Phoenix MC Mav has been a fixture in the local hip-hop scene for the better part of the past decade, both as a solo performer and as a member of the on-again-off-again collective Sol Camp.
Mav's latest album, Independent Hustlin, was released on March 30 and features numerous collaborations with both local and national artists. The first single from Independent Hustlin is a collaboration with Valley rap veteran Juice titled "Til the Sunrise," which was recently made into a music video - Mav's first.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Mav released another track from the album as a free download. Click here to download "Mexicans As Fly As Us (feat. G-Moe and Lucky Luciano)" and read on to check out the new video for "Til the Sunrise" and read an e-mail Q&A with Mav in which he discusses the making of the video, his new album and the current status of Sol Camp.
Up on the Sun: How did the new video with Juice come about? Where did you shoot it? Who directed it?
Mav: In terms of hip-hop in Arizona, my roots are deep. I been in this game since 2003, so I've seen Juice a lot the past few years. I believe we met in 2006 when I interviewed him for my MTV My Block: Phoenix DVD and he spit a dope flow for it, so I been a supporter since then. So when I had 80 percent of my album Independent Hustlin done, I wanted to add a few features, but strategically. I got verses from Chingo Bling, D-Roc (Ying Yang Twins), Lucky Luciano, LMNO, G-Moe, Sol Camp and Juice.
21, the producer, made the beat for "Til the Sunrise" and as soon as I heard it, I just felt like partying in my back yard with Tecates and listening to oldies, ya dig. To me it was already a good song repping AZ, and getting Juice on it made it bigger. After we recorded "Til the Sunrise," I wanted to make it my first video, since it is also my first single off the album. So when I got the album completely finished, I just made that call to Juice and we made the video happen.
For the "Til the Sunrise" video we had a few different locations. We filmed at Stray Cat and Desert Vista Studios in Tempe and several locations in downtown Phoenix. When it came to picking a video director, I just watched all the local hip-hop videos and picked the guy with the best videos, and that was Alonso Murillo. He is also a great photographer, so he incorporated several different angles and lighting to make it more artistic than your average video. To me, the video is a success and I'm glad to have it as my first solo video ever. "Til the Sunrise" was released locally about a month ago and has got hundreds of spins nationwide, and I feel this video can help me take it even farther. On another note, we had a lot of crazy wild times filming this video too. Partying til the sunrise is a way of life!
Your new album has been out for a little more than a month now. How has the reception been so far?
My second album, Independent Hustlin, is doing amazing. See, unlike a lot of local rappers, Es Oh El Musik (my label) sells thousands of units in the streets annually. Unlike previous albums, we did presale with this album and the presale numbers were off the chain. I'm not saying we going platinum, but its doing great in my eyes. Anyways, I will be promoting this album hard for the next year so - I have a lot more grinding to do.
The reception to the actual music has been great. I have been told that my whole concept is genius, that I have a classic Arizona album and that I have more hits on the album than any rapper from Arizona ever had. But to me, until I either move 100k independently or have a Billboard single, I have a lot more work to do, only because the ultimate goal is to get my music to as many people as humanly possible.
Looks like you've released a lot of music already. How long have you been rapping? How did you get started?
Man, I love making music, so it's only natural that I have a lot of music to release. My latest release is only my second album, but me and my Es Oh El Musik partners put out over 10 mixtapes since 2005. Also, earlier this year, I released my first all-digital mixtape release - Pages From My Rhymebook. Make sure y'all Google it and download it.
I loved hip-hop pretty much my whole life. In the mid-'90s, my older sister had a big single in the Chicago area called "Free," and ever since then, I knew I wanted to be in the music industry somehow. I started making music in 2003, got signed to a local label in 2004, and after the label folded, I released my debut album, MicAdVancement, in 2005. Right after I released that album, I joined Sol Camp. Between '05-'08, we did the Sol Camp thing hard. In 2009, I dropped two mixtapes and started to work on my solo career. That brings me to 2010 and I am showing the world about this Independent Hustlin.
Tell us more about Sol Camp. How did the group get together? Will there be a Sol Camp album in the near future?
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Sol Camp are my brothers. Me, B Staks and Skunk One started Sol Camp in October 2005 when we recorded a song called "How We Do This." Right after that, Chino D (MC), Sal (singer) and DJ Villin joined the group. In those three years, Sol Camp became the biggest Latino hip-hop group to come out the Southwest since NB Ridaz. We were on most major hip-hop shows in Phoenix from 2005-2008, ran the swap meets selling CDs, toured from Texas to California several times, [had] songs on the radio, [recorded] three mixtapes and then it ended. We recorded our first album, and then our computer crashed and we lost most of the songs we recorded. A few months later, we re-recorded the whole album in two days at the conservatory, but it was too late. In the end of 2008, Skunk One and Sal left the group. We have all the masters for the album, but unless we all come back together, its pointless to release that album. That album was gonna be something big, but it didn't happen that way. We all still work together. Me and B Staks did a mixtape in 2009 and DJ Villin mixed it. In 2010, me and B Staks are pushing the [old] Sol Camp record label as Es Oh El Musik. Recently, we started working on reforming the group and will record another album after we finalize the new roster.
Do you have any upcoming gigs?
Right now, I'm not doing shows 'til I finish setting up this Independent Hustlin tour. You can always check my upcoming shows at twitter.com/mavofsolcamp or myspace.com/mav. Or for booking contact email@example.com
I also have my single "Til the Sunrise" on iTunes and my album Independent Hustlin exclusively on urbanmediabuzz.com.