Miles Megaciph, Ex-Marine, Microphone Fiend

In Music on July 25, 2011 at 7:27 am

There is an honesty, an earnestness, and a purpose to the music of the man Miles Megaciph. His style ranges from ominous treatments of topics gravely important to an uncanny ability to lyricize lightheartedly on heavy issues of life-and-death stakes. Megaciph has returned to his hometown NYC to mobilize his music on the New York club circuit. His efforts have equipped and empowered other lyricists as well — Mega hosts The Vital Movement, a weekly open mic at No Malice Palace.

Megaciph’s other-centered, community-minded outlook extends to his efforts in other arenas as well.  Superman Mega’ Clark-Kents for dollars and cents as a writing specialist and coach for high school students at Harlem Children’s Zone.  His non-profit, ThatsGoodness, seeks to pay forward to the people the good will of a socially conscious art movement.  Tah Phrum Duh Bush
hosts Mega’s album release party on August 19th at Sullivan Hall.  Megaciph gave his time and energy recently to an interview with City Circus.

City Circus Who is Miles Megaciph?  Where are you from?

Megaciph My name is Miles Megaciph. Megaciph is an acronym for Mental Energies Gather And Circulate In Positive Harmonies. I am from Earth and I try to represent that in my music. More specifically, I am originally from Brooklyn and also had some teen and young adult years in Atlanta, GA.

CC Who are some of your musical influences?

Megaciph My rap influences were mostly Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, KRS-One, Kool Moe Dee, Ice Cube and De La Soul to name a few. I also grew up listening to lots of Jazz, Blues, R&B, Classical, Opera, Heavy Metal and even some country music. When I was growing up my mother had a record player and there was always something playing in the house when we were home.

CC Does your interest in heavy metal influence the way you approach and make hip hop?  If so, how so?

Megaciph I think my mother still has a vest from when I was a Metal Head, on this vest I had written in black Sharpie, “Posers Must Die.” I have the same feeling about my Hip-hop. This culture is the lens through which I view the world and how I express myself in the world. I believe people who are profiteering off this without adding positive vibrations back into it are responsible for the decline in lyricism, consciousness and variety. When cats routinely get on Funk Flex Freestyle Friday and have no qualms with reading off their Blackberry, and there is no back lash from the industry or the streets, it is obvious that lyricism or any awareness of the culture has been largely lost.

CC What has been your path to, and through the world of Hip Hop?  When did it start (as a listener)?  How did you come around to having a desire to spit fire yourself?

Megaciph I first started listening to rap music with the song by Eric B. and Rakim “Paid In Full.” Prior to this I was seriously into Heavy Metal like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Black Sabbath; so the hard core positive rappers like I listed above, especially Chuck D and Ice Cube, really appealed to me. I began writing poetry and ‘battling’ at the lunch tables at age 13, when I still lived in Brooklyn. All through high school, I continued to write and had a couple of rap groups that never materialized.

I was first taught how to format my rhymes, control my breathing and even how to deliver my rhymes at age 19 in the Marine Corps of all places. I had two good friends who were in my same battalion in North Carolina. One brother was from North Carolina, IQ, he is the emcee who I credit with being my teacher in the culture of Hip-hop. We had another partner named Double Dozier from New Jersey. With these two emcees I got to perform at a large concert 300+ people while still in the Corps.

I have wanted to spit fire since before I was writing raps. I have always questioned authority and voiced my opinion whenever I saw injustice; I am naturally a compassionate and sensitive person so rap music is a natural place of solace for me.

CC You mention your tendency to question authority — how did this go over in the Marine Corps?  What was your experience like in the military?

Megaciph I was a knucklehead in the Corps; I fought a lot, I smoked weed and I even had one of those posters of Mt. Rushmore with George Washington smoking a big ol’ white boy hanging proudly on my wall. I was an exemplary Marine though, don’t get it twisted, get it? Twisted. I was the fastest in my platoon on the 81MM mortar. That means I could have the entire gun set up and ready to fire faster than any other in my platoon. Besides, everyone — literally everyone — did some form of drug to escape from the shit they put us through. All I did was smoke, and to be perfectly honest, I started smoking in the Corps. But there were cats who drank a case of buds a night, sniffed coke, once we had a staff sergeant get busted for coke in his system …. he blamed it on his wife’s cooking and all charges were dropped. Imagine that, for all the busted down privates that got kicked out for smoking weed they could have said it was just an ingredient in their cooking, haha, LOL. The US military is what disillusioned me about race and racism in America. The guys in my platoon were cool but the structure and promotion process was one big racist, stratified, exclusionary machine of bigotry and oppression. Once I met 20% of the black fighter pilots in the Marine Corps, at least he was a Colonel. You do the math.

CC How do you feel about the label, “conscious rapper”?

Megaciph I enjoy being labeled as conscious, since I am awake and vocal about what I see/believe needs to be aired out. I feel sorry for rappers that shy away from the label conscious, as if they are ashamed of being awake. When rap music began brothers were active in addressing injustices in their communities and American society. It was cool to be conscious until the Bling era began in the early to mid nineties when the mainstream flooded our culture with the lure of money and fame. Now all the young kids are eager to sell their souls for a chance to get some of that blood money and they are all happy to remain unconscious to the injustices that they live in and take part in. I am happy to be labeled conscious and believe it is the responsibility of the media to give more conscious rappers some light and coverage.

CC What are some of the injustices that you explored or shed light on in your music?  What is this creative process like?  Is there a deliberative period where you target and identify issues and then rap?  Or do references to injustices occur spontaneously as you write?  Or somewhere in the middle?

Megaciph I explore everything in my music, whatever moves me when I’m writing a song will often find its way in to the lyrics. Usually I write my songs with a topic in mind and an overall concept custom fitted for the track and each line and word I precisely place for effect and meaning. Sometimes I allow the rhyme to take me on a journey with my pen. One thing I always do is envision how a crowd would receive the line, how another emcee would receive the line. Most often I reserve the spontaneity for the freestyle and the methodology for the written.

CC Sounds good.  Thank you for the back-and-forth!

Watch Megaciph’s music video here.

  1. Megaciph is a dope emcee and an all around dope person! So glad Y’all did this interview!

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