Both Mic Phelps and djkage were very productive in 2016. Phelps released the highly lyrical The Wave, while djkage continued to promote singles from 2015’s D-Imports Vol.2 (while producing the viral cut “Titties In Detroit). Metro Times caught up with both of them to discuss their new collaborative project, The Grand Design 2.
Metro Times: I know you guys have worked together before. What made you decide to come together for this project? djkage: Are you kidding! Mic Phelps is SICK!!! LOL. For real, for me, there are some real fundamental things missing in the art I love called hip-hop… I’m a DJ, the mainstream stuff sounds dope in the club and turns a party out, no doubt. But we all know content is definitely lacking, especially in terms of social relevance. For me, that’s one of the many "Grand Designs." So why not base a project in exposing that. But not by being over handed or preachy. Small amounts content wise over the course of an entire project that’s still dope to listen to and also showcases a variety in beat making and moods to boot. Mic Phelps: We had done the Grand Design 1, and afterwards we took time to focus on the various projects we had separately, and it was just the right time again. I believe time is in control of everything and no one can avoid that so let it control naturally.
MT: Both of you have done collabs with other artists. Can you describe the producer/emcee relationship between you two and what makes it so different? djkage: Symbiotic! We’re on the same wave for sure. After working with Phelps over the course of a multiple of projects including his mixtape series Up in Smoke Vol. 2, my djkage PRESENTS: D-Imports Vol. 2 or our first album collaboration on Grand De$ign . Mic Phelps: It's easy. Kage is such a dope producer it makes it easy to come in and get to work. There's no pre thought it's just what comes out in the sessions. I write particularly fast so we never get a chance to get tired of a song while we're making it because it's done by the time the session is over. He doesn't make beats he produces and I don't rap I give words power that combination is a recipe for greatness.
MT: Was there a particular sound you were going for with this project? djkage: Our process is really open in the beginning. While the content may already have an overall focus (see Phelps) the beats-only criteria is if it’s “flame,” After about six or seven songs there are usually three that are the best. And those tend to have a certain vibe or wave that we feel we really want to focus our direction. After that? Ride the wave. We do a lot of experimenting too, which is one of the reasons we also have around 12 songs we may compile later for a cutting room floor style mix tape! (GD2.5 maybe)
MT: How long did it take to put it together? djkage: We started around June. We also had a few starts and stops as I had a heavy travel schedule during that time.
MT: What next on the agenda? Shows? More videos? djkage: Brand Awareness! Which includes music videos, artist features on sites such as “Never Say Die” and crafting a superb stage show and booking them! Mic Phelps: Action figures, trading cards, personalized sushi bibs, GD2 engraved Body Spray and Old Spice deodorants, Zima sponsorships — to be honest, the sky's the limit.