EDITOR’S NOTE: For this piece the interviewer is unread/unheard except for the first paragraph. All of the rest is Mikkey Halstead’s responses.

JM: “There’s a path that you move along as an artist, and you were talking about wanting to get up to the top point … what do you have to say to people in Chicago, younger, who are maybe two or three slots behind you, and are coming up where you are…”

It’s a progression. And my thing is the same as them. Everybody wants to – you know, you start rapping and you immediately want to skip past my point. They want to be on Wayne and Jay and Kanye level. They want to skip over Mikkey Halsted, over Lupe Fiasco, and then they want to go straight to Kanye and Jay-Z, or Wacka Flocka and Gucci if that’s what they do. You have to have a plan, have goals, make small short-term goals that are reachable and achievable so you can see successes along the way.

I was blessed to be in this game and start this game when I was a teenager. So thank god I could still be in my 20s and have ten years of experience. A lot of people don’t. I know a lot of people that’s damn near 40 and they’re just getting to certain levels.

And that’s not to knock them, because hip-hop should not have any age limit. What Jay-Z is doing at his age just let’s people know. It was perceived as such a young man’s thing because it’s a young game. Rap is only 30 years old. As rap grows, the fans grow with it. If you was 30 in 1980, you was into Run DMC. So now hip-hop has to grow. We have to make music that grows. Along with the Soulja Boys that’s for the kids – you know, people still banging shit for the baby boomers because it was such a mass of people. It’s hip-hop, and people still want the kind of hip-hop that they grew up listening to.

You gotta do it your own way. Never let people dictate your pace. That’s between you, your team, and ultimately God. You set your pace, you set your parameters of what you want to do, and you live according to those. You follow those steps. That’s a step to success. The pathway to success. I’m just working it out, walking it out, and just thanking God every step of the way. He continues to bring people into the Mikkey Halsted movement, and I’m just happy to be a part of that. Just like I’m happy to be a part of Young General’s movement as he starts his ascension up that same ladder, that same pathway.

It’s about reaching back, and people reaching for me. That’s what it’s all about. And if you never get reached for, still reach back, because you want that same love for people to give to you. That’s what Mikkey Halsted’s all about. It’s about the movement. (To the camera) “Get right or get left” is still the motto to follow. Those that know, know. Don’t be a dummy your whole life.