Mix Master Mike Talks 'Beastie Boys Book,' New Role in Cypress Hill & Upcoming Movie About His Life


This week, one of the beloved and impactful teams in rap historical past in the end releases its memoir, with a reputation that will get proper to the purpose: Beastie Boys Book. But the 500-plus-page tome from the surviving members of Beastie Boys, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Mike “Mike D” Diamond doesn’t simply inform the story of how they and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch — via tales with titles together with “Black Flag on the Peppermint Lounge,” “The Song That Changed Everything” and “Who at This Table Sucks Dick?” — went from snotty New York hardcore punk children to hip-hop legends, with a profession that spanned greater than 30 years. It additionally features a graphic novel, a cookbook, uncommon pictures, a map of the Beastie Boys’ New York, and contributions from the likes of Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and Amy Poehler. There’s additionally a singular part written by a man who had a front-row seat — or extra precisely, a behind-the-band spot — to the second half of the Beasties’ storied profession: celebrated turntable wizard Mix Master Mike.

Mike Schwartz had already made a serious identify for himself with modern, scratch-centric expertise by the mid-1990s– together with successful three consecutive DMC World DJ Championship titles — when he met Adam Yauch, lobbied exhausting for a spot within the band and eventually gained one three years later. Mike joined the Beasties simply earlier than 1998’s Grammy-winning Hello Nasty and continued via their ultimate album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, simply previous to Yauch’s loss of life from most cancers.

These days, along with numerous facet, solo and charity tasks — together with two VR albums within the works — Mike has joined one other basic crew: Cypress Hill. He’s at the moment a featured performer on their tour in help of the not too long ago launched Elephants on Acid. But this week he returned to the Beastie Boys fold, to supply reside scoring for the “Live and Direct” guide tour, which launched, naturally, in New York, makes future stops in LA, San Francisco and London via November, and features a Q&A with Ad-Rock and Mike D and a specifically curated Beasties exhibition. A couple of days earlier than these particular dates obtained underway, Billboard spoke to Mix Master Mike about his assorted tasks — together with a film within the works about his many-faceted life.

Mike! You’re in LA taking part in exhibits with Cypress Hill in the meanwhile?

Yeah, we had a present final night time on the El Rey, it was superior. And then tonight there’s one at The Roxy. And then I’m leaving Sunday for New York. I’ve two Beastie guide exhibits Monday and Tuesday after which I’ve two Cypress Hill exhibits in New York.  

Before I get to the Beasties, let’s speak about what’s been happening not too long ago with Cypress Hill. You guys have been only recently in South America and Mexico?

Yeah, we did South America, we did all the massive cities in Mexico. It was insane. Over two weeks we lined most likely 4 international locations and 15 cities.

I do know they’re big in Latin America. What’s it like being down there with them?

They’re gigantic there. Yeah, I imply, throughout the live performance I may flip off verses they usually’d be singing, the entire pageant can be singing their songs. And the fellows will do Spanish variations of their songs, like "[How Could I Just] Kill a Man” and whatnot. But the response is simply huge. And then me coming into the image provides the band a complete different look, one other sound. So it’s unbelievable.

I’ve to surprise: Any band proper now, any U.S. artist touring Latin America or particularly Mexico, within the period of Donald Trump — do you guys really feel such as you’re, in a way, ambassadors of fine will making an attempt to scrub up a number of the mess that Trump has created?

Oh, undoubtedly. But so far as me and the fellows, we really don’t actually give a fuck, as a result of individuals know what we stand for. We stand for artwork and we stand for the individuals. People know the place we come from. We don’t let his operation get in the best way of what we are attempting to do. You know what I imply? He’s a sideshow. He’s a actuality star. And we ain’t with that bullshit. We don’t give a fuck. There’s plenty of anti-Trump, “Fuck Trump” this and that — it’s what it’s. Let it run its course, and I do consider that payback is a bitch, sooner or later. He’s creating his personal future, along with his actions.

Can you speak in regards to the historical past of you becoming a member of up with Cypress? The announcement was made earlier this yr.

Yeah it was, I consider, April of this yr? And B-Real had been making an attempt to take a seat down and have a gathering with me for the previous couple years. And I keep in mind I’d go see him, 'trigger we’d be on the Laker video games and stuff like that, and B would all the time be telling me, “I want to speak to you, Mike, I obtained a proposition for you!” however we by no means actually obtained to take a seat down, till one night time he known as me and he was like, “So that is the proposition!” And he made me a suggestion I couldn’t refuse. And I stated, “Hey, why not?” They needed to implement a franchise participant, so I used to be like, “OK, if I’m gonna be part of the band, it’s gonna be ‘Cypress Hill that includes Mix Master Mike,’” and so yeah, I assume you could possibly say I’m form of just like the Bill Belichick of that operation.

So that includes Mix Master Mike — does that imply you’re a quote-unquote official member?

No, for now — B informed me, “Hey, so long as you need to be part of this, that is your position. You might be right here for so long as you need.” And I’m flattered, 'trigger these guys are legends. They modified music. So it’s form of like I’m simply going with it and having a very good time with these guys. You know what I imply? And like what I’ve performed with the Beasties’ reside exhibits, it’s form of a factor the place I need to do the identical factor as what I do with the Beasties. And B form of needed that. He was like, “I need what you probably did with the Beasties, try this with our reside present.” So I used to be like, “Awesome.”

I assume it’s been now six years since Adam Yauch handed and the Beasties successfully ended, proper?

Yeah, yeah.

So have been you — it’s not such as you have been essentially seeking to get again into a gaggle state of affairs, have been you?

No, with me — keep in mind earlier than becoming a member of the Beasties, I used to be all the time a solo artist, and I used to be placing out my very own albums, being a DMC World Champion and touring the world. But no, it wasn’t actually like that, it was extra like, “Oh, wow, nicely now that Adam’s gone, I’m simply gonna proceed my solo profession," and now it’s blossomed into me doing different stuff like me doing the digital actuality factor and whatnot — I are available many various kinds. But relaxation in peace to my brother Adam, and I hope he’s trying down, and I hope he’s proud. We simply need to make him proud.

Regarding the Beastie Boys guide, it’s undoubtedly not your standard autobiography. There’s so much happening in it, proper?

Definitely. There’s plenty of stuff. It’s not a type of primary books the place you open it and it’s phrases, phrases, phrases, and within the center there’s an insert with like 4 pages of images. This is — it’s a guide of every thing, there’s a cookbook in there, there’s tales and every kind of stuff. I wrote a narrative in there known as “The Draco Report.”

And that form of tells the story of the way you met Adam within the first place?

Yeah! But I known as it “The Draco Report” and I didn’t wanna method it in a boring trend, individuals know that story. People get it. So I turned it right into a sci-fi story. I can’t clarify it. I simply made it an attention-grabbing learn. And additionally I’m on the audio guide too. I feel I’m speaking in a vocoder voice on the audio guide.

Where does that identify come from? The Draco Report?

Oh nicely, I imply, there’s completely different civilizations on Earth and typically I am going go to these civilizations, and I carry again info. So I apply that to the story of how me and Adam met, and the way I got here to be one of many members of the Beastie Boys.

I can’t wait. And I heard there’s a map of the Beasties’ New York in it?

Yes! It’s so not the norm. Everything in regards to the guide isn’t regular. And that’s the place the brilliance lies. It’s mysterious in a approach. Everything we do, we need to take a left-field method. And that’s what this guide is: It’s a left-field method, but it surely’s very, very educated.

Do you suppose the best way that the group ended, in a tragic approach, made it all of the extra vital that this be a extremely particular guide?

Yeah, undoubtedly. Mike and Adam did such an awesome job on the guide. I imply — this actually wasn’t our wheelhouse, proper? [Laughs] So these guys simply took this method of: “Let’s simply make it fucking every thing. Let’s make a guide the place, if I purchase it, it will take years to decipher every thing in that guide.” I imply, it’s 600 pages of simply “Oh shit!” It’s insane.

You joined earlier than Hello Nasty, after they have been already big stars, however the '90s have been additionally a altering time for them, particularly Yauch with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts. People have been seeing him in a special gentle.

Yeah, you’re speaking about this as soon as “Fight for Your Right to Party” man, insane insurgent man — and now he’s hanging out with the Dalai Lama!


But that was the brilliance of Adam, and of him understanding when it was time to place away sure chapters in his life. That was his evolution, every thing he had discovered over time. Because should you take a look at the Beasties, it’s all a lesson. And shit, for me, it was like a dream come true. I imply once I went to highschool, Licensed to Ill was my soundtrack. And it was one thing the place I all the time felt like, “I’m part of this band — they usually don’t even understand it!” so I feel I form of willed it to be. It was like my energy of intention. You know, they are saying you turn into what you suppose, and I turned what I believed! And me assembly Adam — I met him in ’95 at a Rock Steady anniversary, and that was on the time once I was three-time world DJ champion.

And I used to ship Adam these DJ battle videotapes within the mail, and when he wasn’t dwelling I used to depart these loopy scratched answering-machine messages.​

I used to be a persistent motherfucker! I used to be like, “I’m gonna transmit some sound waves and frequencies via his answering machine, and it’s obtained to get via to him!,” you already know what I imply? I used to be inflicting my very own awakening for him!​

Even although they are saying music, possibly hip-hop particularly, is a teenager’s sport, the Beasties stayed thrilling and very important till the tip, and naturally epitomized the rap-alternative connection. Do you suppose if Adam hadn’t gotten sick that they’d nonetheless be round right this moment?

Oh little question. We would most likely have an album out proper now and doubtless be touring the world. 99.9 p.c we might be on the street proper now. There can be no cause for us to cease — after To the 5 Boroughs and Hot Sauce, there can be no cause for us to cease.

Having come up within the '90s, what many see as hip-hop’s “golden age,” what are your ideas on the previous 10 or 15 years: the rise of Atlanta, the membership orientation of hip-hop, and on into, extra not too long ago, mumble rap or the SoundCloud guys? It appears there’s an enormous technology hole nowadays.

Look, I’m a tastemaker. That’s what I’m, earlier than a musician and a DJ, I’m a tastemaker. It’s vital to remain in contact with the children and what children are listening to right this moment. I hearken to Travis Scott, Astroworld is wonderful. Of course I hearken to Kendrick, Drake, J. Cole…

But no Lil Yachty?

I can’t say that I hearken to Lil Yachty.

Or Lil Pump?

I don’t hearken to the “Lil”s! Because truthfully, once you speak about that, then it turns from hip-hop into Promethazine rap! Right? And they dumb it approach approach down!

I imply, it doesn’t hassle me but it surely does hassle lots of people, it rubs them the unsuitable approach. I imply take a look at Em! He went in on everyone, which was sensible, it was like somebody wanted to face up and communicate up, and simply form of vent in regards to the state of affairs.

And you don’t suppose that ever comes throughout because the grumpy previous man saying “Get off my garden, children”?

You know, it kinda does! But typically it’s form of enjoyable to smack on the kids and say, “You know what? At the tip of the day, respect the architects.” You know, know who DJ Kool Herc is, know who Flash is, Premier, do the information. Do the information. If you need to mumble, mumble. But know the place it got here from. Study your classes. That’s to not say we will’t study from the younger technology. But on the similar time they’ll drive us into the bottom, as people, you already know what I imply? Like that is what human existence has was? And everyone is so ADHD about listening to music now too.

So you’ve obtained two albums on the best way — digital actuality tasks. Are these a continuation of the one you probably did a few years in the past?

So I began with — I did Moon Base Invasion and I did Magma Chamber [2016]. Full 360 VR, and it’s gained worldwide awards, it’s gained Vega Awards, Global Trend Awards, and it’s been accepted on the Cannes Film Festival. So we’re off to an awesome begin, and we’re gonna make three extra tasks, with my movement graphics artist Jonathan Winbush. So mainly, the brand new Oculus Rift [VR headset] is popping out, and we need to present content material and have this album accessible when that launches. It’s the primary digital actuality album-album. So I’m very pleased with it.

And what’s the title?

The title proper now, it’s known as Wrath of Damien and there’s one known as Plazma Ryfle. We’re form of bouncing forwards and backwards between album titles, however proper now we’re specializing in the undertaking itself, and the environments. Because we’re creating environments, every one completely different — completely different worlds — and the soundtrack dictates what that world seems to be like and what occurs in that world, no matter it could be. The complete undertaking is an awakening. So you go in there — like with my final one, Moon Base Invasion, the place I’m in the course of the moon however the idea is that the moon is definitely a starship constructed by aliens. So once you go into this world you’re considering, “Wow, what if the moon actually was a starship, and it was positioned there as a loss of life star was?” And these tasks that I’m doing, they’re thought-provoking. It’s not simply, “Oh cool, it’s digital actuality!”

You talked about the Oculus Rift — how accessible is that this new one going to be?

Well, the brand new Oculus, for one factor, it’s wi-fi, no cords. So you’d really be capable to be strolling round with it in your head. And the worth level is barely 300 bucks. So that’s the factor: It’s moveable, wi-fi, and know-how has gotten so much higher. It’s gonna open up a complete new universe. So these tasks are coming starting of subsequent yr.

Any different tasks you’re as much as?

I don’t know if you already know that I do the music for Teen Titans, the animation sequence. So I’m doing stuff with Teen Titans, all their soundtrack work. I additionally need to give a shout-out to the charities that I’m concerned in. I’m doing this factor known as Beat Hunger, for a starvation aid basis. And it’s me, Stewart Copeland, Sheila E, Stephen Perkins, and it’s making an attempt to assist with the starvation state of affairs in Haiti. And the Michael J. Fox Foundation, for Parkinson’s, I’m part of that as nicely. Along with my band, with Steve Jordan and Ronald Bell from Kool & the Gang.

Loads of irons within the fireplace! And there’s a film within the works about your life?

Yeah, that film is already written, the script is finished.

Who’d you’re employed with?

Blumhouse Productions. It’s an organization known as QC Entertainment, they usually’re the fellows that put out Get Out. So we’ll be within the casting phases most likely by subsequent yr for the Mix Master Mike film.

Does this go all the best way again to [early crews] Shadow of the Prophet, Invisibl Skratch Piklz?

It’s undoubtedly gonna contact on all of that, but it surely’s gonna carry you into my world, and the way I grew up, and all of the stuff I needed to undergo to get the place I’m at right this moment. It exhibits you my roots, like the truth that my dad’s a drummer and used to play for the Black Panther rallies again within the day — he was the one white drummer in an all-black band. It touches on all these items that I went via and my bloodline and the place I come from. But it’s an epic saga!

Do you’ve gotten an actor in thoughts to play your self?

You know, I used to be fascinated about Rami Malek, however then I noticed he was doing Bohemian Rhapsody, and I used to be like, “Aw shit!” however I do know he would have been an awesome Mix Master Mike. Anyway, I’m different characters too. I’ve obtained my scope open, however I do know it’s gonna be powerful to seek out any individual that’s fucking insane sufficient!

Are they gonna must have turntable expertise as nicely, or that may all be faked?

Well — [Laughs] that’s the place it will get difficult. But I need to try to make it as actual as doable. I really feel very blessed. And the film isn’t simply targeted on the glory stuff. It’s all of the stuff that I needed to get via to get to the place I’m at. It will certainly be an inspiring story for individuals, particularly the following technology, to observe.

Mix Master Mike performs Friday night time (Nov. 2) in Brooklyn with Cypress Hill. He rejoins  the Beastie Boys’ Live and Direct guide tour this weekend in Los Angeles.