Mike Zombie has released his highly-anticipated album, Humble Genius. This third studio album was entirely produced by Mike Zombie, and contains only New Jersey features from Trev Rich, Connect and Benzi Ayo, giving Mike and crew all the space they need for this East Coast lyrical exercise on the music industry!
Fans will also be excited for the 14-track album, which contains the full version of the “Underdog” single Mike exclusively premiered on our March That NJ Ish segment. Earlier this month, Mike Zombie gave a special preliminary interview on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning show that you can check out below.
Read on for our talk with Mike Zombie, and make sure you cop the album on iTunes here.
Kanye West said it best when he asked, “You want me to be great, but you don’t ever want me to say I’m great?” Well, that’s not a problem for the select few people in the world who believe that your own greatness should be spoken on (if it’s true), and it’s certainly not a problem for Mike Zombie, who wakes up every day knowing he’s secured his future in the best way possible.
Zombie’s manager and older brother, James Coleman, says of the album’s progression:
“This is Mike in rare form. He’s always been building himself, and working on his craft, but this is his best work. He always knew he was great. When Drake first called him to work, he told [the family] about it like it was nothing. He was happy, but he said it so normal.”
We had the chance to follow Mike Zombie for two days at his Humble Genius album listening party, and a special event in New York the following day, where he opened up to us exclusively about his thought process while creating this project.
LifeIsTremendez: How is this album better than your last 2 projects? What’s been your progression thus far?
Mike Zombie: The progression is that I’m definitely more positive about life this album. It’s different from Rebel Without A Cause, because that was a lot darker. I wanted to make something that people could bump and have a good time to. This is definitely a summer album. What I’m talking about on here, I’m real aggressive and straight-forward with how things are. It’s in an upbeat way, it’s an arrogant way. It’s like I know I’m good at what I do. It’s definitely a faster-paced album. The production is the best I’ve ever done; it’s all cohesive. By the time you’re done, you’ll be like ‘How the fuck did I get here?’ Even with the album cover, I didn’t want it to be exactly like The Carter 3, but I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite albums.
LIT: Do you think there’s really a discrepancy between North Jersey and South Jersey artists?
MZ: Nah. As long as everybody keeps fucking with each other and keeps working with each other, the music is going to do its thing. I’m going to keep working with Charlie Heat. Go fuck with Albee-Al, Dougie F., ya know? I don’t think anybody honestly says ‘Fuck South Jersey, fuck North Jersey,” that’s just Twitter stuff. Nobody really thinks that.
LIT: What kind of stories are we going to get on this album? We learned a lot about your hometown on The End of The Beginning, but are we getting more ‘Industry Mike’ this time around?
MZ: It’s a mix of both, honestly. This is just where I feel like I am with life right now. I feel like next time I go in on a project or maybe next year, I’ll be talking about different things that I can’t even imagine. In the first song, I was talking about how I was in Miami right before my checks started hitting from music. I was talking to Buckeey, and we were supposed to go out on a date, but I ain’t have no money. That shit was weird to me, but it’s a story to tell.
LIT: You and I are from the same town. What do you say to the people in Willingboro that just refuse to, or think they can’t go out and follow their dreams, not necessarily to do what you’re doing, but in any capacity?
MZ: They’re wrong! (laughs) Mir Trillz is going crazy right now. Especially now, I’m willing to work with anybody and help, if they’re from Jersey, if they’re from Willingboro. I remember how it was when I was like ‘Damn, yo. I would die to have a track with, let’s say, Joey Jihad’ and I knew what that what do for me, and what that would do for other people.
You just gotta stay consistent because you never know who’s watching; you’d be surprised at who you think aint watching, but they are. Everybody’s watching. I just do what I do, and I do it to the best of my ability. That doesn’t mean that I can’t sit on this couch with someone else who does what I do. People are scared to help other people. Just stay focused. you can’t even let yourself have that (negative) though. All you gotta hear is “It’s a go.”
The day after his album listening party, Mike Zombie appeared on Ebro Darden’s Beats1 show (Mike Zombie Borough Check Takeover) to discuss working with Drake, his upcoming Humble Genius project, share an exclusive Bell Biv DeVoe-influenced beat and give the fans a world premiere of “Diamonds.”
Photo credit: @God_Fist