Rapper/Producer Mantiz is fairly new to us at SouthernNewYorker.com, however if you keep your ear to the streets a few guys like him will always pop up in conversation. For an artist with a musical background starting at five years old, we know he’s all for the progression of music and the culture. If he’s not producing new sounds or writing rhymes, he’s certainly on the go handling business as usual. However his humble attitude and ear for music gave him the opportunity to perform alongside Big Pooh, appear at A3C and he took both South Carolina Music Awards Producer and Artist of the Year.
We had the opportunity to speak with the Atlanta by way of South Carolina artist to talk on his thoughts about police brutality, his sound and some misconceptions of his career. Make sure you check out the interview below and support more independent artist like him by visiting his page HERE.
SouthernNewYorker.com: You have a few accolades under your belt and you travel from Atlanta to South Carolina often. Is it safe to say you have secured both in full support?
Mantiz: Not to say that because I don’t want to discredit anyone that actually does support me. It probably wouldn’t be as much as I’d like to have. I’m always working for more everyday. It’s safe to say that I definitely have some in both places.
SNY: How would you describe your sound and your brand?
Mantiz: It’s really hard; the sound has really evolved so much. It’s kind of hard to tell, I kind of let the people determine that. What I try to do is make good music as much as possible. I look up to all the greats and I’m inspired by so much. When I first started out with it on the rap end, I had a lot of Biggie flow to me, I had that Jay flow and I had that Kanye sound. Just a real MC lyrical type, but on the R&B side I was a little bit more soulful around the D’angelo, Maxwell sound. You know the sound started to evolve more and more. Some of it blends with what’s going on right now. Some of it is a new wave; it’s whatever I feel good about.
SNY: Most artists don’t attend school for audio engineering. Do you believe you have the upper hand in your sound?
Mantiz: I’d say I have a slight advantage because I know what it is that I want to create. I have a God given ability to create what I want. I’d say that is a definite advantage on my part. I’m taking it one step at a time. Every year I try to change up my sound as a producer and try to change the sound for my team. I try to accomplish and keep up with the progression in time. It gives me a slight upper hand. For the most part I guess if I’m not spending millions of dollars it ain’t just paid off yet. It kind of balances out, keeps me humble.
SNY: What are some misconceptions that people have about you?
Mantiz: Some misconceptions that may have come from where I have progressed to, a lot of people don’t’ understand how music works or how music works on the business end. They draw their own conclusions as to why I do what I’ve done. Those are huge misconceptions as to why I got away from South Carolina and got into the Atlanta market. A lot of people don’t really understand how Atlanta works in urban entertainment. They kind of speak or offer their opinion without any knowledge of how it works. I would say that is the biggest misconception because a lot of people felt like I should have stayed home and did it from there. Well I’m like that wasn’t in the cards for me. Anything else I’m not really sure what too many people are saying about me I guess my favorite line especially with my family members there, if something ain’t my business I’m not even focused on it.
SNY: Considering you produce and rap what advice would you give someone who wants to pursue both specifically in the south?
Mantiz: It’s so hard because where we’ve come from as a region. When you look back at 1994 when everybody was focused on what the east and west was doing they didn’t even pay attention to what the south had even going on. Even with the awards that the south was winning amongst the tension that was going on between the east and west. They’ve always looked down on us like we dumb or we slow or we’re ignorant. That’s not really the case. So the only thing that I can give to anyone coming out of the south right now, just make the music that feels good to you. Don’t be trapped inside of a box and let anyone put a label on your sound. I’m from South Carolina, but I don’t talk like people from South Carolina if you let other people say it. I have a twang no doubt about it; I have a southern dialect to the way I talk. Some people think that I’m from New York and I’m like “nah, not even close.” I have a relevancy that can reach out to Cali, you just have to find a particular groove and you stick with it. If the south adapts to it, God bless, but you know I want to make music that feels good to me. If you just so happen to come out of the south and your sound is southern if you like it, I love it!
SNY: As a black male what are your thoughts on the police brutality shown towards other black males and females?
Mantiz: It’s kind of tough to say because it’s affected me so much especially more so recently. A lot of people won’t really agree with it, but I can only speak from my perspective as a black male. I feel like being a black male in America is probably the hardest thing someone can do. I was already born with two strikes against me. Being that I’m black and that I am a male. I feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole the way society views us. It’s like if we can’t trust the police then who can we trust. It naturally makes us want to lash out and return the hatred that’s been spewed upon us. I look at it like we ain’t doing nothing to nobody. Yeah, you can use those statistics about how we act amongst each other, but that’s how we act amongst each other. Who’s to say you can’t speak on the outside and look in? I hated that people use that as an example because that doesn’t forgive anything. I can guarantee you if I go do harm to another brother who looks like me, there will be a consequence for it. Let alone when the police want do whatever they want to us it’s swept under the rug. They try to down play us like we stupid and can’t connect the dots to see what’s really going on. I try my best not lash out because I don’t want my family to be worried about me, but at the end of the day I’m really sick of it. I don’t trust any police that I see. They look at me like “I didn’t do anything to you,” but you stand behind the badge that had. That’s the most that I can say about it. It’s painful to watch because I watched the Michael Brown funeral and the coverage on the Trayvon Martin; I actually shed tears like I knew these guys personally. I could always see myself in it, I’ve buried some of my own homies and I’ve seen some of my dawgs go to jail. At the end of the day I’m not proud of those statistics, but some of those numbers represent me and mine as well. When I can see myself in that then there’s only but so much to say about the emotions carried along with it.
SNY: Wow! That was very well said. To finish things up, what’s in store for you this year?
Mantiz: This year I’ve been working on my new EP, ‘Thank you for Listening’ for some time now. I felt like it should have been done in March. I’m a natural perfectionist; I want to get everything right on my end. When I started putting together music for consumption, the people treated it like it was something new and something fresh. All it was is music that I like to make. I wasn’t trying to make a song with that pop to it or that one club hit. I just made records that I like and the people started to like it as well. I just kept it in that pocket. So I already know with me being a perfectionist it took some time to get that new sound and get it perfectly completed. I’m hoping that I can present this EP in a timely manner and gather new fans, new listeners. Once I get this ‘Thank you for Listening’ EP out the way I’m planning to start this new mixtape called ‘The 90s Joint’. I want to cater to all those old songs that I grew up on.