We had a chance to sit down with five-time champion of The Standard, Mike Baskin. Baskin, who also goes by his stage name, King Mike, shared with us his experience with The Standard and his music career altogether. Read highlights from the interview below:
Everything Exclusive Magazine: How did you hear about [The Standard]?
Mike Baskin: I met Frenchy at Georgia State [University], and, he and I were in loose contact over the first few years… He had checked out some of my music, a few of the tracks that I had done, and when he came up with the idea for The Standard, he approached me and [asked me to be] a part of it and to really get it going in the beginning… Out of the respect that I had for him, what he does–and I know how serious he is about everything he does–I was more than willing to lend my time and talent to what he was doing.
EEM: How long have you been competing in The Standard?
MB: Since it began in October of last year.
EEM: And how many times have you won?
MB: Uh, a bunch. (laughs) Let me see… I’ve won five times out of competing in eight rounds.
EEM: Was it five times in a row or just five times?
MB: It was three times in a row, and then I’ve had to take breaks here and there just because of my schedule. You know, running a business, taking care of my daughter… It’s a lot, but I try to squeeze in [The Standard] the best I can, but sometimes I just can’t. Sometimes, I had to take a break and just come back.
EEM: So would you say that you have a strong fan base because of The Standard, or have you already had one?
MB: Musically, I’m not sure what my fan base is. I can only go by the statistical data that I have from my website. I mean, I consistently get hits and downloads and listens. People buy my music… I wouldn’t say I have a huge fan base, but it’s definitely picked up since The Standard. The main thing that I can say I’ve gotten from The Standard is [more opportunities] for my business. I’ve been able to display my ability to make beats, to produce tracks, to write lyrics and then record them at a high level. From that, it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for people to hire me for collabs, or buy beats from me, or do different production services and things like that. It’s helped me more for my business than [gaining] fans.
More on Mike Baskin
EEM: How do you balance career and family life? Do they interfere [with one another] at all?
MB: No. Everything is about priorities and balance. Everything. It’s just really about consistently making the right decision and deciding what’s more important at that time. Obviously, spending time with my daughter is very important, you know, being there for her, investing in her. But at the same time, I have to be able to financially support her, so I have to be very ambitious and aggressive in my business dealings so the bills get paid… In the end, I think I strike a good balance.
EEM: Do you have any family members who are also into music?
MB: Yeah. My older brother is actually the one who got me into music.
EEM: How so?
MB: When we were in high school, he was a big-time poetry writer. He wrote a lot of poems and raps… I wanted to be like my big brother. I asked him to teach me a few things and he put me in what we call “Rap Boot Camp.” I guess the rest is history.
EEM: So, if you had to describe your music and your projects in one word, what would it be and why?
MB: Honest… That’s my main priority. More than anything, I want to be honest. I wouldn’t even feel right accepting any kind of compliment or support on something that I didn’t feel like was me, that represented me as a person, as a human being. My priority is to release music that’s honest. [Music] that’s a genuine representation of me. I’d rather be honest than good.
EEM: If you had to give any words of advice, what would they be?
MB: Show up for work. It’s all about repetition. Everybody starts somewhere, but if it’s something that you really want to do, then do it… If you’re not gonna put in the hours, don’t call it your passion; call it a hobby. If it’s your passion, there should be no problem with you doing what you have to do to make it work.
To learn more about The Standard, and to see Mike Baskin in action, click here.
Interview Conducted by Raena, Editor-in-Chief