Tuesday night was nothing short of electrifying, as the acclaimed hip-hop talent Midwxst graced the stage at the Middle East nightclub, performing songs from his latest album E3. I had the privilege of not only being able to watch the performance but also interview Midwxst following the show’s conclusion and the insight I gained was remarkable to say the least. Beyond the introspective aspects of his artistry, he has an immense grasp on the realities of the world which speak volumes into his evolution as a musician and more importantly as a person. Before I reveal the gems of what he had to offer in our conversation, allow me to shed some light on the performative masterpiece he displayed in Cambridge last week.
The show was a huge success - featuring live instruments that had fans filling the Middle East basement to the brim. Following a passion filled showcase by opening act, Caspar Sage, Midwxst rushed to the front of the crowd to rile up fans for his first song of the night, Tally. The roar of cheers and excitement from the fans had the ground shaking, and served as a great introduction into the rest of the set list. As he continued through his extensive catalog, we got to enjoy songs from E3 live as well as other hits dating back to his EP and mixtape days. One notable takeaway that had me stunned was the difference in age group among the fans that decided to show up.
I got to see children as young as ten to adults in their mid-to-late thirties jumping together in unison to support Midwxst as he proceeded through the show. Very rarely do you see artists appeal to such a widely diverse demographic, and the fact all these different kinds of fans came to see Midwxst perform shows how much his music is capable of impacting anyone rather than having limited influence. From an E3 flag to a Midwxst Pokemon card, fans threw personalized creations at the stage, all with the hopes of getting the attention of their beloved artist even for a second. Little did they know that Midwxst thrives off of fan interactions, and this was shown during the night as he grabbed phones from the audience to record videos - not to mention bringing on one of his younger fans to take a seat on stage as he dedicated a song to him!
Now getting into the interview, Midwxst and I had the opportunity to talk about a plethora of different topics relating to his artistry and life in general. When asked about how his album E3 came to fruition, he stated: “I was definitely going through a lot of personal matters that led to circumstances that I didn’t want to have come up, and it left me with no other place to run to besides the studio.” He went further to explain that “E3 is a tale of somebody that has gone through not just love, but what the idea of love itself is, and how you can get it right but so many aspects of it wrong.” More than using E3 as a means to communicate emotional ideologies to fans, Midwxst claims he used it as a way to have a transparent conversation with himself and make it the most personal work he has created thus far in his career. In an industry where artists are becoming more compelled to put out music that appeals to their fans, it’s refreshing to hear that he is disregarding the mainstream deviation musicians take in this era, and is sticking to what keeps himself authentic. Despite it being risky lyrically, and sonically, he is driven by the motivation to shed light on this “messed up fantasy universe that is E3.. and capturing the beauty and ugliness of adolescence.”
Later he acknowledges how E3 as a project is worlds away from his trap-esque mixtape series “Back in Action,” and though he has had great success in that polished rap sound, he describes that for some time, making music had become “soulless.” It’s because of this monotonous roadblock, that he decided to venture outside of his comfort zone, and put together this cohesive album that oozes of pop, rock, and emo rap elements. Ultimately through this slow-burning process of ironing out his artistry, he put it frank by saying: “I wanna be Midwxst, collectively… not fragments or pieces of someone who’s a beautiful creative.” To further embellish the beauty that came with the sounds of E3, he delves into the personal aspects of his family life with track seven, titled “grandpas interlude,” featuring spoken word sentiments delivered by his grandfather, and a voicemail from his cherished “Mimi,” on the outro of the album titled “ready for you.” He mentions how one fan approached him during the meet-and-greet segment of the concert and relayed how the interlude makes him cry because he lost his grandfather, and as an artist Midwxst never anticipated his music would allow fans to live vicariously through him and his own family dynamics.
Artists have all kinds of milestones as they progress through the ranks of this ultra-competitive industry. For some a Grammy says it all, and for others, fan recognition is the end goal. For Midwxst, this surreal feeling came earlier this year as he visited his hometown in Indiana. As we were speaking I had the opportunity to show him this picture because it was important to me to capture his reaction at such a surreal moment. The picture is of him standing in front of a billboard promoting his album in his hometown, where he grew up. His reaction to seeing the billboard was pure disbelief, as he mentions how he used to “drive past the road everyday, wherever [he] was going,” and how it was crazy to “be a part of [his] own nostalgia!”
Before we wrapped up the interview, I thought it’d be sweet to get a rapid fire segment where we as fans and listeners can get an insider scoop into what Midwxst gets around too during the hectic tour period… Here's some of the things he had to say!
Q: “Glaive, Dami, Yeat, Slump, Denzel Curry, these are some of the masterminds you’ve had the opportunity to work with thus far. Who’s an artist that you haven’t worked with yet, that would be a dream collab for the future, and for the fans?”
“Damn, that’s really hard, I’d love to work with Omar Apollo, or the Alchemist. I don’t think people have heard me rap-rap for real… I haven’t sat down and made something like Infinity 888, but trust me bro, when I get in that bag, I get in that bag, and I definitely wanna demonstrate that. Some of those are actually in the works, so very exciting.”
Q: “Obviously on tour, things get hectic. You have to get from place to place, there’s always things to do, and it gets stressful. Walk me through a day in the life of Midwxst trying to relax. Favorite snack? Favorite activity?”
“So I usually wake up around twelve, and after that I’ll get up and usually make some fruity pebbles, or lucky charms… I’ll snack on some Motts, the gummies. That’s crack in a food item, for real! I be getting the strawberry lemonade calypso, and then after that usually kick back, watch Regular Show, Adventure Time, or Rick and Morty.”
Q: “For all the people tuning in, what are some things you’d like to say?”
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