On The Cusp of LouFest

Photograph by  Tyler Small .

Photograph by Tyler Small.

Imagine being so hungry for your dreams that you denounce the pressures of the world in order to fuel your burning passion - a “starving artist” if you will. Eventually, everything around you is somehow apart of or connected to that passion, and in turn, you’re able to make an honest living / name for yourself by simply relying on your innate abilities. Only in the midst of things, the same push you felt to take such a gambling chance on yourself in the first place pushes you to get a “real” job - at least for the time being. Reluctantly, but still willing to do so, because your intuition has never led you wrong, you become someone else’s employee for the first time in years. You brace yourself for this new and strange chapter of your life, when something unexpected, yet brilliant happens - you’re presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.

Although this may sound like a fictitious tale, it is a reality for rapper / producer Mvstermind. With much grace and persistence, he has reached yet another level in fulfilling his passion for creating music.

After two years of being self-employed; emceeing and producing licensed beats, Muhammad Austin, better known as Mvstermind, found it beneficial - and at the time, strategic, to join the ranks of corporate America. Only to find out (on his very first day) during orientation, that he would be taking the main stage at LouFest, one of St. Louis’ most recognized music festivals.  

“I’m just grateful man,” he said when asked about being apart of the festival.

“LouFest is an amazing platform that has been a catalyst for so many local artist, and I feel welcomed,” he continued.

A St. Louis native, and a hometown hero if I do say so myself, Mvstermind is, and always has been, a huge part of the local music scene [and community] - despite having gained national recognition in May of last year with his single Mali Moolah.

"Mvstermind" conversing with attendees at ALIVE sponsored LouFest event, at Shock City Studios. Photograph by Tyler Small. 

"Mvstermind" conversing with attendees at ALIVE sponsored LouFest event, at Shock City Studios. Photograph by Tyler Small. 

But even before he gained national attention, Mvstermind has always given all of himself to his craft. From making beats in his parents basement, to touring the States with his hip-hop collective, M.M.E., the self-made rapper has proven to his fans, and skeptics alike, his ability to successfully and continuously evolve in an ever-changing environment.

“It really feels like everything I’ve done up until this point has prepared me for this moment,” he said. Having known the rapper since high school, I’ve witnessed his growth, both personally and professionally - and I have to say, he’s got something special in store for LouFest attendees.

Not too long ago, Mvstermind allowed me to sit in on one of his last rehearsals before the festival, and I was impressed to say the least. An intense conversation, about setting trends versus following them, smoothly transitioned into rehearsal. Which on this particular day consisted of curating the sound for a special rendition of Sad Boy Chronicles - that I got to add my two cents to (you’ll hear it during his set if you’re lucky). But in all seriousness (I was also serious about adding my two cents to the track), it was amazing being in that space and seeing everyone in their element - all there for a common purpose, birthing truly authentic music.

Mvstermind and with members of his band during rehearsal. Photograph by Alec " Shootnowphoto ".

Mvstermind and with members of his band during rehearsal. Photograph by Alec "Shootnowphoto".

Much like everything else in his career, the rapper took his time and strategically selected each member of his band - resulting in undeniable chemistry. Just from the few moments I spent with them in Owen’s (the 16-year-old prodigy on the keys, bottom left in the picture above) makeshift studio, I gathered that everyone there was serious about their craft and brought something beneficial to the table.

“I have a dope ass band,” Mvstermind joked. “But seriously man, over the years I’ve learned to surround myself with the right kind of people, and I couldn’t have chosen better people to be apart of this with me.”

Still creating buzz with his Cusp Ep, and on the verge of one of the biggest sets of his life, the rapper has even bigger projects in the works, coming in the near future! All the while he still remains humble, yet hungry for more.

Perhaps at our core, we’re all “starving artists” like Mvstermind; constantly striving to feed our wildest dreams in order to make them a reality.