Bicker Over Bread project changes every now and again, but I always go back to Home Front. MIR and Supra are on the track with me, vibed out, ‘talking talk’. I’ve got a bit of a mission statement in the song that keeps me focused these days. MIR follows with the jazz and Supra finishes with a dash of that OG. And not to mention the sample gets me every time. I love the sample.

While that is also one of my favorite tracks off of the project, my favorite is Careful. To me the instrumental has the perfect melody to mesh with Ciej’s deep voice. If you’re feeling Bicker Over Bread than make sure you head to Ciej’s Twitter and keep up with im.

Which is your favorite track off Bicker Over Bread? Sound off in the comments below! - Think Dope


"S.L.U.M. Fest founder names his picks for this weekend's event"

MME: “They’re a collective of young artists. These guys get it, as far as hip-hop goes. Their music is more experimental, and each artist in MME can hold their own.” - STL Today


"Album Review: Con Solstice – Part One (Advice from a Fortune Cookie)"

Con

Solstice Part One (Advice from a Fortune Cookie)

MMETTMLDOM

Listen up, St. Louis. Some of the best hip hop in the country is coming from this city: Tef Poe, Rockwell Knuckles, Loose Screwz, Thelonius Kryptonite — and now Con, the lyrical prodigy behind Solstice Part One (Advice from a Fortune Cookie).

Con, better known as Malcolm Chandler, has been performing around St. Louis as one half of the rap duo AtM for the past few years. When his writing partner, Amir Wakil, took a brief hiatus, Chandler put the time toward finishing a solo album. Over the course of a year, he convinced some of the best producers in St. Louis—including Mastermind, Osmoses, Cue Coldblooded and Franco-Hill—to contribute a number of their least domesticated tracks to the project.

The result is the aptly titled Solstice Part One, twelve diverse yet interconnected tracks about coming of age in the 21st century. Like most millennials, Chandler understands that the personal is political, and he uses his story to good effect. A recent breakup serves as a deeper metaphor for adulthood: the loss of innocence, the awareness of political corruption, and the need for self-medication.

These themes come together with the greatest impact on tracks like “Nostalgia” and “I Love You.” On the latter, Chandler and his frequent collaborator Ciej rap over a slithering, minimalist beat that forces them to walk a verbal tightrope across near silence. When the chorus hits, it reads like a double-dutch rhyme for juvenile delinquents. Starting with a capitalist critique—
“I ain’t tripping off of no dollar bills / Why y’all let that shit run y’all”—and careening through images of blunted highs, cartoonish gun violence, and ride-or-die women, the lyrics illustrate how a bad relationship can change the worldview of any young man.

While the story is compelling, the real achievement lies in the way that Chandler, his producers and the rest of the MME collective deliver the details. On “Sweater Under Leather,” Chandler comes across as a young Kanye West, racing ahead of the beat one minute and slowing down the next, creating an elastic sense of time on an otherwise straightforward track. Singer Dharma Jean achieves the same effect on the choruses, reaching for high notes in the most unexpected places. The end result is an album of classic ’90s hip hop as reworked by psychedelic artists like Bon Iver and Panda Bear: experimental yet mainstream, nostalgic yet entirely original.

As Chandler points out in interviews, the solstice represents “life on the cusp,” light conquering darkness, growth following decay. With St. Louis poised to make its own comeback, underground hip hop sounds like the future of the city. And this town is ready for the national spotlight. K.E. Luther - The Liner Notes of St. Louis Eleven


"Eight St. Louis Bands to Watch in 2014"

Led by rapper and producer Mvstermind (Muhammad Austin), this crew of versatile hip-hop artists was on fire in 2013, grinding out shows, collaborating with other musicians, releasing joint and individual albums, and tirelessly promoting the heck out of all of it through every social-media channel out there. With talent and chutzpah to spare, 2014 could be the year that M.M.E. become household initials. - Riverfront Times


"The 10 Best St. Louis Albums of 2014"

In a year that brought unprecedented attention to St. Louis, we're blessed to have musicians who tell the city's story from a variety of angles and in a whole host of styles. This list, culled from albums reviewed for the weekly Homespun column and listed alphabetically, represents an evolving scene filled with restless creative talents. Some are long-awaited albums from long-time favorites; some are relatively new projects from multifaceted artists. As always, some are new faces staking their claim.

Con (Northside native Malcolm Chandler) operates within Muhammad Austin's MME crew, a stable of young, progressive lyricists who favor syrupy grooves and stuttered beats as their sparse but evocative palette. Chopped-up soul breakdowns become the background to "Reefer-bish," Con's most fluid track, while an ever-apt Shuggie Otis groove gets tricky on "$0Fall." Austin (a.k.a. Mvstermind), whose 2013 release A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming) was a standout, provides engineering help and guest vocals on a few songs, including atmospheric closing track "ChillTrill." Taken alongside the other offerings from the MME collective, Con shows that he can hold his own on Solstice Part 2 while using the best talents of his friends to create a trippy, psych-soul experience. - Riverfront Times


"The Best St. Louis Music Releases of 2013"

Muhammad Austin leads a little army of young hip-hop heads armed with poetics and positivity, and his work as Mvstermind is on display with A.D.D. True to its title, the sonics are all over the map, but Austin and his crew show range and versatility here. - Riverfront Times


"The 10 Best St. Louis Music Videos of 2014"

2014 has been a outstanding year for music in St. Louis. Though it could be said that some of this year's best music has been a product of sad, gut-wrenching events that momentarily left our city lost, we are rebuilding. As Mvstermind of the hip-hop collective MME said, "The universal language of the arts will be what can close the gap of understanding." St. Louis has, and always will, embrace that ethos. And what goes better with a great song than some great visuals? So here it is, in no particular order, the ten best local music videos of 2014. Let's celebrate St. Louis a little more.

After Michael Brown's death, Mir, Con and Mvstermind of MME released a song. The track's themes discuss discrimination, peace and revolution, which certainly have become keywords in the days following Brown's passing. In the video, the collective matches powerful words with even more powerful images; each rapper appears with his family, in his family home, attempting to bring reality and humanity to their music. Even more interestingly, the video for "Wave 2 (Westfall)" was filmed prior to Vonderrit Myers' death in October, but almost begins at the exact same location where Myers was shot. It all comes full circle. - Riverfront Times


"Con's Solstice Part 2 (Dreams from a Snow Globe): Listen Now"

Con operates within Muhammad Austin's MME crew, a stable of young, progressive lyricists who favor syrupy soul grooves and stuttered beats as their sparse but evocative palette. Chopped-up soul breakdowns become the background to "Reefer-bish," Con's most fluid track, while an ever-apt Shuggie Otis groove gets tricky on "$0Fall." Austin (a.k.a., Mvstermind), whose 2013 release A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming) was a standout, provides engineering help and guest vocals on a few songs, including atmospheric closing track "ChillTrill."

Other members from MME's deep bench drop in as well: Ciej (Charles Jackson) steps in on a few cuts in the album's middle, and his focus is largely on woman troubles, especially on the puerile "Train My Balls." He's better served on "Boy Wonder" with its slowed-down vocal hook and skronky saxophone refrain. Lyrique (Jermarco Britton) drops a soulful turn on "Run the Jewels" as an Isley Brothers-esque jam swirls in the background. Taken alongside the other offerings from the MME collective, Con shows that he can hold his own on Solstice Part 2 while using the best talents of his friends to create a trippy, psych-soul experience. - Riverfront Times


Photos

Bio

MME (as seen on Charter OnDemand, Red Bull Music Academy, MTV, the Source, Pandora, and DJ Booth) is a self sufficient indie music powerhouse hailing from the city of St. Louis, Missouri. As a young leading force in today's thriving DIY community, the musical masterminds transcend effortlessly across countless genres, often birthing what most consider the definitive emerging sounds of tomorrow and beyond. Though a collective, each of the six members operates individually, with his own style and hip-hop sensibility. The eldest of the bunch at 24, Mvstermind produces his own records, which bring a soulful electronic edge to his real-life perspective. Ciej is also his own producer, with a lyrical tone oozing vulnerability and depth. A talented lyricist himself, Con delivers a grittiness in his voice that mirrors his disillusionment with an imperfect world, while Dante Wolfe also dwells on society's woes, utilizing his intellectualism to smoothly convey his inner thoughts. Lastly, neo-soul singer Lyrique's deep and moody voice vibrates images of love and beauty, whereas Mir distorts sounds to create an unsettling atmosphere for his bold raps. Equipped with several more musicians and artist soon to emerge, this collective is a force to be reckoned with and a true experience you'd be wise not to miss.

Media:  Spin, XXL, MTV Charter OnDemand, Red Bull Music Academy, Noisey, the Source, Think Dope, StL Today, Eleven Music Mag, NPR, Riverfront Times, Stereo Assault,  DJ Booth, Bound 2 Hip Hop

ACCOLADES: Saint Louis Underground Music Awards: Best Hip-Hop Group // Riverfront Times Best Music Act - Mvstermind // Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp // Saint Louis Underground Music Awards - Best Video // Riverfront Times Best Album – A.D.D. //  Louis Quatorze Best Producer - Mvstermind // MCA Day in Brooklyn, NY / 1500+ audience 


SHOWS:  LAB:  MME at the Luminary, SXSW, A3C, Ab-Soul, Chance The Rapper, MCA Day  (Beastie Boys Tribute featuring Mixmaster Mike, DJ Hurricane, iLLspokinn, Dante Ross, DJ Frank White, DJ DP-One), The Silent Barn NYC, Travis Scott, Tory Lanez, Odyssey, Alex Wiley, G-Eazy, Dee1, Sweater Beats, Shabazz Palaces, Blu, Knowledge, Iman Omari, Pac Div, Slum Village, Skizzy Mars, SOMO, Nitty Scott, Pigeon John, Hawthorne Head Hunters +



Band Members