Welcome to MKE On The Rise. For those of you unfamiliar with this segment of my Milwaukee local music column, MKE On The Rise is a monthly segment where a different band, artist or other important element of the Milwaukee local music scene is highlighted. The purpose of this segment is to give exposure to the hard working artists and elements of this scene that make the Milwaukee music scene what it is. For this edition of MKE On The Rise, I chose to feature a MC that got my attention the very first time I saw him perform at The Uptowner Sunday Open Mic Night. The artist I've chosen to feature for this edition of MKE On The Rise is Milwaukee's very own Son 'Em All.
In a city often known for being divided, Son 'Em All is one of the Milwaukee artists leading the way with collaborations with artists from all over the city and beyond. Although an independent artist, Son 'Em All is a part of the Milwaukee MC collective BlackWorld Music Group alongside Milwaukee MCs B.u., Big Fab and producer ZoE-RoE. Son 'Em All is a regular at The Uptowner and The Mason Jar open mic nights and other Milwaukee hip hop hot spots. Son 'Em All was also one of the homegrown artists chosen to perform at the world's largest music festival, Milwaukee's Summerfest, in 2013. He has also been known to pen the occasional article for the Milwaukee-based hip hop blog site The Illixer, operated by Miracle LeRoy and her dedicated staff.
Dating back to his childhood, Son 'Em All was interested in writing and would enjoyed writing and rhyming. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Son 'Em All found himself incarcerated. It was during this time that he began to write as a way to escape the brutal reality of his surroundings and to help express himself in a positive manner. His time in prison gave Son 'Em All a lot of time to read, write and educate himself. Upon his release from prison in 2008, he began to record with other local MCs in the city and quickly began to exhibit a talent behind the mic. Writing, recording and collaborating with countless MCs, he began to build a name for himself within the hip hop community in Milwaukee.
Since breaking into the Milwaukee scene, Son 'Em All has built an extensive body of work, including countless features with some of the city's finest hip hop talent and his own body of work that includes 3 mix tapes and an upcoming original EP. Son 'Em All's first mix tape, titled "Supernova", was released in 2010. The follow up to Supernova, "Son Em All Season" was released in 2011. His 3rd mix tape, titled "The Hoodie Chronicles Vol, 1", inspired in part by the Trayvon Martin tragedy, was released in 2012. The long awaited "The All In EP" is his first original project and is due to be released in 2014. 3 mix tapes and an original release in a 4 year time span on top of more features and collaborations than this writer could keep track of is an impressive body of work given the relatively brief amount of time Son 'Em All has been on the scene.
Most of Son Em All's subject matter is dark and gritty, featuring songs about his own past as well as the struggles he has observed around him while growing up a resident of Milwaukee. With each song, Son 'Em All manages to capture the gritty realistic feel of the city streets without glorifying them, in fact many times the lyrics present a cautionary tale if the listener pays attention. His lyrics have depth and wisdom to them only found from first hand knowledge of the subjects he raps about. Keep an eye out for this soft spoken big man, he is definitely one of the city's premier up and coming MCs that you're going to want to pay attention to.