Mark Mixx knows how to rock a good groove
ark Mixx knows how to rock a good groove.
The 38-year-old Detroiter figured out a way to combine his love of hip-hop and jazz and create a sound he likes to call Street Jazz.
Mixx-and yes, that’s the moniker he’s been rocking since he was 15 and mastering the turntables-recently released Cartel Drive with his group The Street Jazz Cartel.
Their current project is getting tons of buzz. It’s airing on local radio and is getting spins as far south as Atlanta.
“I’m going to continue to give you this street jazz. And I’m going to continue to keep you funky and keep that twist on it,” Mixx chuckles.
Here’s what else the Pershing High School grad had to say:
Why make jazz music? What does it do for you?
I started out making hip-hop music. I put out an album with emcees years ago. Hip-hop back then started taking a different turn and twist. I’ve always kept my hip-hop music close by. But hip-hop wasn’t really going in that direction that I was used to creating anymore. So I started making street grooves and street jazz. And put a hip-hop edge to it. I didn’t want my jazz to sound real smooth and basic. A lot of the jazz out right now is structured the same. I wanted people to expect the unexpected. And I think I did that with this new project. I wanted them to listen to it and think I’m going to change at this bar, but I’m not! It’s a little bit different, but it’s making a lot of noise. I don’t too much like the big band jazz.
Tell me about this album. It’s getting a lot of local love on the stations-a major coup for a local artist.
I wanted to spring off the first album I put out. I took my time. I last had an album out in 2008. I wanted to top that album. The second album can make you or break you. I just really took my time and got deep into thought. I wanted to make sure the grooves were structured tight. And since it’s come out, it’s giving me more motivation to keep this street jazz movement going. A lot of smooth jazz artists are calling me now, wanting this type of music. I like what I’m doing. The motivation is to keep doing what I’m doing and stay in my own lane. At first, going from hip-hop into a jazz world, I didn’t think people would accept it or accept me. You never know until you put it out there. You never know what God has for you.
What would you love for people to take away from this recent project?
Music is supposed to make you feel good. And that’s what it does for me. I want Detroit to embrace this album because Detroit has gone though so much. They cut out a lot of music in the schools. I want people to know that there’s still good music out here. There is other good stuff out here. You just have to go look for it and keep your ear to the ground. I want people to grab hold of the album, party off of it, have family functions off of it and have a good time.
How does living in this world of jazz alter the music you’ll make in the future?
I’m producing some stuff for one of DJ Quik’s artists. I still do hip-hop. DJ Quik was one of those hip-hop guys who inspired me. He’s been an inspiration to me over my production career. When the Snoop Doggs and the Dr. Dres and guys like that got popular, they were all rapping over to street jazz grooves back then. That helped inspire me. Those grooves they were rapping to-I just put my twist with it. I really think hip-hop is going to turn back to that. Right now, I’m just watching hip-hop go down South and do that Lil Jon type of stuff. Nothing’s wrong with that music. I just can’t produce it. But I think it’s really going to come back around to that good, ‘90s hip-hop era. That’s when hip-hop was at its peak, and there’s a place for me there.
KELLEY L. CARTER IS AN EMMY AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST BASED IN ATLANTA.