Updated: Oct 13
Based down in LA, punk rap star Mikey Rotten is setting a fire in a scene that's ripe for change. Even during the pandemic, the Underground prospers as Mikey Rotten and Eddy Baker continue to put in work to keep shows alive.
Over the past five years, Mikey Rotten has been grinding out in LA while constantly supporting the underground community. With his heavy beat choice and punk rock vocal style, Rotten stays cooking up underground anthems with tracks like "Vampire" and "Deaf Note". Originally, a producer on the rise enjoying the fast life, Rotten constantly played underground parties and quickly went onto bigger venues.
Living out in Hollywood, Rotten was already around the underground hip hop community and started rapping once he lost interest in the festival scene. Through mutual connections, Rotten crossed paths with Eddy Baker and went on a few tours, solidifying his name and energy as a rapper.
We had the opportunity to catch Mikey Rotten down in LA before his set back in September.
Here's what he had to say:
Q: How’s it been being an artist during this pandemic?
A: I mean it sucks because you can’t do shows and shit and that’s where all the fun’s at. It’s a good boost for your audience and it’s a good way to engage in real life. It’s given me a lot of time to just work on a lot of fucking music.
I worked on this project with Al Ross, he’s like a dubstep producer, but I got him on this rap project and he’s got a crazy voice, like Rob Zombie-type shit. Then, I got a project with Shawty Gawd, hella singles, just dumb amounts of music. I’m sitting on like nine videos and a bunch of collabs, so there’s pluses and minuses. Like in any situation, you can either make the best of it or you can sit around and complain.
Q: Do you think the DIY community has found alternative ways to stay creative lately?
A: Yeah as far as collaborations go, they’re still happening, probably more now than ever. As far as public settings go, obviously that’s taken a backseat. It’s harder to connect with other artists because you don’t have the shows to connect with them at, but at the same time people are more willing if you’re someone on the come up looking for a feature or two.
[Nvdvs walks up]
(Mikey) shout out Nvtvs, oh alright I see you. Have you seen how fat it is?
(Nvdvs) No, I haven't gone in yet.
(Mikey) Bro, it’s so hot. You’re gonna have to take that sweater off.
(Nvdvs) Oh, I know.
(Mikey) But basically what I was saying is that now, popping mothafuckas are doing features for hella cheaper and people are more willing to work with other mothafuckas right now. I don’t know there’s pros and cons, but still shout out Nvdvs.
(Nvdvs) Man, shout out Mikey Rotten, me and this fool have been kicking it for so long. I knew you before you had the crazy hair. You were putting me on to hella game. You know, on some real shit.
(Mikey) Bro, I just try and put all my homies on and keep it real. I try and shine the light, ya know what I’m saying. Just let the dude at the door know you’re playing.
Q: How long have you been in LA since you moved out here.
A: I moved here, like five years ago in December.
Q: What was that transition like, did you get involved in the community here pretty quick?
[Photo by: @spicywatermelon_]
A: Kinda, I initially came out here as a producer. I was like a DJ/producer doing underground experimental shows and I kept grinding super hard. I was living out of vans, RVs, living out of studios, ya know all of the above.
I went up pretty fast within like a year or two, I was playing huge shows like 2000+ with huge names. I just lost interest in that scene and really I’ve been bumping fuckin’ undergorund rap for like the past how many years..
I never really thought I could rap. I just made a rap song making fun of people on Hollywood Blvd. because I was homeless in Hollywood. I was already around that whole hip hop Hollywood scene and people thought it was tight, so I’ve kept doing it.
[Eddy Baker walks up]
(Mikey) Shout out Eddy Baker, couldn’t have done it without him.
(Eddy) Make sure he mentions my influence on his career.
Q: How’d you two get connected initially?
A: (Eddy) Underground shit.
(Mikey) Yeah, basically one of the Hollywood people I was around knew I was throwing parties and knew how to DJ. He knew Eddy and he was trying to position himself to do well, you know what I mean, so he put me and Eddy together to do a show and that’s kinda how we connected. We kind of connected at first, but didn’t touch base for a while. Probably like six months went by and then we connected again and started doing shows.
Q: How do you like tour life?
A: I love it. It’s exhausting, but I love it. I like the fast pace with shit always happening. It’s definitely my lifestyle. That’s why I moved to LA in the first place, just because I’d kill myself if I still lived where I was.
Q: Do you like playing venues or DIY shows more?
A: I like the DIY shit, but you know I do like to make money too. Those big venues are obviously going to pay more money, but I prefer the underground, ratchet punk rock vibe shit. That’s just what I enjoy and I feel cool doing it.
Those big shows are cool, but it’s just not the same energy. Ya know, you’re not engaging with the crowd the same. It’s just a different kind of energy if that makes sense.
Q: Are you looking forward to anything after these shows?
A: Tapes, projects, more music, more videos, just leveling up. You know, everytime I make new music, I hate my old music. For me, I don’t feel right unless someone shows up and I have something new to show them.