Mayday's Wrekonize on Solo Debut, War Within: "Written on Some Real-Life Shit"
Never give up. Never give in. Miami makes champions.
Ten years ago, Wrekonize won a series of MTV rap battles for $25,000 and a recording contract with Roc-A-Fella Records.
The deal never materialized, and he spent his prize money on DVDs and pizza. But he never stopped working on music. And now his debut solo album is finally hitting the streets, the web, and store shelves across America.
With all the force of Strange Music, his Mayday bandmates, and fans like The Rock behind him, Wrekonize and The War Within are ready to rush back into battle. Here's what he has to say as it officially drops.
Crossfade: Wasup, dude. You're on tour with ¡Mayday! right now. Where in the country are you?
We just played Modesto and now we're in Reno today.
How old were you when you moved to Miami?
Moved to Miami when I was six years old coming from the UK in a little spot called Richmond, Surrey in London.
One of your songs says something like, "Seen I had British roots, till I swang my raffiki bitch, half of me is tribal."
My father's family is from Cape Town, South Africa. I was like mixed, half British and half South African.
What kind of music influenced you growing up?
My family was always real musical, they were listening to like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and then Heavy D. All kinds of music. Music was always being played in the house.
Where'd you learn to sing?
I been doin' theater and music since I was a kid, like seven or eight years old. Both my parents were in bands and my grandparents were on stage and comedians. Arts have always been in my family. Got interested in music early and I was writing my own songs at ten or 11.
How has battle rap helped you?
It's been cool. A lot of people know who I was off that. This November, the MTV battle will have been ten years ago. It's cool that people still remember it, they're familiar with me, but they have a certain notion locked in their minds because of it that prevents their getting to know the music. It can be a hindrance, but at least they're familiar with me.
What's the story behind the song "Anxiety"?
It was written on some real-life shit I went through a few years ago, not expressing my emotions, not venting when stress hit. If you don't vent and let out what you're feeling ... I had a serious anxiety attack during the early ¡Mayday! and been trying to deal it with it through music. And on top of that, I meet people who have serious anxiety all the time, so it resonates with a lot of people.
How about your song "Freak" with Tech N9ne?
Street Runner did the beat. He's a Miami homie. Him and Sarom made the beat. The original had a sample in there and Bernz walked in and said, "Damn, you should record that on some freak shit and have Tech on there." He's killer for that subject matter, and it just went from there. The song has a double meaning. There's women and dudes out there that take it to an extreme of freaky stuff in their bedrooms. That's cool. And then there's freaks that don't fit in or are outside the norm and on their own path.