Then 2 Now: Brainz Davis (formally MC Brains)
From Then 2 Now: Brainz Davis (formally MC Brains) Speaks to Aries from UrbanBridgez. Brainz blasts Michael Bivens, talks about his huge hit "Oochie Coochie," working with Boyz II Men, Tri City Entertainment, finishing his new album/first film role and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Where did the name MC Brains originally come from?
Brainz Davis: Me and my homeboy was playing the dozens. Calling each other crackheads & things like that. We started calling each other body parts and things (laughs), someone called me Brains. It's funny because after that, the name just stuck. After that day, people kept calling me Brains. I was 13/14 at the time & popular in the hood, so that's what I went by. I decided later to put the meaning behind the name (Bringing Raps And Instrumentals None Stop).
UrbanBridgez.com: Did you remember how you felt about "Oochie Coochie" being your lead single and were you surprised by the success of it?
Brainz Davis: At the time I was dealing with alot of negativity in the streets. My life was on the line, so the deal was really a blessing. I started flowing in the hood and when I got my deal, I felt like life was good. I was snatched out of a situation and I learned to appreciate it. It was #1 on the Rap, Pop and literally any other chart at that time. It's one of them songs, I could have never done in the hood. When I got to Cali to start working on the album, he (Michael Bivens) had the idea. So I came in and wrote the verses. I knew it couldn't be gangsta, so I spit it that way. I can spit to anything from Rock to a Country beat, I'm not just in one lane. That song also allowed me to see the business side of things and how they work. So for that I will always respect that song.
UrbanBridgez.com: You've stated recently that you feel Michael Bivens (New Edition) took advantage of you, could you elaborate more on that?
Brainz Davis: When it comes to Mike, I play two sides of the fence. There are times when I get very upset and there was actually a time where I saw him dead in my head. But as I got older I started to realize God works in mysterious ways. All my homies who I was dealing with at the time, we're either getting shot or ended up in jail. I know if I would of stayed in that situation I would've ended up dead. When I got the deal, I was on my way out of all of that. It was a blessing. But again, that's why I say there are two sides to it, like the Gemini side that's still pissed off. The thing is he didn't just take a little, he was greedy, he stole a lot basically the whole shebang! See with me being young, just the fact that I could go out to the car dealer ship and get the car I wanted & have a stack just by signing my name I thought I was good. I was a teenager, that's how he did it. Long as I had the fly clothes, car, I didn't have a care in the world. I was 17/18 partying all over the world.
I could just go to the ATM wherever I was to get money and I thought that was good. Just by pushing one button, I could withdraw up to $500. See the deal with me and him came overnight. Like 30 days before all of that started happening I had no idea I would be in that position because it wasn't planned. Mike was also my manager and the label. I remember talking to my road manager (Todd Russaw) about it at the time. And he was like do the math... We sold 1 million copies of the single and another 500,000 thousand of the album at $10 a pop! Mike made millions, greedy motha fucka. I felt like damn he could of just sent me a million I would of been cool with that, but he kept it all. So again, the other side of me gets pissed when I think about it. But the older I get, I do realize it was a lesson learned.
UrbanBridgez.com: Do you still keep in contact with my boy Todd Russaw, I know he was your road manager back then?
Brainz Davis: Oh yeah that's still my boy. I actually talked to Todd some days ago. He was like the only person in that camp I could depend on out on the road. For the two of us we had trust, we had money to make. With Mike, that's the side that gets me frustrated still. It's like how could you do another man like that? A man is suppose to respect another man. As I'm sure you know, there are two things you don't mess with when it comes to a man.. His money & his woman. But it's cool, I don't wanna beat his ass on sight no more. Now it's all about him seeing me succeed, that makes me feel better.
UrbanBridgez.com: You recorded two songs with Boyz II Men for your debut album, what's your favorite memory of being on the road with them during that time?
Brainz Davis: Man I just gotta say Wanya is my boy, he's the one I got in the most trouble with (laughs). I have a lot of stories about us being on the road, I think the most memorable story I have with them though is when we were in the studio. They're vocals are crazy! It was so odd because they would sing like freakin hummingbirds with no flaws. I had never witnessed that before with a group, I mean no effort and they would just sound incredible. I remember when we was recording "Boys II Men (The Sequel)," they told me to sing on it instead of flow. I was like sing, they was like you heard us (laughs). They coached me through it and I did it. It was so much fun. That song was real talk, it's saying how it is from going from a boy to a man, I still love that song.
UrbanBridgez.com: What have you been up to since your last release?
Brainz Davis: What I'm doing now is what I've been doing my whole career really. Even before I was put on, I was never really impressed with my flow, everyone else was though. It's just always been easy for me to do. I wasn't really hyped to do it. Now I impress myself, I'm like yeah that' hot! I can fuck with that. Now I got real niggas around me, they're not gonna let me come with no bullshit. They'll let me know, if it's hot, or not. I didn't have a family like that before, now that means a lot to me to have that. The people before wanted to win, now the people I'm with want me to win! I've worked with like over 50/60 producers since I first got put on. I finally came across "Thr3efourteen (of Mega Beat)," he's the producer who got me in my zone. He's not just a beatmaker, he rocks with me! He's the one who taught me a song isn't done, just because the beat is. He builds the records with me, this nigga's got his own sound.
UrbanBridgez.com: That's always a good thing.
Brainz Davis: When you think back to some of the best Hip-Hop records, it was always one Producer and the MC, like Cube and Jinx, Snoop & Dre, etc. They created a sound together to complete the whole picture. He's a different kind of producer, he knows what's for me without even talkin to me. I'm everywhere with my flows and that's what he loves about me. The music has substance, you can feel it. It's not like that with a lot of albums out now. I love Weezy, he's great at playing on words. His word play is ridiculous! But for me as an MC, it's important for me to give you different topics on every song. Brainz is a sponge, I have so many things in my head I can't limit myself. I know the business now and know who my fanbase is, it's women. It's women who went out and bought all them copies of the first album and single, so I gotta cater to them, I want them to come back (laughs). Everybody tries to be all gangsta now, no matter what anybody says, all gangstas love somebody. But they're saying, bitch this and bitch that. They got a Mom, Sister, etc. I don't knock them dudes, they know they're niche. Again I'm a fan of Wayne, his CD really impressed me as an MC. My album I might do some Pop, Rock, hell maybe Opera and Country, I just want to challenge myself. This album will show my versatility. I can only think of a few that are keeping it 100. I mean life went on after everything that has happened, this is my story. I don't want my fans to look at me like I'm untouchable. I want them to be like, that's my boy. When he's in town, I can kick it with him. Some of these other niggas is superstars on TV, but they're regular people, except OG's. Without saying any names, everything they put out is not real.
UrbanBridgez.com: What is your long term goal with Tri City?
Brainz Davis: Tri City is my label with some partners, who are dudes who believe in me. They sacrificed for me. My main goal with my project is to partner with a major label. My mans working on it, & I have 110% support from them. We know where we're trying to get to and we can't half step! I want my label to be a safe haven for artists. I don't want them to have to go through what I did. I know how that feels. I'm the spokesperson for the label, I plan to shout to the fullest, Tri City!
UrbanBridgez.com: When can fans expect a new album from you?
Brainz Davis: It's coming up at the top of the summer 2009. The hard thing is I got alot of songs to pick from, so once we do the fans will get a new single from Brainz soon. I just got a major role in a film (Tune Up), that I'm excited about. So I'm about to try acting. I got a call to go to Cali to read for it & the character matched my whole demeanor. So I'm looking forward to that, it should be out around the summer. I start filming February in New Mexico. It's really a blessing and it can also help my music career.
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Brainz Davis: I want them to know, that my absence was well needed! All of the things I've been through, they're going to see a new incredible artist. I'm glad I had the time away. Because now I'm raw! I'm usually very humble, I still am but my outlook with my music now is just raw. I can't wait for them to hear it and I hope they enjoy it. They're gonna see I'm just a real nigga. I gotta shout my manager Dianna who handles my business. My Mother always told me, I need a woman to handle my business. She said women don't take no for an answer. Women need to know why. Men have an ego and it's just like whatever with us. She's a hard worker & she's in my corner. She pushes me hard and I always get a great outcome. I also got to shout out Tri City Entertainment. I wanna thank you Aries and I look forward to speaking with you again next year when I'm ready to release my album.
Watch MC Brains "Oochie Coochie" Video!
Previous Then2 Now Features!
* Brownstone (Then2Now)
* Director Gerald Barclay (Then2Now)