On this day, 20 summers ago, my crew Athletic Mic League released our very first debut album, Sweats & Kicks. With this album, we were determined to make our mark in this rap game. We learned alot putting this together and releasing it independently. We challenged ourselves musicially in creating a cohesive album that sounded like US. We were comfortable just being us in a time where copying was celebrated, hence the title "Sweats & Kicks". That was what we wore everyday whether we worked, chilled, or played basketball. Back then I was writing rhymes more than making beats. We had 4 of us producing all the beats (Lab Techninicans Productions) Designed our own artwork and product packaging. Marketing plans. Accounting. Working College Radio. Drove state to state rocking shows and sleeping on floors. Posting flyers up in record stores, telephone poles, college dormitory wall boards, Okayplayer message board and locally all over Ann Arbor/Ypsi/Lansing/Detroit - rain, sleet, hail, or snow. Shot a commericial spot during Rap City on BET. This was in a time period when we battled against the rise of illegal downloading with Napster and Soul Seek to sell albums. Independently pressed up and hustled our 12" vinyl single "Got'em Sayin ft. Invincible" to DJs everywhere to spin. We even battled an Eminem record with our single over the airwaves, where folks had to call in and vote. We almost won that mug too. We did everything we could to hustle and push this mug. That's how much we loved music and believed in ourselves. I'm also forever grateful to my pops (RIP), who showed us love and gave us a chance to pitch our business plan to him, in which he ended up financially investing in us, so we had the funds to release this album. Some of these songs we also wrote while still in our teens.
Athletic Mic League - "Behind The Scenes"
Check me out rocking the mic in a snippet from AML's "Got'em Sayin" live in 2007
I'm grateful for 20 years of brotherhood. Alot happens in 20 years, you know? Much love to my AML bros for everything we built! We also dropped a new album 2 years ago and have another one coming soon.
Shout out to everybody who has been "Vibin'" with us since day one.
God is good.
Let's keep building this legacy!