Mike Floss' "Dopeboy Dreaming" is the first track released off of the artists’ anticipated mixtape, Don’t Blame The Youth. “With the chant 'grew up in the 90s' the song pulls you into the world of the post-Reagan, D.A.R.E. generation where the rewards of playing the dope game outshine the risks,” said Floss’ team of the track. Floss, formerly known as Openmic, reunited with old friend and producer Ducko McFli of Mike Will’s Ear Drummers. “We locked it down in Atlanta with the goal of creating our own sound and that was the push I needed to become a better songwriter and tell my story. I started performing dope boy at clubs before it was even finished and knew I had something," Floss said.
Listen to the track and read our brief interview with Mike Floss.
Labeling Men: I assume Mike Floss is not your real name. If my instincts are correct, care to explain its origin?
Mike Floss: My mom named me Michael and on my mixtape, For The Rebels 2, the first song was titled Floss. I had a line that said, "Turn my flaws into floss.” Kind of just a testament to knowing yourself and embracing who you are. I pretty much adopted that as my last name because my goal as an artist is to help people know themselves.
Labeling Men: Your father is a jazz musician. Did he get you into music? Does jazz inform your sound?
Mike Floss: Definitely. My dad exposed me to a lot that I really couldn't appreciate until recently. I remember going to a lot of concerts and road trips to gigs as a kid and it was normal. I didn't really learn that it was uncommon until high school. I mean, just hearing Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughn playing in the house was critical because I didn't grow up on hip-hop. I grew up on the music that hip-hop was born out of, so my perspective is different than most rappers.
Labeling Men: You've opened for quite a few big names. Who was your favorite to open for?
Mike Floss: That's a tough one. Like you said, it’s been a lot of names, but the thing about opening for artists is that the majority of the crowd didn't come to see you. So every time you perform you have to fight to win them over. But I enjoy doing my own shows the most. I have longer set times and I think it’s a more accurate representation of what my team is building.
Labeling Men: Who are your influences?
Mike Floss: Lauryn Hill, Christopher Nolan, Andre 3000, Miles Davis.
Labeling Men: Favorite rappers?
Mike Floss: Lately I've been into Mick Jenkins and Raury
Labeling Men: Living and working in Nashville, are you partial to Southern rappers?
Mike Floss: Honestly, I find myself listening to less and less hip-hop. I'm more inspired by other genres unless somebody is extremely talented with conceptual writing. Other genres teach me more about song writing and melodies and that's been something I've been trying to strengthen lately as an artist. But as far as what I listen to for energy, it’s all guys from down here.
Labeling Men: Dream collaboration?
Mike Floss: Ducko McFli production, Erykah Badu and Pharrell harmonizing on the bridge, Andre 3000 on the first verse, and Tyler The Creator Directing the video. I'd throw one verse at the end and die happy.
Labeling Men: What is your favorite song of yours?
Mike Floss: Rich Boy - Throw Some D's. Seriously.
Labeling Men: Do you blast your own music?
Mike Floss: Yeah, it’s dope. If I don't feel confident about a record I'll skip it completely. But those never get released anyway.
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Interview by Anna Dorn
Photograph and artwork provided by Mike Floss