The history of hip-hop cannot be written without delving into Detroit. Even without Eminem changing the game, you still have the likes of Slum Village, Obie Trice, Big Sean, Danny Brown, and Royce da 5'9" making their mark. Kid Vishis, younger brother of Royce, has proven himself as one of Motown’s most potent MCs. Today, we’re premiering his new single and video: ‘The Return Of The Mack’ (no, not that one). We also talked to him about his thoughts on his home city, the current state of hip-hop, and the surprising ages of him and his older brother.

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What have you been working on? I know you have the new music/the new song out, ‘Return of the Mack’.

Yeah, I’ve been working on a full album, man. Besides that, just working. My brother’s got a project that he’s working on, so I’m featuring on that. He had me write a million verses for his album. We’ve been trying to put together a project ourselves called the Montgomery Boys. Yeah man, it’s just a bunch of work, work, work, work, and I’m also working on an EP with my boy JR. That’s almost done. We like one or two songs away from that being done. And I got like one or two songs away from my album being done, almost there.

Is the album scheduled for release this year?

It’s not scheduled yet, just because, I didn’t want to do that, man. I didn’t want to put nothing out there and not be able to lock in on it. Like, I would rather have it finished, so it’s no reason why it would be able to come out that day or whatever the case.

Do you have collaborators lined up?

Yeah, I got a couple collabs. I got a couple cool collabs. I can’t really say at this time, because it’s still early, but yeah. The album is crazy, the production is really good, really well-put-together.

So, ‘Return Of The Mack,’ is that pretty indicative of what the album’s gonna sound like?

I wouldn’t say that it’s just that sound. I would say that it gives you different vibes. So, it’s not just, like, the slow pace. It’s a switch-up, I think.

Looking back at your previous releases, what’ve you learned? What do you think of your evolution as an artist and what kind of direction do you hope to go into next, that you haven’t?

As an artist, I think it’s just my consistency that I have to really really really stay on top of. I guess I looked into that type of stuff and I thought, “What’s the hold up here? What’s not been, like, adding up here?” and it’s just the consistency. So, now, that’s the goal, man, to keep working. I love doing it. I’m always working. It’s just the strategy to keep things out. You know, my fans, Alien Gang, they got something to look forward to seeing, without these long dry periods.

Do you think it’s important to keep releasing things as often as possible?

Oh yeah, whether it’s visuals, whether it’s social media content, I mean, people are into that stuff. I was one of those guys that one time was like, “Man, all this social media stuff, man..” I’m not really from that era...but at the same time, if you’re gonna do music, you definitely have to play the game to your benefit, and if I can reach people all over the world through the world wide web, then that works for me as opposed to against me.

How would you sum up Detroit, whether it’s just the music scene, the culture...How would you sum it up?

It’s difficult. We got some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows. Basically, we got our Eminems, and the Royces, and DeJ Loaf, Tee Grizzley, and Big Sean. Like, those are pretty much the five people who took it past, they broke through that ceiling, but you also got really really really dope artists in Detroit that are capable of doing, song-wise, any of the other guys, lyric-wise, that just never get through this ceiling. So, right now, it’s like we reconstructing. We trying to break the younger guys out of just keeping that same “crab in the bucket” mentality. The history of Detroit is people recognize your talents. Some people give it up. Other people, take it like, “Oh, this dude think he competition. He think he all that…”It’s like, so much hate, so much negativity, but it’s all through a competitive type of thing.”After I do my show, I leave. My boys leave with me. We don’t stick around to check out the other acts and try to build with the other artists.” So, it’s like a two-sided thing with that. On one side, you gotta deal with certain things and certain people, and their ways, but on the flipside of it is, I can’t let these guys outdo me, man. I have to be sharp. I have to be on my shit. It’s always somebody in the city who’s gettin’ better. If you want to stay in that upper echelon, you gotta be sharp.

How does it feel watching people like your brother, like Eminem, like Big Sean, come from your city and get big?

It’s great. It means that there’s hope, you know what I’m saying? It’s possible that we can do a lot coming out of Detroit and that it’s just the only thing, man, is I can’t tell you how Eminem blew up. I don’t think he can. I can’t tell you how Royce blew up. I don’t think he can. DeJ Loaf, Tee Grizzley, I don’t think they have a blueprint for it. So, it’s not like “Oh, that you get on? Okay, well, I’m gonna imitate that, and then I’ll be on.” It’s just certain situations kind of just happen, but it’s still hope nonetheless, and we’re still very proud of the artists that have belonged, passed that certain ceiling and we’re gonna continue to support. It’s just we don’t need any kind of reason to do anything else negative. No lack of support, we can’t afford to do it. There’s too many people already, man, that’s passed in the city that was talented and people who were looked at in the certain light, and we can no longer talk to them, we can no longer listen to the music from these guys, and we gotta keep the pride of Detroit just even for the sake of a Big Proof or a J. Dilla, amongst others that we’ve lost.

You have performed as the hype man for your brother. What’s that been like?

It’s just like, for me, it’s special to me. I love it because it’s my brother. I was already one of the guys who, basically, I listened to everything Royce does, every single thing. I like everything. So, I know all his music anyway. But before me, it was somebody else. It was another guy who he used to be with. That didn’t work out. They kind of were kind of splitting ways as friends. So, I kind of came along at the perfect time. I just picked up a pen one day and started writing. I wrote about three 16-bar verses and I would recycle those 16-bar verses to just rap for people and just shit like that. And finally, Royce heard me after all his friends is telling him to listen to me. “Your brother is nice. I’m telling you.” And he’s like, “My baby brother? What?” So, he’s finally one day, put me on the spot. My heart is beating through my damn chest. I feel like I’m about to pass out. I just close my eyes, and I just start rapping. I open my eyes, I look at Royce, and he looks like he saw a ghost, like “What the fuck?” He was blown away, and then, ever since that day, the very next shows, the very next tour that he did, he brought me with him, and will be on-stage with him, so I will help out certain stuff with the lyrics that he would have him rhyme in front of the crowd. No beat, nothing, just rhyme. And I’ve been basically doing that since I first decided to pick up the pen. I wasn’t even an artist yet.

What’s the age difference between you and your brother?

Royce is a hundred and, I believe, eighty-five, and I’m a hundred and seventy-seven.

What have your best live experiences been, just as a performer?

I would be lying if I told you these Eminem tours we did weren’t some of the best experiences. Just like I said, man. We come from Detroit. The stigma about Detroit is so many negative things about how bad the city looks, how loud the people are. There’s really no reason for somebody from Detroit to make it on any kind of level. So for it to be me from Detroit, Royce from Detroit, Eminem from Detroit, Mr. Porter from Detroit, we go into these different countries, and I’m not saying that I have any part of how things sell out, but I am a part of it. So, just to be on-stage and you see all those people, and then you’re a part of history where Eminem breaks Michael Jackson’s record for attendance at a stadium, like 81,000...Probably nine times out of 10, the average person will never witness anything like that as far as being on this stage, actually performing. So, I just to be grateful and use it as motivation, but that is definitely one of the bigger experiences that I’ve ever come across, just as far as the amount of people, and they’re all loving this hip-hop. They want to hear this music. You say “Put your hands up” and you see a full stadium of people put they hands in the air, in the name of hip-hop music. Like, how crazy is that? That will probably be my main experience.

Who are some Detroit artists that are more known in Detroit that we should look out for?

If you talk about hip-hop, if you want you just bars, I can refer you to some guys. If you want really dope songs, I can refer you to some people...There’s a kid named Young Roc and, number one, the kid is a star. But he’s coming from Detroit, that there’s so much around him that it’s just not easy to just have him just blow up like that. But, I mean, if you’re looking for songs and just different vibes, he does all that. He got that on lock. If you want, like, lyrics, like “bars” bars, you’ve got my little brother, Al KhuFu, you’ve got Jonnie Morris, Seven the General, Ty Farris, of course, the Marv Wons, Quest MCODYs and stuff like that. It’s so many people that any platform, if they’re rapping, they fit into any community, because they’re nice. It’s not put them up with certain guys, and they’re just gonna get swallowed. They’re gonna shine, because they’re nice. And I can sit here and keep going, females too.

Who are some female rappers?

Miz Korona is, of course, one of the top queens as far as bars go, but you got artists like Tiny Jag, Detroit Che, and she rap better than a lot of dudes. It’s a lot goin’ on and a lot up-and-coming too.

Have you lived in Detroit all your life?

Yeah, all my life. Not directly in Detroit my whole life, but I mean, it’s just the way that it is. If I move to 9 Mile, and 8 Mile is one mile away, so it’s right there.

Do you see yourself ever leaving?

I could myself having property somewhere and then going there, but I’ll always to come back, because this is where my base. This is where it all comes from, where all the hunger to do better, stuff like that. Yeah, I always gotta keep that chip on my shoulder.

You have your own label, Sick ‘Em Records. How did that come about?

“Sick ‘Em” is something that I will always say, in between records, and stuff like that, and then it got kinda catchy. So, people started to repeat it all the time. So, I just was like, “That’s kind of what people know me for. So, let me go ahead and turn it into something.” So, me and my business partner decided to make that a thing.

You do things also like helping young artists with giving equipment and mentoring. What do you get out of doing that?

Well, you know, like I say, man. There’s not very much for people to look forward to. It’s almost like they don’t have anything to look forward to. When you wake up every day, and you just wake up to the same stuff. “This guy left the street. He didn’t graduate from college. This guy didn’t get this good job, and now he’s got this nice car, or whatever.” It’s just the same old struggle. So, if you could do something to help these kids get that feeling of just, “I feel like I’m a part of something. I feel like I’m taking my talent to a new level dealing with this situation just because I’ve got access to the studio. I’ve got access to equipment, camera equipment. You know, all of them are into it. All of them are into rap music. All of them are into photography and making beats and instruments. They just don’t really have anybody to say, “Come on in here, and you can work and sharpen your skills right here.” At Heaven Studio, where you might see Royce walking by. You might see J. Cole, or Westside Gunn and Conway walking by you. The whole type of things are experiences and level-ups for you.

I know you worked with Conway on your project in 2018, The Purge. Are you pretty close with the Griselda dudes?

That’s them, from a while ago. Before Conway and Westside Gunn got on Shady, I was rockin’ with them dudes. Westside Gunn and Conway were on Royce’s Trust The Shooter project, and shortly after that, Conway was on The Purge, my record, for a song called ‘Iron Man’, and it turned out crazy, and I’ve been witnessing their journey and their growth for a long time. It’s amazing. It’s amazing what they’re doing for hip-hop, just because the climate of hip-hop. I’m not gonna sit here and badmouth nobody’s music and nobody’s vibe. I’ve over that shit. But I’m speaking as a fan of hip-hop. I was fallin’ out of love with the music that I was hearing. It just felt like hip-hop is not for me anymore. It’s for a certain demographic. And then these guys come along with some grimy-ass New York hip-hop, and people is rockin’ with it, and I’m like, “Holy shit!” So, I’m listening to it, and it’s motivational on a different level or something…It’s basically, “Keep goin’. Keep doin’ what you doin,’” but then...keep the consistency with it, and it’ll pay off.

Do you think we’re due for a full-on revival of harsher, lyrically-driven hip-hop like they make and like you make, or do you think it’s gonna stay in the underground?

You know, I think we’re due. We’re definitely due for some more thought-provoking, grimier-sounding, just like soulful type of music. Right now, I’m not seeing the evolution from kind of, like, the Casio keyboard-sounding beats. I don’t know where the evolution goes from there. But as far as hip-hop, man, we’re due for it. It’s time. I don’t know what the last hit record was like that in hip-hop, but it seems like it’s been a minute.

You have to think about how Eminem, obviously he’s huge, and Kamikaze hit number one, and that was a pretty no-frills record with a lot of really aggressive raps, very few features, and even though he’s a superstar, the fact that an album like that can still be a huge hit, I think, says a lot.

Absolutely. I mean, shit, Eminem has had his ups and down as far as the sound of what music that he does put out. But generally, everything that he does put out is successful. But for him to do songs with like, Skylar Grey on the hook and these big, almost-pop-sounding records, then he switches it completely and go into hardcore, just spazzed-out shit. People say it sound like he mad. And I’m like, “What is it about aggression that people got such a problem with? Like, that’s what hip-hop is built on. We can’t take the aggression out of hip-hop and everything, everybody’s singing, like, Autotune. It just sounds so robotic and generic, that hip-hop could possibly fuckin’ disappear just like rock ‘n roll.

Since mainstream hip-hop has a largely white audience, do you think people are uncomfortable with the idea of say, a non-white person expressing anger, expressing dismay about how things are, and would rather just hear them having fun and talking about things like partying?

Yeah, I mean, but all of those are part of life. There are people that party every day. But there’s also a lot of people that don’t party every day. It’s people who fuckin’ read books and shit. They want their brain to be challenged, and when they’re playing certain music...it doesn’t do anything for their brain. Everything is just straightforward….Even though there is a large amount of white fans and stuff in hip-hop, I feel like the artist still creates what the relevance is as far as the things that they come up with musically. Everybody’s not talking about that type of stuff like racism, but the thing is, people that do talk about that type of stuff, it shouldn’t be looked at like, “Ugh, we don’t wanna hear that.” It’s a real thing, and we can’t turn the cheek to it. But it’s just gotta be dope. I just feel like if it’s dope, if it’s truthful, then it won’t be denied. How can we evolved always talkin’ about this club. LIke, you walk out your door, and boom, you in the club. That’s not a reality, that’s not a real thing.