From Mike Sol to Mic Sol 

Everyone told Mike Sol that he had the perfect name for an emcee. So when he took up the mantle of hip-hop artist, it was a short leap to Mic Sol. Back in the late 1990s, he made his first appearances on decidedly small stages, as part of a group called the Mic Surgeons, performing at “the grimiest house parties” and debuting at the East Side Skating Rink.

What a difference a decade makes. After several years building up his studio with the help of partner Tom Borshoff and the release of his first album, Flowgun, he was voted the No. 1 hip-hop artist in the city by NUVO readers in the 2007 Best of Indy poll. Sol maintains a rigorous schedule of live performances, produces for other artists on his label, Green Gloves, and on Thursday, Aug. 9, he’s throwing the “Hip Hop Blues Movement” event at Ice Lounge, featuring 10 different groups. Performers include Sho-7 and Tre-Sixxx, Full Blooded, Bottom Line, Radamez of Concrete Beats, Son of Thought, MVL, Jaecyn Bayne, Freeze, Shadow and, of course, Sol himself.

NUVO: Tell us about the origins of the name and what you plan for the event.

Mic Sol: It started out as a song that we did; we were in the studio recording, and it was a real kind of magical moment — Hip Hop Blues Movement. The way hip-hop is nowadays, it’s like 1980s hair metal, and we’re trying to take it back and have other people take it back and go back to their roots. It’s the protest aspect of how blues started, a comparison and contrast to what’s popular right now.

NUVO: What are your thoughts on the city’s music scene right now?

Mic Sol: I love Indianapolis. I think it’s gotten 20 times bigger than a year ago. Then there was just the Patio and a couple of clubs where you had to be in good with certain people and DJs just to get shows. Nowadays, it’s really blown wide open; it’s an equal playing field. You don’t have to just know the right people. I love the way it is right now.

NUVO: What’s next for you?

Mic Sol: I’m working on a new album. We [Mic, Ace One, Bayne and Son of Thought] got this group [tentatively called the Green Gloves Team], and we want to do as much as we can to create buzz and get some out-of-town people. With the way the music industry is, it’s even harder. As far as Indianapolis, I see it getting even bigger. It’s really separating the people that are working hard at promotion from the people who aren’t.

NUVO: Though you’ve been at this a while, you’re a relatively new face on the citywide scene, with your first album out just last year. Why do you think you were popular enough with NUVO readers to be voted Best of Indy?

Mic Sol: I think it was a lot of the shows that I did. I would do two or three shows a week. All I do is shows, and when I’m not doing shows, I’m promoting shows, and when I’m not doing that, I’m trying to produce other people. I think a lot of that is the hustle my label and I are putting together. I bring a lyrical style, not just bringing the same thing every time, and bring a wide array of themes to my music, and do a lot more than people are doing locally. And I think our performances are amazing as well, based on the response that we get. I’m not even trying to claim this No. 1 status for myself; it’s everyone on my label.

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