Although he hasn’t officially been told, Charles Mitchell, also known as rapper Mitchy Slick, says he now proudly plays in public.
Mitchell says he was never arrested for anything (although he was arrested in Marin County in 2014 on suspicion of human trafficking, kidnapping, criminal threats, exhibiting a firearm, and participating in a criminal street gang, a case the DA eventually declined to pursue). Yet a 1999 gang injunction issued by the San Diego city attorney’s office named him as a onetime member of the Lincoln Park Bloods.
For years, that injunction kept him from playing in public in greater San Diego, out of fear that the show would be canceled, that he would be arrested, or both. It didn't help that his 2010 release Yellow Tape includes tracks like “Won’t Stop Bein’ a Blood.”
But for the last year or so, Mitchy Slick has started played again locally, unmolested by local law enforcement. “I never got the memo,” says Mitchell about the unofficial approval to play in public again. “I think they finally got the message with all the work I’ve done with the community.”
Sunday, May 20, Mitchy Slick makes an appearance with Vokab Kompany at the free admission Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach. That show follows the recent release of “Politricks,” from the Vokab Kompany’s upcoming album on their own New Kong label.
“Mitch came down to help us film it at the abandoned trailer park in Campland on the Bay,” says singer/songwriter Matt Burke, who launched Vokab Kompany 11 years ago with vocalist/guitarist Billie Gallo and keyboardist/producer Geoff Nigl.
The “Politricks” video’s dark look and lyrics challenge the listener to not be lulled into accepting the new world order. “Fuck the GOP and the DNC/ My iPhone views and your Fox-TV/ MSNBC and my Facebook feed/ Social media is a monopoly.”
Mitchell and singer/songwriter Al Howard make a guest appearance on the seven-minute song. “We wanted people to think that maybe they were voting against their own best interest in the last election,” says Burke. “In the song, Mitchy talks about the systematic oppression of gang injunctions and about how it tears communities apart.”
Burke says a 2004 trip to Burning Man helped give him the blueprint for Vokab Company: that hip-hop and electronic dance music could be played live and in the studio in a traditional rock band format. Vokab Kompany currently includes keyboard, guitar, sax, trombone, drums, and bass.
“We wanted to create EDM music in a live format,” Burke tells the Reader. Vokab focuses on playing EDM festivals such as Lightning in a Bottle in Northern California, Electric Forest in Michigan, and Shambala in Canada.
Vokab’s collaboration with such producers as David Vieth (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe) and Jesse Molloy (Panic at the Disco) led to creating hooks that got picked up in commercials for Kia, Starz, MTV, and in Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie The Brothers Grimsby.