Sitting Down With Juan Michael OG

A few months back, I had the opportunity to play at popular Downtown Ypsilanti venue, Ziggy’s. In addition to being on the bill, I saw this as a great opportunity to network with a few of the other artist, one of those artist happened to be, Juan Michael OG. Off the release of his newest single, “City of God” I had the chance to catch up with the Ann Arbor Based MC.

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“I heard the shit on the radio and I hated what I heard. We’re talking like late 1990’s early 2000’s, it was cool, it was still hype, but I felt I could do better, I could make my own, so, that’s when I decided to make music.” Juan Michael responded when asked what got him into music. “I used FL Studios to make my first song and ever since then I’ve been making music, though it wasn’t always necessarily rap. From there, I got ableton and kept growing from it.” He continued.

“1992 was me just having fun; really outlandish, really colorful, really expressive, it was just supposed to be an ignorant, flamboyant project to take the topics that I personally see as a problem, and flip it into a more colorful, happier positive palette. Juan Michael OG spoke on the process going into his highly reviewed 4 song EP, “1992.” One of the tracks on 1992 stuck out to me the most was a track entitled, “New Kanye.” “I love making music, and I will literally forget to eat when making music. I’ll tell myself I need to eat and i’ll forget to go in the kitchen and make food while working on a track. New Kanye sums up that energy and ambition when i’m in the studio, I feel like Kanye. Some of the qualities people see me as is similar to him, so if that’s the case, with this track imma show out. So, that track was me embodying the ego and optimism that Kanye has. Juan Michael responded about the thought process that went into making New Kanye.

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photo credit, Juan Michael OG facebook page

“My biggest influences are people who don’t rap. Modest Mouse are one of my biggest influences, and is due to their escentric mentality. The Gorillaz, they have a hip hop-esque vibe, but not necessarily hip hop. Linkin Park was one of my earliest influences as well.” Juan Michael spoke on his musical influences.

“Space Money Records is a thing i’ve been rocking with for awhile. Space Money is all about energy, when you look up at the stars and you see the sun and all these other places, we don’t take into consideration that these other places could have homes. Just like we have a sun, all these other places have suns that we can see visually, but, its all the same energy. The sun gives us life, everything comes from the sun. When I talk about space money, I reference the stars, galaxy and solar systems and with money being the thing that moves us everyday. We we get out of bed everyday, we don’t do shit for love, we do it for money because money helps us get the things we love, but that’s just the society we in.”  Juan Michael responded about the origin of his company, Space money Records

You can expect a new project from Juan Michael OG this year as well as a video for City of God coming soon as well as a new single entitled, “2much.”

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artwork for “City of God”

The Versa-tile Juanye

Fresh off his release of the highly anticipated project, “Versa”, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ann Arbor based MC, Juanye at his listening party at the Motivation Boutique located in downtown Ann Arbor.  

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“When it came to beats, I wanted to get every possible beat I could possibly think of, a couple songs for females, songs for my mans to vibe to, a couple track vibe songs. The overall theme of Versa is versatility, different beats, different style of rapping, things that people haven’t heard before.” Juanye responded about the concept in mind that went into making Versa. “I feel like I have a unique voice when an engineer touches it on any type of beat, so, it was about just being versatile.” Juanye continued.  

“My older brother, Jason, who’s doing some time right now is like 5 years older than me. One day he came home with his boys listening to Tha Carter II by Lil Wayne and I just remember thinking, “Damn, this album is hard as fuck!” and they were freestyling over Wayne’s voice. When I heard Wayne’s voice, the way he rapped and the little snippet on the beat, I just knew I wanted to rap. I came up with like five different ways I could’ve spit on that beat.” Juanye responded on his motivation to get into music. “Another big moment was when I was in 5th grade, my grandmother was real big into subscriptions that get sent to your crib, she actually found one that had a bunch of hip hop albums in it and it really meant the most in my life. I had five album: T.I.-Trap Muzik, Tupac- Greatest Hits, 50 Cent- Get Rich or Die Tryin, Jay-Z- The Blueprint, and Lil Wayne- Tha Carter. As a kid, I felt like I understood it more than most kids but I had a further mind at the time” Juanye continued.

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“Derrick’s little brother Chris is one of my best friends since I was in the 6th grade. We used to live right next to each other and Derrick played me one of the hardest mixtapes of all time which was Wale’s More About Nothing, probably one of my favorite mixtapes ever. After high school, we both had a listening ear, we both have the same taste in music, he’s digitally tech savvy and I do what I do to bring to the table and it just clicked like that. I wouldn’t want anybody else to be my manager.” Juanye spoke how he met his manager, Derrick Nicholson.

“When it comes to sound, Lil Wayne is the best of all time. You may catch me with a lot of melodies and background melodies on a track, because, if you ever listen to wayne, he fills the track up, there are no empty spaces…unless he’s going off the top. ”Juayne spoke on his influences in music. “Other than that, I rock with Jay-Z heavy and I’ve been on the Travis Scott wave for quite some time. Juanye continued.

Juanye is in the process of setting up a regional tour with manager, Derrick Nicholson. “I love repping Ann Arbor and that’s where I’ll always be, even if I do run into a check or a deal someday, I’m still probably gonna be somewhere high up in this bitch.” Juanye said about setting up the local based tour.

Be on the lookout for the “Osama” video coming soon as well as multiple visuals from the project, “Versa” which is available now on all streaming platforms.

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Below you can check out photos from the listening party at the Motivation Boutique on 8/3/18

 

An evening with Lvrboy

Located in Plymouth, MI, the Plymouth Roc is a very low key location, however, it is known to have several talented musicians come through and perform. In October of 2017, I had the opportunity to help put together a release party for Adventures with Vultures, in which the topic of our article, David Green, or known by stage name, Lvrboy was the opening act. Fast forward to present day, Lvrboy’s debut EP, Lvrboy EP has been released. I had the opportunity to catch up with him at a show at the Crofoot in Pontiac July 23, 2018 and talk about the EP.

“Lvrboy is certain phases of love that I felt like I went through, one of the most important things in life is love just because it’s something that everybody feels, its universal. When I wrote most of these songs, it was coming from a place of hurt or the feeling of missing somebody and the way they made you feel, or just the nostalgic feeling of when you met your first love, and how that can go from love at first sight to problems in your relationship and things that you got to deal with so things don’t escalate. So people can expect to be in their feelings, 24/7.” Lvrboy responded when asked about the the concept of his new project. “I’ve very proud of the project, had some great minds to bring it to life.” He continued.

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Lvrboy EP features 3 soulful tracks, Try, Pretty, and Brown eyed lover. Currently available for streaming on soundcloud, but plans to release the EP on major streaming platforms soon. Lvrboy draws his influences in his music from the likes of, Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonder and Thirdstory with a gospel-like vibe to him.

 

“My earliest memory is me sitting at church, watching the band play at rehearsal. I got to witness some great drummers early in life, so, when I turned 7, that would be my definitive moment,  watching someone else play music and going in and thinking, “that sounds incredible, I want to be apart of that.”” Lvrboy responded on the definitive moment he wanted to become a musician. “I hopped on drums, a couple years later I wanted to play bass, shortly after I started playing guitar  and I’ve sang my whole life, my whole family sings; it runs in the family, it’s God given.” He continued.

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In addition to Lvrboy, I had the opportunity to talk to Drummer and DIME University graduate, Duane Hewins, who plays alongside of Lvrboy. “I was around 3 years old when my parents got me my first drum set, when I was 5, the church put me on to play for the kids choir, and it was history from there, I’ve been playing drums since I can remember. My earliest memories are having a sister, and playing drums. I never knew that I wanted to make this serious until I turned 18, a year later I met Dave.” Duane responded on the definitive moment he wanted to become a musician. In addition to Lvrboy, Duane also plays with DIME University alum, Brother Elsey whom I had the chance to check out in Chicago earlier this year. “If you can play gospel, you can play anything.” Duane said

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Photo credit, facebook.com

“The plan is to play out as much as possible, and get back back to work on the album. Hopefully enough people hear it to have us come out and play in the city and leads to a tour. ” On his plans after the release of the EP. “This is my life bro, this is what I love, this is what I wanna do with my life.” He responded about his plans after the release of Lvrboy EP.

“Don’t stop, keep going. Even when you feel like you are at your whits end, you have nothing left in you, you know you’re just not gonna make it, just keep going. Practice makes perfect; discipline and connections are everything, and overall just be humble. He responded about his advice to aspiring musicians. “One of the biggest things Detroit suffers from is the willingness to work together, Detroit will make even the best musicians seem like the worst musicians just off the lack of humility in the city sometimes, so just be humble and be gracious, and pay respects to the people who came before you, because at the day, that’s who is going to open the door for you.” He continued.

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Make sure to stay tuned for future releases and shows from Lvrboy very soon.