Interview: MadSon


By Kandis Knight

The Unknown Prophets, MaDSoN and Big Jess, recently released their latest contribution to Minneap-rap, MaDSoN's Peace Amongst The MaDness, and it’s an extremely timely project.

The CD begins with a poem called “Desiderata” performed by Marigua + Childs. I was impressed because I had found the same poem about two years ago at a thrift store. I liked it so much I retyped it, framed it and hung it in our studio. Although Marigua's voice is a tad on the rough side, it’s the power of the words that truly inspires.

"The intro was the last thing to be completed. I needed an alternative to my original idea for the intro when it fell through. My Dad loves that poem and would always tell us (Unknown Prophets) we should use it on our CD somehow. As I read the words I knew that it was perfect for the intro to Peace Amongst The MaDness," describes MaDSoN, aka Mike Madison.

When Marigua finishes her recital, moaning strings lead the listener into the next track, “Peace Amongst the MaDness.” The song captures a personal struggle between good and evil. Every lyric fits perfectly into this tale of light and dark in a post 9/11 world. "Aye Yo, I'm trying to reach the masses/ but I remain lost here in this cold and frozen sea of blackness/Drowning in this sadness/ I'm just praying that God can help me find some peace amongst the madness/Trying to reach the masses/ But I remain lost here in this cold and frozen sea of blackness/ Drowning in this sadness/ I'm just praying that God can help me find some peace amongst the madness.

"The inspiration for this song came from every experience MaDSoN has had to face in his life. "Every person and event in my life (inspired this song),” he claims. “I also wanted to create an album that would reflect the inner battles we all face within ourselves. In a sense, Good vs. Evil."MaDSoN takes us to the old school in track No. 3.

“Times Like Those” is a track about all of the things old school Hip-Hop and life used to be. "Will we ever live in times like those again?/ If we don't kill our roots we can grow again/ Will we ever live in times like those again?/ The holes in our souls we can still sew and mend/ Will we ever live in times like those again?/ Can we find shelter from all the cold and wind/ Will we ever live in times like those again?/ If we believe in ourselves then I know we can."If that hook doesn't catch you, the hook for track No. 4, called “Impress You,” will. "Joia Senser [the daughter of ex-Vikings player Joe Senser] sang the hook on that song. She has an amazing voice. Her work on the Unknown Prophets’ upcoming Against the Grain album is gonna blow people away," says MaDSoN.

Living up to its ambitious title, Peace Amongst The Madness offers songs that are lyrically rich and positive. "It's difficult at times (being positive) because you see so many negative artists with no content getting all the attention and radio play. Unknown Prophets have always been positive. Jess and I both work with kids and see first hand the effect the music has on the youth today and we feel it's our calling to change that. Our time will come."

“Ten Days Left” is the fifth track, and a prime example of the Prophets’ handling of dark subject matter with positivity. It’s a song about a soldier with 10 days left before going home from the war field—and it’s a party song. Ironically gun shots are heard just before the song ends."Each song is special to me in its own way, but if I had to chose [a favorite song on the album] right now it would be ‘Paradise.’ The instant Big Jess played me the beat I knew I had to have it. From the opera singing to the strings, the beat itself is a masterpiece. The hook was the last thing I wrote to it. I struggled trying to come up with a hook that would be worthy of the beat. One night, I woke up at 3 a.m. out of a dead sleep and had the hook in my head. I sat up, turned on the light and started writing it down."

From listening to Peace Amongst The Madness, I was intrigued by MadSoN's spirituality, and he’s very open to discussing it. "I was born and raised Catholic,” he readily admits. “I owe a lot of my spirituality to my grandma who I believe shaped and guided my faith throughout life. As I got older I felt like my faith was slipping along with the world around me though.

After completing the album and listening to it from start to finish I felt like my faith had strengthened and I was more at peace. I get a peace from the album that I can't quite explain."

Peace Amongst The Madness took this Edison High School graduate nearly six months to complete, although he and Big Jess had the idea to do solo projects since last November.

"With a full-time job, shows, and handling all the management for the Unkown Prophets ourselves, it was hard at times to meet certain deadlines we made for both our albums.  There's so much on my mind. My music's future success, the war, my career, etc. Every day that passes I ask myself "‘What should I have done that I didn't?’ ‘Did I waste another day or opportunity?’"

MaDSoN has soared to heights most don't reach by being himself and remaining true to the game. "I wanna be well known for my passion like Wellstone. I want the listener to feel my soul in each song. I want people to question their actions, their faith, their heart. Most of all, I want people to enjoy each song as much as I do and find peace amongst their own madness.

"Peace Amongst The Madness is available locally at Mindstate, Cheapo, Fifth Element, Electric Fetus and the Connect.Visit The Unknown Prophets’ website for shows, forums, etc.

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