Mr. Miranda on Arizona Hip-Hop, His Japanese Record Deal, and His Forthcoming EP with Jimmy Nelson

Dave Miranda, aka Mr. Miranda, has been one of the more productive MCs in the Valley recently. The Phoenix native released The Wonderful World of Mr. Miranda in December 2008, then followed that up with another full-length, Let's Get On With The Music, late last year. Not one to rest on his laurels, Miranda has yet another release - an EP with frequent collaborator Jimmy Nelson - due out this summer. With a delivery reminiscent of a more subdued Eminem and a style that straddles the line between old- and new-school hip-hop, Miranda has the skills and, more importantly, the work ethic to claim a spot at the front of the Valley's burgeoning hip-hop scene.

Read on for a sneak preview from Miranda's forthcoming EP and an e-mail Q&A in which Miranda discusses his influences, his upcoming projects, his thoughts on the local hip-hop scene and his plans for world domination.

Up on the Sun: How did you first start rapping and writing rhymes? Which artists most influenced you?

Mr. Miranda: I first started rhymin' in 5th grade. I used to freestyle to videos on Yo! MTV Raps by myself in the living room late on Friday nights when everyone was asleep. I would have to be quiet though, because I was supposed to be in bed and the show didn't come on until midnight - haha! As far as the writing process, I started writing for real in 7th grade and even recorded my first pause tape for some friends in the neighborhood and at school. My uncle Mario had a studio in his little one bedroom apartment in North Phoenix at the time so he recorded me. It was a lot of fun. I was mostly influenced by Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, Gang Starr (R.I.P Guru), Masta Ace and many others.

How did you hook up with Jimmy Nelson? Do you work with any other producers? Does he work with any other MCs?

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Well, Jimmy has been my engineer since 2004. That's when we met as well. He used to go by Eddie Satan and was from The Society of Invisibles. The two of us always talked about doing a project together but never made it happen, until last year. We released a full length LP titled Let's Get On With The Music and it recently was picked up by River City Records out of Japan, so that's an absolute blessing, because they support real hip-hop to the fullest overseas. I've worked with my man Dn3 as well and plan on doing a short project with him in the future. He's genius with the beats. I like doing the whole "One producer, one emcee" type scenario, because if the chemistry is there, then the magic takes place and a lot of great things can come out of it. I would also love to work with Lost Perception, Riesgo, and my man Taurus Scott. Their hands are made with fire! Jimmy has worked with TSOI and a few others out here as well. We did a big record on LGOWTM with the legendary Jaz-O called "The Game Plan" and it got a lot of love, so that was a great look. Shouts to the homie Jaz! My friend and DJ, Madd Rich did the cuts on the chorus and it came out insane.

What is the current status of your upcoming EP?

The new EP that Jimmy and I are wrappin' up is titled The J & D Experience and is set to release this summer, in either June or July. We've got Ariano, Sean Boog of The Away Team, Judgement, Random, Pennywise, my aunt Jodi Light, and my uncle Mario as well, so it shall be quite solid, I guarantee. Madd Rich and Dn3 provided scratches on a couple tracks also, so that definitely added to the mix.

What is your opinion of the Valley hip-hop scene? What could make it better?

The scene has definitely grown, that's for sure. There's a lot of great talent out here. I'm born and raised in AZ so I've witnessed the elevation. The only thing I can suggest, and this is mostly what everyone always says, is support your own AZ. You've gotta support your own in order for any kind of movement to take place and set off. Our time is coming. I just know it, but artists have to get out and hit the road as well and do tours. Even if it's indie and out of your own pocket. AZ is not officially known for hip-hop, so if the labels aren't coming here on an everyday basis, then you have to go out and take what's yours and give them more and more reasons to always search Arizona because Arizona has what they need.

Do you have any upcoming live gigs?

On May 28 I will be opening for Aceyalone and Sunspot Jonz at the Stray Cat in Tempe for WTF Fridays.

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