The southern culture of Atlanta has produced legendary MC’s and iconic stars, who’ve gone on to influence far more than just music. Hidden in the funkadelic sounds and eclectic vibes produced here was a tendon of individuality breathing life in our culture and community. Now the epicenter for new music, Atlanta continues to be a forerunner in producing one-of-kind artists who are nothing less than pioneers of sound, wit, and ingenuity. Currently aiming for the pioneer torch is Mauie The King Jr., artist, visionary, and designer. A standout creator from our hotbed of talent, Mauie’s preparing for one illuminating legacy.
Mauie The King Jr. is bringing on all new purpose, from his foundation to his delivery. With success from releasing his EP, Going Out for Wings, Mauie is becoming well known for his stylistic approach to music and enchanting videos such as U-Way and Vibe. Follow closely as, Mauie discusses unique inspirations, his insights on stepping outside the box while creating a new lane, diversity in the industry, and his impending rise to apex.
1. What does that name Kamau mean?
Kamau means Silent Warrior. It’s Kenyan. I’m a real Southwest Atlantan, we just make shit up as go. Yeah, my mom went through an Afrocentric phase of her life. She cut all her hair off to free her spirit, all types of shit. I lived in Ethiopia for about 1 year and ½. It was lit, there were birds bigger than me.
3. Tell me about the role music played in your family.
Well ‘Jodi (Mauie’s mother) with the low-cut’ would play Bob Marley, reggae, and The Police. Then, all I would listen to is Outcast, Jay Z , and Kilo Ali. All I would listen to is bass music. I’m a big Jay-Z fan, so what I would do for inspiration is look at Jay-Z and James Baldwin interviews. My grandma was a part of this group called Arrested Development, so when she was on tour I would watch her on television.
4. So you said you’re from southwest Atlanta, what part?
I’ve lived on Cascade Rd, Campbellton Rd, Bankhead, even the West End. I mean that’s what made me. That’s where everything creative comes from, for me, and for Atlanta, if you look historically through music. That’s my inspiration, that’s where I’ve got, literally everything. I think it’s the insecurity. Even at a young age, I felt I wasn’t supposed to be here. My parents were young and didn’t plan for me. So for me, everything was survival; do or die. I didn’t really fit either. I had to create my own lane and be okay not fitting in. That’s why I do it. I want to inspire and make dope music, and once I figure out the impacts of generational music then I’ll make more happen.
5. Tell me the difference between Kamau and Mauie the King Jr.
Kamau gives a fuck, Mauie the King doesn’t. There are two elements, because I’m a Gemini. It’s two polar opposites that exist together.
6. When did you decide to become a rapper full time?
“Last year I just went all the way to artist, and put my other talents to the side.” While discussing the saturation of the industry and high levels of competition, Mauie talks pragmatism and being a realist in an era of false hopes. “There are 1000 of artists who seem intelligent enough to do the same job, which can cause uncertainty sometimes,” he says. However, as the conversation advanced the insecurities he once discussed became past tense nuances that were just a part of getting started. When he discusses taking a leap of faith on yourself, his pragmatism was now directed as how sure he was of going all the way.
7. Tell me about your obligations to yourself?
Well, I’m an artist and a label. My label is MTK and it’s also a clothing brand I’m building. Everyday day I work on my singles, I have enough songs for album. That’s what I have to do on a daily. Plus, generating revenue to push out my dreams.
8. What fuels your productivity?
I used to think about what made me do good things in life. And it’s because I am very female-oriented. I would get good grades because girls liked it. I had to figure out the layers and the context behind that. Now that feeling I once had is scientifically what social media is. Every time you get a like on social media, it’s like dopamine. It is interesting how social media can take something so organic like love or the feeling and use it in a system that is innovative and high tech. That makes social media mean something.
9. Tell me your favorite part of being an artist?
I like performing more than I like recording. For me, I can step out of reality and get into character. I have a creative approach to whatever I am doing, and it feels good. Every time I touch the stage I feel like it’s my best performance because I thoroughly enjoy it.
10. How is that influenced by your personal relationship with Music?
Well, I hate rap music. Actually –lemme’ remove the word hate, I don’t like it. If you wanna’ catch me on a vibe, I’ll be listening to ‘Munchies For Your Love’ by Bootsy Collins. I soul search for music, like I’m trying to find inspiration. I like funk, that’s where I find all my inspiration. That’s why I like Andre 3000 and Erykah Badu. I gotta get a Andre 3000 feature, before he retires. Even Drake –call it cliché, I respect him, and he makes great music, I’d like to collaborate with him. I like Neo-soul the best, though. Foreign Exchange or Van Hunt.
11. After some research into your work, I found some of your earlier mixtapes from 2010 to 2012. Tell us about Mixed Feelings and Humble Beginnings.
That was the biggest doubt moments of all times of my life. I was with my uncle, Killa B of Dungeon Family and we were signed to Presidential Records at the time. All the artist’s on the label we’re kind of cross-pollinating, and just creating shit. From that, I made Mixed Feelings. It was supposed to be a mixture of the inner demons, the inner angels, and the guidance over my life.
12. Was this also around your CREAM X CARTEL time?
Oh yeah, it was 30 of us in CreamXCartel. It was real. He *points to his manager, Julian (@juju_anr) got it tatted on him, it’s for life. It was all love though, those was my brothers, but I just had to move. Then, I want to MTK, the brand and label. And OMO (Odd Man Out/On My Own), that’s the crew. Me, Fresco (@FrescoVangoh), Mari Tressman, Latif (@LatifWisdom), and Juju.
In this midst of speaking about his label stint and becoming a professional artist, Mauie discusses the degree of faith it took to accomplish such of feat. Whether it be faith in yourself, or faith in someone else, it simply cannot be matter of convinced –only recognized. Despite Mauie being signed, and completing projects as early as 2010, it was only in 2017 that he’d convinced himself. He said good riddance to convincing label higher-ups of his knowledge of forthcoming waves, and embarked on the independent route where he found a degree of notoriety for his style and approach to songs.
13. What’s it like when you are on stage?
For me on stage, I go black. I’m creatively doing whatever the f-ck I’m doing. It feels good and I don’t’ remember. Literally, every time I get off the stage I ask Juju, ‘Can you show me the video?’ because I have no earthly idea. And every time I touch the stage I feel like it’s my best performance because I thoroughly enjoy it. I wish I could be selfless and be like I’m doing it for the people in the crowd, but I’m for sure doing it for myself. I like performing more than I like doing anything now.
14. Speaking of, what is your recording process like?
Recording is terrible, it’s great though. I have crazy ideas in my head and I would record it on my voice memos. And I would create the melody and sometimes it sounds crazy. *Plays us a sample called ‘Oooh Honey’.* It doesn’t even sound like rap music, but it’ll be the cadence on a rap song. It’s a melody for me. My mom was a jazz artist, so I hear jazz and funk. So I have to do the melody, then from there I fill in the words.
15. After you record, what is filter process like for the music you release?
Recently I’d completed a full project, side A and B, giving you two totally different sides of me. Then, Juju’s says we have to pick a single. One that’s easy to digest, because they won’t be ready for what I’m doing yet. At first, I was upset because I thought he wanted me to give a generic ass record. Cause’ if I give them that generic shit, they not gonna’ want Mauie The King Jr. baby, they not gonna’ want the swag. They not gonna want all the rings, the big circle frames, and the Miu Miu and Chanel inspiration. They not gone want that. And that’s what I’m giving.
16. I notice that a lot when artists release popular singles, then stylized projects. How do you deal with that?
We had to pick a record that was palatable but at the same time is me. And that has to happen by accident. It can’t be something you plan out. That’s not real. I came to that perspective when I had a talk with my mom and she asked me what do you want out of life? And that’s stability. Because that’s something I’ve never had. It was like, can you grind, hustle and be stable? Yeah, you can. With longevity, I have to live for the now and plan for the future.
17. What do you want to be known for?
Saving African Americans. What is the objective for black people in 2018? What are we here to accomplish? And for me that’s generational wealth. That’s the 1st step. You cannot be free if you cannot afford your freedom in America. I want people to have to freedom to have merit based off of creativity. The black man in America can’t be themselves. They either have to be smart or hard.
18. What is the type of relationship you want with your fans?
I have a vision to build an empire from the ground up. I want to get 1000 like-minded individuals moving in on the same way of positivity. To make a billion dollars it takes 1000 people.
19. What about the people and other artists around you?
I love trap shit. And then there’s like this whole other world, like the BOREGARD’s (@therapgamebojackson), I want them to win. For me, when I was growing up it was Awful Records.
20. What do you see next for the industry and for Atlanta?
I want more people to be invested into politics. You’ll see that when more money comes into the city of Atlanta, you see more money for the arts. Now, the allocation of that money will be ugly. Artists are going to have go try get grants. But the money is going to be there.
“The strongest are those who renounce their own times and become a living part of those yet to come. The strongest and the rarest.” - Milovan Dijlas
For more updates on Mauie The King Jr. and his upcoming projects, follow his Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube at Mauiethekingjr.