with Nilo, Eleven 9, and Zamba.
Downstairs, All Ages
DOORS: 7:00 PM // SHOW: 8:00 PM
ON SALE NOW!
VIP tix includes Artist Meet & Greet!
Wednesday June 5, 2019
Camden, New Jersey is about a 100 miles away from any borough in New York City, yet it can feel worlds apart when you’re talking about their hip-hop scenes. With legends including Joe Budden, Redman, and Queen Latifah hailing from the Garden State, Mir Fontane is in the forefront of the new, young movement putting the “Southside of Jersey” on their back. Camden, Mir’s 2017 album, is what he describes as a love-hate relationship with his hometown, as well as his troubles of getting over an ex-girlfriend.
“When you love someone, you still want to care for that person,” Mir Fontane says. “But being that you’re doing better in your life now, there’s always going to be that area of ‘Damn, I kind of want to flex on you ‘cause you didn’t even believe that I could be who I am right now.’ But at the end of the day, I want to share this with you because I feel like you played a major part of making me who I am in the first place.”
Those feelings are widespread on Camden. To listen to these songs, with stories of navigating through the streets (“Still in the Hood,” “This Life”) and proving his self-worth after getting dumped (“WYD,” “Real Niggaz”), is to plunge into the emotional ride of a 23-year-old coming up in Camden. The project is built as a listening experience from top to bottom, calling on producers like Jahlil Beats, Kev Rodgers, Kenif Muse, and Maaly Raw to create a dark, engrossing representation of his life. Above all else, Mir Fontane knows his position as an unsung hero is important, which is why he has promised to use his platform to tell stories from his community who may not have a voice. “I tell stories, not only my stories, because my story isn’t the only story that I feel the world needs to hear,” he says. “There’s dozens of stories – hundreds even in Camden alone that need to be told.”
Influenced by great narrators like The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Big L, Nas, 50 Cent, and many more, Mir Fontane, a moniker derived from the Godfather’s Johnny Fontane character, wants to be known for his cinematic approach to hip-hop. Before viral songs “Frank Ocean” and “Down By the River,” Fontane used drawing as his artistic expression, putting as much detail as possible into his pictures. When he attended Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy as a freshman, he majored in visual arts, and started to take music seriously going into his junior year. He made an effort to record songs at professional studios, dropping lo-fi mixtapes that were mostly freestyles over popular instrumentals. Switching from drawing to writing rhymes stimulated his creativity, but he ultimately decided to fully focus as an artist.
One of his earliest mixtapes was Don’t Sleep that contained the blueprint of his storytelling raps. The narratives got much richer on He’s So Crazy, the mixtape that was heavily inspired by Martin and weaved in skits from the show and his perspective of South Jersey. He would slow down his pace, opting to strategically drop “banger after banger”: “Steph Curry,” “Wanni Wag,” and “Space Jam” all have over 100k plays on SoundCloud. The positive reception eventually led to his biggest song to date (“Down By the River”) that topped the Spotify U.S. Top 200 chart at No. 6 upon its release. The song appeared on August’s Who’s Watching the Kids, a project that was similar in theme to Camden’s thoughtful balance. His second biggest single, “Frank Ocean,” features him singing a strained hook about fans claiming to be day ones but still play J. Cole, Drake, and Frank Ocean over his music. The fan-favorite song was featured in Spotify’s Most Necessary playlist for several months.
It’s that mentality that Fontane, who is a goal-oriented person, continues to fight for recognition. With Camden already getting behind him, he hopes his success story—the one he’s currently writing—will inspire a generation of artists to bring home something as coveted as a Grammy or an even greater achievement. It all starts with Fontane leading the charge.
Recently celebrating over 10 million streams on Apple Music, Mir Fontane is now gearing up to release his highly anticipated Who’s Watching the Kids 2 album via EMPIRE.