Hollywood Style

local MC Breakneck the Mage self-releases album

Chris Henson, photos by Sarah Word

Driven inside by a cold Minneapolis winter, Tyler Franz, aka Breakneck the Mage, did what he could to keep warm. Namely, he watched a lot of dramedies featuring the radiating warmth of SoCal culture. And, as the casts of Entourage, Californication, and Curb Your Enthusiasm whitened his TV tan, Breakneck traveled to Hollywood – if only in his lyrics.

More about the idea of LA than the physical place, Breakneck the Mage Goes to Hollywood is Franz’s first full-length solo effort. The Mage says while mostly comprised of songs centering a around the theme implied by the title, one of the main ideas explored on the album are views on stardom and success, best summed up in the chorus of “Reality Rap.”

“The greatest place in the world, it isn’t California or the Florida coast/ no matter where you at, you can feel like that/ you can make it your life, this is reality rap.”

Besides all the LA glitz and glam, the 13-track album features numerous shout-outs to the Midwest, including the Eau Claire anthem, “I Got the Blues.” Appearances by Blinded and Eff’d Up’s Fro Fo Sho help to fill out the album spit over beats courtesy of Riggs and Ill Pill of Soul Fresh Beats located in Orlando. Mage’s style is more lighthearted and poppy than the norm for Midwest hip-hop, and he says his major influences are N.A.S., the Wu-Tang Clan, Lupe Fiasco, and Atmosphere. The album is available to download for free on MySpace and physical copies can be acquired at BTM’s shows.