The 20-year-old rising star, Mavi has been pretty much everywhere as of late. Most recently, he was able to grace the stage of the Spirithaus Art Gallery in West Oakland. For the last five months, since the release of his album, Let the Sun Talk he’s been in high demand. Everything is changing as he goes further in his career as an artist, and as he prepares his fans for his forthcoming project.
When you posted “Let the Sun Talk”, what was that point in your life like?
Mavi: I was very broke; I was very desperate. I had been sitting on the completed songs for over a year and I was too broke to get the mixes or get someone to give me their dedicated attention for a long enough time to complete it. That wait ended up making it a better album. But during the time I was making it, I was not feeling very happy, like at all.
M: My life situation with me being in school and taking the hardest classes that I’ve ever taken and got what I thought was a different measure of success than what I previously got. Fully being on my own financially and being the centerpiece of multiple people’s financial plans while still being kind of broke. That shit was fucking with me especially before my album was out. While I was getting offers before the album it was like I can’t really show nobody nothing.
How did you come to the decision to put your education on pause?
M: My plan was to have Spring, Summer, and Fall semester. I’d drop spring semester, don’t go for summer come back in the fall and tour through that entire season. It was because I needed room to work right fast while this album was still doing this. Now I have another album done, so I’m in a different place. And, I needed to tour this album.
“It’s things that I gotta do right now that I can’t do no other time. Ever.”
What type of mindset were you in when you made ‘Let the Sun Talk’?
M: For Let the Sun, I was trying to make an iconic thing. Even the choice of the cover, the contrast of the colors and how central the component is. That was all to make it easily iconic.
Compared to the album that you just finished?
M: On the one I just finished, I was on some fake angry shit. I just been angry recently. It’s just that my frustrations become more varied. It can be something as meta as ‘I don’t like what this politician’s advertisement is suggesting about the nature of humanity’ to ‘oh shit, I stubbed my toe.’ Shit like that be frustrating me. My roommate left the dishes in the sink, I understood my parents so much at that moment.
“I just been on some hot shit.”
The October release of “Let the Sun Talk“, made waves through pretty much every ear and publication. He was in the business to make history and that is on the way. Even with the limited release of the physical copies of his album, he is making the next drop more unique for his fans. On the current tour circuits, going to various cities. Mavi has been turned up.
When did you start feeling the reception from your album?
M: It was so fast, it was crazy. I think I did good for getting the hype around it. It was distinct in the timing of the year. I got some pretty good responses like within a week, I ain’t know it was going to be like that. I don’t really know what it’s going to be still. I feel like it’s still very early. I don’t know what it’ll be.
What was it like experiencing these moments like this while you’re still a college student still trying to make your way?
M: Good, because the more of these things happen, the more alone I become. My experiences are fully my own now. That made my education something that I can approach the same way.
“I’m here to get something for me regardless of who’s around.”
When did you start feeling the shift from schoolwork to music? Have you always been doing music?
M: I’ve always been doing music since I was like in 9th grade. The first time I felt like I was doing more rap work than schoolwork was when I was dropping an album. I was in so much constant communication about rap when they knew I was finna drop it too because a lot of people tried to swoop in at the last minute.
What are the things that help you come to this point with performing?
M: My family, a lot of practice, and a lot of love for the music. I feel like I be performing like that in my living room sometimes. When the right Future song comes on.
Who are some people that you want to work with?
M: I would love to work with Andre, and Mos Def, and Black Thought, and Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon, and Cam’ron. If I get him on some different beats, he would be going stupid.
For Mavi, the Baby Miracle, being into music is nothing new. Music has been around him his entire life. As well as boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts fighting peaked his interests as a child. Growing up, his parents were playing things like Erykah Badu, which probably led to them digitally meeting and singing her song ‘Solider’ on facetime.
Is there anything you wish you knew before getting into this?
M: Into rap?
You can take it both ways, into music and into school.
M: Well the music shit-
A lot of is it just learn as you go.
M: Facts. And fame is non-consensual. That’s what I wish I would have known. I thought that famous niggas was like ‘Okay I wanna be famous,’ and they work for it. Then when they don’t wanna be famous no more they just not famous. But that is super, super not the case, and it’s even less of the face now than it was maybe 30 years ago. Once I got little, mini, micro morsels of it, I was like ‘this shit ain’t like that.’ I just like making slaps.
Since you’ve been pretty much everywhere how has your schedule changed, your
M: You know how you go to the NBA they have you go to the lifestyle meeting and they teach you how to be an NBA player. They need to have like a rookie handbook for the young rap niggas. I have older rap homies that have done and seen a lot and that helps me. even like maintaining your voice, that’s something that until you do three shows in three nights you never even thought was a thing. Little shit that you only learn from being here.
What have been the biggest and the most challenging parts of this time in your life?
M: Being alone as fuck. I be in the airport a lot of my days and you can’t really talk to nobody while you in the airport. Nobody knows everything about everybody, and you don’t know everything about anybody. And when the knowledge that you know becomes too specific, that becomes super isolating and you feel like you don’t have nobody on your team.
What has been the most surreal moment of your life?
M: It was when I was on Facetime with Erykah Badu and we was singing ‘Solider’. ‘Solider’ I feel like most young niggas like me feel that shit like straight mirrored their life. So, it’s like ‘damn!’ That was amazing. I love her so much.
As Mavi becomes more isolated, he surrounds himself with his peers but also with books, television, and music. He is reading things from the poet and writer Nikki Giovanni. “I love you, Nikki Giovanni,” he said. The show ‘Mindhunter’ is streaming in his Netflix account, even though it’s fuck the feds. He’s listening to his peers’ music too. Ovrkast, Hook, Bktherula, Zelooperz, BabyxSosa and Bby Mutha have his ears at this moment.
What is something that you’ve learned from this tour circuit?
M: I’ve learned how to wake up and live and love what I do, how to give a hard day’s work and go to sleep. Which is such a blessing as a Black man.
What is your personal relationship with music?
M: Sings then plays Gary Bartz’s 1977 song ‘Music Is My Sanctuary‘.
“I want to be the best rapper ever.”
How does your relationship with your comrades affect your influence your work ethic?
M: My peers not really my competition. Ghostface Killah is my competition. I wanna be better than Jay-Z, I wanna be better than the GOATS. I wanna be better than Wayne or I’m trying to be amongst them. I wanna be undisputable.
How do you want the bonds and relationships with your peers and fans to grow?
M: I want my fans to be able to form memories around my music. I always want it to have that groundedness and mean something to someone. I don’t want it always be rapper and listener.
What is something from this part of your life that you will always cherish?
M: My life and my health. I’m thankful every day I get to wake up, use both of my legs to get out of bed in non-considerable pain. That’s a super blessing.
What lessons have you learned since you started music?
M: Nobody really gone do it for you, but that’s the fun part. You can do anything! That shit is really insane and the biggest blessing. You can be anybody! You can customize this experience that God gave you or we got it from somewhere.
“I feel like I can make a full art piece because they let me in a gallery now.”
When Mavi came on stage, he demanded the crowd’s attention. The cheers for him started well before he appeared in front of the crowd, Ovrkast pointed him out in the back of the venue as he watched his friend perform for the first time. This moment felt like one of joy. Similar to the feeling he possessed when he showed me his screen saver. A picture of his small Black granny standing next to her dark gray Cadillac in a matching dark gray fit, from her hat to her shoes, she snapped.
Listen to this interview below.