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Emporia State University:Q & A with Manhattan hip hop artist Mr. Chazs 9.11.08 – Eric Sonnakolb


ESU Interview

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Category: News and Politics


Q & A with Manhattan hip hop artist Mr. Chazs

Eric Sonnakolb (Thursday, September 11)


Courtesy of Miztuh Chazs

Manhattan-based hip hop artist Miztuh Chazs will be performing on Wednesday at Desperado's with Topeka rapper Anthemous.


How did you first get into hip hop?


It was 1995 when I picked up my brothers rhyme book for the first time only days after he was sent to prison. My dad had already been incarcerated so at the time I didn't have a male role model around.


My mom worked two jobs to keep my sisters and my self off the street of Junction City so being the youngest I had to learn from their mistakes. After helping me deal with the drawbacks of my environment, I took it on as a profession.


What sets you apart from other artists?


My ambition. They say the ambitious have no friends. But they also inspire others with the same drive in them. In my craft I do not fabricate events that I rhyme about. All the content are things that I have seen or experienced myself. Much like a story teller rather than a person who can just match words.


I bring something that a lot of industry artist lack. Heart and passion for the music they create. Music that is real and energetic. Anybody can rap. My six year old niece can rap, but that doesn't mean I should put her on a track and call her a genius.


How long have you been rapping?


I started seriously rapping a little under 10 years ago. Growing up, I was always writing short stories, poetry, rnb, and hip hop songs. It wasn't until 1999 that I took the game seriously and began my campaign. It went from freestylin videos with friends in school to recording in my cousins basement studio.


Then from cassette tapes to having my cd and single played on (Manhattan radio station) The Wild Cat 91.9. Doing commercials for local TV adds then on to contests. Since then I have produced 11 albums including two solo albums and my junior project "Grinders' Ambition" set to release October 10th.


Who are some of your musical influences?


My family. Everybody in my family have some investments in music. My brother was my biggest influence. It's because of him I do music at all. He was and still is one of the best lyricist I have ever heard. Reading and listening to his old rhymes pushed me to become the artist I am to day. I always strive to get to the level that he is on and in that he has become my biggest fan. I know most artist say something along the lines of 'Tupac & Biggie were my biggest inspiration,' but even though I listened to their music, I deterred myself from mimicking them.


Do you still live in Manhattan?


Yes I do. I just bought a house which I operate the company studio out of. There's not many rapper round here but the ones that are got skills so I encourage others not to take The 'Hat for a little simple town.


I think it is one of the hardest places to establish a career do to the fact that it's a college town that has a rapid turnover student rate. The moment you get a great buzz going then it's graduation time, you know. I've managed to stay above the slump curve by touring each summer. Nothing big though.


Tell me a bit about Bowgaurd Entertainment..


My brother and a long time associate created the Bowgaurd concept while still in prison. In 1998, this was passed down to me and was transformed into a great movement out of Manhattan. We had music circulating in the Midwest, down south and towards the west coast. Some started to ride coattails and eventually many disbanded due to lack of work ethic.


Now Bowgaurd manages a handful of bright artist that push their own product. We also dab in food service, clothing, music promotion. We hope to spread into film and radio within the next couple of years. For now if any artist need beats or a recording studio they can call Bowgaurd Studios at 785-341-7845. We even do album artwork, final mixdown, and have distribution capabilities. We also sponsor good hourly rates, block scheduling, and demo deals.


What do you hope to accomplish with your music?


I hope to build an understanding about the underground movement in Kansas. It pains me to see venues not supporting us and how they constantly try to undermine us and rip us off. But it's not just the venues fault. The fans rather pay to see some one who is already a millionaire lipsync to a couple hit songs they have.


The show might have five opening acts but all in all they go to see the headliner perform for 20 minutes. They pay $75 for a ticket, and for most of them, drive to Kansas City to see the show. In the same breath they will not go to a

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place in their own town and pay $5 to see five great artist perform for 20 minutes a piece. Also its up to the artist to stop the negative reputation that we give ourselves. Don't blaze up in the club, shootings, and fights. It's gotta stop if we are to survive out here.


Miztuh Chazs will be performing on Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Desperados, 802 Graham with Topeka rapper Anthemous. He will also be performing at the Manhattan music festival Aggiefest on Friday and Saturday.


To listen to four tracks by the artist, check out his MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/streetmarinemusic.