Here’s how it works: I ask a local musician to pick three favorite (famous) songs. Then I choose one and ask the artist to piece together the dream (local) band he or she would cover it with. The catch: The musician can’t have been in a band with any of them—ever. This supergroup has to be brand new.
Mikey VIP might be an imposing figure, but it’s his flow on the mic more than his physical size that makes him a rapper to watch. No matter who else is onstage with the Detroit native—a member of the local Campfire Music collective—your eyes always wander back to the big white boy spitting nasty rhymes with unique flair.
VIP chose “C.R.E.A.M.” (“Cash Rules Everything Around Me”) off 1993 Wu-Tang Clan debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) since, he says, he might never have become a rapper without the Wu. “Wu-Tang made me want to be a part of hip-hop. It’s a different way of talking and dressing, and it’s intelligent. There’s wordplay and song structure, plus personality involved.”
“C.R.E.A.M.” features verses by Raekwon and Inspectah Deck and a famous chorus from Method Man: “Cash rules everything around me/Cream, get the money/Dollar, dollar bill y’all,” as fresh now as it was in the ’90s. To cover the song, Mikey put together his own group of Killa Bees.
Me “Meth was the go-to guy. I always consider Campfire being like a Wu-Tang, and what Meth did for Wu-Tang, I could do for Campfire.”
Coco Jenkins (Rhyme N Rhythm) “She gives off good vibes, and she’s a real artist. She would play the same way for the big crowd or for herself.”
Jimmy G (The Audibles) “He’s doing a lot of big things. I knew him back in the day, and his keys are nasty. He’s badass.”
P. Freeze (Hood Sent Entertainment) “He’s strategic. There are no bars off. There’s not a dull line. He makes every part of a song count.”
Vanessa Tidwell (ex-Holding Onto Sound) “I saw her at the Bunkhouse a long time ago—drumming is a guy’s sport, supposedly, but I walk in and she’s killing. It made me forever remember her.”
Ethereal (Living Mechanism) “He’s a truth-seeker. It would be aggressive if he went after it.”
G-Minor “He’s one of the best I know as far as cuts. He can blend anything into anything.”