The Black Sheep Interviews: Dezert Eez
- Written by Jessica Sommers
- September 28, 2010
Might as well call him the 10th member of Wu Tang Clan. Mike Williams, aka 5-star from the Kalamazoo, Michigan hip-hop group Dezert Eez, has even crossed the pond to open for these rap legends, but don’t be surprised when you see Dezert Eez step up to headliner position in the near future. These former Bronco’s just signed with Universal records and their debut album “Ghettoboxx”, featuring Game and Killah Priest, drops October 5th. Check them out that same night at the Y-Bar in Kalamazoo for their record release party, and maybe if you’re lucky a certain someone will make it rain Jager Bombs.
The Black Sheep: First off, being that you guys are from Kalamazoo, do you identify more with hip-hop from Detroit or Chicago?
Mike Williams: I would say Chicago, but really a little bit of both. One member is from Chicago, and another one is from Flint. As far as the Chicago scene goes, I would say Common and Kanye are definitely the good ones over anyone else. From Detroit, I mean there’s Black Milk; that kind of sound, that underground sound is definitely what we connect with. Basically underground hip-hop is what we love, and it’s a great scene out there but commercial rap is really leaving a bad taste in peoples’ mouths. But there’s so much good talent, like the Cool Kids, Dead Prez, it’s just a good scene, and hopefully we can start building momentum and picking it back up so hip-hop’s back where it needs to be.
TBS: What was it like opening up and working with members of Wu Tang?
MW: Well we first opened up for them back in 2004. But when they got back together and did “8 Diagrams” we started that tour with them in Chicago, playing at The Metro. That was their last album, and that was back in 2008. But we also did a mini-tour of about five shows with Inspectah Deck. We’ve done shows with Ghostface and Killa Priest, about 16 with him. So a lot of touring has been because of Wu Tang.
The first time opening for them was pretty overwhelming because Wu Tang at that time, like seven years ago, was huge. And we were right before them, there were other people before us. So that was monumental, out of all the things we’ve done. Actually after that Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and Ghostface Killah took me overseas with them, and over there it was just insane. The fact that they let me open was incredible.
TBS: So what have you guys been up to lately?
MW: We actually just signed with Universal as our distribution partner which is huge. Someone out in California actually heard a mixtape that we did and they brought it to Universal and they picked it up. So we have our first album coming out October 5th, that’s going to be huge and since it’s under the Universal umbrella we’ve got some support. We’ve got Killa Priest on the album, we’ve got one of GZA and RZA’s producers from Detroit on the album. It’s definitely going to be a big thing.
TBS: Do you have any shows coming up in the area?
MW: We’re having an album release party at the Y-Bar in Kalamazoo on October 5th. We’ve been set to do something with the Cool Kids here in Kalamazoo but they just haven’t confirmed the date, so we’re working on that. Wayside said that we could perform there on that Saturday, we may bring in Black Sheep [hip-hop group from New York, although Brendan Bonham would make a fine rapper] to go on the bill with us. We’re all about the whole college scene, and the party scene here is pretty crazy.
TBS: Speaking of the party scene, are you more of a beer or liquor person?
MW: I am… liq-oh… I am…. oh that’s tough. I’m going to say beer.
TBS: And what kind?
MW: Red Stripe.
TBS: A good heavy beer.
MW: Yeah, one of the guys in the group is a big Oberon fan, but I am a Red Stripe loyal. Negro Modelo, that’s another one.
TBS: But if you’re at the bar getting shots for a bunch of people, what would you get?
MW: Jager Bombs, probably. Those go over well. That fact that you get to do something, drop it in and get it all together.
TBS: Yeah, no one’s going to turn down a Jager Bomb. Alright, last question. In your opinion who’s the greatest rapper, dead or alive?
MW: I’m going to say Nas. I know there’s a lot – Tupac and Rakim are right there. Tupac’s versatility to be political and gangsta and to be actually be lyrical and do tracks with Snoop, it’s incredible. Rakim, lyrically, is one of the best I’ve ever heard. But Nas, I mean, his poetry, his lyrics, it’s incredible. He’s very political, he’s street, he’s everything you’d want to be in an MC. Definitely the best.