Photos by Crystal Rogers for INSIDE Monthly | Shot At Picture Studios In Greensboro, NC

Southside Miko is a twenty-four year old indie rapper and producer from Greensboro, NC. He grew up listening to an eclectic mix of country, reggae, hip-hop and R&B as a youth and cites TSF, YSL, 808 Mafia and Kodie Shane as some of the artists and imprints that he has had the opportunity to work with so far.

What do fans say to you when they meet you the first time?

They’re like, man, you’re the littest artist on earth. That show was lit. Where can I find your music? Most of the time. Most people aren’t used to seeing my type of energy, especially when I perform. That’s when I meet a lot of people. Even on my Instagram page when people hit me up, they’re like, man, that reel was lit or something else.

Tell us about your transition from dancing to making music.

Well, I used to be a dancer. My transition was I was performing everywhere. Quinceaneras, parties, basketball games. And then at some point we had recruited somebody in a group who also was a rapper. And then going to my friend’s house one day, just walking down the street. He was like, bro, I rap. I was like, you rap, bro? So spit something then. And then he was like, yeah, I’ll spit something. He spit it. I was like, bro, I’m about to rap after this. Like, you hard, bro. So after that day, I just, you know, started rapping and started rapping. And, you know, searching for YouTube beats that kind of got old real quick. So I started making my own beats.

Do you record lyrics before you go into the studio or after?

I write. Sometimes I don’t write. It just depends. I don’t limit myself at all. A lot of people seem to limit themselves. I don’t write or I don’t freestyle. It just depends on like what the vibe is. Sometimes I won’t. I’ll just be sitting and having some lunch or something and some lyrics will come to me and I’ll write it down. Or sometimes I hear a beat when I’m in a studio and then I’ll just freestyle it. It just depends. I don’t limit myself at all.

Tell us about 5600, Dexter Dad, and Dr. Pimple Popper.

OK, so I’ll start with 5600. I dropped that, I’m pretty sure, in 2021. It was a minute ago. But that is like my most successful single that I dropped. So many people are messing with that track. It’s still getting radio play to this day. Dexter Dad, I would say that’s one of my favorite songs off the new tape. I just dropped the Littest On Earth EP. You can actually go get that everywhere, by the way. And I don’t know, it’s real hard. Like my boy, Tha Commissioner produced that. Go follow him everywhere @tha.commissioner. But, yeah, that came together real quick. I was at my homie God Skate’s crib and I heard that beat and instantly everything started coming out. And it’s just how I feel. I used to have no money for cologne. I took the tester like that’s real life facts. I had no money when I was younger to get cologne. So I’d take the whole tester, put it in my pocket, and get out that thing. Dr. Pimple Popper, that’s that new new. It ain’t dropped yet. I actually still got to finish that song. It’s kind of done, but the mixing is kind of rough because I recorded it on iPhone headphones.

Photos by Crystal Rogers for INSIDE Monthly | Shot At Picture Studios In Greensboro, NC

What are the pros and cons of being an indie artist?

The pros and cons of being an indie artist I would say are a lot of people don’t want to help you and a lot of people don’t believe in you. Maybe because you don’t have some people behind you. I would say more so in the cons like you got to come out of pocket with everything in your budget. Most of the time, again, not having a team behind you, you don’t have a lot of people to help you in terms of budget. So it’s very pricey at times to book studio time, to book certain things. That’s why I got in the position of being able to do everything myself so I’m not having to come out of pocket with everything. But it’s definitely pricey in terms of a con. I don’t know, again, not a lot of help. For the pros I would say you’re not having people take a whole bunch of your money all the time. Like being with a label, I just had a record label reach out to me the other day. They were trying to get 50% of my show money then give me $240,000 which was recoupable. I’m like, these people trying to take all my money. I don’t know, it’s just like you don’t have people always in your pocket so you’re not having to split your money. Also, you have the freedom to work with and do whatever you want to do. To be honest, you don’t really have somebody telling you what you have to do. You can kind of choose what you like to do.

Is North Carolina music better or just more popular?

I would say more popular. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily better at all because it’s kind of like we got our own sound. I feel like we kind of share that sound with South Carolina as well. But pretty much it is. I don’t know. It’s just been going up and going up. I feel like we do need to broaden our sound though because a lot of people do sound the same here. And I feel like once we start to do that we can reach more areas in the world.

If you weren’t involved in music, what would you do?

If I wasn’t involved in music, I would be helping people with their mindset. Like maybe a motivational speaker.
Or I wanted to be a psychotherapist. That’s what I wanted to go for. Motivational speaker, or I wanted to be, you know, a psychotherapist. That’s what I wanted to go to college for, but I didn’t end up going to college, but I definitely would be helping people with their mindsets. I feel like that’s how we’re gonna change the world, you know what I’m saying? Instead of trying to change everything outside of us, you know, we got to change the things that are inside of us.

Follow Southside Miko on Instagram @southsidemiko

What was life like for you during the pandemic?

Life during the pandemic for me was just work, straight work. And I thought it was a great opportunity to be able to put in work. A lot of people didn’t know what to do. But I was like, OK, I got a whole bunch of free time to, you know, do what I need to do. Put in work, you know, people are available now to be able to work with. I’m not somebody who is like caring about the whole mask situation. I ain’t give a fuck about that. I was just linking up with everybody and, you know, putting in work.

What would you do now if the world shut down again?

Put in more work. If the world shut down again, I’d definitely be putting in more work. Because I’m like, man, it was a great opportunity. Everybody was free. Everybody was available to network with. It seemed like when everything is back up, everybody busy and got stuff going. But, you know, to me, I put in more work. That’s what I like to do. That’s what I do every day from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. So definitely be putting in more work.

Do you love social media, hate it, or love hate it?

I feel like it just depends on the person, but me personally, I love it because it’s an easy way to network. It’s kind of hard to network in Greensboro, because a lot of people don’t really want to network with you, and they’re trying to, you know, stick to what they got going on. So I mess with it. I do feel like it just depends on who you follow, though, and that’s what shows up on your feed, etc. So just be careful about who you follow.

How has it changed music and society in general?

I feel like it’s a good thing because it helps more people’s music get out there, but it’s like, I don’t know, people are just blowing up these days out of nowhere. I feel like people who don’t deserve to blow, people who are not really putting in that much work, I don’t like that aspect of it. Like, I feel like people who, you know, deserve to be seen and really are putting that hard work in should be seen, but that’s not the case. It seems like everybody is blowing, and it’s so easy to blow these days. So I feel like it’s easier to get clout and stuff like that.

Photos by Crystal Rogers for INSIDE Monthly | Shot At Picture Studios In Greensboro, NC

Which books or authors are you reading right now?

Charles Haanel is good. Napoleon Hill is good. Bob Proctor. I would say How to Win Friends and Influence People.
You know, just books on how to communicate properly, learning to communicate and talk for yourself is definitely beneficial for anything you do in life. So definitely learn how to communicate. I feel like that’s one of the biggest keys to becoming successful, is learning how to communicate with people and learning how to reach people. I would say another book, just to start off because I don’t want to give all the sauce, I would say The Secret. Start there, The Secret will give you ideas to find out other books that you should be reading, most definitely.

What’s the best movie you have seen so far in 2023?

The best movie I’ve seen so far this year. It’s crazy because I haven’t watched any movies this year at all. I’ve been tapped in with learning and books this year, so I’ve been changing my mindset, trying to stop watching TV that much because I ain’t really much on it, and really I’ve been tapped in to a book.

Which TV shows have you binged watched all by yourself?

Binge watch by myself? Man, I don’t know. I have no idea to be honest. What shows? I don’t be watching TV or shows like that. Like, I normally watch like documentaries or self-help stuff, so I guess not really many shows.

What can you tell us about the projects you have next?

You can expect more music because the last project that I just dropped was only three songs, so I definitely want to drop a project with more music on it, and better songs, better mixing because I’m only getting better. I’m also looking to, you know, show people how versatile I am with my raps because even in Dexter Dad, like I got this part in Dexter Dad that said, “how the fuck he doing this and that and he can’t even rap”. Like a lot of people think I can’t actually rap, but I can rap for real I’ll just be holding back on purpose, but y’all gonna see though.

What do you want to accomplish by age 30?

I definitely want to be a millionaire in two years, by 2025. I will be a millionaire by 2025, actually. And I also want to be able to take care of the people that have taken care of me. That’s, I think that’s so important to take care of the people that have taken care of you when you needed it the most, so that’s my biggest two things.

“I used to have no money for cologne. I took the tester like that’s real life facts. I had no money when I was younger to get cologne. So I take the whole tester, put it in my pocket, get out that thing.” – Southside Miko