With Minus Gravity, there was never an alternative plan: a career in music has always been the end goal. The eclectic triad of composers, which consists of Mic Apollo, Sir Blaze and Rob Will, initially met in high school and have been making music together ever since.
Naturally, when you’ve come to know someone for 10+ years, there’s a commonality present, something that is intrinsic to the cornerstone of brotherhood. But when you’re willing to go for broke and are rest assured in your faith that hard won’t go unnoticed, things have a unique way of working out. However, that doesn’t remove hardship or struggle from the conversation surrounding success, that just means you have to be ready to weather the storm, even if that means being homeless for a few years.
“There wasn’t any other option or anything else,” Mic Apollo declares. “We got out here and were basically homeless for four years: we slept in our truck,” he continues.
Personally, I couldn’t fathom walking down a path of homelessness as a result of dreamchasing, but when the idea of a promising tomorrow doesn’t compromise your unwavering faith for today, miracles are bound to happen – or you can magically end up at Lil Wayne’s 10th anniversary dinner for Tha Carter II album. “We leaning up against the wall, soaking everything in, next thing you know his bodyguard comes up to us,” Sir Blaze explains to me over the phone as he recalls the not-so-common exchange with Lil Wayne’s bodyguard.
Candidly speaking, Minus Gravity creates music without borders. The group isn’t dead set on going viral every week or basking in the hype surrounding living in the City of Angels. They’re content with putting in the work and letting the music speak for itself.
During our conversation, everything came second nature, nothing was forced. I didn’t have to entice them with riveting questions for a catchy headline — and they didn’t have to pacify me with doctored responses — it just worked: our words blended together almost instantly, just like some good gumbo.
With “nothing can hold you down”, is that a mindset or a lifestyle?
Mic Apollo – Before we moved to L.A., our name was BDS, which was a group we started in San Antonio, Texas. We moved from San Antonio on to Atlanta, which led us here to Los Angeles. We just moved out here with no plan except for that we’re coming to L.A. to make our dreams happen, no matter what that took. There wasn’t any other option or anything else. We got out here and were basically homeless for four years: we slept in our truck. We did that on and off for four years. We had hotels in between, but most of the time we were sleeping in our truck, waking up everyday with the mindset, “aye, something’s gonna happen today and we’re going to be the ones to make it happen.” We knew what we were here for and it was always one goal in mind, and with that goal we came up with Minus Gravity, through those hard times, which always meant “nothing can hold you down.” It would be the worst days where we’d be smiling, knowing good days are coming. That’s where Minus Gravity came from, being together during those tough times.
What is Minus Gravity’s come up story – how did we get here?
Rob Will – Our original intent for coming out here (Los Angeles) was for better production, just putting us in that space to evolve our sound. That 2-3 day trip turned into more opportunities: record label offers, more connections, being in rooms with the right people. We just felt like we shouldn’t leave, the right things were happening for us, like we needed to be out here and go through certain things to form us, mold us into who we are today.
Sir Blaze – Once we had got out here bro, we couldn’t leave. We were busy establishing relationships with certain people. L.A. just felt more like home, as far as the business atmosphere here. It’s like a big atmosphere of business-minded people.
Mic Apollo – People couldn’t imagine our story, it’s so crazy. Just to make it more clear, we were coming out here to shoot a music video. We were supposed to be out here for two days to shoot the video. We had the location, we were shooting the video for a song called “Too Much” with Riff Raff – we weren’t even Minus Gravity at the time, our name was BDS Monsters. So, we came out here, and as soon as we landed, we started meeting new people, we working. It’s all energy, everything just letting us know we’re supposed to be in this city. Our second day here, we’re at the 10th anniversary for Tha Carter II dinner, Lil Wayne’s private dinner. It was him, Keyshia Cole, Tyga, we were probably the only people in the room you wouldn’t notice or know. Lil Wayne’s passing us blunts, we chilling with one of the goats, so it’s like hell nah, we’re not leaving here, it’s only our second day. Whatever it takes to stay out here, we gon’ put in the work, that’s what comes with it. One of his bodyguards leaned over towards us and was like, “I seen that video, that “90’s Babies” video y’all got. That shit was hard, keep on rocking.” This was our first video that we had on Worldstar and Lil Wayne’s bodyguard saw our video.
Sir Blaze (Continued) – We leaning up against the wall, soaking everything in, next thing you know his bodyguard comes up to us. Before he approached us bro, we’re all looking at each other like, “Aye, this big ass nigga ain’t coming over here is he!?” We thinking he finna kick us out if anything. He ended saying that, and that just let us know we were in the right place.
In terms of a musical identity, how do you blend together three personalities into one sound?
Sir Blaze – So, we’re a team right, we grew up together for 13 years, so we’ve molded with one another well. Another thing, we all acknowledge ourselves as individuals, we each bring something different to the team, to the table. It’s a team play when we all come together.
Mic Apollo – It’s not really molding all us into one sound: we know we’re three solo artists at the end of the day. If you put us together it’s like the perfect gumbo because you never know what you’re going to get, there’s three different sides to our sound. When you put em’ together, it makes some good gumbo.
Sir Blaze (Continued) – We don’t wanna sound like nobody else, that was our main goal starting out. You got a rapper, a singer and another rapper, so it’s a nice eclectic sound that comes together.
Walk me through the in-studio dynamics, what is a Minus Gravity recording session like?
Rob Will – A Minus Gravity recording session, we’re usually scanning through the beats. Usually within 5-10 seconds we know which beat we want to record to. The songs are usually done within the first 10 minutes and we’re probably in different parts of the room doing our own parts of the song. Somehow, when we come together towards the end it just all works out. It just really builds from the energy in the room.
Sir Blaze – Within the first 10 minutes we’ll already have the concept. If I got an idea, I’ll run to Rob and we’ll all mesh that together. It’s really magical, something different every time. The energy is always there though.
Moods, Vol. 1 is roughly 38 songs, almost two complete hours of digital recordings. Which song from the album required the most effort to create and how did you work through it?
Mic Apollo – Every song is a different story, a different mold. We go through the shit in life and express that in the songs, that’s the easy part. The hard part is going through it. That’s how we create, from outside experiences. Now, as far as song structure, I hear things in the songs and know where to move em’ around. That’s one of my favorite things to do, figure out what goes where. Even if it takes not being on a song or knowing this part could be better, we don’t care about doing the most, as long as the final outcome is where we want it, we’re willing to sacrifice a bar or two. We never worry about individual gain. And we just dropped 30+ tracks and we’re about to drop again, but it’s going to be a much shorter project.
The next volume is going to be a lot shorter and pinpoint to specific moods. It’s like a GPS guide basically, getting you to the destination that you need to reach — after the ownership project that we’re putting together right now.
What exactly is ‘mood’ music?
Mic Apollo – When you get asked this question in interviews, you get used to answering how you describe your music. That’s the way we’ve described our sound for years. We’re three different artists, but when our sounds come together, it’s a blend of 5-10 different sounds you might get on one project. We make mood music because when we go into a session and bring energy into the mic, we want that to come out when you’re listening to it. That’s all the world is really, energy being transferred. Each sound, each song is a different mood. You got a mood to chill with your girl, on the way to the club, at the club, in the mirror getting ready to go to the club: every mood in life is something Minus Gravity will have for you. That’s the only way to really describe our sound, different moods for everything.
Sir Blaze – This is our life, we have enough time to do everything. We have so many different avenues, we make sure that we dominate them every time. Now, in the past few years, we’ve been on the business side.
Mic Apollo – We were raised with the same mindset early on, business has always been first. We know what a contract entails, we know what publishing is about, so we’re a little different than most groups that come to places and get taken advantage of. We’ve been learning together – if you really wanna be at the top, you gotta be able to do more than one thing, music won’t always get it done. Music ain’t gone bring no real money in, that’s just what we love doing. Music is something we’ll always do.
For shits and giggles, about what percentage of your music would you say was recorded high?
Mic Apollo – Realistically, it’s probably 60-40. It’s three of us. Rob is usually smoking during the session, so let’s bring that up to 66-34 (laughs). I’m a smoker after the session is over with, just to hear the music in a different space.
Sir Blaze – There’s this little group ritual that we do before each session. We go to the studio, put on some beats, take a shot – the smoke will probably come a little later after we record. We want to at least get one track out the way. We like to get the work done and come back to it: we like to celebrate the blunt. We smoke celebration blunts after every track.
Personally, is there any significance behind the free-form nature of your locs and your ethos as artists? I feel like hair amplifies personality, in terms of expression.
Rob Will – My hair was never intended to grow into dreads. I was just growing hair and basically letting girls play with my hair and throughout that transition it transformed into this. It was at a Lenny Kravitz phase, because that’s when I started my no shirt phase, that was my no shirt Lenny phase that I was going through. It went from that into playing with different colors and once I dyed it and washed it, I don’t know, I kind of just went with the wind on that one. Scrunchies are the wave.
Sir Blaze – If you look back at 2013, bro I had a whole hightop before I converted to dreads. Our hair started transitioning the more we got along our journey. I didn’t have any intention of getting locs, it’s just that my hightop kept falling over and I wasn’t finna cut that shit.
Who does Minus Gravity make music for?
Sir Blaze – We make music for everybody. Family members, even you bro.
Mic Apollo – It don’t matter what age group you’re in, male or female, we’re going to have something for you. I need songs that my grandma – who only goes to church – can listen to. I gotta song we sang at my sister’s wedding. It’s definitely something for everyone in our music. This that after pandemic music or during pandemic music, to get you through it.
Far as the project, it was 38 tracks, we were in a space where we were with Capitol and then once that ran its course we were in a mindset of putting things out and owning them. That’s why our next project is ownership, because that’s what it’s really all about. That’s why the project we put out was so long, because it’s like if we don’t put this music out all together right now, then we probably won’t. The mindset was let’s put all this music out, that’s all ours right now — we were at Robin Thicke’s house recording this song and probably sleeping in our truck that same night after leaving his mansion. It’s not to be consumed all at once, you might get through one mood and then later you’ll get through another one. We gon’ keep giving you pieces of this project for the next three years to come while we’re working on other projects. Just to have this body of work that we did on our own is so powerful.
Sir Blaze – Even if you don’t like the first two moods, it’s a mood on there that you’ll rock with.