LargeUp’s own Jesse Serwer sat down with former Black Uhuru frontman Mykal Rose for an interview that ran in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, running the gamut from his views on auto-tune to the use of his (and Black Uhuru’s music in famous TV and film spots from Miami Vice to The Cosby Show to The Mighty Quinn. Read one of the choicest excerpts below, where Rose plays Serwer an unreleased Michael Jackson cover apparently off the upcoming Easy Star All-Stars Thrillah project and hit the link at bottom to get the full Q&A.
LargeUp: You had something of a surprise hit with “Shoot Out” a few years ago. Have you released any music since then?
Mykal Rose: Actually, no. Things have come up but collaborations mostly.
LU: That song was pretty different from what people might expect from you, most notably in its use of Autotune. I’m sure you’ve had people ask you why someone with a voice like yours would need a tool like that
MR: Alright, a lot of people seem to be not remembering stuff. When we were recording with Sly and Robbie as producers, we had songs where we used vocoder. It’s the same thing. If you listen to the album named Chill Out, there’s vocoder on my voice. A lot of people get upset now because most of the younger youths are using it but it becomes a part of the marketing now. People get hooked onto it. If you listen to Chris Brown… It’s everywhere. In the business now you can’t do without it. [I've] been singing with Autotune from a long time. Alright, alright. I’m going to play you something different. Don’t get frightened now, okay? Listen to this. [Plays a cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" with Autotune-affected vocals]. Yo.
LU: When did you make that?
MR: Five or four days ago. You like it?
LU: Yeah. That wasn’t what I was expecting you to play me. What made you do a Michael Jackson song?
MR: Actually it’s a group, Easy Star [All-Stars] out of New York. They were the ones who asked me to record the Beatles track, “A Day in the Life.” The harmony is amazing. Listen to this. [Plays another song, also with Autotune on it]. This is my album now.