You won’t hear them tell it, but The Mohicans are something like modern day hip-hop superheros. Texas Tech students by day and hit-making rappers by night, Devin Calvin and Dave Morgan have worked endlessly to balance the tricky situation of college and stardom. Since their inception and release of their first mixtape, Uncas, they’ve gone through many changes: surging popularity, a Dallas Observer Music Award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act of 2011, and even Devin’s graduation. Never static, they are on the cusp of change again: a new project slated for release in August, a new video on the way, and a continuation in their journey of finding their sound.
Fresh from last week’s appearance at Radio UTD’s Sizzling Summer Concert, the duo is more than excited to keep the ball rolling when it comes to future performances. “We’ve got our new project coming out in August, so definitely,” says Devin. “We’re really trying to finish that up, so once we put that out, we’ll do more shows. But that’s definitely a thing we have coming up next.”
Front Row: Tell us about your new music coming out in August.
Devin Calvin: It really just like about growth of the sound and progression. The growth of the sound could be symbolic—growth of us and our progress in life. It’s been two years since we put out first mixtape and we’re still searching for our sound and searching for ourselves too. With this project it’s like we haven’t exactly found ourselves, but we’ve found ourselves in a better place and we’re making progress.
FR: Is it hard balancing rapping and going to school?
DC: Well, I graduated from Texas Tech last August, so I’ve just been working on music, along with working on a bunch of different stuff. But Dave’s still a student!
Dave Morgan: I’m still out there [laughs]. It’s definitely not hard sometimes, but it’s really not easy—just with anything else. Having a social life and being in school and making music is ten times harder. Sometimes we’ll have to travel and I’ll have to miss class—I won’t even tell my professor sometimes. I just have to make that sacrifice and go and then I’ll have to make up work. It’s difficult, but I feel like it’s going to be worth it.
FR: Your first mixtape, Uncas, actually has a chopped-and-screwed version of it available on your Bandcamp. How big of an influence is Houston hip-hop on your work?
DC: Well, I’m into all types of music, but I remember back in ninth grade, [I listened to] Paul Wall and Chamillionaire. At the end of the day, everything I’ve listened has kind of influenced me one way or another. I’m not sure how big [the influence is]…everything plays a part.
DM: I was actually born in Houston, lived there for seven years; I got a lot of family out there. Before we even made a group, they’d make songs and we’d start with them and they’d joke like, “Don’t [release] your Houston side!” I don’t know if you’ve heard “Smoke Sum,” but that was heavily influenced by Houston hip-hop, so. I really like it. I feel like I’ve been influenced by it.
FR: You guys mentioned in a recent interview that you don’t like listening to rap/hip-hop when you’re working on a project. What do you listen to instead?
DM: Right now I’m listening to this band Ink. I think they’re from California. I think they’re two white dudes that make real soulful music. I’m also listening to Sunrise, a super old-school dude who made real space, astrological-type music. Just a lot of random stuff…reggae. Just random stuff.
DC: I’m just listening to a bunch of different stuff. Little Dragon, I like them a whole bunch. I like St. Vincent…Tame Impala. If anything, I do a lot of production and with hip-hop, a lot of stuff sounds the same. I just listen to all types of stuff and try to get a variety of sound.
FR: Any artist you’d like to cut a record with?
DC: I’d say Erykah Badu. Or [Yukimi Nagano], the singer from Little Dragon.
DM: Yeah, those two and Myra Ruby. She’s actually from California; she’s actually an underground soul singer. She’s “known” but not really known, but I’d love to do a track with her.