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Wicked [Ghetto Mafia]: His Love For Music, New Projects & Cultural Influences

Wicked and Nino, from the group Ghetto Mafia marked their territory in 1993, as one of the fiercest underground groups to derive from the hip-hop scene in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ghetto Mafia signed to Ichiban Records, which allowed them to release flaming single Draw the Line [1994]. The group released a follow-up album called Full Blooded Ni**az through Triad Records [1995]. The later joined Fully Loaded Records [1996]. They released Straight from the Dec [1997]. Ghetto Mafia released their most prized project [1998] called On da Grind, which peaked at 169 on the Billboard 200. They released Da Return of Ghetto Mafia [2005]. The group dropped a single in 2016 despite taking some years off just to let fans know that they still got it. Wicked said, whether he’s forty, thirty, or twenty years old, he’s still performing rap music till the end of the time.

Wicked is passionate about hip-hop even now. Who could blame him? If the facts are correct, Ghetto Mafia formed in 1988. It took the group five years after that to release a solid album, where they learned, pruned and matured as lyricist worthy of a record that could hit.

According to the versifier, the late Michigan rapper, Eric “MC Breed” took Wicked and Nino under his wing and that’s how he got into the music industry. MC Breed saw Wicked performing at a local open mic show. Although Wicked felt that his rapping style was basic, MC Breed thought differently. MC Breed became a mentor to the group. He toured with Wicked and Nino to California, where they met other artist like Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dog…

“I went out there and I didn’t want to leave,” he exclaimed. “I stayed out there for two weeks. Anything the man [Mc Breed] wanted me to do, I did it whether it was taking out the trash or setting the mic’s up—Back then, we didn’t have a studio. We had to pay to go to a studio. This is the first man that I saw, who had a studio in his home. That was spectacular to me, and from that point on, I knew that I wanted to do music. He [MC Breed] was very instrumental in our career. He believed in us. He already had a platinum song. He could’ve easily put me in a bubble,” Wicked reflected on the hospitality that MC Breed showed by believing in him and believing in his music. He says that he needs to do better with that when dealing with other artist. Wicked is the complete opposite and a little cavalier... “If I hear an artist, and I don’t like their music right now-- If I feel like he needs seasoning, I give him one chance before deciding that he’ll never make it. I only give people opportunities once, and they may become successful later on, because I didn’t give them a second chance. MC Breed never did that to Ghetto Mafia. We were whack at the time, and he stayed down with us for years until we got our craft together, he acknowledged.

Rappers like Ghetto Boys, EPMD, Slick Rick, and The Beastie Boys influenced Wicked heavily to help calibrate his sound, including the up-tempo, bass filled anthems from the Miami rappers. He wasn’t bias at all, because in his eyes, hip hop was an art, a culture, modified continually, and scattered across the globe. Many artists contributed to the success of Ghetto Mafia.

Classic Banger: For the Good Times

If Wicked could change anything within this generation, it would be originality. He says that artist sound similar which isn’t uncommon.

Speaking of eccentrically original entertainers, Wicked said that he’d love to work with Lauryn Hill, if he could collaborate with another artist. “I think she’s one of the greatest entertainers and not just from the female singers and rappers. She was ahead of her time. Her messages were on point. Everything about her stood for something. I don’t know her personally and I don’t know what she does behind closed doors, but it appeared to me that she wasn’t a pushover in the street. She didn’t do certain things that the industry wanted her to do. She was still very successful, and I admired her for that.”

Everyone is winning in this generation, and that’s how Wicked summarized his response when asked the question, “Who is the underdog?” He also followed up by saying that he considers himself the small guy in the industry although he’s one of the game-changers, that made an impact on hip hop especially for rappers in Georgia that arrived after him… “I came from a generation of other people controlling your career. If I had a big budget, or people to put my music in videos, in front of millions of viewers, that would’ve changed things. They got a million people, and I have one-hundred-thousand. That put me at a disadvantage because I’m already underrated. That’s how it was back then. If you had a deal with Universal or Def Jam versus someone that was independent, you were underrated. E-40 was an underrated artist for years because he financed himself when he got into the industry. Many people knew about him around the country and around the world. I always knew that he was great but it wasn’t until the last five or seven years that he got a major deal. He’s been great since the nineties. That’s underrated to me. Now, he’s got a whole machine behind him.”

Wicked is still on the music scene creating… “Right now, I’m pushing this new single with Fabo called “Never Change,” says Wicked, “and then I have another single with T-Moe from Goodie Mob, which is the remake of the hit single from New York that came out back in the day called Self Destruction,” he explains. Wicked says that the song will include artist like Bone Crusher, Pastor Troy, The Ying Yang Twins, Big Boi and Andre 3000. It’s a positive message for the youth… “Goodie Mob has always been known for conscious music and giving the people that good soul-food message in their music,” he says. When T-Moe came to me [with it], he said he needed all hands-on deck from every occupation to affect the kids out here, so they will listen to it. He said he needed my contribution, because I could speak on many things that they are going through in the streets from the music and my life. I understood that and I felt it was my duty to give back, to spread the message.

I’m glad I made it to an O.G. It was a point where I was living in the ninties and I was in my early twenties; I didn’t think I’d make it to my thirties. I didn’t think I would make it to forty. I’m a little over forty, now. I didn’t think I was going to make it, and I know there’s a lot of kids out there who feel that way now. I want them to know there is hope. There are things you can do besides being a rapper, football player, or basketball player,” he spoke acutely. “Get up off the couch, and get off the video games. Let’s make some money out here, legally, and let’s help our community.”

Wicked & Fabo [D4L]: Never Change

Ghetto Mafia celebrated their 25-year anniversary. They’ve also performed since then… “After that, we started shooting a documentary. I have a documentary that’s halfway done. I wanted to drop it for our thirtieth anniversary. I got most of the old-school artist, but now I’m going after the new school artist. I’m trying to bridge the gap and get these young artists to see that we paved a way for them. We don’t want a monetary handout, but we would like them to use their status for causes. We need them to help come up with money to extend to causes like bullying. We want to keep kids in school; we need them to help with things like that. We don’t want to pay them twenty and thirty thousand to come out for breast cancer awareness. We don’t want them to do it for clout. We want them to do if for the love of people. I’m trying to be an activist. I have the street credits and I have been through all the cycles. Anyone that’s ever been locked up, they know what cycles mean. I’ve been to every jail in this city, so I have the credibility to talk to these young men about anything they are going through because I have been there whether that’s shooting at folks, been shot at, stabbed—I’ve been through a lot so I can talk to them about it. I’m happy to be here, that I’ve made it this long and I feel right now, I feel like it’s time for me to bridge the gap because there is a divide between new school artist and old school artist.”

Wicked also said that if he could go back in time to speak words of wisdom to himself, he would say, “Walk like it’s your last day. Always think outside the box and rub shoulders with people. Help people because it takes many people for you to be successful. I would give advice to someone by telling them to teach females right. I know that sounds funny but females are the backbones of our community. Black women have been through so much. We all have been through so much as blacks, including me. Females have stuck by through the crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, the mass incarceration of black men and the systemic incarceration of the black man--The mind soul and the body. Black women have always stood by us.”

Along with that last statement, Wicked would like to use his platform to address parents. He said that life skills, the cohesion of street smarts and economics, doesn’t hit everyone at the same rate. According to Wicked, advancing kids too early in life does more harm than good. “We are so ready to get our kids out of the house and throw them to the streets, but these 18-year-old kids are still babies. They look grown and they act grown, but they aren’t. When we put them out there, they turn to the streets.”

Wicked is still acclimating to the changes within the music industry, but now he’s older and wiser, so he’s able to teach other artist coming into the music game based off his own experiences. With that, he encourages readers to follow him on social network to stay up-to-date with what he’s doing next. They might learn something new from an O.G.

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