THE UNDERGRIND (That brand new good old hip hop)


Originally published by Occhio Appello

To understand the energy that operates between Mirage512 & Side Effect aka The Undergrind you have to be a student of hip-hop Culture not just rap music. You have to go back and study the history of hip-hop Culture. Together they have over 40 years of hip hop culture, life and music between them. Their music almost requires prerequisites but it feels very comfortable at the same time. The story of The Undergrind is the story of two underground emcee/b-boys, 1 from the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia and one from the Northeast side of Austin, TX that cross paths at a local radio event in Austin circa 2012 and build a great partnership. The two had similar childhoods, both growing up in two parent households in middle-class America in the 80s. They were both engulfed in the golden era of hip hop music and culture. Mirage comments, “We toured last summer and from talking to each other while driving we liked the same emcees and groups from that era”. The two also both share an affinity for the Soul, R&B and Blues music that are staples of their cities. Both are also college educated majoring in business.


SIDE EFFECT: started rhyming in the mid to late 80’s after being exposed to Hip Hop radio shows such as “The Rap Digest” on WDAS, and “Street Beat” on Power 99. In 1990, Side Effect bought himself an MPC, and focused on making beats. He took a brief hiatus from rap and focused on becoming a better song writer. In 2002, he reemerged on the Philly Hip Hop scene after networking with other artists on the now defunct website Through interacting on those message boards, Side networked with artists such as Happ G, Subhoodz, Adlib, Cimer Amor, Planetary, Reef the Lost Cauze, and Viro the Virus. He then started getting shows in the local tri-state area and quickly gained a reputation as a dope lyricist and animated performer. Side Effect produced and self-released his first Album “Underground Concoction” in 2003. He then hooked up with Stress the White Boy and Havok from Subhoodz in 2004 to release his second album “Rocking Chair Theory” on Krush Unit Recordings. In 2006, Side self-released his third album “Dirt Hustlin” which featured Rasco from Cali Agents and many other talented producers from the Philly scene. Side Effect released his first mixtape, “Grown Man Grizzly” in 2007. Then in 2008, Side Effect linked up with German-based producers the Snowgoons, and contributed the classic song “Knockatomi Plaza” to their album “Black Snow”. Side Effect and the Krush Unit crew hooked back up with the Snowgoons again in 2009 to record the song “Krush University” on their “Trojan Horse” album. 2010 proved to be an even busier year. Side Effect teamed up with Snowgoons for a third time to record the song “Who’s Side” for their fourth album Kraftwerk. That same year he also teamed up with Philly producer Happ G and released the full length album “Cabin Fever” on Karma Response Unit Records. Side Effect also collaborated with another Philly artist C. Raine, and released the classic mixtape “Hip Hop Hoarders: Buried Alive”. Side Effect believes in creating a brand for himself and understands that the key to his success and longevity is releasing consistent quality music


MIRAGE512: spit his first rhyme in 85 after being challenged by a schoolmate to a battle. After being beat in that battle he went home and taught himself to rhyme by rhyming along with the rappers he heard on the radio. He got serious about being an artist during his years at Prairie View A&M University near Houston, TX. He linked with local artist Tee Double to form Kinetic Entertainment in 1995, the company now called Kinetic Global enjoyed regional success. Mirage recorded his first full album in 1996 called “Grown Folk Music”, the album made a bit of noise around campus and in nearby Houston. Upon graduation from P.V, he returned to Austin and began recording his L.I.A.R ep and released, it through Los Angeles based Goodvibe Recordings. The ep was distributed worldwide and got a great response and was played on college radio and internet radio all over the world. In 2001 Mirage decided to establish his own company to release his music called Melodicscience Media Group he released his “BONAFIDE” album that same year, the album was 98% produced by Arson Optics (17yrs old at the time) and did well locally in Austin selling over 650 copies in Austin alone. In 2003, Mirage collaborated with Arson Optics to form Soul Odyssey the two recorded an album that never saw release but the mixtape they did (FORMULA 512) is highly regarded as a classic. Mirage released his self-titled album M.I.R.A.G.E in 2006 to critical acclaim from local publications and fans. In 2005, he released two mix tapes “The Other Side of Texas Vol. 1 & 1.5” Between 2006 and 2008 he began making beats and built a home studio in his extra bedroom @ his house, he also formed a group called The GUUD. ( Continue on next page) he GUUD consisted of 4 emcees (Mirage, Young Nick, Trashman & Blacc Goliath) between 2008 and 2010 the group did over 125 shows and recorded 2 projects an album called “The Guudness” and a mixtape called “4 Elements” both did very well, Mirage would describes this as one of his most productive periods. The group remains friends but disbanded in 2010. Mirage quickly released “Formula512 Vol. 2” as well as “The Savant Album” in 2011 it was called some of his best solo work to date. In 2012 he also released a new mixtape called “The Soul hop Era” during the recording of that mixtape he did a show as part of The Untapped radio show on KAZI, that’s where he met Side Effect. He also completed another solo album called “Art & Commerce that he would released in 2013.


After meeting at a show in 2012 the two exchanged CD’s and had a conversation about hip hop and touring on an independent level. In 2013, the two recorded a mixtape called The Undergrind (Underground-Grind) so that they would have material to perform together during the tour of the same name. They kept hearing how dope the name was so they decided to use it as a brand name to operate under. The mixtape grew legs and became an underground classic through blogs worldwide and the many views that the videos they put on youtube. Side effect comments on the pride they take in being self contained “we both understand that we had to provide a steady stream of content to stay visible in the current market, but we wanted to make sure it was quality content. I’m pretty good with video editing, Mirage512 is good with ideas and video concepts so we flooded the net with the mixtape and videos that we produced, shot and edited ourselves”. The two both produce record and mix music; they both have home studios that they work from. They want to maintain creative control above all else. The Undergrind makes what they call adult contemporary hip hop. However, they make music for everyone their main demographic golden era hip hop heads like themselves. The music has a new classic feel if that makes sense, or as Mirage512 raps on Titans “spirit of the youngins mind like the elders / learn from my mistakes so there’s really no failure” The Undergrind is currently preparing a full length album called “The Incomparable“. The album plays like an ode to the golden era hip hop that they grew up on there is not much mention of balling out, overt drug abuse, how they can get your girl to cheat on you cause they have more money or how many ways they can kill you. Instead, they come with witty lyrics that are meant to inspire you during your daily grind or undergrind in this case while also letting you know how nice they are on the mic. The two also make it a point to inject some political material on the album, they feel it completes the message they want to convey with the project. Their sound is a gumbo mix of boom Bap, southern hip hop, soul, blues and R&B Hip Hop needs what these guys are bringing to the table, they are a much needed bridge between the classic and the future.

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