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Old 07-19-2007, 04:18 PM   #1
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Native hip-hop family spreads anti-meth message

Story available at BillingsGazette.com :: Family develops rap tour, message

Published on Thursday, July 19, 2007.
Last modified on 7/19/2007 at 12:57 am

Family develops rap tour, message

Family develops rap tour, message

LAME DEER - Charles "Apache" Mitchell was a little kid when his big brother allowed him to join in a freestyle rap session.

"I watched my brother and wanted to do that, it seemed like so much fun," Apache said.

One Friday night, when he was a shy 8-year-old, Apache got his chance.

"I heard that beat, and I spit my first punch line," Apache said, with a pause to explain that "spit" was meant metaphorically.

His brother, Salah, and the older boys were impressed. Now Apache is an outgoing teenager who is all about music.

"It's what I live for," Apache said. "I got the passion from my older brother."

The 16-year-old has funneled that passion into a career as a motivational rapper, graphic designer and music producer. He is signing artists to the family label, On The Cut Records, which is based at the family's home in Busby.

In a time when music can encourage misconduct, Apache takes pride in his work being clean. The music does not glorify gang participation, partying or demeaning women, he said.

"You don't need to have all that to have fun," Apache said.

The family is developing a "War on Meth Hip Hop Tour" to take its version of motivational music across the state, including to reservations.

The music targets meth and its deadly impact on families.

"It's the modern-day plague," Apache said. "We want to use talent to keep youth away from drugs."

The Mitchell family knows the pain methamphetamine causes. Apache has a tattoo of a cross with his brother Salah's name in the center and the phrase "See you at the gates."

Salah, 21, was an up-and-coming musician when he committed suicide last September. At age 16, Salah began using meth and was hooked for two years. He was clean, but struggling with the heavy emotional after-effects of the drug, said the boys' dad and On The Cut Records CEO Waymon Mitchell. Salah "was a meek and humble young man," he said.

"We are carrying on his legacy," Mitchell said. "This is what he wanted us to do."

The entire family is musical, including Marina Mitchell, the boys' mom, who was a singer, and their sister, Shareez, 11, who is teaching herself hip-hop dance this summer.

Anchored by Apache, who is of Choctaw and Northern Cheyenne descent, On The Cut Records has signed a number of young American Indian artists, including Jokah J, Lil Vendictive and J-Eazy.

Jokah J, who is 23-year-old Jeremy Jefferson, said he comes from a Christian, musical family. A music career will help get him to better places in life, Jefferson said. His cousin, Mariam Kindness, 16, is Lil Vendictive. Both are members of the Crow Tribe.

"She's just getting her feet wet," Mitchell said. "This is what I call my diamond in the rough."

That statement made Apache rub his hands together in anticipation, splay his fingers wide and add: "Bling! Polish 'em up."

The Mitchell family invested in modest, but good, studio equipment. Apache does the engineering and graphic designs on albums, combining things he learned in classes while the family lived in Arizona and his self-taught skills. His next release, planned to drop in August, is called "What You Know about the Ghetto Real Talk Rez Style."

Much of the focus of the music is that there are good ways of earning a livelihood without going illegal - staying close to God and getting an education among them, Mitchell said.

"You don't need an illegal act to obtain stability," Mitchell said. "The façade of the fast life, it's basically like playing Russian roulette."

Being a performer, particularly with a motivational message, is a responsibility and a privilege, Apache said. He admitted his family is not made up of angels. "Rusty haloes," he said and flashed a grin as sparkling as his dollar sign earrings.

Mitchell said the family goal for the kids and the other artists is to be "kind, respectful and obedient, especially to God."

"Even if by the grace of God they become multimillionaires, I want them to be humble," he said.

If he makes it big, Apache plans to invest in young artists and help with production and graphic work.

While there is a personal emphasis on faith, On The Cut Records' music is not Christian-themed. Apache said one of the cool things about being a musician is "making a song about a girl I like."

He recalled an eighth-grade school assignment to write a song. Apache wrote a song for a girl he liked, recorded it and made her a CD. With a little prodding, Apache admitted he got the girl, "for a little while."

LAME DEER - Charles "Apache" Mitchell was a little kid when his big brother allowed him to join in a freestyle rap session.

"I watched my brother and wanted to do that, it seemed like so much fun," Apache said.

One Friday night, when he was a shy 8-year-old, Apache got his chance.

"I heard that beat, and I spit my first punch line," Apache said, with a pause to explain that "spit" was meant metaphorically.

His brother, Salah, and the older boys were impressed. Now Apache is an outgoing teenager who is all about music.

"It's what I live for," Apache said. "I got the passion from my older brother."

The 16-year-old has funneled that passion into a career as a motivational rapper, graphic designer and music producer. He is signing artists to the family label, On The Cut Records, which is based at the family's home in Busby.

In a time when music can encourage misconduct, Apache takes pride in his work being clean. The music does not glorify gang participation, partying or demeaning women, he said.

"You don't need to have all that to have fun," Apache said.

The family is developing a "War on Meth Hip Hop Tour" to take its version of motivational music across the state, including to reservations.

The music targets meth and its deadly impact on families.

"It's the modern-day plague," Apache said. "We want to use talent to keep youth away from drugs."

The Mitchell family knows the pain methamphetamine causes. Apache has a tattoo of a cross with his brother Salah's name in the center and the phrase "See you at the gates."

Salah, 21, was an up-and-coming musician when he committed suicide last September. At age 16, Salah began using meth and was hooked for two years. He was clean, but struggling with the heavy emotional after-effects of the drug, said the boys' dad and On The Cut Records CEO Waymon Mitchell. Salah "was a meek and humble young man," he said.

"We are carrying on his legacy," Mitchell said. "This is what he wanted us to do."

The entire family is musical, including Marina Mitchell, the boys' mom, who was a singer, and their sister, Shareez, 11, who is teaching herself hip-hop dance this summer.

Anchored by Apache, who is of Choctaw and Northern Cheyenne descent, On The Cut Records has signed a number of young American Indian artists, including Jokah J, Lil Vendictive and J-Eazy.

Jokah J, who is 23-year-old Jeremy Jefferson, said he comes from a Christian, musical family. A music career will help get him to better places in life, Jefferson said. His cousin, Mariam Kindness, 16, is Lil Vendictive. Both are members of the Crow Tribe.

"She's just getting her feet wet," Mitchell said. "This is what I call my diamond in the rough."

That statement made Apache rub his hands together in anticipation, splay his fingers wide and add: "Bling! Polish 'em up."

The Mitchell family invested in modest, but good, studio equipment. Apache does the engineering and graphic designs on albums, combining things he learned in classes while the family lived in Arizona and his self-taught skills. His next release, planned to drop in August, is called "What You Know about the Ghetto Real Talk Rez Style."

Much of the focus of the music is that there are good ways of earning a livelihood without going illegal - staying close to God and getting an education among them, Mitchell said.

"You don't need an illegal act to obtain stability," Mitchell said. "The façade of the fast life, it's basically like playing Russian roulette."

Being a performer, particularly with a motivational message, is a responsibility and a privilege, Apache said. He admitted his family is not made up of angels. "Rusty haloes," he said and flashed a grin as sparkling as his dollar sign earrings.

Mitchell said the family goal for the kids and the other artists is to be "kind, respectful and obedient, especially to God."

"Even if by the grace of God they become multimillionaires, I want them to be humble," he said.

If he makes it big, Apache plans to invest in young artists and help with production and graphic work.

While there is a personal emphasis on faith, On The Cut Records' music is not Christian-themed. Apache said one of the cool things about being a musician is "making a song about a girl I like."

He recalled an eighth-grade school assignment to write a song. Apache wrote a song for a girl he liked, recorded it and made her a CD. With a little prodding, Apache admitted he got the girl, "for a little while."
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:49 PM   #2
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HA! I LOVE IT!!!! I hate meth so so very much. Its crazy how rampant it seems to be spreading everywhere more than ever now too! I'm so glad to see people trying to change things. If anyone knows how I could get in touch with someone about this that would be great! Maybe I could include it in my documentary.....
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