Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun
After Kane Mayfield, the Baltimore-via-Long Island MC, submitted five or six duds in a row to his label, Mania Music Group co-founder Dwayne Lawson proposed an idea.
"He said, 'Why don't you rap over that Thievery Corporation [stuff]?'" Mayfield recalled.
The off-the-cuff suggestion eventually became "Rhymes by Kane: Thievery Corporation Edition," a nine-track project Mayfield released in July. On it, he raps street anecdotes and thoughtful observations over ambient backdrops created from the catalog of the D.C.-based electronic duo.
"My biggest fear was Thievery would hear it and say it sucked," Mayfield, a "crazy fan," said. "I would have probably cried. It'd be like Ghostface coming up and telling me to stop rapping."
Mayfield's fear subsided after running into Corporation member Eric Hilton at a Washington art gallery opening. The band not only knew of the project, but they had listened and enjoyed it. They weren't alone -- "Rhymes by Kane" had favorable reviews on national websites such as Spin and Stereogum. Mayfield found the write-ups flattering, but refuses to let it go to his head.
"When people are like, 'Yo man, you're about to make it!' I'm like, 'Chill,'" he said. "Tell that to T-Mobile because my bill is due and they don't care about my last song. I'm not stopping to celebrate."
He's not kidding. While Mayfield and the Baltimore-based Mania Music Group strongly believe in quality control (there's no scheduled follow-up yet), he says he has completed projects ready to be released whenever he and his team see fit.
"We still have singles to put out. We have videos done," Mayfield said. "We always have a full clip to fire off at any given time."