Music, like most art, is an elusive thing. Like everything in this life, it is about relishing in the passions of the moment and the art that we are left with are the remnants of the endless progression. As the sands slip away in the hourglass, that art has gained the fragile life of its own as it must carry forth the memory of its inception while creating new emotions and inspiring fresh minds to appreciate its contribution to the creative cycle. Hip Hop is no exception in this as the culture has witnessed the rise and fall of many greats that were unable to break free from the faded fads that once propelled them to glory, artist and fan alike. But like life itself, one must be able to progress in order to thrive and appreciate the present or prepare to live the torturous existence of living in the past. This sentiment is alive within Minneapolis MC Muja Messiah’s latest album, Angel Blood Soup.
“It’s views, likes and retweets,” said Muja Messiah. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s more personality. My girl was looking on the web and see posted this old picture of Circus Circus, the old band with the monkey in it. She got like 120 comments and likes. Then she posted a song and it got 18 likes. Then she posted one of my songs and it got 20 likes. And it was like ‘oh ok, you guys got music. That’s cool and all, but I really loved the joke about the Circus Circus.’ Everything is straight social media fuckery. You almost got to disguise shit with jokes, laughs and gimmicks just to separate yourself. They’re more interested in their Instagram, how you said it and what you did. It is a little corny as far as the fans approach now to why they like an artist. It’s almost like ‘I like him because he’s a fucking idiot who will do anything to get attention.’ It’s the total opposite of the kind of artist that I like. I want my artists to be somewhat untouchable, somebody cool, somebody that everybody can’t be like, somebody who won’t piss and shit on themselves for $100. But it’s all part of the evolution and how you make it yours. I’m all for it cause personality sells more than good music and personality wise, I can hang with the best of them. I just have to find my way to fit in and make my shit more acceptable to the public as well.”
As one who is, thankfully, too real for the ‘Minnesota Nice,’ Muja Messiah has proven that he is capable of adapting to the times while retaining the timeless wisdom. He can read books and participate in drum circles with the elders as well as get turnt up with the young cats. With all of this, the B-Boy D-Boy has proven time and time again that he is entitled to his opinions and has never shied away from sharing his irreverent point of views. All of this has developed into the Messiah taking command of the scene and proving to one of the fiercest lyricists around by channeling his satirical wit with his street savvy essence to create music to bang in the whip as well as to digest in the headphones. For an example of this, one must not look further than the title of the album.
“We were actually eating this particular, very spicy, very red, very gorgeous type of soup. And I took on the name ‘Angel Blood Soup.’ Me and Martyr were going to do an EP to follow up God Kissed It, The Devil Missed It to hold people over in the meantime as an appetizer album to bring some righteous evilness. It was only meant to be an EP, but it took on a life of its own and it became a full length. It was only meant to hold people over in the meantime, but we got geeked and we wanted to keep it moving.”
When it comes to making such a delicacy, Muja Messiah turned back to his sonic sous chef, Mike the Martyr to cook up some more of his signature soul food. The two have found their stride since fellow Long Doe MC, Tony Bones introduced them to each other a few years ago. This partnership has parlayed into some of the grittiest Hip Hop to come out of the Twin Cities in decades, combing Martyr’s soul sampled beats with Muja’s expansive lyricism. While continuing from GKIDMI, Angel Blood Soup shows the progression of not only their chemistry but of Martyr’s production as well.
“We kind of followed the same formula as God Kissed It,” said Mike The Martyr. “Just in that short time period, music changed a little bit because the trap drums came out. That just started coming out when we made the first one and I have been implementing that in a lot of my beats with the soul samples and the fast hi-hats. So there’s a few songs with a more up-tempo, technologically advance beats like on ‘Everything is Looking Up.’”
Along with the production, Angel Blood Soup finds Muja Messiah holding nothing back as he effortlessly soars throughout the entirety of the 12 track album. From trading bars with some of the brightest stars within the Twin Cities on “Henry the VIII” to offering the sobering revelations on the title track, Muja Messiah proves that there is no theme that he can’t touch on. Featuring many talented local artists and family such as his Villa Rosa partner, Maria Isa, Metasota, Greg Grease, Sophia Eris, Nazeem, AR Wildwolf, Mike The Martyr and the late Dodi Phy, none came as surprising as the addition of the legendary Maseo of De La Soul on the single “Silk Road.”
“Maseo has always been my buddy,” said Muja Messiah. “I opened up for De La Soul years ago and he was going to sign me, take me on tour with him. Anytime he was in town or I was in LA or anytime I needed advice, he’s taken on that big brother role. There’s so much love and it’s just one of those things where music evolved into family. And I needed some kind of name on the project, so I was like ‘hey Mase could you just yell on my thing and let the people know what it is?’ And it worked out.”
Much like his story with Maseo, Muja’s music only can go so far in capturing the personality that has made him one of the most beloved people within the Twin Cities. Through his enduring stories and brushes with fame, his natural energy is infectious to make those around him appreciate him that much more. Because of this, he has recently teamed up with P Murda to attempt to capture his character without the constraints of rhyming in their devilishly delightful podcast entitled “The Godcast.”
“I’m always thinking of skits, sitcoms and sarcasm. It’s one of my downfalls and it’s one of my best qualities. P Murda added the thing that I never had with the awkwardness and how to present it. And we invented that from sitting around and joking. He was like “we should start recording some of the shit we say cause it’s so weird.’ And everyone was like ‘what the fuck.’ Then I came up with this idea of having a podcast called ‘The Godcast.’ Then we timed it at the just the right point where nobody in the cities was doing that. We made it a point that guys that give us the funny eye out and about on the street, then we get on The Godcast call them out. It’s funny out here because it ain’t all handshakes and beards. We wanted to shed some light on all these funny guys who are out here putting imaginary shackles on guys, blackballing guys and talking shit. So we’re not going to get mad, we’re going to talk some shit too. And we didn’t have a format. We just got it in our heads to just do it for a year and see what happens. P Murda was instrumental in not letting me have too much time go by in between each episode. He checked me a couple of times by saying ‘no bro, we got to keep it consistent.’ I respected the hell out of that and he has been very helpful in allowing me to express myself as an artist and not just as an artist in Hip Hop.”
Along with The Godcast, Muja Messiah has been very active in his live performances as well. For those that was lucky enough to be among the 400+ in attendance at the Angel Blood Soup Release Show, Muja Messiah delighted many by showcasing his respected stage presence while rapping out of a large casket during his set, complete with the hearse parked outside. As the night was filled with memorable moments from Sophia Eris, Mike the Martyr’s DJ set, Bobby Raps, Maria Isa, Nazeem & Spencer Jones as well as the legendary Roc Marciano, Muja Messiah knows that it takes more than talent to be make it in this business.
“Cats got to get their shine on by doing shows. Cats like Why Khaliq and Finding Novyon that are going out every night to promote their shit whether they get paid or not. Those are the cats that deserve the shine. I got friends that I’ve known for years that are all like ‘put me on the show’ and I can’t do it. This little cat over here is grinding and I got to respect that. My son is opening up the show, but he doesn’t get to go on right before me because there’s 2 or 3 people going on after him that have been putting in more work than him. I respect the grind, I respect the hustle and I personally believe that there are a lot of homies that are dope, but they’re not out here every night out here building these relationships and networking.”
As the orders for more Angel Blood Soup begin to come in, Muja Messiah is not ready to leave fans empty handed. He and Mike The Martyr have promised to embark on a Martyr/Messiah album, a full length where both MCs share center stage as well as behind the boards, after they finish the greatly anticipated follow up to GKIDMI before years end. While the world continues to evolve and create, the music industry continues to find new avenues and markets to establish itself in order to benefit the chosen few deemed worthy of success. But while many of those will wilt and fade away from common thought, stalwarts like Muja Messiah will continue to thrive with posterity and spirit.