We all could use a few Happy Thoughts this year, wouldn't you say? The new EP from seasoned artist and producer Andy Mineo is a fitting title that plays directly into the project's overall narrative that he plans to continue well into the new year. Mineo's, Happy Thoughts EP is a timely pack of music focused on good vibes for anyone struggling through the many challenges 2020 has brought us all.
In an exclusive interview with EARMILK, he discussed some of the current hardships and meaning behind some of this new music. With sheer excitement, he also shared details about some upcoming projects currently in the process of being rolled out.
Anyone well-versed in the vibrant early 2010s hip-hop scene will be quite familiar with Mineo's work. Now at 32 years of age, the New York-rapper has already achieved respectful success with a handful of records under his belt, a certified-Gold single, in the 2014 "You Can't Stop Me", and collaborations with notable acts like Logic, !llmind, Marc E. Bassy, and longtime friend, Lecrae.
But throughout his decade-long eclectic career, Mineo continues to find natural ways to be inventive and allow his music to consistently stay relevant. While creating substantial lyrical content song after song, his music medicates present-day necessities. As bizarre of a year this has been, he finds himself once again providing the world with a more playful and upbeat release that is palatable, palpable, and positive.
“The whole idea of me releasing this [Happy Thoughts] is that I took a trip to Japan right before the shutdown with me and my friends,” shares Mineo. “And I was just referencing the whole time – this happy thought – of me traveling with my friends and that became such a big part of the rollout. (It) was such a happy time that inspired this whole record. S0, I just wanted to give something to people for 2020, something that would lift their spirits a little bit, and help them think positively in the midst of such a wild year.”
The 7-track EP opener, "Shibuya Roll Call", is cuffed with a visual sample from the above-mentioned Japanese trip with his crew. The song features a verse from Wordsplayed, a familiar artist to Mineo following their joint 2017 project, Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed Present Magic & Bird. "Shibuya Roll Call" sees the collaborators introducing themselves to the listeners in classic ice-breaker fashion. They rap about how far they've come as a means to inspire over the lo-fi instrumentation lead while jazzy chords lay the background of a relaxing city subway vibe.
Speaking of inspiration, the next track "Herman Miller" is a nod to one of Mineo's more recent unpredictable life inspirations. He shares, “I'm out here watching documentaries on furniture & seating, so that's how you know it's just gotten bad,” he joked. The co-produced "Herman Miller" is in respect to the craftsmanship of museum-worthy, well-produced furniture as he's recently gained interest in home design and real estate. “So, I just started naming songs on this project of people that inspired me. Herman Miller's one of them," he continues as he details the ways he was inspired by how people are blessed by what they make.
"Jackson Pollock" is a self-produced, punch-drunk number from the project that went wild on Tik-Tok. Mineo even took the opportunity to duet with fans and any contesting wordsmiths. The track is a whirlwind of sound being spastic in production and shifty in lyrical flow. Though it lacks consistent rhythm and pockets, this multi-directional songwriting was created with pure intention. As the famous American painter Pollock was known for his iconic deranged way of creating art with paint splashes, Mineo managed to harness the unhindered calamity of pure sound through various beats, samples, and lyrical flow.
"Always in a Rush" features video director, producer, rapper, and all-around creative, Mez. Though self-explanatory, this concept of taking time to not work is especially challenging for full-time creatives. The two artists rap to a constantly ticking clock about the life of an artist and the internal pressure to consistently work. Mineo shares the importance of annually taking an intentional, spiritual, and creative retreat with his friends. “I started thinking about all the times where I feel like I'm in a rush, and why it's so hard for me to relax or take a day off. I get done with work, sit down on that couch with my wife, and I'm like, 'Yo, am I buggin' right now?' My wife wants to watch a Netflix show, and I'm like, 'Should I be doing this?'.
He elaborated that this guilt is the same construct that bars him from popular culture. “People be like, 'Yo, did you see the seventh season of Game of Thrones?', she shares. "I literally will not commit to some of the best-rated shows ever in history because I'm too afraid to make a time commitment, because I feel like I could be doing more with my time.”
Though Happy Thoughts is an amalgamation of all the ideas surrounding Mineo's last few years, a highly personal moment from the project came within "Momma Taught Me." With the loss of his mother towards the end of 2018, Mineo, later on, packed his bags and moved to Atlanta with his wife to begin a new chapter in his life. He expands on what that heavy transition in his life was like through vivid lyrics of some of the lessons his mother taught him about women. He includes some of these bits of wisdom over the bouncy Carvello chipmunk-soul production.
This pack was truly intended to hold Mineo's fans over until he hits the world with a sequel to his well-charted and acclaimed EP, Neverland. There was just so much music created after being inspired during his trip to Japan, that it felt right to let this material out. "Neverland has been a big theme in my art," he tells in reference to his 2014 EP. “Neverland 2 is on the way, and on the way to Neverland 2, I thought I would drop something to hold people off for 2020. Peter Pan, you know, in order to fly, he had to find his 'happy thoughts'. So, I thought that was a cool reference.” Fans can anticipate the release of Neverland 2 to drop in the first half of the upcoming year.
Mineo is also planning to usher in the holiday spirit with an entertaining Holiday virtual variety show featuring acts like Lecrae, Wordsplayed, Marty, and nobigdyl. It's called the Friends & Family Christmas Special and will be on December 23rd before Christmas Eve.
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Don't forget to Stream Happy Thoughts EP and get your tickets to The Friends & Family Christmas Special!