Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed Talk New Mixtape 'Magic & Bird' and Their Love for Comedy
The rivalrous duels between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will forever be immortalized by basketball savants. Though their skin colors and styles of play were highlighted as stark differences, their fiery competitive streaks are what chained them together. Last Friday (Aug. 4), Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed released their trap-driven project Magic & Bird. The 13-track mixtape conveys two men coming from different walks of life to unify as one for a blistering effort.
Unlike Johnson and Bird, Mineo and Wordsplayed's friendship wasn't sparked by competition, but by raps and comedy. "There was a group of people that were getting together to make music on Saturdays and to do acting and theatre, so it was a thing in New York City called Truce. We met there and we became friends because we connected over music and comedy," Mineo recalls to Billboard. "And so, I was in college at the time and John [Wordsplayed] would come through a lot and he would record. We would work on music, but even then, it was a completely different thing. You know? It was just us having fun."
Despite their fruitful relationship blossoming into something special, Wordsplayed ventured to the Navy, wrinkling their musical chemistry. While the recording process between the two lyricists came to screeching halt, Wordsplayed's adoration for music widened. Instead of locking in on traditional boom-bap beats, he expanded his palette and explored the bombastic sounds of trap.
"When I left for the Navy, I didn’t know I would keep doing music," he says. "I just picked it up as a hobby out there because I didn’t have any friends and I would catch them at shows whenever [Andy] was on the West Coast. We would still kick it then, but it’s cool to see the friendship and the music last. You know, last hand-in-hand with each other and kind of culminate into this project."
With Wordsplayed's new-found love for trap, and Mineo's career flourishing, they were on the cusp of something special. That was when the concept of Magic and Bird came into inception.
"My boy Del, he’s the creative director for [my label] Miner League and he actually came up with the idea for Magic & Bird and we all just lost our mind laughing," Mineo says. "One, it could just be a fun record for us to make between my next album and [Wordsplayed]. Two, we have all of these outlets for us to release fun, turn-up music that we enjoy. Three, it's an opportunity for us to release the skits and all of the other little things that come naturally to us when we hang out."
The long-lasting chemistry forged between Mineo and Wordsplayed shines radiantly on Magic & Bird. Tracks like "Dunk Contest," "Kidz" and "Judo" display the duos ability to play hot potato with their flows over booming instrumentals. What makes their releases even more compelling? Their humor-filled visuals.
While a myriad of MCs worry about conveying their true personalities in front of the lens, Mineo and Wordsplayed take an unflinching approach and embrace their quirkiness with zero hesitation.
"There is very little room for humor and personality in hip-hop," Mineo suggests. "It’s like everybody got to be so serious to maintain this front or image that they’re trying to portray and I think what connects most authentically with people is when you’re just being yourself. We clown and we have fun and that’s just something we want to bring to the masses. But I mean the music is no joke. The music is dope, so that’s the interesting part of the whole package."
While the duo will drown listeners with endless quips throughout their project, the actual music will resonate the most.
"For me, I show up and there is like this Batman, Robin expectation like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re the sidekick,’ and then you get to show and prove," Wordsplayed says, regarding his role on the project. "That’s actually really fun getting to knock some people off their feet and disorient them because they’re like, ‘I didn’t know. I wasn’t expecting that because I didn’t know.’ ‘I’m a fan of you now,’ and that’s fun getting to win that opposed to having to beg and grovel for it."