Mike D. Chill on his new album and group and the current state of local hip-hop

Mike D. Chill is somewhat of a Denver legend. Since his days forming the Kut-N-Kru Record label with Gary "Scratch G" Martinez and Jeff "Apostle" Campbell, he's been putting it down for raunchy, strip-club girls and low-rider, bass crazed homies alike.

After nearly two decades, Chill says he's "Still in the game and still representing Colorado, homie." In advance of his shows this weekend at Mishawaka and Cervantes' with Haystak, we caught up with Chill and asked him about his latest album, the new he's formed and his thoughts on the current state of local hip-hop.

Westword (D. Williams): Being that you've been in the scene for a while, what did you think about that movie/documentary Soulz of The Rockies that is currently creating a buzz?

Mike D. Chill: I haven't seen it yet, but I have heard of it. I'm a little upset that I wasn't asked to be in it, honestly. But you know what, I've got this movie I did Natasha Kizmet, and I've got some other projects lined up. So I'm staying busy. For instance, I've got this movie called White Boys in the Hood that I'm writing. It will be directed by Michael Drum. He's the same guy that did Kizmet, and he's also directed some episodes of Bill Maher's HBO show.

Ww: What do you think about the current state of Colorado hip-hop, and where is your place in it today?

MDC: I think it's better than ever! There's more talent out there, better producers. Personally, I think it's taking off to another level, and I couldn't be happier. There's more venues doing hip-hop nights and offering live performances than ever. I mean, places that would never touch rap music, like Herman's Hideaway, Toad Tavern... even the Gothic Theatre and the Bluebird are letting the locals in, and that's exciting.

Especially with the stuff I've got going on, ya know? And my best is yet to come. I mean, right now, I've got more fans than I've ever had, a lot of the ones who remember me from the old school, but I've got a lot of newer fans, too. I'm just glad that things are starting to take off before I got out of the scene.

Ww: Can you tell us about your latest album and the new group project your working on?

MDC: The album is called Stairway 2 Heaven, and it's my most complete project to date. It features national cats like Tech N9ne, Kutt Kalhoun and MC Magic from the NB Ridaz. It also features some of the best local rappers in Denver. I put a lot of work into this album. Lyrically, I covered all angles, like from-the-heart songs to club booty-shakin' songs, to those nasty, down and dirty Mike D. Chill joints that I'm known for. It's got something for everyone.

As for the group project, it's called The Conglomerate, and that's based on the definition that two major forces come together to make one greater entity. On the one hand, you've got me; I put in some sixteen years in the rap game in Denver. Meanwhile, D.A. Dubb brings many, many years of that DIY aesthetic, from music production to video production, to album work and lyrics. So we came together to grow stronger. We added a third person, the rapper Mission, because he's this mad lyricist, and he elevates our game.

We've got our own studio, Dubb's the Epic Center, and we're currently working on an album that will be out by the end of the year. So far we're five songs deep, and these are the tightest, dopest songs I've ever been a part of. I guarantee that everyone will know about us by the beginning of 2011, locally. By the end of 2011, we're going to make noise nationally.

For now, I don't know when I'll have a chance to make another solo album, but the Conglomerate is going to kick the door off the hinges and bring the ruckus that we were trying to do when we started up Kut-N-Kru.

Mike D. Chill and the Conglomerate, With Haystak, Dope Audio, Brabo Gator, Native and THC, 7 p.m. Friday, July 23, Mishawaka Amphitheatre, 13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, Ft. Collins (Bellvue), $23, 970-482-4420; With Haystak and Dope Audio, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 24, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2635 Welton Street, $24, 303.297.1772.

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D. Williams