When navigating our contemporary rap landscape, it’s all too easy to remain focused on the music emerging out of cultural hubs such as New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. In turn, discovering music created out of unassuming places can feel more difficult to discover, but as upstate New York-based emcee Mic Lanny is building a strong case, once you know where to look, you’re going to think twice about counting smaller cities out.

Independent record label Pig Food Records is helping to put Albany, New York on the map by releasing projects of quality, not quantity, and their latest release, Mic Lanny’s Sex & Breakfast EP is the latest testament to that tried-and-true philosophy.

The five-track project, organically inspired by its title of epic proportions, features production from upstate heavyweights Jack Of All Trades, Rob Viktum, PJ Katz, Dood Computer and J. Mirk, with a feature from label co-founder Dezmatic and cuts by DJ Nate Da Great. Considering the fact the EP was crafted by artists with roots tying them to Albany in one capacity or another, the project is a fitting representation of the plethora of untapped talent harbored just two and a half hours drive north of the city.

Mic Lanny delivers an impressive range as a lyricist, and while his bars often showcase how serious he takes his craft, at the foundation of each track on this EP is his ability to have fun no matter what. Switching up his flow is a strength that Lanny wisely caters to on this project and while a lot of ground is covered, both in vocal technique and in substance, it manages not to overwhelm its listeners. His creativity is strengthened by his lighthearted perspective and as a result, this project is truly unlike any other circulating in the independent rap scene right now.

How long have you been doing what you do?
If by what I do you mean being effing awesome, I’d say since forever. 

How did you get started?
I messed around with writing punch lines here and there. Spit a couple verses with some friends. But nothing really started until I met Animal Cracker (an emcee also from upstate New York) and he really mentored me and showed me the ropes. 

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?
So far my biggest highlight was going on tour with Giant Gorilla Dog Thing and Iron Bar Collective. Also stealing an unused vendors booth and setting up my merch at the festival grounds of A3C last year. Performing was cool too. 

What is your biggest inspiration?
I’m inspired by my family and the struggles they’ve had and how they’ve handled them. It makes me want to make the most out of everything I do. And Oscar Pistorius. A guy with no legs who can shoot his wife and almost get away with it is very inspirational. 

Is there an early memory you’d like to share about getting into your craft, such as when you realized this was more than just a hobby or a passion?
I was a kid who would skip school if I knew I had to speak in front of people. Even when I performed for the first time, I still wasn’t sure it was for me. When I was applying for college and my advisor was going over my aptitude test with me, he told me I should stay away from any profession where I had to be in front of large groups of people. I knew I had a show that weekend so I took it as a challenge. I’ve performed hundreds of times since then and haven’t earned a college credit. So maybe I’m dumb or maybe that guidance counselor was.

Who have you worked with in the past/tell me about some past projects.
I worked really closely with Animal Cracker and a lot of the F Word Records guys when I first started. I released an album called Good Cop Bad Cop – that was actually my first official project. I also did a very different project, Good Grief, with my friend James Rock that I enjoyed making very much. Right now, I’m more focused on my future projects as I continue to develop as an MC. The stuff I’m doing with Deborah’s Son, and being a part of Pig Food Records has me excited.

What is your favorite part about working on your music?
My favorite part is just trying to top myself. Whether it’s wordplay or flow or cadence or patterns. The challenge of besting my previous work keeps me going hard.

How do you describe your sound to people who haven’t heard anything before?
I don’t. I hand ’em a CD or send em a link and let them figure it out.

What characteristics do you believe are important to have in order to be successful?
Out-work everyone else and continually put out quality s*it. And a beard. Gotta have a beard. 

What are your influences/what is some advice that has stuck with you?
Big L made me want to write punch lines. Pun made me want to use crazy flows and play with patterns. But I was raised by people who listened to a lot of different music. So a combination of metal and grunge and Hip Hop inspire me to keep punching people in the face with what I say.

The advice that stuck with me is hard work beats talent every day. Not to say that I don’t have talent but I’m not just trying to be the dopest rapper in my bedroom. So I work hard to get my music out there. I’m not waiting for anything to come to me.

What do you hope people take away from listening to this new project?
I hope they take away that I’m versatile and I have fun with it. But also that I have bars for days and most of these rappers ain’t f*cking wit me. 

What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on an EP with Dezmatic, an LP with Deborah’s Son and possibly another EP. Honestly, I’m just working towards getting better every time I write a verse or rock a stage. 

Anything you’d like to add?
I’d like to add thanks to all the people who support me. Please go buy my music so that I can validate quitting my job. Sex And Breakfast is available on iTunes and Amazon

Photo: Mel eMedia