Josh Ouellette | Contributing Writer
Modern Day Soulja (MDS) isn’t out trying to makeyou buy his music, go to his shows or waste your time by talking about how he’s been in the club popping bottles. MDS seeks to make a difference in the world by spreading his own message of positivity and love. Hailing from La Puente, Calif., the road for this musician hasn’t always been an easy one. After putting out three mixtapes (The Next Level, Modern Day Shakur and 12.12.12) and going on a self-funded nationwide tour, MDS now has his own full-length album, Beautiful Vibez, that debuted this past December. A few Sundays ago I sat down and got to know this up-and-coming underground artist.
Josh Ouellette: When did you get your start with hip-hop?
Modern Day Soulja: It was about freshman or sophomore year [of high school]. This is stuff that all evolved; we started on paper, to cassettes and then we started doing the CD thing. To tell the truth, I probably wouldn’t be making music if it wasn’t for a very good friend of mine who transcended to the heavens the same year my brother was murdered in 2006. His name was Martin Villa, but everybody knew him as “Pelon.” He actually laid the foundation for me to make music since his passing along.
JO: So why the name Modern Day Soulja?
MDS: That’s who I am: a representation of today’s everyday average person who is a fighter and never gives in no matter what life throws at them. I evolved into the solo-artist I am today, which is Modern Day Soulja—MDS—which stems from my government name as Matthew David Schuler. The day my solo personality came to fruition was a very intimate moment for me because I discovered myself.
JO: Why do you love rap and hip-hop? Is it your favorite kind of music?
MDS: Honestly I can’t say it’s my favorite genre of music. On the way over here I was listening to classical. The other day I listened to Frank Sinatra. The only reason I’m doing hip-hop is because when I started making music that’s what it was; we were doing hip-hop. As far as being my favorite, honestly I love all types of music, so it’s hard for me to categorize. That’s my thing because people will say ‘hey I heard you rap,’ and I say naw I don’t rap, I make music.
JO: What makes you so different from any other rap artist out there?
MDS: Today the term ‘rap’ has become so watered down because there are so many artists out there that are literally rapping. Ya know, it’s just gibberish and mind-numbing nonsense, all the materialism, all the self-centered and egotistical lyrics you hear on repeat on your local radio station. I don’t even consider that music sometimes. And I feel like we’re coming into a generation now where everybody is realizing that; everybody’s done with the club bangers. That’s why for an artist like me with a genuine message, it’s time to shine. I believe in what I’m doing. I feel like what I’m doing is music, and I know in time my music will be heard. I am trying to do such a positive message and something so different from what the industry is doing today, and that’s what I think makes me unique.
JO: Who do you make your music for?
MDS: I make music for all of my family, friends and for all of our lost loved ones above. I do music for the people. The average nine-to-five working-class citizen. Your everyday person who strives for better and for all those who need a positive message in their lives, which is all of us.
JO: What artist out there can you relate with?
MDS: I would have to say Kendrick Lamar. He took on the opposite side. Every rapper in the game is talking about shooting someone, and he speaks for the ones in front of the gun and their families that lost so much. And I feel like I can relate to him so much. My brother was a victim of a shooting. I can really sense the music starting to change, and now there are more rappers out there speaking for something real. With Kendrick I can relate to him and what he’s doing because personally that’s what I’m doing.
JO: What’s the message you’re trying to spread?
MDS: Man, my message is simple for me: It’s just love and positivity. Peace, love and anything to do with being positive because that’s where I feel like you get the most out of music. My message is a real message of love because that’s how I feel like I’m going to reach everybody. Everybody has love whether they show it or not. It’s deep within us and I am trying to connect with that side. Trying to say keep going. Never give up. Do it for those you love. Whatever it is you do. Just be true to yourself. If you look deep inside yourself, you will find there is a Modern Day Soulja in all of us.
You can find Modern Day Soulja’s music on the soundcloud and bandcamp websites. All the proceeds he received for his album Beautiful Vibez up until Feb. 4 were donated to a charity supporting the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. To stay updated, you can like MDS on Facebook and follow him on Twitter and Instagram by searching “Modern Day Soulja.”