Mista Cain is a scrapper. The Baton Rouge native– born Samuel Nichols— has lived his lifetime attempting to overcome the odds, from dropping out of middle school and starting to hustle to get his rap career off the ground, only to have his freedom cut short after he was incorrectly accused of a murder and confined to a Louisiana prison, where he remained for three years.
His determination and self-made status makes him stand out from his peers. He bounced back from his plight to become one of the most unique voices in southern hip-hop today.
“I rap about what I love, I rap about shit I do,” he says. “I came back to talk positive, but I ain’t on no preacher shit. I’m back talking about this transpired, this transpired, this transpired. I was like, man, I had to make the raps talking about the case, the case, the case.”
That’s the premise of his upcoming official debut album, The Verdict, which wears down the experiences he had with his case. Featuring guest appearances from Trouble, Boosie, Young Dolph, Starlito and Chrizz Michaels. And production from Jon Boii, N.O. Joe, Mouse on the Track, Savage, JTrax, and Rob Taylor. The 13-track LP reflects on the events leading up to his incarceration and his experiences behind bars, stemming from a second-degree murder charge in 2013 that, after a protracted trial, he was found Not Guilty in 2015.
It was then that Cain– who formed his Cain Muzik Mafia collective in 2010– hit the ground running, collaborating with Boosie on “Big Blue Hundreds” and getting to work in the studio on CAIN, which published in November of 2016.
RESPECT. had the opportunity to spend some time with the Louisiana-based artist to discuss how his incarceration help mold him as an artist. In addition, he gave us insight to who influenced him the most before the rap game and after. Read up on Mista Cain below.
RESPECT.: When were you introduced to music and when did you start taking it as a serious career?
When I was a youngster, about 5 or 6. My mom used to walk around the house playing’ blues and shit, know what I’m saying? So, I just ain’t had no other choice but to listen.
I started taking music seriously in the early 2000s. We used to get in a group and rap. We hung around the rawest ones, I was just watching them n*iggas like “damn, I wanna do that shit” you know what I’m saying?
RESPECT.: How long did it take you to come up with the concept for Tha Verdict?
Well, when they read my verdict in the trial shit, I was like man I’m gonna drop an album called “Tha Verdict,” I’m gonna drop a project called that. I didn’t necessarily say it was an album at first, I just said a project.
RESPECT.: What is your favorite single off the project and why?
I like “Columbia,” man. Cause I’m tryna transition to the females, you know, I ain’t tryna be no soft-a** n*gga, but I’m tryna get more women to support and feel the music.
RESPECT.: Who was your favorite collaboration on the project and how did that relationship come about?
Me and Hatch (Boosie Badazz) was my favorite collaboration cause we basically were talking about the same thing. Boosie reached out to me, I reached out to me. you know, we were in the A, I pulled up on dude. Then he gave me the address to his house, like “man, come pull up!” So I went and pulled up, and before you know it, we had a song.
RESPECT.: How has your trial and tribulations contributed to your hunger as a music artist?
I could talk about what I’ve been through. You know I can rap about anything, I can rap about money, cars, and clothes. But when I’m speaking from self-experience, I put my heart more into it. So I’ve got a lot of things that I’ve been through that I can just say, and I can word it to where I don’t get indicted, but I can talk about it.
RESPECT.: Who has been your biggest influence from before you got into the rap game and who is influencing you now?
I had a cousin, he was in the streets heavy, he wasn’t dealing with no music or legal situations, and he kind of gave me the move. He said, “this is what we are gonna do, this is what we are gonna do,” which a lot of stuff never happened, but dude kinda inspired me to do it after it started being done, you know what I’m saying? He said was “I’ma keep doing it no matter what he going through.” He gave me the sense of being my own man, how you gotta survive, you gotta do what you gotta do. So I used that far as my music experience and my life experience.
And who’s helping me now is an OG. I bumped into him, I just gave him a CD, and a few weeks later he called me, got in contact with me and was like, “man, that CD was rollin’!” He pulled up on me, but at the time I had took a big major loss and dude been a big brother, like a family member to me ever since. That’s Pimp, you know what I’m saying, Big Pimp.
RESPECT.:What else can we expect from Mista Cain headed into the latter part of 2017?
Fosho, fosho. Right after this project, I’m gonna give it enough time to set in, but I got another project that I’m actually working on. I ain’t going to reveal the name right now, but I’ve got a lot of work coming up, another project, probably a mixtape, and a lot of shows, fosho. Tryna get a hit record, some plaques.
RESPECT.: Any tours that we can expect in the future?
I’m working on a tour right now in the Southern region – Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, stuff like that. I’m working on a tour right now for my project, but I would love to get on a major tour, I would love to work with other artists. I worked with Trouble from Atlanta, I got faith in him, I know he gonna blow and expand, so I wouldn’t mind going on a tour with him. And a few more artists out there that’s doin’ their thing, I wouldn’t mind jammin’ there with them, know what I’m saying?
RESPECT.: What are some of your interests outside of the music industry?
Shit, I just be coolin’, man. I don’t really do too much.
RESPECT.: Advice to artists out there looking to get that shine?
Don’t worry about another n*gga business, mind yours, focus on you. I am not saying just be selfish, but don’t be indulging in other people’s problems and business and shit like that, and you’ll make it far, you know what I’m saying? No matter if you stay underground or above ground, you gonna be stable, you gonna be somewhere. You gonna be big, man.