The DNB Vault sits down for a few laughs and words of wisdom from one of the most inspiring and humble players in the beats game today.
Armanni Reign, voted the number one MC in the USDNB poll, and is one of the most respected mic wreckers in the worldwide drum and bass scene. A Philly native, currently residing in Atlanta, he counts KRS-1, Black Thought, Ice Cube, and Andre 3000 among his influences. Appearing on countless productions, remixes, and tours with the scene’s finest, Reign is currently appearing in the US RAM tour promoting RAM Miami 2015 and his collaboration with Mayhem and Logam – We Will.
What did your Mom say when you told her you wanted to be an MC?
She told me that as long as I have a job, I could do whatever I wanted to. So, one day while working three [jobs] at once and going insane, I realized I needed make that rule to work for me a little differently.
What does drum & bass possess that hip hop doesn’t?
I can’t say Drum and Bass has anything Hip Hop doesn’t, to be honest. [They] both have everything I need. In fact, I find them to be more alike then some would give [them] credit for. You still get the same cultural DNA —from origin to struggle. Both genres have the ability to adapt stylistically. The only difference — is the focus. DnB’s main focus is the music. It is the driving force that enhances [the music’s] beauty when the other ingredients are applied properly. Hip Hop’s main focus is more the language.
What’s the worst lyric you have ever dropped?
Depends on who you ask. Why, did you hear something?
According to you, which regional scene is the livest right now?
Ah, a choosing sides question… neat. It really depends on your tastes because everywhere is different. Whether you turn up in Atlanta, moshing in LA, acting crazy in Philly, New York, Toronto, Miami…or packed in one of the best bars in Boston… what people say is the hardest part about pushing DnB in the states is what I find to also be it’s most beautiful aspect. There is something for everyone everywhere.
What is your dream team show/lineup?
Normally I would pull the “Forever Switzerland” line and get out of this one. For shits and giggles… I would love a line up with everyone who showed me crazy love on the come-up. One crazy weekend of GASM crew, the whole Substitution Family, Platinum crew, Karl K, Odi, DB, Dara, Mayhem, Hive, Keaton, Origin, Kenny Ken, SS, TEKDBZ, The Upbeats, Craze, Bukem, Andy C and Mr. Goldie with myself, Sharpness, Messinian, Mis Ty, Dino, Posi D, Skiba, Foxy, Dynamite and Digga Bruckshot on mic duty.
What are your must haves for every show?
MIC MONITORS! and a DJ… and mic monitors… preferably a crowd… definitely mic monitors though. Also, not a fan of strobes. Like a good friend said to me, “This isn’t a haunted house!”
Where do you see this [Drum & Bass] culture going?
Wherever we allow it to go. It’s doing what it needs to do by existing. It’s been up, it’s been down as in all great cultures. I just do what I can to play my part in nudging it uncertain places. Anyone who predicts exactly what will happen 10 years from now is either very lucky or a shaman.
What is your favorite brand of mic?
At the end of the day, they just have to work and I’m good. There have been times when the old school “Rap into some headphones!”thing had to happen but, not in a while. If I had pick, I would say a Wireless Shure 58 for the stage. Recording in a studio opens up a whole other discussion I’m not going to nerd out on right now.
What are you most proud of right now?
The fact that anyone is reading this, it means I wasn’t engulfed in the flames of bridges burned. I have music and family to thank for that. I am proof to myself and others that while perfection might be an unreachable summit… the walk can be both difficult and amazing if you keep at it. Nowadays, my smiles are genuine.
People who don’t like mc’s, I don’t get it, do you?
Sure I do. I mean, I don’t like sauerkraut. Can’t stand it. That doesn’t mean I think you’re an asshole if you love it. I am fully aware sauerkraut isn’t going anywhere because there are people out there who can’t eat a hot dog without it. It’s that simple.
Name a song (any genre) you are embarrassed to love.
Anyone who has actually been around me for more than 5 minutes knows I couldn’t care less what you think about me when it comes to crap like that! Hahaha. Besides, I have two of the most beautiful little girls and a wife who listen to everything. I’ll just blame it on them. (You like that Taylor Swift song too… don’t lie.)
Are you an Eagles fan for life or nah? (C’mon now)
The nerve . #iBleedGreen
Colleen Vincent is an O.G. junglist, culture critic and writer who markets events for a living. She has written for music and fashion publications, moderated culinary panels, and spreads the dnb gospel wherever she goes.