Newcomer Mr. Finley Carries Las Vegas on his Back
Chicago, better known as the Windy City, has produced some of hip-hop's most heralded emcees to grace the mic since the culture's inception. On the other hand, Las Vegas, aka the Sin City, has some serious catching up to do. But Mr. Finley, one of Vegas' premiere emcees, is making it his mission to carry the city on his back. Though the gambling capital of America hasn't yet given way to its own vibrant rap scene or sound, the Def Jam/Ghet-O-Vision recording artist is more than ready to take on the challenge.
"As far as Vegas music goes, it's really broken down because there's no love for a local artist out here as far as radio goes and performing and getting shows," he tells The BoomBox. "And on the Strip, basically, we're making something out of nothing. I'm one of the very few that's known as far as everywhere around town. It's kind of hard to get known, just because there are so many people that aren't from here, it's not even really their place to care about anything local."
It's a prideful mentality from an artist who's been rapping professionally since 1997, when he first came into the rap game as a member of the now defunct trio Desert Squad. The trio -- formed when Mr. Finley was a 16-year-old R&B singer and went by the name "Weasy Mac" -- found moderate success in their city when they released the local hit 'Bounce That Ass' in 1999. But even though they disbanded due to sketchy business practices on behalf of their management, Mr. Finely looked at his time with the group as a learning experience.
"I'm glad that I started out in the group, because I know when I started, I wasn't the best in the world or even on a competing level, so it was more practice that I needed," he says. "I don't think that if I wouldn't have done the group thing first that I would even be in the position to do what I'm doing now. I learned a lot just going through those little instances when I didn't really have the final say but I wanted it to work. So, I'm kind of glad that I went that route."
With his forthcoming solo debut 'The Talented Mr. Finley' due later this year, the emcee, born Michael Dean Finley Jr., is looking to expand his reach from inside the city limits to America and beyond. Posting up in the studio with producers like Don Cannon, DJ Toomp and Jake One, Mr. Finley has already called it a wrap on the sessions for his major label debut (slated for release later this year), which sees him looking to the party lifestyle of Vegas and attempting to capture that vibe on wax.
"The only thing that I really want for people to get out of [my debut] is for them to say, 'We've been sleeping on Vegas'," he says. "I expect to do great things with my first album, but even if it doesn't do great, I just want somebody else to have a chance, too. Because I know a lot of people out here who deserve that chance and they've been working hard just like me, and that's my main thing, just to make sure that my city gets the chance that it deserves -- just like everybody else did."