Fire Starter: Bound To Blow
Masspike Miles had girls screaming way before he got his first tattoo or signed with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group. The Roxbury, Massachusetts, native used to get attention as a chubby kid during his stint in a short-lived R&B group in the early '90s.
"The whole thing is, I was also in a group called Perfect Gentlemen under Maurice Starr, who started New Edition and New Kids on the Block," Miles revealed. "So I was developed under Maurice Starr at a young age as well. I was on Warner Bros. at 11, 12 years old. I already had a taste of what was to come and what I had to deal with."
Masspike (born Miles Wheeler) was the youngest member of the group and sang lead on their self-titled LP. Unfortunately, Perfect Gentlemen didn't enjoy the longevity that New Edition and the New Kids did, and Miles soon found himself out of the game. He doesn't blame Starr, however, whom New Edition accused of stealing money.
"A lot of people get into the game and they have this misconception of 'I'm gonna be rich,' " Mass said of New Edition's financial woes. "The game was totally different in the '80s. Your percentage and your royalties are gonna be different. If you got five people in a group, you're splitting $20,000 from a show — do the math. Twenty percent to the manager as well. At the end of the day, if you don't save your money right, and you ain't a proper hustler, then yeah, you're gonna get a VCR at the end of the day. I don't got nothing bad to say about Maurice Starr, 'cause he taught me a lot. And he taught them a lot. They wouldn't be who they are if it wasn't for him."
Miles went from the stage to the street when his entertainment funds started to dry up.
"I was on the block, getting in trouble, getting locked up," he said. "Holland Street in Roxbury. I was doing the things people do when they on the block. That's why I speak that real language on them records. That's my life. That's what I lived. If I ain't lived it, I'm speaking on something that my man lived and might have been a great concept to come up with. I was in the streets, then I took a step ... Benzino and Dave Mays from The Source magazine saw me in the grind and took me and took me and put [me in the] magazine. So I was doing a lot of modeling and all of that. But I was mostly in the streets."
While on his hustle, Masspike — named after the Massachusetts Turnpike that stretches from Springfield to Boston — kept producing records for himself and his business partner and fellow artist Smoke Bulga. Miles lucked out when he crossed paths with Rick Ross when the Bawse was on a promo run in Boston for Trilla.
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"It's an honor being in the presence of such greatness — that's real language," Miles said of working with the Miami chart topper. "It's an honor to be in the studio with him. He's a mastermind. You're in the studio with somebody you know knows how to sell records — somebody you know who knows the game."
Masspike got his chance to shine on "Cigar Music," a bonus track off of Deeper Than Rap. A video was recently released on the Internet, in which Masspike gets his videographer on. He's been the cameraman for many of Ross' viral freestyle videos.
Masspike recently released his mixtape The Pursuit of Happiness with Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Bigga Rankin and others. He and Ross are fielding offers from major labels to distribute his debut LP.
"It's an honor, it's a pleasure and I'm totally excited to be able to be put in a position like that — being one of the artists to be able to come out of Massachusetts along with New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Bobby Brown, BBD. It's an honor, point-blank, and I'm ready for it."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Kanye West says he's been there before. "I've had girlfriends who had girlfriends," he said. So when he discovered what Lady Gaga was actually singing about on "Poker Face," he was attracted to the record. Then when he saw her perform a different version of the song on the Internet, he was hooked. Kanye sampled the song for Kid Cudi's next single, "I Make Her Say," which was formerly titled "I Poke Her Face."
"It's a single for Cudi," Kanye explained. "Due to radio, the name of the song is called 'I Make Her Say.' When I saw that YouTube, that's what made me fall in love with the song — when I saw her play the acoustic version. I could hear all the melody lines. On the 'Poker Face' single, she sings it straightforward, almost, like, ripping it or chanting it. But this [acoustic version], you hear the Broadway melodies run up and down. I was inspired by that. I wanted to sample it. I thought it was really dope — just on some hip-hop, 'Say when I p-p-poke her face.'
"All the backstory to the song is really controversial," he continued. "When I found out that her actual song is about her making love to her boyfriend but really thinking about her girlfriend, I was like, 'Oh, that's crazy.' For us to even flip it to another level and challenge people's opinions, that's it."
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