Mikkey Halsted: The Coldest From Chi-Town

Chicago has bred some phenomenal talent. We’ve heard great music produced by Kanye. Positive messages told through some of Common’s verses. Crazy intricate double meaning laced tracks by Lupe. This is what we’ve seen come and grow within the industry from Chicago. What most people seem to expect from Chicago is great innovative music that’s […]


has bred some phenomenal talent. We’ve heard great music produced by Kanye.

Positive messages told through some of Common’s verses. Crazy intricate double

meaning laced tracks by Lupe. This is what we’ve seen come and grow within the

industry from Chicago. What most people seem to expect from Chicago is great

innovative music that’s thought provoking and truly artistic. Mikkey Halsted

has dually noted this fact and feels the pressure.



has had a crazy journey within this industry trying to create a name and

following. He has been signed a few times, worked with some incredible talent

and still is just as hungry as ever before. Working closely with No I.D. he

plans to produce some dope stuff. With Chicago on his back and experience under

his belt, landing a deal isn’t the problem, it’s getting what he feels he is

worth. Once the right deal comes it’s a wrap for this Windy city emcee. Music:Mikkey Halsted P###. By Don Cannon “Hello”Mikkey Halsted Ft. Twone Gabs “Bi**h Ni**as”



Describe your style of rap delivery.


Mikkey Halsted:

My style of Hip-Hop is like militant street wisdom. It’s intelligent street

music. What I do is intelligently give you street tales and paint vivid

pictures with words. I try to bring it back to what Hip-Hop was when I fell in

love with it.


AllHipHop: How

did you link up with No I.D.


Mikkey Halsted:

He’s the first person that believed in me. I met him through my sister. She was

out there rapping with him in the early days. I rapped for him one day while I

was out supporting her. He was impressed and gave me some beats. I took them

and recorded some real dope albums. They are pretty prevalent to Chicago till

this day. From that point we started rockin’ together. He’s the one who kind of

gave me the confidence to think I could do it. He would tell people I’m the

best in the Chi. It gave me the confidence to take rap serious and really pursue

it; big shouts to Kanye for being the first to believe in me. He also

introduced me to No I.D. No I.D. has been very instrumental in my rap career.


AllHipHop: What

is your exact relationship with No I.D.


Mikkey Halsted: No

I.D. as far as the music goes is my partner. He has quality control over what

Mikkey Halsted does.  Our relationship is

that he is the quality control. He does most of my beats. Every other beat I

use or song I choose has to be cleared through him. It has to be at a certain

quality before it can come out and make an album. Me and him have been working

on this album for a couple of years now. It’s a beautiful thing to have

somebody that is that dope to be over your project.


AllHipHop.com: I

also heard that J.D. had an interest in you at one point. Want to describe that



Mikkey Halsted: Basically

No I.D. had played him some music; this was when he was at Virgin. I actually

had a few other deal situations on the table. No I.D. is very good friends with

Jermaine, so he played music for him. Jermaine loved it. We did the deal.

Unfortunately, after I did the deal he ended up leaving Virgin for whatever

reason and went over to Island. When he left, I got stuck in some legal limbo

at Virgin. Luckily, I got out Scott free and got to keep all my music. That was

a beautiful thing for me. It was a blessing in the end. It was a blessing

really to be working with JD for the time that I did. As a artist under Virgin

it was a dope experience. Just being around somebody that is such a hit maker

and having somebody like that believes in you and that you can be the future of

the game. JD gave me the confidence to know that I’m doing the right thing. We

still have a good relationship until this day. Even though that situation

didn’t turn out how I wanted. I count it as a blessing. I learned so much just

being in his environment, in his studio and soaking up knowledge. I finally

understood how to put real records together.


AllHipHop.com: You

also had a stint with Cash Money correct?


Mikkey Halsted:  Yea I did actually, it’s kinda crazy. Basically

I was super young. I was a teenager. You really don’t know what’s going on. I

started working with Kanye and the songs that we did were tearing up the

streets. The music got its way into different people’s hands and it worked its

way to New Orleans. I went over there for a stint. There are a lot of

similarities in certain things.  I

basically went over there and learned. I got experience. My only mistake was

that I did not know how to really brand myself and do things in that way. All

of my experiences have led to me to know what I’m worth. I’m older and wiser

now. Through my time and experience I have managed to build a buzz and

following that I have now. I’m getting calls from a lot of labels who would

like to work with me. It’s just a matter of choosing the right fit. Again I’m a

little older, I’m not a teenager anymore and therefore I understand the

business better. I understand how to build your worth as an artist. You gotta

have some leverage in the game. That’s what I’m all about.



Did you ultimately feel like you were a fit for Cash Money?


Mikkey Halsted: I

wouldn’t say it was a true fit, but, being young you just go for it because it

showed promise. They wanted Kanye too, but he knew he wouldn’t be a good fit

there. Me being young and in the financial standing that we were in…it seemed

to make sense. You could say I made the wrong decision, but I don’t look at it

like that. It was just a learning experience. I learned a lot of things. I

learned how to run a entertainment label. I learned how to build a buzz. I

learned Guerilla marketing; I learned a lot of things from them. I made some

great friendships with Wayne and some of the other guys from New Orleans. I

still maintain these friendships till this day. I wouldn’t change a thing.


AllHipHop.com: Would

you go back with them or take another deal?


Mikkey Halsted:

Actually I’m not looking for a deal.  I

got a great team. Deals have been the easiest thing to do. I never sat across

from a executive and played the music and they didn’t want to do the deal.

That’s never happened to me. That’s the easy part. I didn’t look for a deal. I

just started putting music out. I was just trying to get my story out and

really try to attack the streets and attack the internet. I’m not afraid to put

a project out totally independent. It’s like the labels have heard and they

caught wind of it. It’s becoming harder to stay independent. Once you create a

kind of buzz they come knocking.  Right

now we’re just putting out good music. We’re giving good music to the people.

We’re just constantly putting good stuff out there and staying relevant. I’m

just building my brand. People know who Mikkey Halsted is. The album I’m

working on is a pretty strong album. It’s going to stand up with some of the

great albums in Hip-Hop history. When it comes out I’m gonna take my place

among some of the greats in Hip-Hop history. We’re shooting for greatness. We

feel like if you make a great product and build it, the labels will come and

jump on board. We’re not aggressively looking for a label. The label would have

to understand the movement and try and get a grasp on what we’re doing. I just

worry about making dope music. I concentrate on working with dope producers.

Coming out with dope music and working hard.


AllHipHop.com: Do

you feel any pressure to be the next big deal from Chicago?


Mikkey Halsted:

Yea I do. Just because of the lineage that I am from. I’m from the No I.D.

family tree. That has produced a lot of great Chicago artists like Common and

Kanye are from that. There is a lot of great Chicago emcee’s such as Lupe

Fiasco. Lupe and I just did a monumental record together. The pressure is on me

to carry that torch and keep it going. It’s nothing that I can’t handle. I’m

the one that Chicago is kinda putting the hope on right now to go out there and

represent. I’m trying to do good because I have full support from Chicago. I

feel like I’m in a dope position. I know that I have the potential and the

means to put out quality music. I want to do something that they can be proud

of; something that is going to be dope and change the game like Resurrection did for Common, Adrenaline Rush for Twista and College Dropout did for Kanye. All of

those records were monumental records. I feel like I’m the next one in that



AllHipHop.com: I

saw that you have a Masters degree in education. I was wondering what pointed

you in that direction?


Mikkey Halsted: I

got a basketball scholarship to college. Basketball was my original dream. I

was rapping and I started messing with Kanye and Cash Money, but I never really

stopped and gave up on school. Through it all I kinda stayed focus. Thank God I

got funds through basketball. I’ve always been the type of person who was into

acquiring knowledge. Actually getting the Master’s was easier than getting the

Bachelor’s. I pride myself on that and I don’t hide it. To be one of the best

rappers on the planet you have to be intelligent. A lot of people don’t know

that about their favorite rappers. They don’t know how intelligent Wayne is.

They don’t hold onto the fact that Wayne was taking college courses. They don’t

understand how much of a genius Kanye is. Even my favorite rappers like Ice

Cube, Chuck D. or Jay-Z how intelligent they are.



What did you learn from that situation?


Mikkey Halsted:

It definitely helped to the way I paint pictures. I attack my songs like essays

and I stay on topic because I’m trying to get a point across. It really helps

me. I was always a good writer and it’s really translated into me rapping. Even

when I don’t have it down it’s still a story. 

I feel like I’m one of the best writers in Hip-Hop. In rap it’s like

writing an essay or delivering a speech. Obama delivers those speeches because

he knows how to get an emotion from the people through words. That is was an

emcee does. I don’t dumb down my vocabulary when I talk or rap because there

has to be an alternative to some of the rap that is out there.


Visit Mikkey Halsted’s websites