S2 E22 | Millyz
On this week’s episode of the “Big Facts” podcast, Big Bank, DJ Scream, and Baby Jade sat down with rapper Millyz. The Cambridge-born artist discussed his journey to national recognition, overcoming his learning disabilities, navigating street life and rap life as a white man, his preference for dating Black women, and his spirituality.
Opening the show, Millyz discussed the biggest differences between being a local celebrity versus securing a national platform. While he’s always believed he’d been “the one,” describing himself as an “underground superstar” due to streaming, he recognizes that as his responsibilities change, his work ethic should as well. “The last 60 days have been hectic,” he said. “Just draining on your body. I’m used to being able to do some shit and then falling back for five days, and it’s not like that once your shit starts heating up. But I’m taking every opportunity. It took a long time to get here so I’m learning and I’m earning.”
Millyz credits the 2016 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher for really catapulting him to the national forefront. The way he even landed the opportunity speaks to his grit and dedication to success. “I finessed my way in there,” he admitted. “I was probably one of the first rappers to be in the BET Cypher with no PR, no label.” He leveraged his relationships and practiced patience until the time was right. “I knew a cameraman. Chris Robinson, his son Lil’ Chris, he shot the cypher in Brooklyn and he would tell me, ‘Just pull up. Maybe somebody won’t show up.’”
After two years of failed attempts and sitting through several days of tapings, Millyz got his big break when a scheduled rapper missed his flight. As promised, Lil’ Chris sent production his links and while initially unimpressed, Jessie Collins and his production team placed him in position after he rapped 20 bars right on the spot.
As he explained to the “Big Facts” crew, preparation is key: “I got certain raps that are bulletproof. I could be drunk, I could be in Antarctica in a tank top in a blizzard, I’m going to remember this shit.” His verse in the cypher made such a huge impression that Charlamagne tha God showed him love on “The Breakfast Club” and DJ Envy cosigned it. This put even more eyes on the rapper outside of his Boston roots. “I been him in Boston but that just showed me, ‘Alright, that shit is realistic,’ so I just followed up with that grind,” he said.
Jadakiss of The Lox cosigning Millyz provides another example of the rising star’s hustle. He first paid for a feature on a track and continued to stay present once he relocated to The Bronx. He’d work his way into appearances and shows where Kiss would be until someone from his camp, Wristpick Jay, told Jadakiss to really pay attention to him. This advocacy lead to Millyz being signed to SoRaspy Records.
Growing up in Cambridge, which is just outside of Boston, Mass., came with it’s own challenges. Millyz was raised by his father in an “artsy home” until about 14 years old, at which point his mother wanted him in what she believed to be a more suitable environment. The young rapper was diagnosed with ADHD and a behavioral issue early on. “I’m young, I’m in the 6th grade,” he recalled.
Millyz learned early that he was different: “If I can’t sit in the classroom with 30 people, then I knew I had to take a different route from those 30 people. College was out of the question.” He adds, “I thought I was going to go into basketball, but when basketball was out the question it was clipped.” Millyz checked out and turned to the streets while bonding with the other children in special education, who were all trying to outdo one another’s bad behavior.
When asked if he was given drugs to treat his issues, he said he’d been given Adderall and Ritalin so he could tune in. “Weird shit is, that’s a focus drug,” the rapper said. “And I could naturally rap, so I’d just focus on my raps. Once I’m off those drugs, I’d be in school and I’m still not focused on the class, I’m just focused on my raps.”
Millyz’s focus is paying off big time — not only for him but for the music scene in his hometown in general. He reflected, “We haven’t had any big music artists since Bobby Brown. He’s from Roxbury, but it’s right there.” The budding emcee and his peers are changing the landscape and putting Massachusetts on the map. He tells the “Big Facts” crew, “They starting to believe in the music now because we got me, BIA, Joyner Lucas. We got people going crazy!”
The Twitterverse had Millyz in a chokehold after he shared an unfathomable story of a special encounter he believes he had with God. “You can’t talk about God to ungodly people,” he quipped about the public’s reaction to his experience with divine intervention. There was a time he was about to shoot in a nightclub, but his gun didn’t go off. “I had a brand new joint and this was right around the time two of my friends went down for murder,” the emcee said. “I was lost, I was trying to figure it out. Somebody had given me a brand new grip and I was trying to let it off in the club [where] it was security cameras and everybody, but it didn’t go off. I went to the bathroom, and I don’t know how, but it was disassembled. Like, the safety pin was out.”
He went on to say, that he’s experienced several instances of God’s hands on him, but that he’d rather not share anymore of those since people just don’t understand. “I’ve had more divine intervention moments, but I’ll keep that off the internet,” he said, adding, “I look at rap like a race to save my youngins.”
When Big Bank began to ask Millyz about his taste in women, he proudly admitted he is partial to Black women. While today he’s more open to all women, growing up in his rough community, it was Black women who had his back the most. “I just like the swag and beauty [of Black girls],” he said. “Growing up they really helped me in the neighborhood, like, ‘Leave him alone. That’s my friend from school,’” he admitted while laughing. “Growing up, I was kind of anti-white girl because they were either college girls and kind of nerdy or just super ratchet from the projects.” His experience with women of other ethnicities has since grown, but he still has a thing for SZA, whom he first met in 2013 at SXSW. Maybe he’ll shoot his shot again one day? Catch the latest episode of “Big Facts” featuring Millyz up top.