Talking to Minya: A phone call from New York to Boston

Joe: Tell me about getting into hip-hop.
Minya: Getting into it and starting to actually rap and make beats are two different and long stories… In seventh grade, Justin Desmond had given or maybe he had lent this tape of Death Certificate by Ice Cube to this kid Mike Gilbreth. Mike brought this Ice Cube tape over to my house and played it for me. It blew my mind. It was like nothing I had ever heard. At the time even MTV didn’t play a lot of rap Vermont radio certainly didn’t play it. Especially this kind of political, controversial stuff.
So, anyway, he forgot the tape at my house and I ended up with it. Mike ended up moving away. I think I still have that tape somewhere. But I listened to that thing over and over again, after that. It got all worn out from listening to it.
In Seventh grade I knew all the words to,” Wrong Nigga to F**k With.”

Joe: When did you start making beats and raps?
Minya: When we were juniors or seniors we had this band 250 Dead Passengers,

Joe: Wait. That was a punk band of sorts. You played that dance?
Minya: (Laughter) Yeah. It was me, Jason Grey, Justin Desmond and Ethan Clarke on drums. We had only the one gig. The Mount Abe Winter Carnival Dance. But we practiced our asses of for that show! For real, we took it so seriously. For two months, everyday after school, we would meet up, go over to Justin’s dad’s house and practice. We practiced so hard for that, man.
Anyway, one night, as a joke, I rapped “Police Truck” by Dead Kennedys into the mic through my keyboard with this beat going.

Joe: A Dead Kennedys’ song was your first rap? That’s rad!
Minya: Yeah! So, we thought that was funny and kept going with it. It was joke for a while. Justin realized it was pretty fun to play guitar and bass along with the beats. So we goofed off listening to more and more hip-hop. We played along and rapped non-rap songs.
Adam Grey was doing a lot of poetry then, so he started rapping sometimes. Over time, we sort of got good at it, surprisingly. So, we sort of started making our own beats and writing our own rhymes.